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4 Elements that Impact the Cost of a Website

Published May 20, 2021

So, you’ve decided that you need to launch a new website. Whether you have a store-front or operate solely online, the first steps are to figure out exactly what you need, how much you need, and a set budget. But, for many business owners, setting a budget can be the challenging part. Determining the cost of a website is a bit like figuring out the cost of building a house from scratch: neither process comes with a cookie-cutter approach.

How much will your website cost? It’s a fair question.

Essentially it all boils down to how much work is involved, but many different elements can impact the overall price.

Let’s break down some of the most common factors that go into web design pricing, website maintenance, and how to find an accurate quote for your own project.

What Goes Into the Cost of a Website?

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1. The Web Team

cost of a website

One of the most important components to a quality website is the team behind the build. While you’ll likely pay more initially, working with a professional website design team who has vast knowledge and experience is key.

It only takes 50 milliseconds for visitors to form an opinion about your website…
And 94% of those first impressions are design related.

For brands, websites are the lifeline that leads to conversions. It’s where most consumers form first impressions and it can mean the difference between someone staying on your site or going over to the competition. In fact, a new study shows that fifty percent of consumers believe that a company’s website design is important to the success of their overall brand. Businesses who want to stay ahead of the game should update their website designs frequently to keep up with evolving customer expectations and give that positive first impression for first-time visitors.

40% of users will wait no longer than 3 seconds before abandoning a website.
Just a one second delay can reduce customer satisfaction by 16%.

A good website plays a pivotal role in not only making visitors happy, but also taking a customer from the browsing stage to actually making a purchase. It’s so important that it’s done right the first time and no corners are cut along the way. The design must be user-friendly, attractive, intuitive, and load quickly.

But it’s not just about looks.

Businesses must also consider website strategy, branding, content creation, design layout, programming, coding, SEO and more. One small back-end mistake in your website design can cost more than just the time and energy to fix it. In addition, it can also negatively impact conversion rates and even tarnish your online reputation.

Regardless of the type of industry you’re in or the overall goals of your website, CMDS is here to help you understand all the elements that go into building a website. We’re an open, transparent Website Design agency and have been helping clients nationwide with all kinds of projects for over 15 years. We have a unique approach to what we do. With an in-house team of rock-star web designers, developers, digital artists, marketers, strategists, project managers, content managers and more, we get the job done right.

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2. Behind-the-Scenes

cost of a website

When you think of behind-the-scenes when it comes to building a website, you might think about programming, coding, load speed, and SEO. Of course all of that matters, but in order to be future-proof, it needs to be done correctly the first time. That is why the right web team makes all the difference. Their processes are time-tested and deliver real results.

The right team can make or break the success of your project, but it’s equally important that they have a reliable process. Every client’s project is unique and we always treat it that way.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at our processes at CMDS:

  • We start with an in-depth questionnaire and kick-off meeting to get to know the client inside and out.
  • Based on gathered information, the website design team sketches out a wireframe.
  • Once the wireframe is approved, the designing stage begins.
  • Once the design is approved, we’ll move onto interior page comps (usually one or two).
  • And once those interior designs are approved, the project moves to development.
  • The development team installs WordPress core and theme.
  • Front-end development takes the approved designs and turns it into HTML/CSS/JS.
  • Front-end development then works on adapting the designs to tablet and mobiles sizes, making any tweaks necessary to the overall design.
  • Next, the back-end development team comes in for any custom functionality. This is what makes the static HTML/CSS pieces into living, breathing, functional elements of the design and can include things like contact forms, user logins, search functions, blogs, social sharing, and more.
  • Compatibility testing is done across the board on desktop, tablets, mobile devices, all various browsers to ensure the site functions and looks good. Changes are made if any bugs are found.
  • Once the website is approved, it’s migrated over to the client’s hosting
  • Time for launch!

All of these steps attribute to the overall cost of a website. While some minor details are left out, it’s a good overview to help you paint the picture of everything that goes into the build.

As you can see, the success of a website is much more complicated than listing out project details during the kickoff meeting and then diving in. It’s frustrating not knowing what’s involved. That’s why experienced website design agencies take a collaborative approach with each client to discuss every angle such as: setting goals, creating personas, strategizing, UI/UX testing, content creation, A/B testing and so much more.

48 percent of people cited that a website’s design is the No. 1 factor in determining a business’s credibility.

Whether you have a brick and mortar or run business online, ultimately, it comes down to creating a great user experience with relevant and useful information designed to guide customers seamlessly through the buying process.

