Objectively Finding Website Costs

advancepaydayadvancepayday subscriber Posts: 2
How would one objectively find the value for a website?  For instance if i`m looking to hire a web designer / graphic designer / programmer how would I know what the actual  value of the requested services should be?  I`ve seen sites that cost 1K and looked like they were worth $200 and I`ve seen sites that look like their worth $2-5k and cost $15k.  Obviously it depends on interactivity and amount of programming and in theory these are set by the market but having looked at a couple of websites where I know what was actually paid I don`t always see a correlation.  Thanks for your input!

Comments

  • efoozleefoozle subscriber Posts: 2
    nhgnikole is right. There is really no set price. There are however a lot of things to think about before you decide to get work done. How much hand holding do you need?What kind of support do you want?Are you paying the programmer or company to update content?Is it a fairly static site?What kind of quality do you want?Do you have scope of work that cover all aspects of the site?All of these factor into what you should expect to pay when having a site designed. If you find a developer with a full time job that does side work, they will usually be cheaper than hiring a company. Take for instance the latest job that I am working on. I built out a database, scope of work, screenshots, and a working GUI. Then I sent it to a company and said I need the backend programming done for this front end. They didn`t ask any questions and said it would be about $10K. I sent it to another person that I found who was a full time programmer that did side work and he is doing it for $1200. Plus he asked lots of questions before he took the job. Finding someone to do the work is easy. Finding the right person can take months.
  • vwebworldvwebworld subscriber Posts: 40
    Pricing for web design work is all over the place and has a lot to do with who is doing the work - an individual freelancer, a design firm, or ad firm and with the requirments for the site (html, php, database, asp...etc).
    Like any other business decision, the buyer needs to evaluate what it is worth (timen and money) to them to pay another person/entity to design a website.  That "worth" also varies with teach company too because of their respective costs and time available. 
    Of course the trick is how to find the person to do the work that will create a website that meets and exceeds all your goals and objectives. Again, like you do for other purchasing decisions you need to gather a list of potential designers (from searches, forums, and friends), get quotes, have a conversation about their process, look at their portfolio of work AND get references you can contact.
    My approach is to have a conversation with the potential client to learn about their needs, their company (how they do things - that may be transferable to the web), and their goals.  I`ll also learn how much or little material, images, and or content exists and how much I may need to create.  Then I`ll provide a quote with options if there are different ways to accomplish the result (like various ecommerce options).
    My goal is for my clients` websites to be successful and I provide free support for a period of time after the site is up and running to make modifications.  If they are then I am.
    ~Rolandvwebworld2007-2-21 0:3:16
  • soulfireimgsoulfireimg subscriber Posts: 0
    advancepayday,

    Finding out the actual value of a site is sometimes not truly seen until
    after the site has launched and you can calculate your ROI (Return On
    Investment). That doesn`t help much because you may have already
    entered into a project and paid the costs and now maybe risking the loss
    of money and low ROI if the right project specs haven`t been met or the
    wrong direction was taken altogether.

    I always recommend my clients to talk to and view at least 2 other
    companies to do comparisons on the following factors:
    - Established work
    - Capabilities that meet your specific needs
    - Case study successes with proven results
    - Cost analysis of services & options
    - Project proposal of development, design and solutions towards your
    ROI. (Marketing Approach, SEO, PPC Campaigns, etc.)
    - Overall professionalism of the company or independent contractor.

    Researching who will be working on your site and what they can
    ACTUALLY do are so important and truly is like interviewing a potential
    company employee. Past track records tell a lot about what they can
    provide to you. The company or designer you choose should be able to
    show you past work, explain in basic terms their solutions and how it
    would apply to your project.

    As for your pricing examples of sites that cost a lot, but look or work like
    they deserve far less really comes down to your research and the
    companies that you are considering for your project. Some designers/
    developers/companies charge a premium price even though they can`t
    provide that type of service. Feel it out and look for a history of their
    work. It never lies and will give you the overall impression of what they
    can offer to you. Also, be realistic to your requests and know that heavy
    programming for dynamc content does cost, especially if you are
    requiring a custom need. However, there is reasonable pricing and the
    company or contractor you hire should be able to breakdown all of their
    costs with systematic services and explanations. If you`re getting a
    "ballpark figure" or a "guess-timate" when signing a contract or putting a
    down payment, you may be in for a bumpy ride.

