With options online such as Wix or Squarespace it can be tempting to go the build it yourself route, and for some personal sites and even businesses that may work just fine. They are fairly easy to learn and use as long as you are relatively computer savvy. They keep the costs down in compared to having professional web development companies build your site for you.
When you start working in a builder you may start to wonder,
“So… If this is what I would pay someone to do, why would it cost so much, I seem to be doing just fine?”
The answer is that a truly customized in-depth website cannot be created in an easy builder program like the ones mentioned above. Many features have been scaled down for the sake of being easy to use, but in doing so they lose some of the options. For many businesses, they simply do not have the power behind the platform that is needed to be able to grow and expand over time or to truly build on and explore SEO (Search Engine Optimization) options boosting the site to the front pages of Google, Bing, Yahoo and other sites.
Now you may be thinking “Ok, so – WordPress (which has become the industry standard) and other more customizable platforms are more customizable. This still doesn’t explain why websites can cost so much.”
Cost is relative to time.
There is no possible way to give a flat line generic quote on how long a website will take as every single one built is different.
Web sites, unless coded totally from scratch (which is not the norm these days. Why reinvent the wheel day in and day out?) start with template bases. Each template has been created by a different programmer. This alone makes them unique. They offer different features and though in WordPress, are laid out slightly differently and include their own unique blend of inclusions.
Here is a generalized estimate of how long it takes to perform certain tasks inside of WordPress in order to get your new site up and running. ***This is making the assumption that you, the client, has given the web creation team all of the pieces and parts needed to assemble your site. Pictures, text, descriptions, links, content, and all other inclusions. If these pieces are to be created by the team that will add on additional time and cost.
- Log in and update WordPress: 5 minutes
- Install a plugin/solve a problem that revolves around a plugin install: 5 minutes
- Set up a domain-specific email account or email forward: 5 minutes
- Log in and change a post’s contents, rearrange the site navigation menu, etc.: 5 minutes
- Help restore a client’s admin credentials, add a user, etc.: 5 minutes
- Most individual CSS changes (change the color of an object, change a font, reposition an object and give it a shadow): 5 to 30 minutes
- Create a Twitter account for a client: 10-20 minutes
- Install WordPress on a given hosting account (including database creation): some passive FTP transfer time, plus 20 minutes’ active work
- Update WordPress and all plugins, test to make sure nothing’s broken: 10 to 45 minutes
- Use a plugin’s interface to create what it’s designed to create (a contact form, a social button bar, etc.): 10 to 30 minutes
- Purchase hosting and prepare it for a WordPress install (set up username and password, FTP credentials, etc.): 15 minutes
- Migrate a WP site using a plugin, start-to-finish and including testing: 15 minutes
- Troubleshoot a hosting/registrar/backend problem (improperly set memory limits, bad rules, wrong DNS, etc.): 15 minutes to 1 hour
- Create a Facebook page for a client: 20 minutes
- Read an emailed bug report, locate an obvious problem in PHP or JS code, fix the problem, upload the fix, test the fix, email about the fix: 20 to 45 minutes
- Purchase a domain name and hosting and create a fresh WordPress install at the targeted domain name: 30 to 45 minutes
- Track down and fix a non-obvious problem in a WordPress site’s code: 30 minutes to 5 hours for most problems
- Migrate a WP site manually, start-to-finish and including testing: 1 hour
Website build-outs can range drastically.
- A simple blog on a simple theme with zero customization needed can take as little as 2 hours.
- A lightly customized informational site (3-4 pages) on a lightly customized blog – approximately 8 hours. (this would be the bare minimum that you could use for a small business and would include a contact form, but almost no design work.
- A simple e-commerce site – approximately 20 hours. (minimal WordPress site running WooCommerce – able to list products and process transactions).
Complexity adds time which translates to higher costs
- Build out a full feature site on a premium theme – modifying the design and adding in plugins (often custom) 40 to 100 hours.
- Integrating 3rd party proprietary software – 15 to 100 hours.
- Totally custom, written from scratch to your specifications no theme used. 60 to 250 hours.
- Writing new software to solve unique issues or needs – 20 to 300 hours.
- Custom layout for a website done visually in Photoshop for approval before any programming is done 5-15 hours.
- Web skins
- Photo editing
- Custom menu skins
- Custom icons
- Social media ads for your site with matching branded graphics
- Graphics for your site are completely customizable
All of these elements take time. Each piece can range anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours.
Now add in blogging
If you choose to have blogs ghost written for you, which can greatly boost your SEO rankings, give you greater visibility, as well as inform your customer base on any and all business related topics here are the time variables.
- The average 200-350-word blog you see on the internet today: 1-2 hours.
- Well researched thought out blog posts 200-800 words can be: 2-4 hours.
- Unusually long and in-depth, high-quality blogs 600-2000+ words can range anywhere from 4 – 20 hours depending on the breadth of topic. These can often be picked up, reposted, generate link backs boosting your site authority, and even go viral or national.
Blogging adds massive value to your site but adds on to the cost as well.
We do realize that these numbers range from developer to developer but this can give you a general idea of what goes into creating a good quality website and why the costs are what they are.
Cost is a direct reflection of time + skill needed. Creating a website is like putting together a puzzle. In order to make all of the pieces fit you need a good creative team lining them all up.
Should you hire a professional Web Development company to create your site for you or should you do it yourself? Only you can decide. If you would like a quote for your site, please feel free to email us DZ@damonazdesign.com. We would love to speak with you.