We’ve mentioned in a previous post ‘The evolution of websites, air travel, and mobile phones‘ that whilst many people use websites to go about their daily lives, little is known about their mechanics. Not fully understanding how they work and how they’re put together lead many (quite understandably) to have little idea what costs are involved in creating a website. The below aims to provide insight into these costs, and explain why they can differ so greatly from one designer to another.
When calculating the expected cost of a website, the driving force behind the cost is functionality. Examples of ‘advanced’ functionality are multi-page online shops, detailed portfolio’s, or including the use of databases (such as a typical estate agents website). ‘Simple’ sites such as 2-5 page sites that are mainly text based, take far less time to develop and as a result, a designer can charge less as less of their time is needed to complete the project.
Another key feature of functionality is technology, and how well you need your site to perform on the multitude of mobile phones, tablets, laptop, and other computer devices that are now so widely used. Websites built using certain platforms look and work great on some devices, but perform badly on others. There are of course websites built on more robust systems that function perfectly across all platforms, devices and browsers, with these systems being understandably more costly. We have the ability to use different technologies to suit each clients needs. Be aware of designers who may only offer one, and use that one and try to cater for every client with it even when it may not be the most suitable. As they say, for those with only a hammer, everything looks like a nail!
Much like when purchasing anything, the more bespoke your requirements, the higher the cost. As an abstract analogy, if you want to go to a restaurant for some spaghetti, there are lots of places you can choose from where you can dine for a reasonable price. However if you require your minced beef to be sourced from a particular island off the coast of Argentina, and the tomato sauce to be made from tomatoes grown in fields from Cambodia, then you won’t be able to approach your local restaurant, you’ll have to find a specialist restaurant, and most likely pay a steep premium to enjoy the meal to your specifications. This is not at all to say that those with specific tastes and requirements should change their needs, this is simply to explain the more complex and bespoke your requirements, the more time consuming to build, and ultimately, the more costly your website will become. In summary, it’s important that your creativity and demands are in line with your budget.
If you have a stand alone site that requires little to no extra work from the designer, you can expect these costs to be close to zero, with perhaps a modest monthly fee paid for sites that require minor amending from time to time. If however your business evolves as time goes by, for example if you have a site that will need a redesign for specific events such as Valentines day, Christmas etc, unless you have agreed with your designer in advance that the redesign is included in the upfront cost, you should factor in any work needed by the designer into your total budget.
Social media is everywhere, and is incredibly user friendly and easy to use. That said, there is certainly skill involved in creating an engaging and well presented social media page for your business. However given that social media pages are limited in their functionality and design (one of our most important factors listed above), we believe the cost for this should only ever represent a fraction of the total you are quoted for your website.
Email and hosting
Email accounts and hosting are complex in nature, but unless your email requirements are out of the ordinary (massive high volume for example) they are typically included in the cost quoted to you for your website.
But even given the above, the single largest factor determining the cost of your website is – the designer. There are three main categories that designers fall in to – amateur (friends of friends, relatives, ‘create your own’ sites), freelance (self employed specialists), and agencies (fixed office with more than one designer assigned to each project). Each have their owns merits, so it’s important to fully understand the difference in quality, product, service, and price between the three before deciding on which to use for your project. In another post of ours titled ‘The three main types of web designer’ we go into detail investigating each type of designer explaining their various pros and cons, and how to evaluate which is the most suitable for your website project.