So you are thinking about a new website – and are after a rough price. Well the truth is there is no easy answer. It depends! With website design the sky truly is the limit however when you have a budget to consider it can be useful to have some idea of the components of a website that affect the cost.
By far the component that has the single most impact on the cost of your website build is what the website DOES, in tech speak it is the website functionality. A very simple brochure style website with pages that the end user only looks at will always be the cheapest. As soon as you start adding interactive features to a website such as moving components, contact forms, scheduling tools and the like, then the cost of the build rapidly increases. It is vital to establish the scope of the website at the outset to make sure the developer can provide you with the most accurate quote – as soon as scope creep sets in the cost of the build will definitely increase. Scoping website functionality is by far the most important step of a website build.
The platform is effectively the operating system of the website – it is the machine that makes it work. Like all other parts of the digital world there’s an incredibly varied selection of platforms available from DIY drag-and-drop all the way up to custom-coded proprietary platforms. Choosing the right platform is ultimately decided by the functionality requirements of your site and how much usability you require at the end of the build i.e how much maintenance you will be doing.
How many times have you been to a website and been turned off by the way it looked or frustrated by how it works (or doesn’t)? It is almost guaranteed that those websites have not been built by a web developer with design in mind. If we hark back to our brochure reference earlier it is really easy to understand why design is so important in a website. Just as poor design in a brochure makes people screw it up and throw it away, poor website design means people won’t use your site – which defeats the purpose of having a site. The design needs to be aligned to your brand and easy for end users to navigate and use.
This is where many sites fall down predominantly because there is no specified owner for these areas of the build from the outset. Content is basically the words & pictures on your website but there is so much more to it than that. The phrase “Content is King” should not be underestimated. Let’s go to our brochure once again. Imagine having a stunning brochure that said nothing – that had no pictures and no words (or worse it had terrible pictures and words that did nothing to “sell” your brand?). No-one in their right mind would print a brochure like that and a website should be no different. Consider content from the very beginning as it can have a large impact on the design and functionality but more importantly it is your brand message. If in doubt about content talk to your web developer about engaging a content professional. A picture is worth a thousand words – but the RIGHT picture and the right words are priceless.
All of the above components make up the foundations of a website build – whether it is rebuild or a new build. How well scoped the project is plays a huge part in the overall cost of the build. The original question was how much will a new website cost? While we haven’t directly answered this we have given you an outline of the things to consider when talking to web developers – and thereby given you the tools to understand and manage some of the costs. In general website builds start from around $2000 and can go as high as you like – it is reported that the US Government spent $18 million US dollars on the rebuild of one of their sites!
Your web build checklist:
Functionality: fully scoped at the beginning
Platform: supports functionality and your web management needs
Design: is brand aligned, easy on the eye and engaging
Content: is provided by someone suitably qualified to best represent you
Support: what ongoing support is provided, at what cost?
But what about DIY websites?
There are a number of platforms out there that provide DIY website build options. All of the checklist options above still apply and should be carefully considered before committing. On face value DIY sites certainly seem to be a lot cheaper than a web developer but the question is – how much is your time worth? Let’s assume you can produce a site that is just as good as the developer can. Great! It is fair to say however that there is no way your will be able to do it as quickly and efficiently as the person who does it for a living. When you factor in your hourly rate suddenly the DIY site is starting to look a lot more expensive. The biggest factor though is the time – do you really have the time to step away from your core business to build the website that your brand deserves?
Needing some inspiration? A good place to start is to look at websites you like to get some ideas.
Check out our portfolio of websites here.