How much do I need to pay to get a website built?
If I had a dollar for every time I'd been asked this when someone finds out what I do for a living, then I'd be a rich man. I normally resist the smart arse answer of how long is a piece of string, and say that there are a number of factors that effect the cost of designing and building a website. But for most businesses when they start looking to get a website made, they soon find out that there are vast differences in what you can pay. Below I have listed out some of your options and what they might cost.
1) Cost $0 (Build your own)
These "do it yourself" platforms like Wix and Squarespace enable you to build your own site for “free” and all you pay is a monthly hosting fee.
This is not a bad option if:
A) you have the time to do it, and
B) you're happy to buy a new computer after throwing it out the window out of frustration.
The term “free” I use here is like many of those other “free” things in your life like your kid's education and or taking them to a shopping centre with a playground to play when its raining. If you're like me your time is precious, and if you're doing my job by building your own website then its costing you more than you might think. A great deal of our work comes from the “built our own but its not quite working out for us” scenario. I have witnessed people put the best part of 100 hours of their time in over several months building their own a site (if you think your time is worth $50 bucks per hour that equates to $5000!), only to give up and illicit our services. A word of caution here, just think about whether or not you can really afford a “free” site.
2) Cost $500 to $1000 (Overseas contractor)
Get it built by someone in a third world country. Should you want to take up this option you are best to reply to one of the many emails that drop into your inbox that start off by saying - Dear Mr Andrew, I built many webs and I am knowing you might be needing my servicing…
It's sad to admit I actually tried to get a site built by an overseas contractor once. Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of very capable people overseas offering their services for sweet f@#k all, but you're on a different time zone, language can become a barrier making it really frustrating, not to mention ongoing support becomes a nightmare when Oxfam has given your developer a pair of goats and now he's a full time goat breeder.
3) Cost $500 to $2000 (Local developer / designer / Just learnt what HTML means)
Everyone knows someone whose friends aunties mothers sisters neighbours mate can build you a site. You know the one, they haven’t got around to building their own site as they have been too busy building everyone else’s. They have just finished building the local pikelet appreciation clubs site, budget didn’t quite extend to making it responsive mainly because they didn't know what it meant (means making it look good on mobile). They can provide you with a beautifully crafted initial concept in Microsoft paint, carefully managing to incorporate 32 different fonts into your site along with rainbow inspired boarders and some of the best clip art money can't buy. My suggestion here is to always ask to see their work first before you commit yourself to your new 32 font website.
4) Cost $20,000 to infinity (Old school development company)
These guys are great. Your website will be engineered to perfection. You will be provided with a Content Management System (you use this to update your site's content) that you forget how to use from the moment they finish their 15 hour training session, you would have needed a computer science degree from Harvard to have had any chance to understand it. Of course they'll say that you are the only client that has struggled to use it. The process will also include endless meetings going over what you thought you had said in the last meeting and having the “technical” people in the room drawing big breaths though their teeth and shaking their heads every time you suggest the smallest change. This is a signal to the account manager in the meeting to say “well this means we are moving away from our original specification and will require a new project timeline and re-evaluation of costs" and all you were suggesting was to make the headings blue instead of dark grey. In the world of web, a company that has been around for many years can be a bad thing. I have seen many of these teams wedded to old school practices and inefficient processes that end up costing you the client.
5) Cost $3000 to $10,000 (New age, New school)
Of course I have left our type of business to last for dramatic effect. The world of web is a rapidly evolving one. Its full of acronyms and a shite load of people who like to keep it complex because its their little black box they can charge lots of money for. But the reality is somewhat different. The need to have teams that are predominantly developer based to create non data driven sites no longer exist. We for example use a platform that allows a designer to create a 100% custom built site. If you were to look under the bonnet so to speak there are no differences to one built by a developer. So why would you care how its built?. You just need a website that will convert visitors into customers or get your message across. And you're right, it doesn’t matter how its built providing its made mobile friendly along the way, but what it does mean is that if we are able to reduce costs then we have more budget to spend on things that really matter. Our focus is identifying what makes your business attractive to your market. We research your brand, the market you are in, your competitors and then we go to work to creating a site that delivers. So when it comes down to the "bang for the buck" we think our model really delivers.