While free online services can help people set up websites, web development professionals can provide a unique solution made specifically to meet customers’ personal or business needs. Customers should set clear goals for the website before contacting a pro. Communication of objectives is key. Cost factors include the professional’s pricing structure (hourly or project-based), complexity of the website, add-on marketing services and other features for the site, and site maintenance.
While the nature of web development is custom and requires a discovery process to come up with an accurate estimate, many providers provide ballpark figures. Some web developers charge by the hour. For example, DB Collective of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, usually charges between $85 and $125 per hour, depending on the nature of the project. Other pros charge a fixed price for a package deal. For example, Compass of Philadelphia charges $700–$2,500 to plan, build and launch a website, including rounds of review with clients.
Most web developers say there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to web development. Generally speaking, the more complex the project is, the more it will cost.
Having a website built is one thing; marketing it to a target audience is another. Some web developers also offer marketing services such as link building and SEO. Upshot Media Group of Olathe, Kansas, offers these services starting at $500 per month.
Additional features and services
Added features can run up the cost of a website. Copywriting, integration with a database, e-commerce functionality, graphics or a content management system will each add to the overall cost.
Some web developers help maintain their customers’ websites on an ongoing basis. For example, Compass hosts clients’ websites, performs updates and provides monthly reports, with pricing starting at $51 per month.
Some web developers require a down payment before work begins. My IT Guy of Magnolia, Texas, charges a 25 percent deposit, and Digital Vision Marketing of New Braunfels, Texas, charges a 30 percent deposit.
When dealing with fixed rates, make sure the quote given is solid and binding. Some firms will later ask for more money if they spend more time on the project than anticipated. Determine what is most important to you and focus on that rather than spending time and resources (read: money) creating web pages that aren’t critically important or easy to maintain. Ask your developer to set up your site using a WordPress template, which will save on custom coding.