We know that the price for a website will vary from developer to developer, so how do you decide how much is too much and how much is just right? There's an easy way to justify your budgets and to know when the price is right.
The thing about price
Fact: there's no uniform pricing matrix for building a website. This is because practically no two websites are the same, and the vast majority are not simply a consumer good that can be purchased at nominal price differences.
There are a lot of factors that go into what ultimately decides the final price paid, but before you tackle all the details that go into planning and building your new site, you have to come to terms with your expectations.
"Price is what you pay; Value is what you get."
- Warren Buffett
Focus on value
The only true way of knowing how much you should pay for a website is by first determining its value (in a completed form). Remember, value is simply what it's worth to you or how important it is.
Thinking about the value allows you to arrive at your perception of the website's worth, which subsequently will help you get a better understanding of its cost when it comes time to develop it, or, put another way, how much you'll be willing to pay for it.
This does not mean that a developer will try to rip you off and get as much out of you as possible. It simply means that when you know the value of what you want, you'll then be enlightened as to how much and who you'll pay for it. You'll know what's worth it and what's not. This is different for everyone.
As an example, some people are just fine with buying only inexpensive but decent used cars, while others upgrade to the latest models every two years. Yet, to the used car buyers, both cars drive on the same roads at the same speeds and get them where they want to go safely. To them, it's just not "worth it" to pay more for new vehicles because there's more "value" in their less expensive quality used cars.
Thankfully, finding the value of your website is pretty straightforward and simple.
The tale of two websites
Let's first determine what kind of website you're looking for. Do you want a blog that will act as an outlet for your writing hobby, or do you intend on building an ecommerce website capable of handling thousands of transactions and shipping products to customers around the world?
If we use these two examples (a personal blog and a decently busy ecommerce website), we can begin by assigning a value to them using anything from gut feelings to real expectations of revenue. It doesn't really matter because we just want to give ourselves an honest idea of how we value them so we can understand what they're worth.
We know that the blog will not generate any revenue for you because it's just a creative outlet for your writing hobby. So its value to you is really equal to how much enjoyment you expect to get out of it. Yes, that's still relative but let's agree that this hobby of yours is worth $200.
On the other hand, the ecommerce site is certainly more complicated. It's expected to be a real business and generate income for yourself or your company. In this case, it's fairly simple to arrive at its value. Let's expect that this website, during its first year, should average at least five transactions of $50 each and every day. This translates to $250/day, $1,750/week, $7,500/month, or just under $100,000 for the year in revenue.
Now that we know you value your blog website at $200, and your ecommerce website is valued as at least $100,000, we can use these to discern how much is too much and how much is just right for their development costs because we now can more clearly see the value in what we're getting from a developer.
How much would you pay?
While knowing your own expectations for quality and satisfaction, let's remember that pricing for websites will be different from every developer. But since we now understand the value of what our websites are returning to us, we can make the same determination about the services offered by each developer. That is, we should choose the services that meet or exceed our expectations - those that are worth it.
Are you willing to pay more than $200 for your blog? Probably not. So you'll be better off finding a less expensive way to get it launched such as using an easy and inexpensive do-it-yourself solution like Wordpress, Blogger, Squarespace, Tumblr or Weeby, among others.
As for our ecommerce example, what are you willing to invest in your website to gain at least $100,000 in yearly revenue? Only you know the answer. But at the very least, knowing what your site is worth to you will help you gain the proper perspective when it comes to the amount you're willing to pay. Still, you may easily find a developer who bids $5,000 and another who estimates $30,000. Knowing what your site is worth will help you make the decision on the value of these two proposals. Are you confident that $100,000 can be delivered for just $5,000, or is it more realistic that the $30,000 bid makes more sense for such a large return? It's all relative (just like the car example mentioned above).
It's a bargain
One closing thought about the cost of websites: If done correctly, at nearly any price, they are a bargain. There is practically no other way to build something that reaches so many people simultaneously and is available to them 24/7. Relatively speaking, a website is far less expensive than just about any other form of business.