I’m going to make this quick, because my stomach is growling and it’s almost lunch time.
Business owners often ask me “How much does a website cost to build”? Fortunately, I love this question and am happy to chat their ears off about it. These lucky listeners generally fall into three camps:
- They’re ready to rebuild an existing site
- They’re ready to build a site from scratch
- They’re hoping for a conversation icebreaker (good choice!)
The first two groups really get the full meal deal. I ask loads of questions about their current website situation so I can provide the most relevant answers possible.
The last group gets a response not unlike what I am about to explain here, minus the ferocious hunger they would otherwise detect in the edginess of my voice.
So depending on who you catch me talking to, you’re going to hear a different response. There is no tidy answer to the question “How much does a website cost?”
It’s not like a trip to McDonald’s. Mmmm, McDonald’s. You know what you’re going to spend for lunch in there, no matter where you are in the country. The fast food industry is characterized by a fairly fixed price tag, a consistent menu, and a dependable set of feelings (craving -> delight -> indigestion -> regret). The web design industry is not.
At McDonald’s, you’re purchasing products. The medium-sized fries. The large-sized Coke. The McChicken with extra McChicken sauce. Add ‘em, stack ‘em, pay for ‘em.
With web design, you’re paying for services. At an agency like Navigator Multimedia, there are no design templates with fixed costs, because we understand budget, business goals and deadlines vary from client to client. Each element of a website build is custom tailored, and involves many brains, including:
- Project managers
- Marketing strategists
- System administrators
These people bring experience and expertise to the table, and when combined, form a supergroup of talent. That’s why the cost of having this team on hand is determined on a per-project basis. Because hey, maybe you don’t need a brand-spanking new site design – you just need a better system for editing your existing website. Or maybe you need a site built from scratch, but can provide written content and logo design. Every scenario is different, and a solid agency is ready to adapt to suit your needs.
You don’t get that kind of customization at McDonald’s, as impressive as the Land, Sea and Air Burger may be.
You also don’t get the Wild West variation in cost as you do in web design. Like I said, you can walk into McDonald’s with a pretty good idea of how much cash you’re going to part with. With web design, you could walk into three different agencies and come away with three drastically different quotes for your project.
There’s more than one way to build a website
Actually, there are hundreds of ways to build a website. That’s why it’s important to get a cost breakdown for your website project, so you understand the building process and what services you are paying for.
There’s more than one way to quantify value
When executed effectively, with the right team who understands your business and goals, your website can be a massively powerful marketing tool. The returns – from e-commerce sales to new customers – provide value. The raw hours, however few or many, spent building a design that catches the prospects’ eye and makes your business memorable may or may not determine the cost. Every web builder has a different way of measuring the value of their services.
How much does a website cost? There’s no simple answer. Why don’t we go get some French fries and talk it over?
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons user John Ableman. Access image and license here.