How to properly evaluate the production cost of a Web site

When you work in the web industry, you always end up having to estimate the cost of a web site. Even using a free CMS, such as WordPress, the cost of production varies, usually in function of the time spent on the project. Building a website using WordPress can easily range from $ 1,000 for a web page to $ 100,000 for a full site. The price difference can be justified by several factors.

First,  estimating the time necessary to create a website… takes some time. The estimation must be precise and depends on the project and clients’ expectations. In many cases, the production site has not even begun and already 5% to 10% of the budget is spent.

It is difficult to determine the time needed for a website that will fully meet customer expectations. As this article ( explains, most clients have a budget 2-3 times lower than what is necessary to meet their expectations. Hence, the importance of educating the client during meetings. Depending on the organization of the company and how many people take decisions, it is not uncommon to see the cost of project management double. This price can vary between 10% and 20% of the total project value. Since each client is different, it is often very difficult to determine this amount in advance. Know that each intervention with the project manager will incur additional costs.

The integration time can also vary greatly depending on how many types of “views”. Each view implies a different page template. A home page, a contact page and a page of standard text make a site with 3 “views”. Adding sidebars, forms and more advanced features will also weigh on the cost of production. Thus, it is possible to give an estimate for the time it will take the integration and programming of each view and section of the site, to achieve a fairly precise amount of the cost of developing the theme.

Using a template saves a lot of time. The only changes are that it will have to be customized according to your corporate colors. If you desire a unique theme, you should expect a much higher cost, or even double in some cases. Then there is the cost of integrating the content (text, images, and layout). This should be rather stable as the number of pages of text is predetermined. It is necessary however to take into account that for a bilingual site, integration time is doubled and that the functions associated with a multilingual site take a certain time to program.

Many other factors will add to the process of creating a website; market analysis, structure development, creating the content, image search, SEO optimization, adding features such as Google Analytics, server management and maintenance once online. It is difficult to give an exact cost of all these operations. It will be assessed on a case by case basis. The important thing is that the customer is satisfied with the service delivered.

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