Websites are complicated and getting an estimate is every more so. Prices can range from hundreds to thousands from person to person with what seems like no rhyme or reason.

Understanding what goes into building a website can help alleviate some of the confusion when you receive quotes and even empower your negotiation skills to boot. From requirements scoping to design and development, a website price does not have a simple explanation, but in this infographic and the content below I’ll do my best to give you an understanding of the pieces to the website pricing puzzle.

Phase 1. Requirements Gathering

Time is at the root of any price and taking time to fully understand the scope of the project is no exception. A website cost will include an allocation of time to research your features and design. This will usually result in a requirements document that you can take to any company to have them build it.

Phase 2. Wireframing and Design

Based on the requirements gathered, the team must draw up a basic skeleton for the website before actually designing with colors and images. Then the website needs to actually be designed based off research material and the wireframes. This phase is used to flush out any minor details with the project and give you a firm understanding of what will be delivered.

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Phase 3: Development

The team will then take the designs, wireframes, and requirements and develop the website. After certain segments are completed, you’ll be able to actually see the website and provide feedback on your experience. This is usually where the majority of time is estimated.

Phase 4: Delivery

Them team will install and configure the finished website on your server. This can be a tricky process, so it’s good to let the team handle this procedure. This would constitute completion of the project.

Phase 5: Support & Maintenance

In most cases, the team will provide full support for the product including bugfixes and minor changes for a period following delivery. They should want to make sure you’re 100% satisfied with the project and fix anything that breaks. Most companies will offer extended support in the form of maintenance that will allow you to always have someone in charge of your website for small updates and maintaining the technology.

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Freelance vs Agency

Freelancers are usually the cheaper option, but may take more time and are solely reliable for the project to complete. This means if they fall ill or are unavailable, you’re out of luck. An agency will cost more because they bring the expertise of multiple people to the project. They will also have people to backup their staff, so you’ll never be without a point of contact.

Hourly vs Project

An hourly project is usually not ideal for a website. Projects may exceed the timeline and you don’t want to be on the hook for unexpected costs. A lump sum project is best choice for taking a website from start to finish because you cannot incur additional costs if you have a good contract.

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