How features will affect the price
You want to know how much a website project costs, and we want to tell you -- because when we can tell you about the cost it means that we have a successful working relationship. Before we can estimate costs for you, we need to know a lot about what problems you are trying to solve. Until we have more information, asking how much a website costs is like asking how much a car costs. The range is so wide that the answer isn't helpful.
What we can do, before hearing more about your plans and goals, is to give you some thoughts about what will make the project more expensive, or less.
Web Page Copy
A web site is nothing without words. Literally. Without them search engines can't find your website and therefore, neither can visitors. Whether you're comfortable writing your own copy or not, the text you provide for your website is usually edited by our copywriter for correctness and clarity, and optimized for search engines (SEO). Unless you already have web-proven copy, you'll need to invest in professional copywriting. This is not an area where you might want to shave off a few dollars.
Design, Artwork and Photography
Sticking to a traditional layout and design not only saves you money, but it produces a website that is both visitor-friendly and search engine-friendly, and is less expensive to maintain and enhance over the coming years. Custom designs can pack a visual punch, but can cost more up front as well as later on down the road for maintenance.
Use of royalty-free photos and graphics from our subscription service, your own existing photos, or photos from your supplier's print material or CD-ROMs cuts down on the cost of photography. Some clients take photos themselves and enhance them with their own photo editing software, while others pass the photos along to our graphics artist for final prep for the web. If you opt to do-it-yourself, you'll need skill, special software, and time. For many, it is actually less expensive having professionals (yours or ours) do the photo editing for you.
If you require custom photography, artwork, audio recordings, or videography it's best to contract that out yourself, and request web-ready formats for use on your website. We'll be able to work with your production technicians to incorporate the artwork into your website. Good examples of effective and informative videos for the web are copies of a commercial or a DVD specially made for your audiences. There's also no better way to sell a DVD than to provide a live animated demo.
On the other hand, purely decorative animations to enliven your web pages will add to the cost of your web site. Well done animations can engage and impress the visitor while other animations can be a turn-off and send the visitor away.
Development tasks probably have the greatest effect on the cost of your web site. Web sites that provide content management systems (CMS) or catalogs with shopping carts use pre-packaged software that is installed on the server and modified by our programmers and/or designers to meet your needs. To keep costs down, you'll want to stick to traditional designs and use readily available components. Custom enhancements also need to be re-programmed when the software is updated, which can add to ongoing annual maintenance costs.
All packages -- content management systems, catalogs with shopping carts, calendars, etc. -- need basic customization at some expense. But, naturally, multiple features and unusual requirements will cost more.