Almost as cliche as ‘how long is a piece of string’, building a website for your business can be a potentially confusing one for small to medium sized business who may have only gone through the process once or twice before. In some cases it’s even the first time.
There are multiple layers of expenses for features and services that could potentially confound anyone who doesn’t have experience in the process of building or commissioning a website.
The requirements and cost of a web site for a small business are obviously different to that of larger corporations, and each web design agency is different, so this is a general guide to help clarify some of the common questions we have come across in our experience in designing and developing websites.
How much should a website cost in 2016? We’d like to help clarify some of the common queries about web design and costs involved to help you prepare for a smooth and cost-efficient process from start to finish.
What Are The Common Ways That Design Agencies Charge?
Website design agencies are much like professionals in any other trade in that they generally establish a base price for their service per hour, then mark up. For agencies, this will generally cover all expenses including wages for labour, expenses such as rent, tax and other overheads.
Some smaller agencies or freelancers may charge less as they will not need to cover as many costs, however may be deficient in terms of reliability, infrastructure and resources. As a result, quality of work suffers. Also be cautious of freelancers who pose as larger companies.
The price of a website is then calculated by the estimated number of hours that the project will take to complete. More experienced agencies will be able to give you a more accurate quote based on a more in depth briefing process.
Each quote will be different depending on the requirements of the project. As no two businesses are exactly the same, not two websites are exactly the same. Keeping this in mind be aware of agencies offering package deals for websites. These models reuse and recycle infrastructure to keeps costs down.
A set price for an entire web build leaves little room to move if any amendments need to made. If you do go down this road, be sure to read the fine print of the agreement so you know where you stand in terms of changes to the project. Iterations along the way with any digital project are common and should be encouraged.
Package deals sometimes use set template no matter what the project is. This may be very restricting when it comes to developing your online brand and may mean your website won’t have the impact you’d hoped for.
That’s not to say all fixed price quotes are bad, they may potentially be preferable, especially for small business owners – The best agency’s will be sure to explain what is and isn’t included in the quote or estimate they present.
What Dictates How Long a Website Will Take to Build?
Seeing as no two websites are the same, each build will take a different amount of time to complete. However, experienced agencies will be very accurate (and transparent) when it comes to estimating the build time.
Here are some of the most common website elements which will dictate how long a website take to build (and thus cost):
• Population of branding elements, webpage copy (text) and imagery
• Social media links
• A blog or news feed
• E-newsletter signup function
• Population of content pages (such as an about page, products and services, contact etc) – addition charges for copywriting may incur if you require them.
• Extra features such as contact forms, galleries and calendars
• E-commerce features such as a shopping cart and product pages
• Custom E-commerce functions
• Customer account services
• Multi-language options
• Interactive media
• Databases and directories
• Data migration or database configuration
Different clients will require different elements. ranging from basic websites that will only include two or three, to extensive and complex builds with multiple features.
Large E-commerce websites will tend to require more custom builds that can take quite some time be very expensive. Simple information-based websites with only a few elements will be far cheaper.
Here are some of the most common reasons why some websites cost more:
• Creative designs: Although many agencies work from a creative foundation which they have developed over time, the requirements of different clients will mean that this foundation will need to be built upon. People often don’t realise the amount of time that even minor supplementary designs can take, and how much this can affect the final cost.
• Custom features: As above, supplementary or custom features can take quite some time to integrate into a website and will ultimately increase the cost of a build.
• Content migration: If you have a lot of content that you wish to populate your website with, this can impact the build cost. If data already exists in a format that can be easily integrated to the site then costs may be minimal. However, if data needs to be manually entered then this will see prices increase. Again, we must reiterate that extra build hours are generally billed accordingly.
• Integrating existing software applications: This is a common situation when building E-commerce sites that wish to connect existing third-party software applications such as marketing systems, accounting software, customer databases, products and inventory. There are methods to manage this efficiently, but it is a timely process and cost quite a bit.
What Other Costs Are Involved?
Besides build costs, there are a few other costs involved with building a website. These include:
• Hosting: This can cost anywhere from upwards of $200 a year depending on the traffic requirements of your website and what extra features you require (for example security and data backups).
• Domain name: This is generally around $20 a year.
• Maintenance: Like most things in life, websites can break and maintenance, upgrades and upkeep is required. All maintenance hours are billable and depending on the level of support can cost upwards of $500 a quarter.
• Digital marketing: Marketing your website is an absolutely vital process once it is complete. Without a well-structured content marketing strategy, nobody will see your website and the time and money put into building it will be fruitless.
• SEO: Search Engine Optimising (SEO) is another key factor post-build and should be a vital part of your digital strategy. Overall digital strategy can cost upwards of $1500 a month.
• Image sourcing: Quality imagery on your website may be crucial in solidifying your brand. If you do not have the resources to acquire quality imagery yourself, your agency can do so for you. Stock imagery and graphics can cost anywhere from $0-100+ each.
• Site features and plug-ins: There are thousands of great plug-ins and applications out there to suit the needs of any website. These need to be paid for either outright or licensed annually and installed by a developer who will also be able to update them if need be.
In our many years of experience creating websites for businesses small and large, we’ve developed a thorough and efficient process, which not only produces great results – but is actually fun for both parties along the way.
What do you want?
We’ve been doing this for a while, so we know the rights questions to ask. This is why we ask all clients to fill in a ‘reverse brief’ at the start if every project – so we know we have all the information we’ll need right from the start.
What do you like?
Next we collect and present a series of websites that have design elements or technical features that we think would be great for the project. We undertake a meticulous research process and present both industry relevant sites, and sites that are just simply exemplary examples of web design. Once we have feedback from this stage, we’ve got a solid picture of your likes and dislikes, and can begin to design accordingly.
Check these out!
Next come the initial concepts. Depending on the scope of the project – we present a minimum of 2 creative design concepts. Once we have feedback from this stage ,we’re ready to get stuck into the site.
What do you think?
Although we’re the experts in web design – we don’t claim to be experts in every industry. So we work closely with clients all the way through the design process, to ensure the project solution is just right.
Bring it to life!
Once the visual design and the user interface is finalised, our expert team of code wizards will get stuck in and bring the design to life.
By following this simple collaborative process, we ensure that we create fantastic websites that even exceed what was expected at the original quote.