Your new website: How much will it cost? How long will it take?

Heeding advice from a self-guided business course I'm taking, I sent out a survey a couple of months ago to my website design clients to learn more about their preferences and concerns. One of the questions I asked was "What were you most concerned about before working with me?" The two answers given most frequently were "How much it would cost" and "How long it would take."

I know the answers to those questions off the top of my head, so I provide estimates as I'm talking with a potential client in an initial consultation. I thought it might be useful to gather actual client data based on the completed websites I've worked on and then show that data in a visual summary as a guide to potential clients considering hiring me.

How much will my website cost?

To start a website, there is always the cost of the website domain and builder platform, which is an ongoing cost. I didn't include those figures in these summaries, but that is something I talk over with clients. Squarespace and Weebly are the two website platforms I work on and the cost for a basic-to-moderate website and a private domain is about $160 - $250 per year (assuming you take advantage of the discounts for annual plans). In addition, add-on products, such as those for scheduling or reservation booking, may have their own subscription costs.

The cost of hiring me to help with website design is based on how many hours I spend on the work. The work can involve website configuration, search engine optimization, copywriting, text and image editing, meetings and reviews, and the actual design of website pages. I charge an hourly rate rather than a project rate because, as you can see from these summaries, the cost of a website depends on a lot of factors, including number of pages, number of images, the amount of information, and how much time is spent redesigning pages more than once.

In general, the more pages that a website has, the more expensive it will be to develop. Websites I've worked on to date have ranged from 3 pages to 16, with an average of 7 pages. What I tell clients when I estimate a rough cost in advance is that most websites take about 15 - 20 hours of my time unless there are a lot of images, which can add several more hours to the job. That was supported by my data analysis, which showed the number of hours I worked on websites ranged from 7 to 28, with the average being about 18 hours. The average project cost was about $500, with the minimum being about $200 and the maximum so far being about $850. The more expensive projects had more than 10 images, usually presented in slideshows, collages, or galleries.

 Kerry A. Thompson Blog: Website Design — How much will it cost? How long will it take?

How long will it take to design?

From the initial consultation to the launch of a finished website usually takes about a month, although I have completed websites in 5 days and the longest project took 9 weeks. The length of time for website development has more to do with how much time the client has to collect and provide materials and review designs than with the complexity of the website.

I work in a collaborative way to be sure the website represents the client's business personality and brand. That's why it's important for the client to set aside time to provide images and information and to review designs. The websites completed most quickly were those for which the client was able to provide all the materials needed promptly and reviewed designs quickly. I tell clients at the outset that they will need to set aside some time to complete the project in a timely fashion. I estimate a client's contribution is about 75% of the time I will spend on the website. That means clients should expect to spend about 13 hours for an average website over the course of the project.

If you are considering hiring me, I hope this analysis has clarified some of the factors involved in the cost and duration of a website design project. If you like what you've learned, please be in touch to schedule a free consultation. I'd love to work with you to create a beautiful website that shows what you love to do.