The cost of building a website.

Determining how much it costs to build a Website is a tough job.  On one hand, you could do it yourself or hire a couple of college kids to put together a low-budget site.  On the other hand, the average business website is a lot more complex and harder to build than it used to be.

If you need a truly professional website, you'll want to hire a professional firm.  Web developers do more than just code HTML.  They help you decide what information to place on your site; create graphics, logos and other marketing collateral; connect your site to databases and e-commerce systems; and add multimedia and other types of content.  A Web development team can include a dozen or more people, each with a particular specialty.

How much will a professional firm cost?

It's not uncommon to pay upwards of £10,000 for a one-off custom website designed by a company with a proven track record.  If you go with an industry leader, a large site with publishing tools, database connectivity and other advanced features can cost £100,000 or more.  A more affordable option might be to adopt a hosted platform that already has the features you need.  This will typically come in at £1-3k after customisation.

Hosting and upkeep can cost as little as £5 a month but managed enterprise-level hosting with dedicated servers can cost up to £5,000 per month for large sites with high traffic and lots of features.  However, unless you need a world-class site that will get millions of hits a day, you can spend a lot less.

Here are five tips to get the most out of your investment:

  • Use a firm that provides one-stop shopping for site development, hosting and maintenance.  You'll get a better deal from a company that sees you as a long-term partner and a source of continuing revenue.
  • If you're going to build more than one site, such as separate Internet and intranet sites, consider awarding both projects to one firm in exchange for a volume discount.
  • Developers might give you a deal on cutting-edge projects, such as intranets and online stores.  The same rule applies to up-and-coming Web firms that want to establish themselves.
  • Do your own pre-work, such as scanning images, and use existing marketing collateral.  Also consider training yourself or one of your employees to maintain the site.  Paying a developer to do routine site updates can be costly.
  • Control costs by controlling your expectations.  Do you really need streaming video or an industrial-strength database?  Is that fancy Java application worth the price you'll pay for it?  Set your priorities, decide what you can afford and resist “feature creep” in your Web development plans.

Posted by Dave  04/01/2011

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