    Hope this helps and feel free to contact us with any further questions or
    comments. Thanks!

    R. Rodriguez
    [email protected]


  • advancepaydayadvancepayday subscriber Posts: 2
    Thanks to everyone who took the time to post.  I had some follow up questions:
    nhgnikole
    - Why in your opinion is this the case?  If you take the example of a person asking contractors to bid on the building of a house/structure as long as the requirements are the same you should get quotes that have a reasonable range.  (You wouldn`t see a quote for $150K and one for $500K).  So why is this any different?  And what is actually setting the value as it doesn`t appear to be as much based on product as the company`s (creating the website) image, efoozle - I understand if the specs you sent are different between the two companies/contractors and I even understand having a premium based on being a company with staff for each function but why would one quote be so much less if the requirements are the same.  I understand a margin of 1-2K but $8800?So lets take a specific example.  We are basically looking to redo our corporate image so we will be having advancepayday.biz revamped with the new corporate image / name.- 10-12 Page Site- Copy Provided- Small flash animation(s) for scrolling images / possible header- We currently have 3 interactive sections of the site:    - Corporate Site (no redesign needed - to be honest we don`t really care what it looks like as long as it functions) - which is a joomla installation.    - Online employment application - basically code stays as is but will need to be integrated to current site.    - Google Maps - just integrated to new site.    - Online application - Right now the site has an "online application" for payday advances but all it really does is email a staff member who then forwards it to the appropriate store.- We would like the new version to be standards compliant but this isn`t a "requirement".- Any and all SEO related tags / structure should be implemented.We have someone in house that can update / manage the site.  He just doesn`t happen to be very talented in the graphic design department.  So what would a website like this cost?  Thanks again.
  • efoozleefoozle subscriber Posts: 2
    I think the large variation come from many places. In my instance, I think 10K was completely out of range. A lot of companies over quote to cover themselves. Most users who have never had a job done do something called scope creep. They ask for one thing and then make you do it over and over because they didn`t really understand all aspects. Some do it just to make money, like anything else. Lets use your "specific" example. Company A can take what you wrote, ask for $10K and run with it. They will make a great site (maybe ) but they really don`t have enough specifics to even quote you in the first place. Don`t pick that company. If you give anyone what you have written and they return a quote, don`t go with them. They don`t know enough about your objective. Now lets take company B. They get your quote, request a sit down to go over everything and say it will be $11,000. This company more accurately knows what you want and is probably your best candidate. These variations can go on and on. The more specific your scope the less a developer is likely to have to guess. This means you are less likely to scope creep. And they are more likely to produce something you like. What it comes down to is that there are to many variables. Now on to something we can control, your scope of work. For every topic you wrote the developer will probably need another 2 pages worth of information for it. I recommend getting with someone who can plan this out with you before you send it off for any quotes.
  • advancepaydayadvancepayday subscriber Posts: 2
    efoozle - FYI: We have already sat down with a local company who quoted us $15K and haven`t really asked more questions then I already provided answers for (ok maybe a few).  It got me thinking what makes one site worth so much when I`ve seen plenty of standards compliant sites designed for $1500 that visually looked better.  I realize on sites i look at there may be back end programming/logic I`m not seeing but it just seems in a lot of cases there are large discrepancies in pricing. 
  • advancepaydayadvancepayday subscriber Posts: 2
    What would be some questions you / your company would ask that would further clarify?How much hand holding do you need? - None (which they are probably taking as a couple hours)What kind of support do you want? - Not sure I`m really clear on the question.  You mean support during the design process?  We already have hosting company we work with and someone who can maintain the finished product.Are you paying the programmer or company to update content? - NoIs it a fairly static site?- YesWhat kind of quality do you want?- Not sure what you are really asking but professional.  Its a financial services company so the more professional the better.Do you have scope of work that cover all aspects of the site?- Can you give me an example of what you mean?
  • efoozleefoozle subscriber Posts: 2
    How much hand holding do you need? - None (which they are probably taking as a couple hours)    *Judging by the scope I would have to get with you many times throughout the process because there are no specifics. What kind of support do you want? -
    Not sure I`m really clear on the question.  You mean support during the
    design process?  We already have hosting company we work with and
