How Much Does a Website Cost?

By Michael Farrell / April 6, 2018 / Branding & Design Blog Archives, Web Design Blog Archives

The best answer to this question is, “it depends.”

All too often, as a web designer and developer, I am asked this question after only a brief explanation of an idea or project. When this happens, I always think back to the house metaphor I read about several years ago: “Building a website is like building a house.”

If you want to build a new house, you likely would not call the builder and ask, “How much does a new home cost?” In order to provide you with an estimate, the builder would need the nitty-gritty details about the project:

  • Do you have a lot to build on?
  • What style of house?
  • How many square feet? Bedrooms? Bathrooms?
  • What amenities and features do you need?
  • What types of finishings do you want?

The same goes for web developers.

Web Development Budgets

Without all the details, it’s impossible to provide an accurate estimate and, at the beginning, it’s hard to know every single detail.

The best way to approach a new website is to start with a budget range. From there, a developer can begin to plan out the details within that budget.

Budgets can sometimes be viewed as a taboo topic in the marketing industry. I understand not every business knows what their budget is and some don’t want to reveal their budget. However, it’s important to understand that a budget can be beneficial to both the client and the agency.

Here’s why budgets matter:

Budgets define the scope of work.

A budget eliminates guesswork and immediately provides a starting point to build a strategy around. This type of focus at the earliest stage of a project allows us to recommend the best strategy to achieve your goals.

Budgets prioritize needs and wants.

If the budget isn’t flexible enough to meet all the goals and requirements, we can prioritize the necessities first and provide an option to roll out additional features in a later phase. If the budget is flexible we can provide additional strategies to meet your goals and maximize your ROI.

Budgets encourage transparency.

There is a lot of work that goes into creating proposals. Without a budget, we’re forced to provide our best-guess to the quality of work and level of results our clients are looking for. If our guess is off, we’ve wasted a lot of time and you’re back to square one. It is important that both parties have a thorough understanding of budget limitations. Getting to know your budget goes a long way in creating a successful business relationship and helps us deliver a more focused and effective solution.

Not everyone knows their budget.

And that’s absolutely fine. Even developing a budget range is a great starting point to provide you with a strategy and an estimate that aligns with your goals. If you’re completely unsure of your budget, that’s fine, too. It will just take us a little longer to get there.

“Building a website is like building a house.”

First Step to a Quality Website

In a perfect world, we could give our clients a simple answer to the common question of how much a website costs, then hopefully start executing. But that’s just going to be an estimate based on communication to date.

But the truth is, no two projects are the same. Every business has a completely different set of needs and demands, and it’s dependent on each business’s goals, design, style, and industry-type (among other factors).

Agencies like Elevation Ten Thousand work with clients and potential clients to come up with worthy estimates for projects like the ones mentioned above. But estimating is both an art and a science.

Because, in reality, the requirements of time and effort for a project can only be truly known once the project is finalized and complete.