Websites are as different as the businesses and people they represent. Putting a set price tag on them is difficult. Building a website involves commitment from both the Client and the Developer. The Developer commits his time to build a project that is within the scope of the requirements submitted by the Client, while at the same time, the Client must commit to reasonable expectations. Since some projects take longer than others, some developers prefer to charge an entire project on an hourly basis. However, I know the value of being familiar with the total cost so I prefer to offer a set fee. Depending on the size and scope and materials ready to go, the timeframe for a web project can be as short as 1 week to as long as 6 months.
Website Fee Structure
The cost for a basic informational website, also known as a brochure site, ranges anywhere from $2,000 – $3,000 for six (6) pages. Adding features such as blogging capabilities can be included in this fee structure because ‘posts’ are not the same as ‘pages’. Websites used for Blogs are best developed with a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress. With WordPress, ‘posts’ are generated by the ‘author’ (the site owner). As such, a portion of the development cost includes training to teach the Client how to use the platform. Additional pages range from $75 – $150. An eCommerce site adds $1000 to the basic site cost due to added functionality scope. Membership site costs are determined on a case-by-case basis.
Generally, a Developer requires a percentage of the total fee as an initial deposit that is not refundable. This deposit is used for project set-up (temporary server space since an ‘in-progress’ site should not be made available to the general public until launch, theme purchase which is non-refundable, plug-ins to extend functionality, etc). Domain name registration is also included with the deposit, however, already owning a domain name does not affect Developer cost since reconfiguring the domain name replaces the domain registration process.
What is WordPress and Why Would I Use it?
WordPress is a Content Management System that uses an administration interface that serves as the hub of Administrator activities. It’s a complex package of software that is highly customizable to suit the needs of a Client. The themes can be free, premium (paid), or custom (created by the Developer solely for a particular Client). Some Developers charge less for building a WordPress site, but I do not. This is because I have never found a WordPress theme, free or otherwise, that satisfies a Client, therefore customizations must be performed.
The Process (The FUN Part!)
The following outlines how the Process generally works. It is by no means definitive but should serve to provide a cursory glance into the approach, the negotiation, the commitment, and finally, the delivery of a web project.
Website Build Schedule
Inquiries can be performed by the potential Client, or the Developer depending on who approaches whom.
Client Submits Project Requirements
Following or during the Inquiry, the potential Client and the Developer have a dialog to determine the project requirements. This can also be referred to as the “Query & Analysis Phase”. After the requirements are decided, a formal “Client Requirements” statement is issued.
Developer Submits Proposal
The Developer submits the Project requirements back to the Client in the form of a formal Proposal. This becomes the details, or “scope”, of the Project Agreement, or “Contract”.
Contract Agreement – 10% deposit
Upon signed Agreement, the Client agrees to pay a 10% non-refundable deposit of the total quoted cost of the project, as outlined within the Agreement.
The Developer begins work on the project on a local server. Periodic Progress Reports may be issued, as decided upon at the Agreement phase.
Initial Draft revealed / 20% of the total cost paid
Upon the reveal of the initial draft of the project, the Client pays 20% of the total cost (amounting to 30% of the total cost). At this time, the Client may address any concerns regarding layout and design (for example element placement and color scheme).
First revision revealed / 30% of the total cost paid
Upon the reveal of the second draft of the project, the Client pays 30% of the total cost (amounting to 40% of the total cost). At this time, the Client may address any minor concerns regarding layout and design (for example margins, font size).
Second revision revealed / 40% of the total cost paid
Upon the reveal of the second draft, the Client pays 40% of the total cost (amounting to 50% of the total cost). At this time, the Client may address any concerns regarding content (such as images, headings, and copy).
Before the site goes live, it must be tested to ensure proper functionality (i.e. links, page loads, etc).
Website goes live to host / 100% total cost paid
After final testing, the site is uploaded to the server. Request for additional work at this phase is considered to be outside the original scope of the project and is subject to additional Developer fees at a rate of $50 per hour.
At launch, the site is moved to its final host server and is submitted to all major search engines.
Please note: Any delay in asset acquisition (logos, images, copy, industry-related jargon) can extend the delivery date of the project at no fault of the Developer. If requested, the Developer can provide stock images.
Also: While the Client owns all rights to the project, the Developer shall receive site development credit in the footer of the website.
*** Two Types of Programs After Project Delivery ***
Maintenance Program – Monthly Retainer* (Recommended)
The Client is provided site-specific server login information and navigational instruction (written as well as screen-sharing sessions). The Client may also wish to receive abridged written tutorials.
The Client is trained to perform maintenance functions and is then handed the keys, so to speak. Any future maintenance performed by the Developer is subject to hourly rates.
*Monthly Retainer is based on an amount of time projected to be spent maintaining the site as explained in the three tiers of site maintenance service as follows:
Basic – $50
Basic Site Maintenance includes monthly site backups. Things can happen to the servers where our websites live, whether it’s a natural disaster or even human error. To prevent any catastrophes, websites should be backed up to an external source or facility, seperate from the web host, on a regular basis (once per month).
Automatic – $100
Automatic Site Maintenance includes automatic site backups daily plus one (1) hour of Developer time at a discounted rate of ⅔ of the normal hourly rate. This is usually used for minor updates or fixes.
Advanced – $150
Advanced Site Maintenance includes Automatic Site Maintenance plus two (2) additional hours of Developer time at a discounted rate of ⅓ of the normal hourly rate. This is usually used for updating images, updating promo material, adding/removing products (for eCommerce), editing a page, contact form, etc.
Please Note: The Developer is not responsible for damages or loss of data caused by the web host.