Web design and development are a hot commodity these days; everyone “claims” to be the best as well as an expert — unfortunately, all web development service providers are not cut from the same cloth.
When you are looking to hire a company for your web project or business website, I would recommend evaluating your requirements the best you can first, depending on your project goals.
What if you are a total newbie?
If you are entirely new to the web development process, use Google to search for a few medium-sized companies specializing in web design/development specific to your niche to feel out and compare their approach, advice, and process. Doing so will better prepare you to choose the right service provider without getting burned on cost.
If your project is well-planned or for an actual business, I would personally stay clear from independents or freelancers without a business model as well as very low-cost offers and services found on places like Fiverr and Upwork.
Another angle that you could take is to try and foresee the future requirements of your website and services you might need, then lead with that when scouting for companies.
For example, in my company, Vessio, we specialize in monthly website maintenance and management and primarily provide our services to folks with existing websites. However, we provide new website development services at much more reasonable rates to our current monthly customers.
Suppose you feel you will require ongoing help and support for your website. In that case, you might also look at website management and maintenance companies. Doing so may help lower initial costs and help you build a relationship with your development service provider.
How long should my website take to build?
Generally speaking, a medium complexity-based business website developed on a self-hosted platform — if done by a service or company will average around one business week, assuming that you have your content ready to go.
Of course, the build process can vary based on customization and your requirements; however, based on my experience, I would assume a standard business website requiring between 8 to 12 hours for completion.
You need to consider your web hosting setup, site setup/design, page structuring, and configuration across the board. All these pieces typically take time, more so based on the communication time between you (the customer) and the developer.
Let’s talk about money.
For a standard business or personal site (with purpose), if appropriately developed by a professional or web development service provider — you should expect to have a budget between $2k and $5k.
Regarding monthly costs, you will require hosting, which for a standard website is usually $6 to $20 per month, and there is also optional website maintenance and support, which can vary quite a bit based on what you are after.
For example, Vessio provides website maintenance plans at a flat rate of $99 per month which essentially incorporates up to 2 service hours for development and support resources used as needed. There are some much cheaper companies and some that are very expensive.
It’s always your call when it comes to website maintenance and management, as well as the direction you want to go for hosting, for that matter. I advise being selective.
My rule of thumb is you pay for what you get in most cases and time requirements are no exception.