    someone who can maintain the finished product.    *When looking for a developer you have determine if you will need them again. If you get an expensive and established company you can go to the when you need help or updates. If you do offshore dev for $15 hr then you will most likely never talk to the same person again. ( Just my experience from trying it a few times )What kind of quality do you want?- Not sure what you are really asking but professional.  Its a financial services company so the more professional the better.    *The larger a persons porfolio the better judge of quality you can be. You can`t judge quality if the developer doesn`t show you anything they have done in the past. If they do show you their porfolio and you don`t like anything then you won`t like what they are going to give you. Do you have scope of work that cover all aspects of the site?- Can you give me an example of what you mean?    * Judging from your post the answer is no. A comprehensive scope of work gives you something to fall back on. Most people who have been in the business a while will draw up a scope of work and a price and then you will both agree and sign it. This way when the buyer changes their mind the developer can say no, here is exactly what we agreed to. The information you posted is very vague and something that most people would not sign unless they were paid enough to cover the misc items not discussed. Here are some things to think about.- 10-12 Page Site    1. Is this content already created?    2. Am I migrating it or you?- Copy Provided    - Small flash animation(s) for scrolling images / possible header    1. How many? How  small? Where? What will they look like?- We currently have 3 interactive sections of the site:   
    - Corporate Site (no redesign needed - to be honest we don`t really
    care what it looks like as long as it functions) - which is a joomla
    installation.    1. No redesign? Do I need to intgrate it?    2. If this site gets hacked because your Joomla is outdated are you going to     point the finger at me? ( Liability )    - Online employment application - basically code stays as is but will need to be integrated to current site.    1. Basically? Is it being changed?    - Google Maps - just integrated to new site.     2. Copy current to new. Got it.    
    - Online application - Right now the site has an "online application"
    for payday advances but all it really does is email a staff member who
    then forwards it to the appropriate store.    1. This should be done in a more secure fashion. - We would like the new version to be standards compliant but this isn`t a "requirement".    1. Do we have to do the security audit?    2. Will you sign off that we are not accountable?- Any and all SEO related tags / structure should be implemented.    1. Are we talking about meta tags?    2. What keywords should get people to your site?How much of the current site do you actually want to keep?Do you want to stick with Joomla?Is this a complete redesign or really just and upgrade/update?Just some more things to think about. Of course this is all easier over the phone and happen fairly fast.
  • efoozleefoozle subscriber Posts: 2
    efoozle - FYI: We have already sat down with a local company who quoted us $15K and haven`t really asked more questions then I already provided answers for (ok maybe a few).  It got me thinking what makes one site worth so much when I`ve seen plenty of standards compliant sites designed for $1500 that visually looked better.  I realize on sites i look at there may be back end programming/logic I`m not seeing but it just seems in a lot of cases there are large discrepancies in pricing. 
    Sorry if some of my posts appear blunt. I have been in a rush through the last 2 posts and didn`t have time to re-read.
    The fact that you have seen $1500 sites that where compliant is not really a huge deal. The less the site does the easier it is to be compliant. Also, who tested the compliance? I have been in security for a while and have seen people do unethical things to pass compliance. It`s one of those things that is only a big deal if you get caught.
  • efoozleefoozle subscriber Posts: 2
    I`m with BrandAlchemy on your site. I was looking through it and I think that it is very functional. If you are rebranding then you may want to look at an upgrade instead of a total rework. Make sure that you are on the latest Joomla (1.0.12) , components, modules, and try to meet compliance regulations in case something happens. Test the backup solution, security, etc...
  • advancepaydayadvancepayday subscriber Posts: 2
    efoozle/BrandAlchemy - I appreciate both of your comments.A couple things:  The site redesign is part of  a corporate re-branding / restructure.  I think the website we have now works but most likely will not match, from a UI perspective, the new colors / logo and image we are going for.I think though that we have gotten off topic, which is mostly my fault.  The question here is how to objectively determine a sites worth.BrandAlchemy - I understand a web portfolio will tell me a great deal about the quality of work a company does but it doesn`t do much for saying whether your website for example should be approx worth $2-5K or 10-15K.  And there seems no way to actually place a semi-accurate number on it.efoozle - When I`m referring to standards based site I mean the websites code (think XHTML vs HTML).  Here are a couple more answers:----How much hand holding do you need?>> Can you pin down what you are looking for?  It would basically be having a graphic designer produce a new "image" and then having the web programmer slice it up to html.  Moving the copy over and integrating google maps, and the online apps (basically copy paste).  