We get this question a lot.
It's a good question. Completely sensible. If you were building a house, you would want to know the cost up front before you started. Like a house, the cost is entirely dependent on what's going into the build and how large that build is going to be. A garden shed is probably cheaper than a 20-room home in Aspen, CO.
Website cost depends on:
What does your website need to do?
This is a big one. A brochure site with 5 pages and no user interactivity is significantly cheaper to build than a 5-page brochure site that also needs to sell products. Does the website need to have user accounts? Do users require a dashboard to view specific information? How complex is the design of the site? These questions, and many (many!) more, can completely change our estimate for a web project.
How much content is your site going to have?
Many of our web projects have structured content needs. In other words, they don't have just general text and images, but may have other kinds of content like case studies, a PDF document library, a video gallery, a webinar series, client testimonials, FAQs and additional kinds of content, all with their own data and layout needs. Each one of these items adds another layer of complexity, both from how the data is stored, and how the design displays this data.
What integrations will you need?
Custom integrations allow your website or application to communicate with other services or websites. Do your forms need to submit data to a CRM? Do email notifications need to be sent from a service like MailChimp or Constant Contact? Do you need an interactive map to show franchise locations based on someone's current location? These sorts of integrations can be super powerful and provide true enterprise capabilities for your customer base.
Do you have a design already or would you like us to provide that?
We'd be happy to provide a custom design for your site should you need it, and we are also happy to use a design provided by a design agency, or develop a site using a prebuilt theme. Each of these approaches greatly changes the estimate for building a website. In addition, the design of the site can change the project requirements, which in turn can change the estimate. We often recommend designing the site or wireframing the site, and then building the estimate for that site (or application) as a second step.
Are we migrating large amounts of content or data into the new site?
It's not uncommon at all to need to move thousands or millions of data records from an old site to the new one. The migration approach greatly depends on the kind of data we are moving, and the differences between the old system and the new system. Sometimes this can be automated, sometimes data needs to be transformed during the process to remove sensitive information and sometimes this requires manual rebuilding of content.
How much planning has already been done on the site?
If no major planning has been done on what the site will do, what its goals are, what designs inspire this site, then we would recommend going through a paid discovery phase to get this project plan pinned down. Going back to our house analogy, this is similar to working with an architect to develop a blueprint. We don’t want to show up to your property with nails, jack hammers and concrete without knowing the full details of what we are building.
Who is providing content?
Content in this case includes the text, images, videos, documents and files that you would like to present to your website visitors. This is one of the biggest challenges every website faces. Providing content can be challenging for a client. For example, do you have professional photos of your business, or old pictures from your phone?
What licensing costs may be involved?
In some cases, we may need to use a CMS that requires a licensing cost, or we may need to use third party plugins or services to get the job done that have annual subscription costs. These costs can be significant and should be included in any website cost reckoning.
As we talk on the phone or conduct our first Zoom meeting, we will try and answer as many of the questions above as we can--at a high level. This high level information can help us to place your project into a pricing bucket (a pricing range) that won't pin down an exact estimate, but will give you a ballpark on cost.
Here are our buckets:
- X-Small - $5,000 - $20,000
- Small - $20,000 - $75,000
- Medium - $75,000 - $150,000
- Large - $150,000 - $300,000
- X-Large - $300,000+
To get a more specific estimate in place, we need to move beyond the high level information we can glean from a 30-minute phone call, and spend time digging into your project in depth during a project discovery phase. For most projects in the "Small Bucket" and up, this is where we would recommend starting. Not only do you get to plan your project out with a dedicated team of experienced developers, but you get to see how we work early on without committing to a large spend. We typically recommend setting aside about 10-15% of the initial estimate for our initial discovery phase. For a small project, that is typically $2,000 - $5,000.
Would you like to see how much your web project is going to cost? Get started over here.