I Need a Website – How Much Do You Charge?

People ask me this question all the time.  I’m sure they don’t realize it, but asking that question is like saying to a builder, “I want you to build a house for me.  How much do you charge?”  Or asking a car salesman, “How much will it cost me to buy a car?” 

The home builder will undoubtedly respond with a series of questions which will probably include the following: “Do you already have a lot? If not, in what area do you wish to build and what size lot would you like?  What square footage are you looking for in your home?  What type of house would you like – a ranch, a colonial, a split level, etc.? What kind of finishes do you require for flooring, cabinets, lighting, security, bathroom fixtures, etc.?”

The car salesman will respond with questions such as: “What kind of car do you want?  Do you want an economy car, a mid-range, a sports car, SUV or a luxury sedan?  Do you want 4 cylinders or 6?  Do you want a hybrid?  What kind of accessories do you require (i.e., a sunroof, DVD player, GPS, custom wheels, etc.?”   All of those questions need to be answered before the salesman can give you an accurate answer to your question, “How much will it cost”?

In much the same way, the price of a website is determined by many factors.  How many pages of content do you need?  What type of functionality is necessary?  Will you be selling products or services from your site?  Does it need to be interactive or strictly informational?  Will you need to continually update, add to the site or change content?  Do you need online forms to gather information?”  All of these answers will determine the cost of building your website.

If you ask that question of someone and get an immediate response like “I charge $xxx.xx for a website, I would be very cautious.  The website designer you choose should be asking you all of the questions above, and quite a few more before they can give you an accurate cost.  Additionally, when choosing a company or individual to create your website, ask to see some sites they’ve already built, look for testimonials on their site or ask for references of clients they’ve worked with in the past.
The bottom line is, when you decide that you need a website, you should give some thought to exactly what you want the website to do for you so that you’ll be prepared to answer those questions and thereby determine the real cost of building the website that will do the job you want it to do for you.

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