That’s really a loaded question. When wondering how much a website should cost there are a great number of things that have to be taken into consideration, and the truth is, this great plethora of things varies from project to project and from client to client.
Leo Laporte spent $250,000 for his latest website rebuild which involved some custom Drupal work. He gladly paid that amount and was very satisfied with the results. He had realistic expectations and a history of working with web developers and designers. So his expectation was well grounded. You can see his latest website here.
On the other hand, I’ve heard of another person who had a limited budget of only 10,000 dollars and had great difficulty finding someone to take up his project. The website was to be a prototype (aka a proof of concept) and required quite a bit of custom work. Indeed finding someone to take on this sort of project for such a small amount of money would be daunting.
And another part of the spectrum to consider is Craigslist. It is full of ads posted by people with very unreal expectations. You can find ads by people expecting custom work with budgets as low as a few hundred dollars. You’ll often see these ads posted over and over again, as they clearly have trouble finding anyone to commit to their projects.
Expectations are very important and need to be grounded in reality.
Website building is a technical field. It requires an adept person with a good number of skills under their belt and enough experience in the field to steer the client in the proper direction. Battles must be chosen and more often than not too many would-be-clients have unreal expectations, zero or low experience working with developers, or believe that their ‘great idea’ for a website would be the next ‘Facebook’ if some poor developer would just commit to their ideas and visions.
Any experienced web developer has already heard this before. Every client with a new idea has enthusiasm for their idea and every client believes their website is going to be the latest greatest thing. But again, expectations need to be grounded in reality. When you come to an agreement regarding costs you are coming to an agreement regarding expectations.
The truth is you’re going to get what you pay for. This is true for just about everything out there. In a world where web designers are treated like commodities, it is tough for a very skilled web person to make ends meet. Many will accept jobs and do the absolute minimum required to finish the job and collect payment. But is this what you, as the client, really wants? This is something to consider when figuring out your budget for a web design project.
So how much should a website cost?
There is no easy answer, but grounding your expectations and allowing yourself a more reasonable and flexible budget will produce better results. If you can’t afford a website to be built for you, there are options like using free website building services (WordPress.com, Tumbler, to name two). Start small and refine your ideas. Save up and make your website building project a more positive experience for all parties involved.
Reduce your initial qualifications or requirements to bring down the cost. Most of the time you can strip away a lot of the fat and get a very functional prototype of a site built for a fraction of the cost.
It’s difficult to say what your website should cost because every project is different. However, do realize that a lot of web designers have been burned once or twice by unscrupulous business owners with lousy budgets and bloated expectations. I’ve met many in my journey, and I myself am one of them.
The best I can say is to contact us and let’s discuss your project in more depth. Mallen Web offers convenient payment plans and has a history of working with entrepreneurs on a small budget.