How to Create a New Website AND Stay on Budget

- Rachel DeSantis 10.26.2015


A good website is important for today’s businesses. In addition to helping them establish a robust web presence, it can contribute to their marketing campaigns by hosting blogs, white papers, and more. A robust site can also help you reach out to your clients whether they’re using conventional desktops or the latest smartphones. After all, it adjusts according to their screens and devices to avoid compromising the user experience. And don’t forget the great content that helps you attract and engage visitors, ensuring that they come your way on a regular basis. If your website doesn’t deliver even one of these, it’s time for you to get in touch with a website designer/developer.

“But a site will cost me an arm and a leg!”

Not necessarily. The following points will explain the actual costs of creating a new site, how to ensure its quality, and how you can get the best without breaking the bank.

Setting a Budget for Your New Site

Before taking a single step towards building your site, you need to plan a budget for it. Which brings us to the frequently asked question: ‘how much is a typical website?’ The answer, unfortunately, isn’t as straightforward. There are many factors that can affect the amount it will cost, including:

  • Look and feel requirements
  • Number of pages
  • Project scope
  • Special functionality
  • Volume of traffic to the site
  • Custom business logic
  • Integration

However, let me give you a hint of what to expect. For under $5,000, you’ll get a regular website that may or may not be responsive or mobile friendly (depending on who’s developing it). Meanwhile, you can pay between $5,000 and $10,000 to convert existing HTML websites and gain more control over the content and utilize advanced website applications. On the other hand, costlier projects are bound to include visual design work as well as a comprehensive shift in technology. Between $30,000 and $50,000, expect to address larger sites with greater page complexity. Still, expect to go beyond that range if your website requires branding work, complex custom business logic, or multiple complex website implementations.

Aside from the cost of building and designing your site, you need to calculate ongoing maintenance costs. Some aspects, such as changing content or creating subpages, can be handled by you if you have a robust CMS in place. However, there are some changes that you’ll need a professional to handle, such as adding additional applications or changing the structure of the database. So make sure to add maintenance and updates to your budget plan.

Selecting the Right Developer

Selecting the best developer is a great way to ensure value for your money while getting a site you’d be proud to put your logo on. Since ‘best’ is a subjective term, use the following questions to assess which professional is perfect for your project.

  • What’s their Track Record? – You need to determine how reliable the professional/company you hire is. For that purpose, ask about the types of clients they’ve worked with, the results they’ve delivered, and any facts and numbers they can provide you.
  • What Services Do They Offer? – You need to have a qualified professional/agency handle your job, i.e. they should be able to deliver solutions which guarantee the results you want. Make sure to ask about the type of services they offer beyond design, development, and marketing. For instance, the ‘best’ will help you create mobile applications, create content, and optimize both your site and content for search engines.
  • How are the Services Priced? – Find out how much the experts will be charging you. To guarantee value, ask about the team that will be working on your project as well as their qualifications. Also inquire about the amount of time they’ll spend on your project and request a detailed agreement that clearly defines deliverables, hourly rates, and billing for extra features and/or time.
  • How Do they Operate? – Take the time to learn about the professionals you’re working with. Does the agency rely on freelancers or outsourcing for the heavy lifting? Do you feel that you can entrust your site and valuable database data to the developers?

Combining Everything Together

Now that you know how to set a budget for your new site and how to ensure its quality, it’s time for you to learn how you can get most of what you want without spending more than you planned.

  • Start Small and Prioritize – Start by building the most important features and work your way down. As you may end up changing a few things along the way, it’s best for you to focus on the core operations and perfect them before moving ahead. If you’re worried about being able to cover the main features only, don’t. With time, you’ll be able to surprise your users with new features.
  • Be Open with Your Developers – You need to think of these professionals as an extension of your own team. So be open with them and tell them how much you can pay and what they’ll be able to develop within that amount. Chances are that they may consider offering a few discounts or tweaking a few existing features rather than changing them altogether. Trust your development team and you’ll be able to do so much within your budget.
  • Exercise Self Control – Web development projects can easily exhibit symptoms of scope creep, which is when you get too carried away and start coming up with additional features and specs. However, these will overwhelm the experts and drive you beyond the budget limitations you had set. So stay in control and stick to the list of priorities you developed in the beginning.

With this information, you’ll be able to have your cake and eat it too. And the best part is that your business won’t be disturbed and your peace of mind will remain intact. Keep these points in mind when the time comes to develop your site. It may be sooner than you think if your site is showing these signs.

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