It’s a straight enough question, why doesn’t it have a straight answer? It’s a source of frustration to many people that no two quotes are the same and a natural assumption when two prices are different is that someone is trying to rip you off. Actually the prices you are receiving can be for very different things. With little knowledge about your project an agency is likely to just quote for their standard approach which can vary a lot.
More than just a page count
Every website is different and we’re talking way more than just the number of pages it contains. At the core of what makes a website different is its purpose and to find out how much should be invested we need to understand what role the website plays in your business. It could be a marketing tool, maybe it’s just there so people know you exist, or it could be so integral that without it you don’t have a business at all. To understand how to achieve a return on investment we need to know what a return looks like.
Define the solution
A website is comparable with another requirement of business; an office/place to work. How much does that cost? If you’re building aeroplanes then quite a lot (I’d imagine), but for others a desk in their home serves the purpose just fine and is super cheap. For us it’s somewhere clients can easily travel to with enough room for a whiteboard and a table to sit around. What you end up with is about working out your requirements and identifying a solution. Solutions are something the web has a lot of, from build-your-own-site services through to the tools to create anything you can imagine. Fundamental to any solution is that it costs the right amount of money.
A better way to think about it
So let’s flip the question on its head and ask how much you should spend. At Lighthouse we start every project by going beyond the brief and working with clients to come up with the right amount to invest. If you want to find out if a web agency is a good fit from a costs point of view then tell them your budget. If you don’t know your budget then ask how much some of their previous projects came in at. Be open about your budget because it’s a very important factor in the success of your project and don’t ask “how much does it cost?”, ask “what can I get?”