How much does a website cost in 2018?

The primary factor in website cost is the complexity of your website. It’s simple, the more complex the website is, the more time and effort is required to plan it, design it, build it, market it, and maintain it.

 

website cost complexity chart

How do we determine website complexity, and therefore cost?

We determine website cost through a process called website “Definition” (some may refer to this as “Planning” or “Scope”). In this process, the digital agency (or the company developing the website) gathers the website requirements. Some of the broad questions the digital agency asks are:

  1. Does this business have an existing website and brand, or is it a new business?
  2. What level of creative design is required?
  3. What level of technical complexity is required?
  4. What level of effort will be required after the website launches, to maintain and market it?

 

Now let’s provide some more detail around those 4 questions:

 

It’s cheaper to redesign an existing web business than creating a new website from scratch.

If the business has an old, existing website, this generally reduces the amount of effort and complexity, and usually results in a smoother, and more cost-effective project. We estimate that redesigning an old website is 25% less expensive than creating a new website, not to mention the advantages you gain on the content creation and strategy side.

If the business is new, then we are starting from scratch, we have nothing to build from so all the following efforts need to be undertaken:

  • Strategy
  • Branding
  • Content creation
  • Design
  • Programming
  • SEO (search engine optimization)

There are best-practices that your digital agency should utilize to make these efforts efficient and effective.

How do we estimate the level of creative design?

The cost of your website design is a bit tricky because creative design is subjective. For example, we’ve worked with clients that have a hard time articulating their brand image, this can result in many days of additional effort before we reach an approved design. Websites that are designed by committee are also prone to additional time and effort. On the other hand, if the client knows their brand, and what they want to portray, the creative effort can be quite efficient. Also note that creative media/content, like original video and photography, can sometimes eclipse the cost of the website.

Complex functionality increases costs.

The cost of the technical and programming effort is usually 50% of the total website budget. The majority of small to medium-sized, marketing- focused websites, don’t require much technical complexity. Complexity, and therefore increased expense, starts when we require features like:

  • Membership
  • Ecommerce
  • Custom application development
  • Integration with external services

Fortunately, many of these “complex” pieces can be found in pre-made “modules”. These prebuilt modules or SAAS (software as a service) solutions mean that some complex functionality does not need to be built from scratch. If the right module can be found and integrated into the website, the business can save tens if not hundreds of hours of development.

Saas website cost efficiency

After site launch, how do we budget for maintenance?

Finally we need to consider the ongoing maintenance and marketing costs. These maintenance expenses should be factored into your online budget. There are 2 primary types of Maintenance:

  1. Maintenance cost to update the text, photos, products, and content on your website. This type of work can be done by an outside agency or by our client’s staff. For most websites, the core content doesn’t change that often. If the website has an active blog or ever-changing products/services, more time will be required.
  2. Maintenance cost to update, and upgrade the website framework and plugins. Most of the small-medium, business websites we maintain, average about $500 per month. This covers website code updates, backups, hosting, reporting, and additional security measures. Updates to a website with a variety of custom modules may require more time to test and manage.

 

Post Launch Website Costs:

Post launch, a business faces the monthly maintenance costs discussed above, and costs for ongoing marketing efforts. The cost for consistent marketing depends on a variety of factors. How active does the business need to be in order to maintain profitability, compete, and grow? This answer is different for every business. But it is important that an ongoing marketing budget is prepared – because without proactive marketing, your website may be an island that few people visit.

For an average business, a website is 60% – 70% of their online footprint or presence. The other 30% to 40% is the businesses presence in:

  • Social media channels (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Linkedin, etc.)
  • Online advertising
  • Email campaigns
  • Other marketing channels (partners, directories, etc.)

If a business ignores this opportunity to broaden their brand and messaging, they are not being competitive in today’s market. For marketing the cost depends on the marketing strategy. We would recommend that the minimum amount a business allocate is $1,000 per month.

post launch website cost

How much does an average website cost?

Here’s some average website costs that we’ve experienced in our 12 years in the business.

  • Small business marketing website: $8K – $15K
  • Medium business marketing website: $18K – $30K
  • Add ecommerce, customized databases, or applications: +$5K – + $20K

Figuring out the cost may actually be the easy part, the harder question is “who do you trust to build your website?”. Anyone that’s hired a professional service company; building contractor, car repair, plumber, lawyer, knows how hard it is to find a trustworthy professional with a strong work ethic. Finding the right online agency for your business can be equally difficult. Over the years we’ve worked with many businesses that have used agencies and contractors, that have not delivered what was promised. Perform your due diligence up front, and if you want a free consultation contact Executionists. 

Richard Parr
by Richard Parr
Posted: December 30, 2017

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