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How Much Does a Website Cost, Part 2

In Part 1 we discussed actual dollars for an average website. In Part 2, we'll dig into where those dollar estimates actually come from.

The Value Proposition

Sitemason has been building websites in one form or another since the mid-1990's. There's a lot of experience under our roof on West End Ave. That experience is only part of our value. The rest is in our platform, the Sitemason Content Management System. Having a stable and dynamic platform combined with a long history of experience on that technology translates to value. That goes for any development platform, so when choosing your developers, consider their experience and chosen technology. Both need to be reputable and stable.

We've been incrementally improving the CMS since it launched in 2001, and on the heals of launching Sitemason 6, we can say pretty confidently we have an incredible full-featured service. As such, building applications on the Sitemason platform can often be done for a fraction of the cost of competing providers.

The Estimate Guide

Although every project is different, there's also a lot that is similar from one to the next. To come up with estimates for projects, Sitemason references our Estimate Guide [pdf], a collection of best guesses for common development tasks on the Sitemason platform. It's an evolving document that we update quite a bit.

Our Estimate Guide obviously only covers development. It does not include design, marketing, SEO, social media, etc. All services that are often included in parallel with a website project. We stick to what we know, and leave the rest to our partners. We've found that our development estimates are consistently in the low to middle-of-the-pack range. There are those that charge less, and many that charge a heck of a lot more.

The Estimate Guide is in hours instead of dollars because different tasks usually get different rates. It's common for agencies and freelancers to work with a team of specialists with varying rates to tackle javascript, custom PHP, HTML/CSS, and the template separately. It's uncommon that you'll get an estimate with these tasks and rates itemized, but do know that there is generally different costs associated with the various pieces of development.

After reading Part 1 of this series, Sitemason partner Tin Cans & String pointed out a project listing all the moving pieces to consider when doing a web project. For anyone thinking that providing an estimate was a simple matter of responding to "How much does a website cost" they're in for a good bit to consider. Happy building, folks.

Have a look at the Estimate Guide [pdf] and let us know what you think in comments.

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Billy is a web developer and Chief Product Officer (CPO) at Sitemason, and has been with the company since 2006.  Read more about Billy White.

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