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Marketing Insights

How Much Does A Website Cost In 2016

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Many prospective customers come to us with the same question in mind. “How much does a website cost?” Most don’t understand what goes into making a website and why it costs what it does.

To start off 2016, I’m supplying a breakdown of possible website design costs as a guide to those that find themselves searching for a web designer/builder. I think once you have a chance to review this article, you’ll better understand the costs associated with your type of website. If not, you only need to contact me for clarification.

First, let me start by giving some assumptions we make when supplying an estimate:

  • Our Estimates are based on our hourly rate of $100 – 150/hour
  • Our estimates include planning, design, programming, marketing setup (such as Google analytics and basic on-page seo, such as titles, meta descriptions), launch and all job coordination/meeting time
  • All new websites will be built with a responsive design and be mobile friendly
  • All new websites are built in a CMS framework (Wordpress or Magento) to give our non-technical clients the easiest way to update their own pages UNLESS the client states that their site must be built on another platform.
  • Clients will provide ALL content (text/copy) and images (head shots, group shots, building shots)

To evaluate the time to build your site, we need to know some basics about you and your company, your competition and what expectations you have for your website. Using our website Creative Brief will help you think of the items you need or desire for your site. How you will use your site to support your business goals is the driving force in our recommendations.

Here are a number of categories your website could fit into:

  1. I am a start up business and need a website to sell my (service or product) This is my first website.
  2. I’m looking to update my existing website. It’s (old, ugly, doesn’t work right, can’t be found)
  3. I am in charge of our website and have been tasked with upgrading the brand, look, design and functionality of our site to better align with our company services or products.
  4. We have some technical aspects to our site that we would like to enhance (such as integrating with our in house sales, accounting software
  5. We need a small ecommerce site built to sell our products online.
  6. We need to recreate and expand our ecommerce site to sell our growing online products listing


Cost For Startup Websites

We define a ‘start up’ website as a site consisting of up to 10 pages. Usually consisting of Home page, About Us page, Products / Services page(s), Contact Page, and Blog.

There is NO need for Extensions or Plugins.

It could include a simple shopping cart solution such as PayPal or Woocommerce.

Again, all text and usable images are provided by the client.

Typically, website charges are based on the total number of hours it take to design and build it. If you are a first time buyer, you’ll find that these hourly rates vary drastically.

Offshore web companies (and there are many) from India, Philippines, Eastern Ukraine range in the $10 - $40 per hour. An established US website agency may charge between $50 – $200+. Even one person US web freelancer may charge $35 – 60 per hour.

What do you get for those hourly charges can vary wildly too. For the most part, those out-of-country have no sense of what good design means to most Americans. They have technical skills but their sense of marketing is very basic. Their sense of American design is even less enhanced. If that is what you are looking for, then you can find someone to build your site.

Freelancers can sometimes be useful, but basing the final result on just their skills could be limiting to your site. If they have limited skills, they won’t tell you, you’ll only get what they can produce which may not become apparent until you’re site is up and in use.

It would be best for you to write a list of requirements that you want in your website so all parties estimating for that project are basing their fees on the same tasks.   (Apples to apples sort of thing.) It should include the number of pages you seek, the type of pages you want, whether you require a shopping cart and especially whether you want any functionality to your site. We use a helpful ‘website brief’ which you can access here to help you create a requirement document.

It is also helpful to point out existing websites that are similar to what you seek, your likes and dislikes, especially your competition and how you expect site visitors to use your site.

 OK - OK, so how much you ask?

 Here’s how a first time website cost breaks down:

Planning / Job Coordination: $150 - $250

UX (user experience) Sitemap - $0 - $500

Visual Design/ Branded Look - $1,000 - $2,000

Programming - $1,000 - $2,000

Content Support (enhance text) - $0 - $750

Client Training - $250 - $500

Testing / Launch - $100 - $750

Total Cost for First Time Websites?
$ 2,500 - $5,000 depending on your needs.

Additional Costs?

Possible SSL certificate would need to be purchased for those sites selling online. The client would need to have their own credit card processing set up with their bank or PayPal account ready to go. You’ll want to shop merchant service providers because they can be very expensive. Many of our small client companies choose PayPal because they offer different levels of service that you can grow into.

Other things that can affect cost are the ‘approval process’. Whether your website team is working with one decision maker OR a team approach to decisions. Teams generally have longer decision cycles and more of them. Also revisions or the need to make numerous revisions prior to launch. We include one or two rounds built into our cost.

We would suggest you consider help with getting traffic to your site no matter what size website you need. Through SEO (search engine optimization) efforts, PPC (pay per click) and / or Content writing / Blog posting. These services can range from $350 - $750 per month and up.

IF you have further questions regarding this ‘First Time’ Website Cost, or website marketing, don’t hesitate to call us at 410-337-0066. Check our our Blog posts concerning website designs here: http://blog.catalpha.com/topic/website-design


Cost for Small Business Websites

Many clients have come to us in this position of currently owning a website, but it is NOT functioning as they wish. Whether it’s the design that is not up to date, OR they’ve changed internal branding (and need the site to match), staff, location or business direction. They need to make changes to portray their company in the best possible way and stay competitive.

We define a ‘small business website’ as a website consisting of up to 20 – 30 pages and having 3 – 4 main categories of services or products. These usually consist of a more enhanced navigation system with sub pages beneath categories. Along with the more usual pages such as Home, About, Contact and Blog.   An additional Events or News section may even be needed.

