Elbel Consulting Services, LLC
"Your one-stop shop for internet solutions"

How much does a website cost?

Websites can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars US to thousands of dollars, depending on the amount of artwork and graphic design involved, what website features are included, and how many web pages are to be created. ECS is experienced at creating both small and large-scale websites - at an affordable price.

Website cost

The cost of designing a website is a function of a number of factors, including:

  • The amount (and quality) of artwork and graphic design to create the site.
  • The number of website pages.
  • The volume and complexity of content or "copy".
  • Features that are to be incorporated into the website, such as a store and content management.
  • The number of images and photos.
  • Stock-art and photo purchase and royalty costs.
  • The quantity (and quality) of charts, graphs, icons and special images that need to be created.
  • Audio and video editing and preparation.
  • Incorporation of Flash (scalable animation).
  • The experience and competency of the website designer.

When asking a website designer to bid on a website, it is important that you quantify - as much as possible - the factors above. ECS encourages you to review this questionnaire as the starting point for determining your design requirements. It is permissible and indeed encouraged for you to ask the designer to help you quantify these factors; doing so will help both of you gain an understanding of the scope of work involved.

A website can be proposed as a fixed bid or as a time and materials bid where work is billed at an hourly rate and extra costs, such as stock-photo purchases, are passed on to the client. A fixed bid usually works well when the precise size and scope of the project is known in advance. A time and materials bid (with defined cost checkpoints) is more appropriate when the website is an ongoing work in progress.

A website can be constructed from pre-constructed "canned" templates, or it can be custom-designed to your requirements. Templates initially may be the cheapest way to go for entry-level websites, but templates often introduce problems related to browser incompatibility, poor internal html code, and lack of extensibility. A good web designer can create a solid, basic, website, or a unique, custom website designed to your specifications. As with any marketing material, the initial cost of quality design may be higher, but the ultimate return on investment may be significantly greater.

So what does it cost? An stripped-down entry-level website with a few pages, no artwork, and a simple layout can be created for approximately $500 US. A well-designed basic website with more artwork and content will cost more - from $1,100 to $3,500. A commercial storefront with a database-driven interactive store and credit card processing will cost up to an additional $1,000, and a high-end database-driven website with high-volume article archives and other sophisticated features can cost several times that amount.

It is important that you determine the relative size and quality of your intended website, as this will greatly facilitate obtaining an accurate and appropriate proposal. Also note that just as all websites are not equal, all website designers are not equal. If you go with a more experienced, competent, and "higher-end" web designer, your cost will increase... as will the quality of your resulting website. In general, with website design as in many other fields, you get what you pay for.

Ancillary website implementation costs

In addition to website design costs, additional costs will be incurred. Here are some of the ancillary costs associated with implementing a website:

  • Domain registration cost. Domain registration costs approximately $10 US per year. Here are more details regarding domain name registration.
  • Hosting cost. It typically costs from $8 to $40 US per month to host a website. The cost depends on the complexity of the website, the quality and reliability of the services, the amount of support required, and the amount of support provided by the hosting company. Here is more information on website hosting.
  • Merchant account. A merchant account is a credit relationship with a bank that allows you to process credit cards. Costs vary widely; typical costs may be $300 US one-time, plus $100 per month and a percentage of credit card transaction amounts.
  • Credit card processing. E-commerce allows you to sell products online and accept payment via credit cards or other mechanisms (such as Paypal. Various services levy varying rates to process credit card transactions. In addition, if you have a comprehensive store with a merchant account, back-end scripting or programming will almost certainly be required on your website. The costs for this programming could run from a few hundred dollars US to several thousand, depending on the complexity of the work.
  • Email campaign management. An Email campaign management system allows you to easily send email "blasts" to clients, customers and supporters. Here is more information on email campaign management systems, and here is the pricing structure for the state-of-the-art ECS Directional Mail system.
  • Website development cost. Website development cost will vary from a few hundred dollars US to several thousand or more, depending on the factors listed above.
  • Website maintenance and enhancement. Websites are hardly ever static creations. Indeed, the advantage of a website is that you can change and enhance it over time. Maintenance cost is typically bid by a webmaster at an hourly rate, or in terms of a monthly or yearly retainer.

Elbel Consulting Services designs custom websites with custom artwork and content, and a unique "look and feel" geared toward your organization and line of business. Although we can use "canned" templates, we prefer not to, and believe that ultimately a template will be more costly than a well-designed custom website. Contact Elbel Consulting Services about designing a quality website.

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