How to Budget for a Website

By admin, September 11th, 2009


You know you need a website. Maybe you’ve done some shopping around. How do you know what’s good value? When are you overpaying? Website pricing is a bit of a black art, but maybe we can demystify it a bit for you here.

When it comes down to it, the formula most companies use to determine the overall cost often goes something like this: number of estimated hours multiplied by an hourly rate. Really not that complicated. Now that we have that, the question is where do those numbers come from?

Hourly Rate

The hourly rate is usually based on some combination of the following:

  • Experience of the designer/team
  • Their skill and/or the quality of the work
  • How in demand they are

Following that, someone who is highly skilled, with a lot of experience and is in demand can and will charge a lot more for their time than someone without any or all of those.

Estimated Hours

Depending on the agency, there are a number of things that go into a website project. Here are some typical pieces:

Design time – How many distinct designs are part of the project? How many rounds of revisions? How many layout and page types will there be?

Number of pages – How many pages will the site have? Is there a lot of content that needs formatting?

Programming time (Flash, PHP, JavaScript) – Will there be flash banners? How about contact/feedback forms? Will the site collect data? Will people be able to log into the site and do stuff?

Content management tools – Do you want to be able to update the site yourself? What sorts of tools will you need? Are there specialized types of content you will be storing (e.g., team profiles)?

Content creation – Where will the content come from? Will it need to be “touched up” or optimized for the web? Do you have photos you need resized and posted?

Project management – Is the project large enough that some will need to coordinate it?

There can be other components that go into the budget as well like social networking, online advertising, search engine marketing, etc. Most companies estimate websites as a total project price, but if you ask are usually willing break out parts of the budget.

Like any industry, the numbers can vary quite a bit between different companies. Some companies will be better and/or quicker at certain parts of the project than others. If you have specialized needs it’s wise to shop around.


It’s important to understand estimating is not a science. Be prepared to give your designer some leeway (no one has done your project before). Our estimates generally range from $1,500-$10,000 (give us a shout if you’d like an estimate!).

Category Icon Posted in Basics, Picking a Vendor

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