There is no coding outside of HTML.  Plus the flash animation (say 5 to pin an exact number) and say 15 new images that would need to be placed somewhere on the site (or included in one of those flash animations).What kind of support do you want?>> We have people in house to edit the site.  I`m unclear how this would effect the cost to design the site in the first place though unless your including money for future support into the cost of the site redesign.Do you have scope of work that cover all aspects of the site?>> Yes the answer is no but mostly because I`m not sure what your asking for.  "The information you posted is very vague" - I understand what your saying and yet don`t know what exactly your looking for.  For example besides hand sketches of the desired site (or a list of sites I like), demographic information (as I see it), and a credit card number I`m not sure what else I could provide (no DNA samples please  ).Here are some things to think about.- 10-12 Page Site    1. Is this content already created? >> Yes. See advancepayday.biz    2. Am I migrating it or you?>> You.- Copy Provided   - Small flash animation(s) for scrolling images / possible header    1. How many? How  small? Where? What will they look like?>> Say 5 to pin a #.- We currently have 3 interactive sections of the site:    - Corporate Site (no redesign needed - to be honest we don`t really care what it looks like as long as it functions) - which is a joomla installation.    1. No redesign? Do I need to intgrate it?>> No.    2. If this site gets hacked because your Joomla is outdated are you going to     point the finger at me? ( Liability )>> No we will maintain and accept liability.    - Online employment application - basically code stays as is but will need to be integrated to current site.    1. Basically? Is it being changed?>> Yes but by internal staff.    - Google Maps - just integrated to new site.     2. Copy current to new. Got it.    - Online application - Right now the site has an "online application" for payday advances but all it really does is email a staff member who then forwards it to the appropriate store.   1. This should be done in a more secure fashion.>> There is nothing sensitive being sent.- We would like the new version to be standards compliant but this isn`t a "requirement".    1. Do we have to do the security audit?>> See above XHTML vs HTML.  But to answer the question no we would be hiring in a web developer compacity not as a security consultant.    2. Will you sign off that we are not accountable?>> Yes.- Any and all SEO related tags / structure should be implemented.    1. Are we talking about meta tags?>> Yes and SEF URLS.    2. What keywords should get people to your site?>> I can provide tags but as a developer wouldn`t this fall somewhat under your (or a web dev companies) domain.How much of the current site do you actually want to keep?>> none but the joomla install (which I can move), google maps, and both online apps.Do you want to stick with Joomla?>> Please note joomla is ONLY used for the corporate version which you would not touch as you would be redesigning the "consumer" version.Is this a complete redesign or really just and upgrade/update?>> Redesign in the sense that the graphic structure would need to be updated to include the new corporate colors etc...I don`t mean to sound argumentative but my point is that a consumer has absolutely no way of objectively determining what a site should cost.  So he/she could go brag to his/her golfing buddies about his new website that only cost him 20K when it should have cost him 5K.  A computer is a complex thing but if you make a apples to apples comparison across vendors you will see that the prices don`t wildly flucuate based on whose selling it.  Thanks again.
  • efoozleefoozle subscriber Posts: 2
    I don`t think that there is a way for the average consumer to objectively determine how much they should pay for a website. The average consumer does not know enough about what goes into building, maintaining, or promoting a website.You have got me thinking about a formula or process to determine a rough price estimate. Buying a website really comes down to your budget. You determine how much you have to spend and then figure out what it is going to take to make it happen.
  • efoozleefoozle subscriber Posts: 2

    efoozle2007-2-21 8:28:53
  • efoozleefoozle subscriber Posts: 2
    We don`t have to know what goes into it.
    The more you know about your target goal or industry the better the chances are of having a successful outcome.
  • advancepaydayadvancepayday subscriber Posts: 2
    BrandAlchemy - I could not agree with you more.  Perhaps this is oversimplifying but my brother is the most technically challenged person I know and yet he can go into a consumer electronics store like best buy and purchase a wide screen high def tv with a reasonable margin of profit (going to the store).Let me give you all a little background.  I`m the one who put the current site up.  Its actually a template bought from template monster (again I`m graphic design challenged) but the YUI/AJAX/PHP/Google Maps is my work.  I also edited the flash to include the logo, take out the audio, and include our verbage.  The corporate version (which is basically a joomla install) was skinned by myself and an associate.My point in mentioning all this is I`m much more likely then the "average" person to be able to provide a potential company with what they need but I still can not find a correlation between service / product and price.Again thanks to everyone for their commentary.
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