We work with clients and businesses from a range of backgrounds – start-ups with minimal budgets (start-ups with plenty of budget too), established businesses looking to push their online markets, high-level brands looking for one-off custom work for a competition or marketing campaign. And everyone in between, from Auckland to Christchurch and overseas as well.
Sometimes, especially with clients with less budget to work with, we are approached in this way: “I have X amount to spend on my website. What can I get?”
Breaking down the cost of web development
First of all, let’s look at why web development costs the amount it does. A medium-level website may have had up to 200-300 hours spent on it – over planning sessions, website design, development, testing, review, re-building, content writing or upload, project management, and the going live process. Often, there is a huge amount of time spent behind the scenes, that the client doesn’t always factor in – client and internal meetings about the project, all the time spent answering phone calls and responding to emails – this time needs to be costed in by the web developers, even if the client overlooks these hidden costs.
Some of the above costs of developing a website are scalable depending on the size of the project, and some fixed no matter how big or small the project:
- The website design
- The website development
- Content writing (if any)
- Website testing
- Planning – initial meetings, emails and back and forth while finalising the project plan
- Project management (it can frequently be the case that the lower-budget project take a disproportionate amount of management time)
- Review stage – emails, small changes and finalising the design and functionality of the site
- Going live – a process that can take several hours
Fixed costs drive the price of website development
Looking at the above, it can be clearer to see how website costs break down. A project could be 60% driven by the scale and complexity of the scope, but 40% made up of fixed costs. On low-budget projects, the cost could even be 50%-60% made up of the fixed costs – planning meetings, project management and communication time – with less time budgeted to website design or building. In addition, the time spent on these less obvious tasks can only be estimated – and the project management time can often get blown out of proportion.
Below we’ve put together a brief guideline of what your budget could buy. Remember, the more time spent in project management and communications, the less time there is to dedicate to building your website!
NB: The prices below do not include GST.
My website budget is $1,000-$2,000
Project time allowance: 8-16 hours
With this minimal budget, we’ll be able to build a very simple landing page, based on a standard WordPress theme and filled with your content. The design will not be able to altered from the standard format, and neither will the functionality. You’re looking at a basic homepage, about us page, and contact page with a simple contact form, without the leeway for reviews or edits.
My website budget is $3,000-$4,000
Project time allowance: 25-35 hours
To a very small business this can sound like a lot of money, but the reality is that $3-$4k is still a low budget for a customised website. For this amount, we can customise a WordPress theme with your business branding, design a homepage personalised for your business (eg, with contact us buttons, a slider, and links to your services or other important pages on your site). You’ll get 5-10 pages, a blog page if desired, and the ability to review the designs and the build to make small edits during the project.
A very simple ecommerce website, based on a WordPress WooCommerce theme and filled with your content. Products would be bulk imported or loaded by the client, and there would be minimal room for reviews or edit once the build has begun.
My website budget is $5,000-$10,000
Project time allowance: 40-80 hours
This is the budget band where most of our small business clients sit. This budget allows a custom WordPress website built to the client’s specifications, as long as no complex or custom functionality needs to be written. The website will look unique – based on the client’s branding, most important functions of the website, and wishlist for design. Standard ecommerce websites can also be built in this range, with product upload and some ability to design custom elements for the products. The client will be able to review designs and finalise these before the website build, plus go through 2 rounds of website review before going live.
My website budget is $10,000-$20,000
Project time allowance: 80-160 hours
Most medium-size businesses fall into this budget band. A website theme can be custom-designed, and custom functionality can be created for the client. For example, a complex application form, custom user groups, categories, or other specialised functionality that needs to be created for the client. Medium-size ecommerce websites can be created, or standard websites with many pages or a lot of content. You will have a dedicated project manager to communicate with throughout the project.
At this level, you’ll be able to have a website like our current FutureLab one – functionally a fairly simple website with not many pages, but with a creative and customised design.
My website budget is $20,000-$50,000
Project time allowance: 160-400 hours
For businesses looking to build unique functionality. Perhaps your website needs to allow users to perform complex functions online, or you have a large database that requires multiple user levels, sort functions and search capabilities. Websites could be in this budget band for high-end branding & design, high-level functionality, or a mix of both. Requiring a custom, high-level website under tight deadlines can also push up the budget into this band.
My website budget is $50,000+
Project time allowance: 400+ hours
The sky is the limit. Whatever you need done, we can scope it, design it, and code it. Projects of this size are usually months-long, and the project is billed to an hourly rate rather than a specified budget. Websites in this band would be enterprise-level WordPress or other CMS websites, or from-scratch projects requiring several full-time team members dedicated to the project. Other examples of projects at this level would include big online stores with custom functionality, or new startups with functionality that hasn’t been created before.
As we said, your website budget is dependent on a whole range of factors, some of which can only be estimated at the project start. The above is a rough guide of what you can expect to get for your budget. To discuss your particular project in more detail, please get in touch so we can give you a full quote for our services.