We are often asked, “How much does it cost to build a website?”
This seems like such a simple question, but there is no simple answer. Every website is different. In trying to answer this question over the years we have to come to realize a number of similarities between house construction and web development.
In building a new house, would you start by choosing the paint colors for the wall? Of course not. Instead you start with a general conversation about your needs. How will the house be used? Who will be living there? You draw up the plans, give the plans to the builder, and when the construction is done you fill the rooms.
There are many factors to consider that will affect the price of a new website.
How big is it?
The average small website is 10-20 pages. The more pages, the more complicated the site becomes, from a structural perspective: keeping everything organized, as well as from a content perspective: writing and editing the content.
Will the materials be stock or custom?
More customization means more work. Are you prepared to use off-the-shelf components or do you need highly customized elements?
The blueprint is just the first step.
The developer must understand the purpose of your website and what kind of content you expect to include. By beginning with a carefully constructed outline (your blueprint) there will be a logical structure to the organization of your website.
Filling the rooms of your house is like creating the content.
Use your outline (your blueprint) to begin developing the content to cover the subjects you have identified.
Making significant changes to the structure partway through the project will increase the cost of the project.
How durable do the materials need to be?
If you expect a lot of traffic through your house, then you need to use commercial grade materials that will withstand a lot of use. Similarly, a website that is expected to get a lot of traffic requires different bandwidth and storage space than a site that will not.
Quality construction is key to a long-standing house.
When your contractor follows solid construction principles you are less likely to run into problems when you want to put on an addition or repurpose a room at a later date. The best websites grow with time. When a site is built correctly, additional functions can be added and new technology can be integrated. If the original site does not follow sound programming principles, you will run into problems eventually.