How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Website?

If you’re wanting a large website with scores of features, you’re going to have to shell out the money for it. The more unique in its complexity a website idea is (i.e. never done before), the more it’s going to cost for you to have it developed. Sure, you could hire your youngest nephew John who did a year-long course in web design – Just don’t be too shocked if you find out further down the line that your website looks like crap and that it doesn’t work properly. If you want a good website, you had better pay good money. The same goes for cars, houses and practically everything else that can be bought.

I remember a few months ago when a potential client gave me an outline for a website that he wanted done. He wanted a full Ajax-driven website with a flashy Web 2.0 design. Fine I thought, as I continued on reading his email. Everything was going great until I got to the end of his project outline and seen what his budget was – $30 US Dollars. He wanted a large website for $30. I felt so insulted by such a proposal that I didn’t reply to him – half afraid that he was joking and that the joke was all on me.

I usually find that people either expect to pay nothing for a website, or they expect to pay far too much. I’ve often had to tell somebody that their budget was too high for the kind of website that they were wanting. Sure, I could have fleeced them and accepted a large stack of cash for just a tiny bit of work – but besides the guilty conscience that I’d inevitably end up harbouring, there’s always the slight chance that they’ll find out I robbed them blind and blacken my name. Which would be entirely understandable.

The cost of having a website developed varies from designer to designer. However, a few constants usually remain the same. Complexity is a key part of the pricing process. If you’re just wanting a regular small business website, the price should remain pretty low. However, if you’re wanting a website that needs custom programming, you should definitely expect the cost to rise. The more unique features that you want, the higher the cost. A lot of web designers can’t code in server-side programming languages such as PHP. They’d much prefer to use off-the-shelf software packages that they can download and then design a template for. The problem with these packages is that they’re often bloated in size (too many features) and don’t do exactly what you want them to do. If the designer feels as if there isn’t a software package that addresses your needs, they’ll either try to pressure you into accepting their use of a similar off-the-shelf software package or they’ll hire a freelance programmer to take part in the project. The hiring of a freelancer programmer will of course, bloat the cost of developing your website.

For a small business, you don’t need a large website. You really don’t. I’ve had people who own small local businesses ask me for forum boards and and even social networks. And sure, that’s no problem – IF that’s what they really really want. However, I do let it be known to them that this “forum” they’re intending on having built probably won’t get the amount of users that they’re expecting. A small business website should have a homepage, an about us page and a contact us page. Anything else is just a luxury.

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