How Much Does a Website Cost?

How Much Does a Website Cost?

Finding the right partner to design and develop your new website can be a complicated process. For the uninitiated, the breadth of options available can be overwhelming. How will the website be built? What content and functionality will it contain? What type of hosting plan is best suited to the site? …And of course, the first question many of our new website clients ask us: “How much does a website cost?” This is a much deeper question than you might think. Many folks who haven’t been involved in a website design/redesign in the past may have expectations on price that are not necessarily based on fact. And there isn’t one simple answer. No two websites are created equal and there are many different variables involved when creating a quote. Finding an apples-to-apples comparison between multiple agencies’ proposals can be difficult. Fortunately, at DRM we place a high priority on transparency in quoting and clearly managing our clients’ expectations and understanding of the website creation process. Here are a few items to consider when pricing your new website:

Development Platform

One of the first steps when designing a website is to select a platform in which to develop it. While some discount website creation platforms that have undoubtedly hammered you with advertising promoting easy and sometimes even “free” website design, we’re going to stop you right there. Think for a moment about the value of your company juxtaposed with the fact that your website is the single most important marketing asset you have. The old adage applies here: you get what you pay for. While these platforms can make it possible for a non-website designer to create their own website on the cheap, they are set up in a way that greatly limits your ability to control and retain ownership of your site. Many clients who have utilized these services find that the logistical headaches and hidden charges involved can be a real pain. The coding of websites done in these platforms are highly encrypted to prevent you from retaining a copy of your site, weak on organic SEO and can be slow on load due to extraneous usage of Javascript. These cheap websites will never reach the quality and power of one created by a seasoned web design team. That being said, a few main options for web design exist. These include static HTML, a CMS-based platform such as WordPress, or a site built upon one of the many available e-commerce platforms.

From a pure speed and SEO perspective, static HTML websites are the best, but can tend to come with a higher initial investment. This is because they are typically designed from the ground up and coded from scratch. HTML uses bandwidth and memory more efficiently since it does not rely on client-server communication like CMS-based websites. HTML is lightweight and is built for fast loading times across all devices, and with more and more traffic going mobile, this is a clear benefit. Additionally, since HTML is built based on coding from the ground up rather than a PHP framework, it enables developers to customize the site more efficiently. If you’re looking for a marketing-focused website with high speed and the highest level of creative visual customization, static HTML may be your best choice.

For many clients with a pre-defined budget, websites designed and deployed on the WordPress platform may be the best bet. WordPress is an open-source CMS-based framework that utilizes a system of custom themes and plugins to create a website. Building a website on WordPress can be a catalyst in the early stages of the design process, as it provides a basic “skeleton” which an agency will then customize to the project’s visual and functional specifications. WordPress provides an environment that allows agencies to implement expanded functionality, such as a basic storefront, more easily as well, through the use of pre-built or customized plugins. WordPress also provides a relatively easy-to-use back-end content management system, which will allow staff to make edits to content and post news and blogs without the assistance of the agency.

If your business sells a high volume of products online, an e-commerce-centric site will be your best option. Several major e-commerce platforms exist, and depending on your needs, DRM can help you determine the correct fit. If your HTML site needs shopping cart functionality added, Volusion® might be the correct decision. If you have a site you need migrated to a more robust eCommerce tool, or have a large catalog of products you’d like to offer for sale, the open-source nopCommerce® could be the right option. If you need a full-featured eCommerce platform, Magento® may be an appropriate selection. These platforms are extremely powerful and offer the ability to run your entire business through your website with inventory management, fulfillment, customer accounts and communication, shipping and order tracking, calculator modules and more.

Hosting & Domain

After you choose the correct platform for your website, you’ll need to choose the appropriate hosting environment and plan. Hosting is essentially “rent” for your website. It’s where your website physically “lives.”  While there are many different website hosts available that offer a variety of plans, we typically recommend Media Temple. While their plans aren’t the cheapest, their server speeds and redundancy as well as development access, security and flexibility are top notch, downtime is slim to none and support is excellent. However, DRM can develop and deploy on any major host.

As important as choosing the right provider is choosing the proper hosting plan and configuration. Depending on the choice of platform above, there are several options for hosting that combine to create the right fit for your site. You will need to select a Windows or Linux environment, a dedicated or shared/grid server, the correct SSL certificate if you’ll be processing sensitive information and more. DRM can guide you in making the right choice for hosting, which can range from $20/mo. for more basic sites to $55/mo. and up for bigger needs.

Content

Now that you’ve decided on a platform and hosting, what’s next? Well, you’ll want to decide what type of content your website will contain. This is a factor that can have possibly the biggest impact on the price of a website. The number of pages, the inclusion of photography, video production, SEO copywriting, custom graphics creation as well as additional functionality mentioned above can all greatly sway the size of your investment.

So, let us ask again: How much does a website cost? Well… it depends! If your brand or business needs a website, contact the web design specialists at DRM and we will be more than happy to put together a formal, easy-to-understand quote, based on your specific needs. DRM is a full-service marketing agency based in Cleveland that offers services such as web design, branding, graphic design, video development, copywriting and much more. Give us a call at (330) 274-7658 or send us an email to speak with a member of our staff. To learn more or see some of our previous work, visit our website.