For this type of site, we didn’t include any add-ons or extensions. As for e-commerce capabilities we include simple WooCommerce shopping cart. We DO NOT include a product load of more than 25 products.   Most shopping carts have a product import function you can use to add additional products if needed.

We usually start fresh with a complete NEW site, and new coding. There are instances where the current programming of the site much be kept. This can affect the costs below and should be described in your requirements proposal when approaching website design agencies.

Small Business Website Redesign and Rebuild

Planning / Job Coordination: $500 - $1,000

UX (user experience) Sitemap - $250 - $750

Visual Design/ Branded Look - $2,500 - $4,000

Programming - $2,500 - $4,000

Content Support (enhance text) - $500 - $1,250

Client Training - $500 - $750

Testing / Launch - $500 - $750

Total Cost for Small Business Websites:
$ 7,250 - $12,500 and up depending on your needs.


Cost for a Medium Size Business Websites:

Our definition of a Medium Size Website is a site that consists of up to 8 categories with a current blog containing up to 50 posts.   So a total site page count could be in the 50 – 100 page range.

This company may be seeking an agency / partner who can help them build out their current site OR enhance its capabilities along with a redesign. Also, many older website were not built with mobile in mind. Since 2014, mobile has become the leading method of how people are view websites and that will only continue to grow.  You need to be a mobile responsive site to follow the Google requirements for ranking. Having your site built on a responsive framework is the best choice for your business to make.

Also, at this point, many companies are happy enough with the way their site was built, but they are not happy with the SEO results or how well their site converts visitors. The process of getting your site / web pages to rank higher and creating a conversion funnel can be extensive and time consuming. These services should be included in the client’s overall yearly marketing budget and not thought of as ‘one off’ effort. SEO, Content Creation and Effectiveness Testing of page design or offers are a must.

Medium Size Business Website Redesign and Rebuild

Planning / Job Coordination: $1,000 - $1,500

UX (user experience) Sitemap - $500 - $1,500

Visual Design/ Branded Look - $3,500 - $7,500

Programming - $5,000 - $7,500

Content Support (enhance text) - $1,000 - $1,500

Client Training - $1,000 - $1,500

Testing / Launch - $1,000 - $1,500

Total Cost for Medium Business Websites:
$ 10,000 - $20,000 and up depending on your needs.


Cost for Large Size Business or Ecommerce Websites.

Our definition of a Large Size Website is a site that consists of up to 10 - 15 categories with a current blog containing up to 100 or more posts. So a total site page count could be in the 125 – 250 page range.

 A site of this size usually falls into the ecommerce shopping website category. Products can quickly balloon the size of the site. They also have special database needs that are associated. Such as daily price updating or inventory issues. These are usually taken care by having the in-house database ‘talk’ to the online database. This requires special programming done by a developer. While a shopping cart site of this size is not unheard of they require special attention to your image and descriptions database as well as any blogs or category pages. All need special attention for search engine optimization purposes.

 Hosting environment of your large site will need special consideration. You’ll need to know that visitors are not stopped by low load capabilities which cause the site to load slowly OR completely crash when overloaded.

Another requirement to consider is whether your provider is able to reload your website in the case of a server crash. Up to the minute back ups are important when your site HAS to be up to make money and you are not waiting til the next work day to make that happen.

 These days, websites are prone to security risks. Your website AND web server are your most serious sources of security risk . Especially if you are an ecommerce site which will contain sensitive customer data. Along with employee use and misuses of network resources.

Large Size Business or Shopping Website Redesign and Rebuild

Planning / Job Coordination: $1,500 - $2,000

UX (user experience) Sitemap - $1,000 - $2,000

Visual Design/ Branded Look - $5,000 - $7,500

Programming - $5,000 - $7,500

Content Support (enhance text) - $1,000 - $1,500

Client Training - $1,000 - $1,500

Testing / Launch - $1,000 - $1,500

Special Coding Development - $10,000

Total Cost for Large Business Websites:
$ 20,000 - $40,000 and up depending on your needs.

Ongoing Website Maintenance:

Additional Website Costs

Here are additional items that you may not have taken into consideration for your website build or redesign project:

  • Domain Name: Depending on the number of years you may register it for, they range in the $10 – 20
  • Hosting: Simple sites - $5 - $15 month
  • Ecommerce sites - $25 month and up
  • Extensions or Plugins – Extensions or plugins are pieces of code written by third party developers to work in conjunction with the WordPress or Magneto platform that allow the site to perform additional features. Such as additional shopping cart additions like drop down menus, specific delivery features to an order, enhanced SEO capabilities, calendars or scheduling features, and the list goes on. These can range anywhere from FREE to $200 – 300. Many need to be updated yearly. These can be real time savers and function enhancers for your site.

Website Maintenance:

Maintenance is a term applied to ANY changes that you need to make to your site to keep it up to date and working as expected. These can range from $0 because the client is able to update their own site through their CMS to thousands of dollars because the client has continuous needs (especially within an ecommerce site) to update products, blogs, specials, orders, additional functions. It really depends on how proactive you are to make your site an integral part of your business.

Want more information about designing or redesigning a website? Download our free resource below, or call us at 410-337-0066.


DOWNLOAD  Catalpha's Website Design Creative Brief

Topics: Website Design


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