How Much does a Website Cost
Web site development is both a technical process as well as a creative process. When you plan to get a website designed for your company your one primary concern is How much would this web site cost me ? Another common concern of course, how do i ensure that i get a quality website developed for me through a professional. In this article we discuss the first concern regarding the price you'd pay for a website.
Its not simply that a lowest cost website development is best. You'd have definitely heard of many stories from friends and colleagues on how the guy tried this "website development under $100 company" and got an equally cheap product of no use.
Then there is the other guy who pays and arm and a leg for his website and finds out he got things he didn't need and didn't get things he really wanted or equally worse - caught between meetings , long drawn creative processes of the company, and a whole list of exclusions which actually needed to be included (and hence costed more), the website gets delayed by months or Even years.
To avoid being in such a situation one of things involved is to know how much does objectively your web site should cost you. Or what is the fair price that should be charged for the web design and development work done.
Website Development can normally be categorized into 4 types of development (of course there can be many variants)
1. Simple Brochure Website Design
This is the simplest of the lot and would not include any database interaction and is likely to span few pages without any content management system. It can be flash or html based and will require little programming skill (if any) but may require good design skills. It can be a small company or startup web presence. Such simple websites should normally cost between $500-$1200 and take 3-4 weeks to create if regular interaction between you and the website designer takes place.
2. Dynamic Website Design
These websites may include custom programming or off the shelf applications or even development platforms integrated into the website. These websites should be able to keep user data secure. A Dynamic Corporate Website Design theoretically speaking can be complex enough for large corporations to include job boards, private intranet, feedback system, content management , employee login and content for employees, news feeds etc. Some website development companies charge upward of $15,000-$20000 (US based website development companies) to large corporate clients for such websites but frankly this type of website can even be had for a midsize client for between $2000-$6000. Another category of such sites is Real Estate websites which generally show listings of properties which can be updated and maintained via an admin panel.
Apart from this Dynamic Website design can include a simple site which has content management platform to update information, provide news, show videos etc. , example sites of non profit organizations. This simpler subcategory of Dynamic Website Design should typically cost between $1500 to $3000
3. Ecommerce Website Development: Ecommerce website development is quite different from normal website design and requires special set of skills. Additional skill sets like site security, payment gateway integration and of course programming come into play. Yes, it is ofcourse possible to create a simple or basic ecommerce website without any programming skills but frankly when we want to put our business online , we do want it to look good and be totally customized to our needs having the latest features. Most ecommerce websites are built on shopping cart platforms which are off the shelf available web application with ecommerce functionality whom the e-commerce developer modifies, enhances, and customizes as per your need and integrates them to a great website design. A typical very basic ecommerce website with low or zero customization can cost as low as $1500 while a state of the art shopping portal or site is done by us for between $6,000-$10,000. You will find our rates 30%-50% lower than in the market. If your website developer is charging a high price for your website, you should check with him what technology is he using, what are options available and a break up of pricing - example cost in terms of des- ign, payment gateway implementation. You may also ask him if he's using a commercial/ open source shopping cart to create the site in which case the price should not be very high unless it is highly customized.
4. Web Application Development - This can further include Community Websites, Portals, sites with social features, and sites which function as applications - for example a used car sale and purchase platform, a platform to connect school friends, an online ordering system from restaurants etc. Many of the time such web apps will have advertising management integrated with them. Some times the project will also involve making such a web application mobile ready or creating an android application complementing the web site. The cost of these web application site depends on the level of their elaboration. For example sometimes clients may want a site which is replicating features (in other words , a clone :)) of say groupon , or say digg.com or even facebook. But lets understand that whereas 80-90% of the functionality of many of these iconic websites can be had for few thousand dollars - creating an original product which can measure up to such sites will cost a lot more.
Remember to Keep in mind the following when paying for website development/ design:
- Get a detailed website development contract signed
- Get the features of the website
- Get included a maintenance plan or
- Ask why the designer / developer is proposing a particular technology
- Ask how much it'd get to host the website and any other recurring costs
- Find out if you'll get the complete source code / files of the website post development or are their any proprietary bits
- What is the payment plan and can you pay the final installment on completion and testing of the website.