Back to School – Estimating Website Costs for Student Inquiries

Launching a website is an integral aspect of any new business, so it makes sense that business students are often required to estimate the cost of a website as part of coursework and projects. Several times a week, we receive calls from students who have searched online for insight into the question: “how much does a website cost?” Often, they call on the weekend and leave us polite but vague messages.

We’ve noticed that students are rarely able to discuss real project details. The website is an important component of their overall projected strategy, but their business goals and website scope are often ambiguous.

Here are some tips for high school and college business students who reach out to us, looking for answers for academic inquiries:

Before you call, think about:

  • Can you pitch a succinct overview of the website and online business goals?
  • Are you selling something?
  • Does it involve customer accounts?
  • Will there be a mobile app? (there almost always is)
  • What is the projected number of users/customers?

Students typically ask us the same questions that we get from other prospective clients:

  • How much will it cost to build the website?
  • How much does hosting cost?

What they don’t ask, but should, includes:

  • How much should we budget monthly for online marketing?
  • How much will it cost to maintain?

When I respond, I try to tell them that coming up with the cost of a website cost is just simple math. Basically, it’s sum of our hourly rate for a team to build it multiplied by time it will take to complete it. If it’s a complex project it will take more developers and more time. The trick is figuring out how complex the website concept is so we can assign the hours and arrive at an estimate range. On the maintenance side, the more complex the project is, the higher the cost to maintain it. Just like it costs more to maintain a Mercedes than a Honda.

I often wonder if the professors just check for the inclusion of costs on their students’ reports, or do they actually perform some due diligence and dig into the numbers? It’s interesting that we never get a call from a professor or teacher to validate any website budget estimates included in their students’ papers.

If you are a student working on assignment that requires you to include website cost estimates, please review our blog. There are many articles that you can use to flesh out your report. We are happy to help out and share our experiences. We welcome calls, but be prepared to provide a concise overview of the proposed project so we can provide you with realistic numbers in case your professor ever decides to give us a call.

student web questions
Richard Parr
by Richard Parr
Posted: March 28, 2016