How much does a website cost?


People often want to know how much a website will cost. They usually understand that there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer, but still it is a question that needs to be answered early-on when somebody is looking into it.

Like many things in life, the cost of website creation can vary widely. There are a few analogies that come to mind in terms of cost variances - getting a house built, getting dinner at a restaurant, finding a hotel room. The cost of all these things ranges greatly depending on the specifics involved.

One simple analogy we can all relate to is getting your hair done - whether it be a cut, a style, highlights, or you-name-it. Getting your hair done can range by hundreds, if not thousands, of percentage points depending on your specific needs, the quality of service you are after, and the level of expertise you are comfortable with. It also depends on the stakes involved in the outcome - a hairdo you get before your wedding is much more critical than a hairdo you get prior to heading off to the cottage.

When it comes down to it, the cost of a website, like the cost of a haircut, relates to your specific needs, the quality of service you are after, the level of expertise necessary and the stakes involved.

Like a haircut, I believe that it makes sense that website creative and development fees are provided on a flat-fee, per-project basis, as opposed to the amount of time it takes to get there. At Upanup, we use our experience and the information provided by the client to create a proposal that clearly outlines requirements and parameters, and then we come up with a flat fee for delivery. The flat project fee works well for our clients because they know exactly what to expect and they aren't scared to use our time during the process. They also benefit because the risk of requiring more time for certain tasks is taken on by us. On our end, we get rewarded by higher margins if we can be extremely efficient and nail things on our first try. On the other hand, we take on the risk of running into time hang-ups. This can normally be mitigated by properly scoping the parameters of the project at the outset.

So, when it comes down to it, our fees do factor in the amount of time we expect to spend on a project, but they also relate to the level of expertise required and the value of the end-result. When we are putting together a proposal, here are some of the questions we ask that matter most in determining fees:

  • What does the website need to do?
  • What is the required end result - a) just functional or b) creative genius with perfect technical execution?
  • How big is the site?
  • What level of creative involvement and content generation do you require?
  • What is the expected timeline?
  • What specific technology or software (if any) is required to be used in the project?
  • How many stakeholders are involved in the process?

One of the best ways for you to get an idea of how much a website might cost your organization is to ask peers that have recently gone through the process. From there you should be able to come up with a range. Of course, having upfront discussions with your agency, or the agencies you are considering will also help. If you can provide them enough parameters, they should be able to give you some sort of range ahead of providing a full proposal. If you can't nail down enough of the requirements, then break it into smaller projects in order to pinpoint some of the costs.

To answer the question of how much a website costs more directly, I can tell you that over the years the members of our team have been involved in web projects that have ranged from five thousand dollars in fees to a million dollars in fees. At this point in our company, the bulk of our projects range from $15,000 to $75,000. I'm not shy to say that we'd love to keep moving this range up as we attract clients that need the highest quality service, execution and results.

By Peter Knapp
CEO & Lead Strategist
September 27th, 2012
Disclaimer: Our team members contribute to this blog in their own voices. As such, opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily shared by Upanup. If you are curious or concerned, please contact us.