The real truth behind how much a website really costs

Now most of us probably has been down this road once or twice (or maybe several times)…you’re working in an agency and you have to put together a work order/estimate for this client. The client thinks that they know how much the website costs and when your numbers come to about $50k (as an example), they rebuff that number and exclaim that it shouldn’t cost that much.

Isn’t all you have to do is swap out an image, resize the template, move this copy here and replace this line of code with this code here?

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that the clients think its straightforward, when in actuality, there are some back-end costs associated with JUST making a change. Hopefully the agency you work for prides itself on its workmanship and quality and go above and beyond just to provide a great product to its clients.

In an article written by Sean Carton and published in ClickZ, he bravely publishes his thoughts directed towards those that have often suffered the common misconceptions encountered by the client.

So, just how much does a website cost?

  • According to Sean Carton, the agency can’t just simply provide a quote without thinking about several other internal factors – salaries, employees, profit margin, etc. After all, the agency IS a business…
  • Now to update a simple page, you have several efforts typically in play: a project manager, a creative director, art director, web designer, web developer, and a copywriter. Albeit, there are some positions that may be duplicated or not necessary (e.g. if there is no back-end functionality, then most likely you won’t need a web developer).
  • Then you need to consider what each member’s hourly rate is. Some will obviously cost more than others, but the agency isn’t simply going to pay for it. They’re providing a service to their clients so the buck must be passed on to someone…and since the client is paying the agency’s bills, why not the hourly rate (which will help pay the salaries too).
  • Now, multiply each hourly rate for each role by the total number of hours these members will take. Sure, it’s simple to say that it should take 4 hours to do a mockup, but to do it RIGHT and based on the average speed of some designers, it’s safe to assume about 8 hours.

Before you know it, you’ll probably have a website for at least $3000 or so. In other words, don’t be surprised about the website costs. That’s what you’ll need to pay if you go for the professionals. Talented persons will not be selling their services for an hourly rate of $10. The next best thing would be to go find the proverbial “neighbor’s brother’s cousin’s sister’s son” who is working out of a garage.

Read the full article by clicking here.

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently Flipboard's Assistant Managing Editor, overseeing news curation in technology, science, gaming and health. In addition to his day job, Ken's the co-host of "The Created Economy" podcast, examining the Creator Economy. In a past life, he was a former reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding.