If you’re shopping around for a website development quote, you’re going to notice differences (possibly extreme differences) in the quotes that you receive. The reasons for those differences can be confusing to someone that’s just getting their feet wet with the process of designing or redesigning a website.

Chris Lema’s article “5 Reasons Why Similar-looking Websites Cost Different Amounts” gives valuable insight into the reasons for those radically differing quotes that you may receive.

Summary of Chris’ Article

Chris goes into more detail in his article, here’s a quick summary:

  1. If there’s just one person working on the project, this will keep costs down. There can be a trade off in turn-around time and cost.
  2. The developer that’s charging more may understand your needs better. Are your long-term goals for your site being taken into account?
  3. The scope of the project is better understood. Chris uses the example of data migration, and as I type this, I’m also working on a site for a client who received a quote which didn’t include populating the finished site with their content.
  4. Your site should be as unique as your business. Some sites are developed from the ground up; on the other hand some are dropped into a template, have the colors and logos changed and are unleashed into the wild.
  5. Looks vs Performance: Your site needs to look great and do so in conjunction with making it easy for your visitors to accomplish what they came to do.

That’s Chris’ list in a nutshell. Let’s revisit #5: Looks vs Performance, but use an alternate definition of performance:

One Added Point

There’s a lot of work that can happen behind the scenes that doesn’t necessarily result in visual differences to the user-facing parts of a website. Is your visually beautiful website going to perform in terms of page-load times? On an iPhone? How about on an off-brand tablet with a slow connection?

These items take a significant amount of time to accomplish and add to the overall cost of the website, but result in a website that “just works” whenever and wherever it might be loaded.

Your final website development quote can vary wildly, because the overall effort put towards making the site look good and perform can drive up costs. There are a lot of aspects to the design and development of your new site that are not immediately obvious, but will pay off in the long-term.