How Much Will Someone Quote to Setup Complete Site?

“How much do you charge for a website?” I often hear this question. Um, a lot. It’s the question right up at the top of any developer’s list of frequently asked questions.

This morning I was scrolling lazily through WordPress help groups and stumbled on a well written response by Joseph Chmielewski.

I do not want to learn WordPress for now. But any idea how much will someone quote to setup complete site?

The question is “Backwards.” And, almost guarantees that the person asking gets stuck with a high bill…and an ineffective site that fails to meet their expectations.

WordPress is easy. Setup for most hosts requires only an automatic script.

  • First question: “What do you need that isn’t offered as one of the pre-built WordPress themes?” Create a requirements and specifications document from the answer to that question.
  • Second question:”What keywords are you targeting?”
  • Third question: “What do you want from the site?” “Money?” “Exposure?” (i.e., branding, recognition) or “Traffic?”
  • Fourth question: “Do you need the site to be ‘Responsive?'” (Accessible by all current devices?”
  • Fifth question: “Do you want a Service Level Agreement (Uptime Guarantees), maintenance, updates)?”

The most difficult part of building a WordPress site is content creation. (time consuming, requires writing skills, requires more than just articles…images, graphic elements, video, etc.)

Before you build content, you need a “Data Dictionary” and a Style Sheet. These ensure both a professional “Look and Feel,” consistent naming conventions and a unified user experience.

Beware of Web developers that quote prices without asking for your design documents.

And ensure that your Contact, Statement of Work and Scope of Work documents spell out the number of “Moves, Adds or Changes” that you are allowed for the quoted price. The Project Plan needs to identify delivery milestones, reliability testing, handoff training and financial penalties for non-performance.

In addition, you may need Non-Disclosure agreements, Non-Compete agreements, transfer of copyright and other protections.

You may need a development site as well as a production site, because once your site is live, you cannot afford making updates without testing.

Require that the developer spell out what components are “Off the shelf” (such as themes, plugins, scripts) and which are built to order. Require that all theme customizations operate as “Child Themes.” Also insist on knowing the cost of “Off the Shelf” components, and the transfer of license for the use of those components.

Be sure to get a list of any components or customization that are “Outsourced”…with contact information.

And insist on complete documentation.

Reputable and professional Web Developers have these basics in place. Any vendor that balks at these requests cannot deliver the professional results that you deserve.

Now, here’s my question for you…

How much is a complete site setup worth?