"How much for an X page website?" or the "How long is a piece of string" conversation

Posted by Richard Rudy on 31 July 2014 | Comments

Clients often ask how much does a 10 page website cost, or how much does a 5 page website cost. The reality of web design today is most sites are built using a content management system (CMS) so the amount of pages doesn't affect the cost that much unless it's the difference between a 10 page site and 1000 page site. Since all pages are template based, it's a matter of designing the different templates then copying and pasting the content.

The main factors affecting cost are the number of different page types (templates), the amount of custom interactions needed, and any other bells and whistles.

So how much does a site cost?

In web design there is generally 3 classes of pricing: Out-of-the-box theme, Customized Theme and Custom Build.

Out-of-the-box theme

With an out-of-the-box theme, a designer will find you a pre-made theme for a popular CMS (most likely WordPress) and populate it with your content.

Pros: It's quick and cheap. A good WordPress theme from a reputable site will cost anywhere from $50-$100. Many of these themes will have custom layout options and a suite of plugins that should handle the majority of needs. Good themes are frequently updated with new features.

You can often have a site up and running in days.

Cons: Theme designers tend to build for general use. Since they don't know what content is going into the page they shoot for a very broad base. They need a theme with broad appeal. At $50 a pop, minus the commission the sales site takes, the designer needs to sell a lot of unit to justify the 100-200 hours it takes to build a good theme.

Others sites will definitely use the same them, so yours won't be unique.

Cost: $750-2000. Here you're paying the designer's expertise to find and evaluate a theme that best suits your needs and style. The designer can help weed out poorly coded themes and insecure themes. They'll also get your content in the most visually appealing way possible.

Customized Theme

The designer will find an out-of-the-box theme to use a basis for the site and customize the code to better suit your needs. They'll find the right plugins and implement them, and help configure your site.

Pros: It can be relatively cost effective to get a unique site.

Cons: You may still be slightly limited by the "parent" theme. And depending on how the original theme is built, it can cause upgrade issues down the road.

Cost: $1500-5000. Depending on the level of customization required, a designer can build you a theme better suited to your specific needs. You will most likely need to contract a designer to help with upgrades.

Custom Build

This the top end in site design. The designer will build you a site/theme to your specific needs including any custom page types and interactions you need.

Pros: You get a site built specifically for your needs, to match your branding and business goals.

Cons: Cost and timing. Since it's custom built you're looking at usually a minimum of 12 weeks development time, but can take up to a year depending on your requirement.

Cost: $5000+. You'll see the greatest variation in cost in this category of site. This is really where the question of "how long is piece of string" comes into play. But you should also see the best return on investment here.

So? Which route?

If you don't have any specific branding/business requirements, or you don't have the budget your best route is an out-of-the-box theme. There's usually a decent theme to fit your style. Most themes have the standard business pages: Home Page, Contact Page, Services Page, About Us Page, and Galleries.

However, if you have a lot specify branding/business requirements and goals, and you the budget, the custom route the way to go. Though it is much more expensive a good designer/developer will craft an experience the best reflects your brand and your needs.

Other Considerations

You may want to consider maintenance packages for your website. Unless you have staff on-site who can maintain a site (beyond content updates).

Websites are living documents, requiring regular updates and changes to maximize ROI. This isn't a brochure you print once and pull out of the box when you need it. You should be doing A/B testing on content, layout, and calls-to-action regularly. As well as monitoring how visitors are using your site (not just total traffic numbers).

We offer a range of pricing and service options, especially on custom sites. We'll take the cost of your initial build, spread it out over 12 months and include regular security updates, monitoring, consulting as well as A/B testing and template updates over the course of the contract. This helps ensure you're getting the most out of your website investment.

Check out our Portfolio or Contact Us to learn how we can help you get the most of your website design.

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