Web Design — What it costs

Asking what it costs to build a web site is kinda like asking what it costs to build a house. The answer is that "it all depends." The house could be a tiny vacation cabin, a huge mansion, or anything in between, and the price depends on many factors, including size, location, special features, and whether it's new construction or a remodel.

The same applies to web sites. Costs vary widely depending on the number of web pages, the complexity of the page design, the number and kind of graphics, what special features and programming are required, and many other factors. The potential price range is huge — from $500 to $500,000 and more.

Vague cost figures for "typical" or "average" web sites don't address the issue of what your site will cost because the real cost depends on the specifications of your particular web site, and the odds are that it won't match some hypothetical average.

So, the first step is to determine what kind of web site you need, it's size and scope, and what features need to be included. Only then can we begin to address the question of cost. We normally estimate the cost for providing all the features you request, but we can also propose a plan for selectively maximizing features while working within a given budget

There's no charge for the initial consultation to discuss general scope and viability of a project, so please contact us to arrange a meeting by phone, e-mail, or in person. (Serious inquiries only, please.)

Custom-designed Web Sites

Most of our web sites are custom designed to meet the specific needs and desires of a particular client. That means that everything is custom, from the general organization and navigation structure of the site, to the layout, graphics, and content on individual pages . The pricing is equally customized, depending on how much work is involved in creating the site, so please contact us for an estimate.

There's no charge for the initial consultation or for a rough estimate based on your general requirements. We do charge for preparing a detailed proposal document with a site map, treatment, and detailed budget.

A typical custom web site for a small business starts at $1,500 and ranges to $15,000 or more, with an average of about $3000 - $5000. However, each project is different, and we can usually tailor a site to any reasonable budget.

Client-maintained Web Sites

No one knows your content better than you.

One of the challenges of building a good web site is filling it with appropriate content — the text, images, and multimedia movies that carry your message to your site visitors. And the job's not over when the site goes live. Keeping the site updated with fresh content is a continuing challenge.

As writers and artists, we're glad to provide a complete, turnkey service that includes writing, editing, and formatting text, creating graphics and multimedia, retouching images, and more. However, we also recognize that many clients want more direct control over the content on their web sites, particularly the cost and timing of all the ongoing updates.

As a result, many of our sites include features that enable clients to add, edit, and delete content in their own web sites. There's no need to come to us with a change order every time you want to update a price on your product page or add an item to the list of coming events. If you want, you can handle most routine maintenance yourself with easy-to-use tools such as Macromedia Contribute. We build the infrastructure for the site, including a set of page templates that are specially engineered to work with Contribute. You fill in your text and images in a program that works a lot like a word processor. And of course, we're always standing by to assist if needed.

Contact us if you're interested in a self-maintained web site. Generally, it's easier to incorporate this functionality into a site that's specifically designed to accommodate it, but in some cases, we can adapt existing sites to enable a significant degree of self-maintenance.

Template-based Web Sites

Web sites don't have to cost a lot!

In response to numerous requests for a very low-cost web site, we've developed an approach that enables us to build a small, basic web site at minimal cost.

The secret is replacing our usual custom graphics and page design with a pre-engineered page template. Then, provided that you can supply your text content and images as clean digital files, we can plug your logo, color scheme, and content into our template to produce a nice-looking starter web site for a very small investment.

We call it the $500 Web Site because the starting base price is, coincidentally, $500; but to be honest, most clients add some extra-cost options that increase the total price significantly. Still, a template-based site costs quite a bit less than a comparable custom site. Contact us to see if this low-cost solution will fit your needs.

The $500 Web Site

  • As always, the initial consultation is free.
  • Includes 2 follow-up meetings
    • Design approval & pick up content
    • Final approval & invoice
  • Your choice of several professionally designed web site templates that incorporate the latest best practices in accessible, standards-compliant design. Most designs include rollover effects on links, buttons, and navigation menus — effects that cost extra elsewhere.
  • Customize the template with your logo and color scheme
  • 5 web pages consisting of:
    • Home/introduction page
    • About Us page
    • Contact Us page
    • Products or Services page
    • One additional page for News, Press Releases, FAQ, etc.
  • Place and format your text content on the web pages (from client-supplied Word document files)
  • Minor image enhancement/optimization on up to 5 client-supplied digital images (including logo)
  • Insert client-supplied meta data into each page to help improve your ranking on search engines
  • Post all needed files to the web server, or
    Deliver the files on CD so you can post them yourself

Available Additions:

  • More extensive template customization and graphics to give your web site a unique identity
  • Additional text pages
  • Additional images, scanning photographic prints, retouching, major image enhancements
  • Content development: write/edit/proofread text, find clip art and stock photos
  • Simple forms, such as guest book pages or information requests
  • Custom text and graphic effects, banner graphics, animated "slide show" effects, etc.
  • Submit your site to major search engines and directories
  • Domain name registration and DNS setup
  • Web hosting service
  • E-mail (yourname@yourdomain.com) with anti-virus and anti-spam filtering