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July 8, 2015

When Website Costs have you Running for Cover

by Lori Shecter

website costWhether or not you have a lot of experience pricing technology needs, the process can be arduous.  If you have a limited budget (a common problem among small businesses and non-profits) the process can be even more difficult. Once you define your requirements, the range of proposal costs you receive can have you scratching your head.  This article addresses the “whys” behind pricing.


I am sure there are 50 ways to find your developer/designer but here are some common ways:

  • RFP Data Bases: including but not limited to RFPDB, Rfpalooza
  • Freelancer websites: (AKA
  • Craig’s List
  • Code specialty websites (AKA jobs.wordpress)
  • Connections, networking and referrals
  • Google searching agencies
  • Using current technology partner
  • RFP Process: selecting certain agencies

In addition to location (hey NYC has higher overhead than Oshkosh); costs can be dependent on the type of company/developer you hire:


  • Agency – Large, 100+ employees, Midsized Agency 25-50 Employees, Small Agency – 10-25 Employees
  • Individual person
  • Offshore team
  • Some variation there of: local designer and project manager, off shore development team. Even the city your web team resides in can affect pricing. Are they in Omaha, or Philadelphia? Overhead costs will affect pricing because margins need to be wide enough to make a project worthwhile to bid on.


What exactly does your company need? There are many factors that impact cost—these are just a few: Is it a robust website with multiple functionalities such as E-commerce and inventory tracking?

  • Is it a branding website that is going to be used to drive traffic and awareness?
  • Does it require custom integrations with other types of software?
  • How many page types will it require (this is structure, not content),
  • Who is provides the content (writing, images, videos)
  • Is there content migration?
  • What type of graphic design are you seeking- the more complex the elements are of design, the greater the cost will be. This is because of the time it takes to design as well as translating that design to code.


Most companies today want to use some variation of open source code versus custom developed code. This gives the company the greatest flexibility should you decide to switch development teams.  Most open source codes for websites are fairly similar in development complexity.  For Example, WordPress, Drupal and Joomla built from the same team, shouldn’t have a huge fluctuation in pricing.


  1. Know your budget and share it with the designer/developer. If you only have $3500 to spend, the most you will get is a word press template (most likely) and that could be OK for your needs.  Or not.  You must be realistic.
  2. Check all references of your designer/developer. Questions include:
  • Do you like your website?
  • What was team like to work with?
  • Was it delivered on time and on budget?
  • Where there hidden costs?
  • Did they train you?
  • Describe their support?
  • How easy is the website to use?
  • Would you work with them again?
  • Do they speak good English?
  • Did they provide status updates?
  • Do they help you with SEO/Marketing?
  1. Get a contract. PLEASE! Make sure that everything is spelled out in writing exactly what you will get, how much it will cost, timing, # of design rounds, full functionality, etc. All contracts should have an ‘out clause” as well.  So that if you don’t like the developer, you can cancel the contract, and get all work that has been completed to that point.
  2. At We Are Immediate, we implement the following Design/Development phases:
  • Discovery – what you need,
  • Information architecture and site map: all page types and sections of site.
  • Design kick off: identifying your design tastes.
  • Graphic Design : PSD files of all pages – design should have at least 1 or 2 revisions built in to project
  • HTML – seeing pages live
  • Content Management – pages live on CMS – i.e. WordPress, Drupal, Umbraco, Joomla, etc.
  • Content Migration – Adding all content to site
  • Live- getting site live and fixing bugs
  • Guarantee- having guarantee (usually 1-3 months) to ensure stable site and good code.
  1. Payment terms should be in phases as well- Depending on the length of project typical payment terms are as follows:
  • 25% Deposit
  • 25% Design Completion
  • 25% HTML Completion
  • 25% Website Completion
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Have a question? Let us know.