We regularly receive questions regarding the varying website development estimates that our prospects receive. In one example, our price (we won the job) was $12,000 while the competitor’s prices were $5,000 and $37,000!
Why the difference in pricing? Website design and web development is a service. It is not a product. What you ultimately pay to have a website designed and developed depends on the complexity of your website design and desired features and your service provider choice.
Your site may be a simple one page “brochure” site or it may have a large quantity of pages with high levels of detail. It may include an area of restricted access where users can log in to view certain information which is not able to be seen by all site visitors. You may have an e-commerce site which offers products for sale online with inventory tied into a physical store. There may be custom code required to connect backed databases or provide specialized functionality.
Service providers have different approaches to website design and web development, but at the end of the day for a custom website they are providing their services and expertise at an hourly rate. The provider may set their pricing on a project basis or an estimated cost may be given and billing produced on an hourly basis. You can pick from freelancers, offshore companies, or agencies. While some solutions can have lower hourly costs, consideration must be made for challenges in the areas of quality of work, time zone differences, reliability of results and clear communications. You may find offshore providers willing to use an hourly rate of $20 while U.S. based agencies have rates ranging from $50/hour to $225/hour
Consider the process of building a website as similar to a construction project. When building a house or a commercial building, the basic features of the structure must first be decided upon before anything can happen. Then, an architect designs the structure and produces specific plans for the contractor to work from. Only then does the contractor have what is needed to begin construction. If a change in design of the structure is needed this may require an update to the building plans and a change in the scope of work (additional cost) for the contractor.
Similarly, when a website is built, the goals for the site and the desired features must first be established. Then, the website design process occurs and a mockup or prototype is developed for the client’s approval. Think of this as the architectural drawings. Once the mockup receives the client’s blessings, actual website development can begin. After the site has begun to be developed, if there is a change to the design which requires additional efforts on the part of the developer, there may be additional costs which will result in a higher price.
Types of Websites and Average Website Costs
OK, now let’s talk about a few common website types and their average costs. Remember, you can always find a cheaper or more expensive approach. Using price as your primary metric will likely not produce the best results!
For purposes of this article we are assuming that the client is providing a logo (if needed) and any basic branding information, photographs or videos, and written content. If any of these items are needed, we can supply them or direct you to a resource.
Brochure Site (One Page)
This can be useful if you need to present minimal information about your company, organization, or event. The goal of this one page site is to briefly summarize your offering and its benefits and to provide a method of contact. This site will be very focused with a minimal amount of design time required. Costs for design and development will range from $1,000 to $2,000.
A landing page is a standalone or single page with only one objective. There is no navigation through menu options. A click through landing page will move the site visitor toward a purchase by directing them to a page with more product or service information. A landing page also may be used for lead generation. It may capture an e-mail address or other contact information in exchange for a downloadable pdf, a webinar, a free trial, a consultation for no charge or other incentives to induce the visitor to provide their contact information for future use. The cost for a landing page will range from $1,000 to $2,000.
Small Business or Organization
This website will provide information such as:
- Attractive simple clean home page
- About Us
- Products or Services
- Simple online payment
- Contact (including map)
There may be the ability to collect payment online but generally no other transactional data and no requirement for a registered login for restricted information. The cost for this type of website generally starts at $3,500 and may range to $5,000 depending on complexity and design requirements.
Mid Size Business or Organization
A larger business or organization may require items in addition to the smaller business or organization including:
- A good deal of additional content including images, product descriptions, project information, etc.
- Restricted login for download of specific items for various control groups
- Connection with outside resources such as a CRM
A simple e-commerce site with only a few goods or products has a broad array of choices including Amazon fulfillment and commodity sites which charge a monthly fee. These choices may be attractive and should be evaluated before choosing a custom solution. An e-commerce site that we develop will generally range form $5,000 to $20,000. If you want a solution such as Magento we can connect you with resources but you should anticipate a $20,000 to $50,000 price tag to enter that arena.
Real Estate Sites
Real Estate websites can be simple or quite complex, just depending on the desired approach. The biggest pricing impact depends on whether you want to just display company information or if you want to display Real Estate Listings. If Real Estate listings are desired then the question is by what method? You can wrap your website around a provided MLS iframe with a relatively low cost impact, or you can elect to pull in all of the MLS data into your website so that you can control the styling of the listings, and have the benefit of having direct contact with the site visitors, analyze site visitor data in order to further your reach, and to have a much greater impact on your ability to be found above your competitors.
Our Real Estate websites typically will run between $3500 and $7000 just depending on which approach is desired.
If you are trying to decide which is the best type of Real Estate website for you then you will find our topic Understanding Real Estate Website Options to be quite instrumental if you are trying to decide on which is the best approach for you.