If you’ve ever googled this question, and you’re not a web developer or haven’t experienced website creation first hand—the search results are overwhelming. You’ve found providers claiming to offer five unique pages specially designed only for you at some ridiculously low price, which sounds too good to be true and probably is. And on the other end, you learned that a website can cost 10’s of thousands of dollars with maintenance costs that never go away. Before you throw your hands in the air, let’s look at the factors you should consider before deciding what’s best for you and how much you should spend.

Size and functionality – How many pages do you need and what functions are important? Do you need forms, e-commerce, or interactive elements? Will there be social media share buttons, a contact page, portfolio, or testimonials?  What is the purpose of the site and what does the site need to fill the purpose?

Web Copy – Who will write the copy and what will be shared? I recently reviewed two websites with several grammar errors and misspellings, which isn’t only inexcusable—it reflects poorly on the organization. Copy is more than correct usage; it’s getting the message across. If you don’t have a copywriter on board—hire one.

Graphics, design, and typography – Once again this isn’t the place for amateurs. If you hire an amateur to design your pages, it will look—amateurish. Is that how you want to be recognized? For all her good intentions, your sister’s brother-in-law’s niece, who is in her second year of design school, isn’t qualified. Hire a pro.

Hosting – You’ve heard of Go Daddy, but it’s only one of many hosting providers. Hosting isn’t a one size fits all discipline. A professional can advise you whether Host Gator, iPage, or others best suit your needs.

(CMS) Content Management System – How will content be updated and who will do it? Does WordPress or Tumblr satisfy your requirements, or will standard HTML best fit your needs? Will it be administrated internally or externally? Will you need to hire someone to manage the system?

Other Considerations – If you try to cut corners—how much could a poorly functioning, ill designed site cost you in the long run? After the initial investment, what is the return of an effective website? You’ve seen inadequate websites as well as high functioning sites, how did each influence you and your decision making process?

Today, content on the internet is king. It drives SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which ignites lead generation. Will you have a blog, how often will you post, and who will write it?

What about security, will your IT team manage it or will it be handled by others?

Have you considered how your website will appear on mobile devices (responsiveness)?

These are questions you need to answer to determine the true cost of a website. I hope this post hasn’t confused the issue. The key to knowing what a website should cost is to know what you need before beginning the search. If you’d like input and ideas on any phase of Web development contact us, we will help you—cut through the tangled web.

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