At Melee we are frequently asked how we price our products and services. In this article I will be exploring the cost of website development and associated services. In recent years the pricing structure for these types of services been visibly impacted by commodotization. This can be attributed to web development becoming more accessible to the average person as well as the advent of various turnkey solutions such as Shopify etc. This has not precluded the demand for bespoke web and mobile applications but the disparity in pricing between turnkey solutions and custom web development can be alarming.

All things being equal, quality websites and applications can consume thousands of dollars in design, development, communication time. At times price can be impacted by developers who sell themselves short or dead simple specifications but such situations are rarely sustainable and may put you at a disadvantage going forward. So how do we create a standard pricing model? Well, the short answer is that we can’t. Every site, client and application is different.

The cost of a website is dependent on a number of factors. Some of which are platform, specification complexity, design sophistication. Will it be a stock HTML site? Probably not. Most clients want a content management system (CMS) so they can easily manage their site going forward. In addition the CMS you choose is a large factor in cost and maintenance. On the lower end you have products like WordPress which can prove very affordable with the caveats of being quite inflexible and oftentimes challenging to secure and maintain. On the other end of the spectrum you have custom built CMS platforms that will suit your needs directly and elegantly but can cost thousands to develop.

The more specific considerations you are faced with while making a choice between various CMS platforms is another discussion. Let’s say for example that a client has decided to go with a simple site based on WordPress. Even being on the less expensive side this will start around $1000 for a basic set of pages such as home, about, services and a contact page.

This is where things get interesting. Initially this was quoted as a four page site built using a popular CMS, but what if the client wants custom graphics or a photo slider? What if the CMS cannot easily satisfy the client and/or designers vision? The price invariably goes up. A simple analogy would be to compare the sticker price of a website to that of a car. The commercial always shows the MSRP of the stock model. It looks nice and sufficient, but at the end of the day it is a stripped down or barebones offering that rarely suits all of your needs. This problem is even worse for web projects. Additional features and customizations almost always create more work and incur higher development costs.

At Melee we use our broad expertise in the field of web and mobile technologies to aid our clients in making strategic decisions that position them to succeed going forward. Your initial budget is a large part of that equation but not the only factor. While shopping for a web development firm keep in mind that these types of projects present countless options. Do your homework. Know what functionality, page structures, platform and SEO strategies best suit your needs. Find examples of sites and features you are interested in. There is a lot of information about this available online. Embarking on the web development process armed with these cost saving principles can put much of the control back into the hands of the client. So we have a question for you: What do you believe YOUR website should cost?

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