How much does a website cost?
I always say that asking how much a website cost is a lot like asking how much a car costs. It depends on the type of car. There are quite a few components that can really decide the final cost of a website, but for the purposes of this article we are just going to go over the more meaningful aspects of website design and development where it pertains to cost. Namely we are going to talk about what you want your website to do, what you want your website to look like, and who you want to have develop your website.
Do dynamic, interactive websites cost more?
Yes. The biggest factor in figuring out how much a website will cost is how much functionality you want out of your website. Functionality of a website basically boils down to what the website does, as opposed to what the website looks like. For instance, if your website needs to calculate the costs of installing solar panels at a particular rate, over a particular time period, that would be website functionality. The color and size of the font you use to display that rate, and where you display it on the screen, would be website design.
Developing your website with a lot of complicated functionality will not only make your website more costly, it will make it impossible for many amateur developers. There is a big difference between a developer who can design and develop a website that simply displays a menu, and a website that allows a customer to build their own burger. Functionality also adds another element to the entire process: testing. Testing can take just as much time as developing, and you have to know what to test. For example there is something called edge cases. That is when you push your allowed parameters to their limits, and make sure your program still works. So, if you had a calculator as part of your website that would tell the customer the cost of painting their house, you would have to make sure that they could put in large numbers without getting a nonsense answer. Who knows, they might live in a mansion.
How much do web designers charge?
Before we get to the answer, let’s come to a concrete understanding of what website design is. Website design is what your website will look like. That is it. To design a website you do not know how to develop or actually create one. If I ask a designer to help with a website that will sell used cars, they may give me the design in the form of a PDF, a photoshop file, or even just image files. The files would include the imagery you are going to use, the font styles, sizes and colors, and stuff like line and letter spacing. The designer does not do anything else.
How do you decide who will design and develop your website?
Another very important piece of the cost puzzle is which web developer you decide to go with. This is where it’s a lot less cut and dry. The truth is that where one developer may charge you $2,500 for a brochure website, the next developer in line May charge you $10,000. And you might ask yourself why the disparity. Well let’s break it down a little. In the first place we have to remember that web development is programming, and there are an infinite number of ways to write the same program (this is proven mathematically, BTW!). Where a developer who charges significantly less is probably a lot less likely to know how to build SEO into your website as they go. A few other notable factors could be website page load time or load speed. A more advanced web developer will generally build a more advanced site, which would very likely mean a better load time.
More reliable and experienced developers are also good for maintenance and upkeep. A seasoned developer will know that the website has to be maintained, so they will build it with that in mind. It is sort of like building a roof. If you need a roof to keep you dry, I could build you one that would keep you dry, but it pours all of the water under your house into your foundation. Later on the foundation will have to be fixed, and the roof itself will have to be changed.
Now that we have some understanding of what the question actually means, lets get to it…
How much does a website cost?
In 2021 you are going to pay somewhere between $2,000 and $15,000 for a static website that acts like a brochure. And for a more dynamic website with a lot of functionality you are in the $10,000 to $100,000 range. I know it sounds like a lot, but there are companies out there who pay millions. They may even have to keep a team of designers and developers on staff… permanently.