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3. Specifications

specifications in web design

It’s no secret that templated sites will always be cheaper initially. But, with a template, you get just that. For personal websites, this may be fine. But if you’re launching a business website, e-commerce site, or enterprise-level website, you may need more advanced functionality for your website, such as managing inventory, scheduling or a registration system, you will need a customized solution.

Every new website has its own unique specifications. Whether you need CRM integration, web app, or custom functionality, a professional agency can help you determine the scope and price of the project.

Some common specifications that can affect the cost of a website include:

  • Domain name
  • Website hosting
  • CMS platform
  • Design and theme complexity
  • Type of website (business, eCommerce, blog, informational, etc.)
  • Number of pages
  • Content Management Systems (CMS)
  • Payments (PayPal, Stripe, etc.)
  • Analytics
  • Responsive web design
  • CRM integrations (Sharpspring, Salesforce, etc.)
  • Custom functionality
  • Custom API integrations
  • Server/hosting setup
  • Business blogging
  • Custom application development
  • Search engine optimization
  • URL mapping
  • Any extra features such as landing pages, multimedia creation, online chat, multilingual, backup, etc.

Another big factor in determining the overall cost is if the website is a redesign or a new design. If you’re launching a brand new website, you can typically expect to spend more money than if it were redesigned….but not always. If the website redesign requires fixing a lot of bugs and messy code, it could end up taking more man hours to clean up than if the design started from scratch.

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4. Maintenance

maintenance in web design cost

It’s not enough to just build an awesome website, you have to keep it up and running safely and smoothly. Without maintenance, your website is vulnerable to attacks and poor performance. In fact, forty-two percent of consumers will leave a website because of poor functionality, cluttered layouts, lack of visibility, and slow response time.

But it’s not just consumers we need to appease. Security alone should be reason enough to take website maintenance seriously. According to an article published in Forbes, in 2020, malware increased by 358% in 2020 and ransomware increased by 435% as compared with 2019. These alarming cybersecurity statistics are a call to take the risk management mission more seriously.

This is in fact why post-launch expenses should be factored into your budget. Let’s take a look at a few website maintenance strategies to consider:

  • Website Maintenance- Web maintenance is often overlooked, but could be the reason that businesses lose valuable clients (and don’t even realize it). Regular maintenance ensures all website components are working correctly to ensure a quality user experience and that the appropriate GDPR privacy and security steps are taken. Additionally, the more your site is updated, the more it will drive organic traffic and boost SEO results.
  • Content- Relevant content is part of the foundation of any successful website and has a direct impact on SEO rankings. If you’re launching a new website, you’ll need professional copywriting for your pages. If you’re redesigning an outdated site, most likely the copy will need to be refreshed and optimized. The amount of information you have will impact the number of pages you publish. The largest website we ever built had over 600 pages!
  • SEO- Did you realize that close to 90% of online users don’t bother clicking beyond page one of search results? Search engine optimization is an ongoing technique that helps websites rank higher on big search engines like Google and Bing. It’s about analyzing your brand and industry to unveil optimal keywords that we’ll use to generate powerful content. But, it’s not just about the words on a page, high-quality traffic also comes from link building, on-page coding, HTML meta tags, rich snippets, image optimizations and more.
  • Digital Marketing- Post launch, businesses must factor in the monthly maintenance costs as listed above. But to be competitive in today’s market, they must also consider the cost for consistent marketing such as email campaigns, social media advertising, PPC, retargeting ads, etc. Because, without ongoing marketing driving traffic to your site, a website will just be a beautiful, yet lonely island sitting there waiting for people to visit.

So, what mix of marketing services does a business need to stay competitive? And how much marketing does a brand really need to be profitable and maximize clear ROI?

The answer to those questions, like building a website, really depends on the overall goal.

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So, What Is the Average Cost of a Website?

average web design cost

Depending on the complexity and size of the project, along with taking all of the above into consideration, we know you still want to see some numbers. The cost of a business or e-commerce website, when you put everything together including the design and launch, ranges between $12,000 to $150,000. This is a wide range and will depend greatly on the complexity of the project. Website maintenance can range from $400 to $60,000 per year – again, this number will depend on many different factors. For example, high caliber features and architectures on enterprise-level websites are more expensive to maintain than small business websites.

What’s next?

Given the wide range, it’s safe to assume you’re still looking for answers. Your next best step is to find the right team to give you an accurate quote. A professional web design company like CMDS can provide a custom estimate for designing a new website or refresh based on your company goals, specifications, and future needs.

Is it time for a new website?

We’re here to help.  Let’s chat about your goals and come up with a plan (and a quote) that fits your needs.

Need some ideas and inspiration for your new website? Check out our design portfolio to get a sense of what your site can become.

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