One question I get asked a lot is “how much does a website cost?”.
This is question is as absurd as asking ‘how much does a car cost?’ or ‘how much does a house cost?’. A car can rage from a small compact to a Ferrari and a home can range from a small bungalow to Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.
A friend of mine usually responds to this question with the question Well, how long is a piece of string?’. There really no answer to this question because a website can very from a simple landing page to a site like Facebook.
The cost of a website is derived from several factors including planning/communication, design, complexity/functionality, time and value.
Planning & Communication
The planning and communication can often times make up the bulk of a project. In this phase of a project it includes gathering information on the clients business/industry, competitive analysis, create a marketing and SEO strategy and discuss goals.
During the course of a project communication can also eat up a lot of time, especially if you’re client is a chatty Cathy and sends a million emails. The time spent for communication is added to the clock which should be to no surprise.
This is not just a creative process but also considers the layout and user experience. This extremely important as the layout can impact sales and leads. Some may think that installing a theme eliminates half of the work but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you’ve worked with hundreds of WordPress themes like I have then you probably know that each theme is like a new software as they have their own interfaces to manage their layout, typography, headers/footers, functionality and so on. I never just upload a theme and only work within the confines of the theme but typically add a lot of CSS or custom code to manipulate the layout that isn’t possible through the theme interface. I typically don’t launch a website without at least 100 lines of custom styling as I don’t want it to look EXACTLY as it does out of the box.
This phase also includes choosing the right fonts and images to be used which can sometimes be time consuming. I’ve sometimes spent over an hour looking for the right image to be used as the hero image or banner on the top of the home page.
While functionality can range from a simple form to a shopping cart. Custom coding takes time. Thankfully WordPress is loaded with thousands of plugins that you can purchase that can provide out of the box functionality they are similar to themes that require time to understand and in many cases require custom modifications.
I know I’ve mentioned time previously however this point should be underlined and as they say “time is money”. If you’re looking to haggle and/or cut costs then expect a rushed project and poor results. The biggest penalty will be how you stack up against your competition who invested wisely and is now stealing all the potential visitor, customers or clients that could have otherwise been yours.
The value of how well a website performs is usually relative to the freelancer or web company you hire. If you decide to hire a junior developer or offshore freelancer to save on costs then typically you will end up with a poor website that won’t perform well, have issues and not rank well. I’ve personally had to revamp websites for people who initially thought it was a good idea to hire their niece or got ripped off from offshore developers.
An experienced developer knows what constitutes a quality website and is looking to provide an advantage over your competitors rather than provide a cookie-cutter website as quickly as possible.
Your website is an investment for your business and if you don’t hire the right freelancer or web company due to costs or not doing your research then you will not only waste money but you will only be giving your competitors the competitive edge who made the right investment, have a better website that ranks well and is getting all the leads you could have been getting. After all a website should generate leads/sales for your business and if done correctly will pay for itself and work for your business.
If you are looking to hire a WordPress, SEO and internet marketing expert feel free to contact NexToronto.