Use the Triforce to Estimate Your Website's Cost

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According to The Project Management Formula - 24% of IT/software projects fail (canceled before completed), and 44% are challenged/stalled (finish with fewer features or finish late).

That means only 32% projects going according to plan. These are not encouraging statistics if you're about to undertake a web design project for your company. With that said...

It's Dangerous To Go Alone. Take This!

And "this" is some knowledge that will help you better understand what a website might cost. There are the three primary cost factors or Triforce, if you will, that factor in to a website budget:
  1. Website Requirements

  2. Time

  3. Hourly Rate

So now that we know these factors let's also imagine that there are only three types of website that exist: Informational, Measurable and Multi-purpose.

  • Informational Site: A solution for companies that just need to exist online or only need to showcase information about their company
  • Measurable Site: A Solution for companies that need an informational site - plus the ability to measure their sites performance
  • Multi-purpose Site: This type of site is more and more companies that need a very robust site that allows them to publish content, sell products, integrate with 3rd party software, is easy to manage and where scalability and security are paramount. 

Informational Sample Project: McAdam Landscaping Website

Example Requirements:

  • Under 40 pages
  • Basic informational/marketing copy about the organization
  • Ability to manage content
  • Ability to publish new articles and portfolio items

Measurable Sample Project: Aldera Website

Example Requirements:

  • Under 40 pages (not including blog posts or other resources)
  • Basic informational/marketing copy about the organization
  • Ability to manage content
  • Ability to publish new articles and service lines
  • Integration with third party marketing automation software
  • Focus on driving leads through their website for their sales team

Multi-purpose Sample Project: Bloodshot Website

Example Requirements:

  • Under 40 pages (not including products, events or artists)
  • Basic informational about the organization
  • Ability to manage content
  • Ability to publish news articles, tours and events
  • Robust artist and media kit pages
  • Geo-targeting of visitors by IP address
  • Soundcloud integration for watch and listen pages
  • eCommerce platform built Drupal

Website Requirements

Sites can vary in terms of what actions they can perform for the company and the users visiting the site. These needs can range from the very standard (or informational needs) to the highly complex (or multi-purpose site type needs). The difference between standard and complex really depends on the person who is defining the need. Needs like the ability for a website to:

Provide info about your company
Informational Need
Contain any # of text based pages
Informational Need
Display properly on mobile devices
Informational Need
Ability to manage content
Informational Need
Showcase your products/portfolio
Informational Need
Have the copy and text overhauled
Measurable Need
Rank 1st in Google Searches
Measurable Need
Integrate with third party software
Measurable Need
Sell products/receive payments onsite
Multi-purpose Need
Client backend
Multi-purpose Need

Depending on your number of products you have and the extent of your ecommerce needs some of those above mentioned "Complex" requirements may not be so complicated (however, typically they are more advanced requirements and beyond a brochure style website).


Once all of your website requirements are planned and finalized - your web design team will try to estimate the number of hours your list of website requirements will involve based on similar projects they have completed in the past. Time is essentially the number of hours it takes to plan, design, develop, make revisions, launch your site, and train your team on how to manage your website.

As part of this example imagine that each of these site types only takes the following number of hours to complete from start to finish:

Informational Site:
60-100 Hours
Measurable Site: 
150-200 Hours
Multi-purpose Site: Example Site
250-330+ Hours

Hourly Rate

This is the hourly rate that your web designer charges and can vary widely depending on your web developers team size and level of experience. For the sake of example, imagine there are only three potential types of web developer with the following hourly rates:

An independent freelancer
A professional web design team
A large digital agency

Let's Compare Three Imaginary Projects

And How Much Each Web Design Provider Might Charge:

  1. Project 1: Just needs to exist - informational site for an organization that has a defined brand, understands their businesses objectives and their users
  2. Project 2: A focus on ROI - catalog site for an organization that has a clear brand, understands their businesses objectives, their users objectives and they have a target revenue they want to generate
  3. Project 3: Multi-purpose - eCommerce website for an organization that is rebranding, needs an internal resource center, and needs to integrate with their 3rd party CRM

An Independent Freelancer - $50/hr

Project 1 - 60-100 Hours @ $50/hr
$3,000 - $5,000
Project 2 - 150-200 Hours @ $50/hr
$7,500 - $10,000
Project 3 - 250-330+ Hours @ $50/hr
$12,500 - $16,500+

A Professional Team - $150/hr

Project 1 - 60-100 Hours @ $150/hr
$9,000 - $15,000
Project 2 - 150-200 Hours @ $150/hr
$22,500 - $30,000
Project 3 - 250-330+ Hours @ $150/hr
$37,500 - 49,500+

A Large Agency - $250/hr

Project 1 - 60-100 Hours @ $250/hr
$15,000 - 25,000
Project 2 - 150-200 Hours @ $250/hr
$37,500 - $50,000
Project 3 - 250-330+ Hours @ $250/hr
$62,500 - $82,500+

How to Keep My Website's Costs Down?

One of the easiest ways to cut down on Web design costs: BE ORGANIZED. How well do you know your business? If you have never put together a business plan it might be a good time to think about developing one. Because any good Web company will need to understand many of the ways in which you organization works so you can clearly see the unique consumer and market dynamics.

There is a cost penalty for being disorganized from both a time and money perspective. The more disorganized you are when you work with a web development team the more support it will require from the web design team and it will most likely take longer to build.

With clear instructions, open and frequent communication, and a well thought-out plan, costs can be kept within a manageable scope. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and work collaboratively with your web design company--the better both parties can communicate, the smoother (and more quickly!) the process will go.

Marty Vernon Digital Strategist

About the Author

Marty Vernon

Marty is Co-founder/Strategic Director at EDUCO. Connect with Marty on , LinkedIn or