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Web Site Costs and Prices

From TBTF for 1995-11-19

Web Site Costs and Prices
Copyright © 1995 by Al Hogan <alh at ok dot bc dot ca>
November 16, 1995

On Nov. 13, I posted a question to the Online News, Netwatch and Apple Internet Authoring mailing lists asking about the fees and charges for web sites - both storage and development.

The response was tremendous, once again proving the power of the internet as a tool (post a question and two days later have information from around the world)!

Since some of these posts were sent to me privately I wouldn't presume to use names without permission. Some URLS I used because the writers were obviously proud of their work or invited me to look. Others I left off... If anything, I tried to err on the side of privacy. (By the way, I tested the links, and they all work.)

Thank you very much to all who helped...

Al Hogan

Excerpts from the Responses

I have been looking for the same info myself. Try this site: http://www.cnet.com/Central/Features/Build/ss4a.html It has most of the needed info including costs.

One place that posts its rates for customized jobs (many IPs do this as well) is the world yellow pages site, www.wyp.net, once you get past the template they will provide to any business.

Their prices struck me as pretty well within the current standards, and the hourly rather than page charge is certainly a more accurate way to go.

I am currently looking into a web site for our business.

I found a company called pronet, found at www.pronett.com They give their rates out over that site so you could get some ideas from there.

The links in the "Advertise web subject page" of my software's "Demo-on-the-web" will be of great benefit and use.

The link is: http://web.sbtcorp.com/infostar/brochure.htm

Our prices are on our site at: http://www.dialone.com

Check out our site to see what we have done. You can find our address at the bottom of the page. http://www.traverse.com/hcs/welcome.html

This may be of some help... http://www.castle.net/~hfried/pricing.html

Try these two. Mostly sponsorship fees but many have the cost of creating and maintaining pages.



One person sending to the online-news mailing list quoted a price of $45 an hour, and 2 to 3 hours for a homepage design. This was <DFerre4972 at aol dot com>

On the other hand, my son spent the summer doing web pages for FermiNational Accelerator Lab, and they paid him minimum wage. ($4.50 and hour). Designing web pages does not appear to be a very glamorous job around there.As part of his job he also helped count parts for their inventory, and moved boxes.

I was talking to the person stocking the shelves at the computer department of the local Sam's Club (the discount warehouse affiliate of Wal-Mart) and discovered that he also designs webpages. He is a college student studying computer science. Personally, I see a disturbing trend here toward moving boxes, and making web pages, but I hope this is just a coincidence.

The Sam's Club employee uses an internet provider who charges $20 a month for unlimited SLIP access. That price includes 5 megabytes of space on the providers's computer for personal storage. In this case it stores the guy's web page(s). My internet provider charges me $10 a month for 10 hours of a SLIP connection. Each additional hour is supposed to be a buck, but my bills have been exactly $10 for the last year. In addition to those initial 10 hours I get an area where I can post a personal web page on their computer. I am not sure of the exact size I am permitted, but it is pretty generous, and more than adequate. If I go over that "free" amount then there is a nominal surcharge - something like $1 per excess megabyte of storage per month.

If you want to post a very large web presence then you might want to have all the files on your own computer, and tie this to the internet through an internet provider. This approach will certainly cost more money, and any IP can give yo a quote for online fees, while computer stores will happily sell your the equipment - for as much as they can get. I have heard of several plans for putting businesses "on" the internet which have asked for a lot more money - I imagine that skilled salesmen can fleece the unwary - so I guess the sky is the limit on maximum charges, but the minimum is $10 a month plus minimum wage to create it.

Heck, you might even get something cheaper than that if you can find a college kid who wants something you'd be willing to barter.

The going rate for authoring Web pages in the U.S (West Coast) is $30.00 to$100.00 an hour, depending on the complexity of the web site; are forms involved; is security an issue; does the site have to connect to a data base and on and on!

A quality web server with a bunch of lines and database connections and an experienced webmaster, will run from $600.00 to $1,000.00 per month or more depending on the volume generated by the site.

Anything over $1,000.00 per month would probably justify going inhouse with the serving and hiring a web author and web master.

Try http://www.mcp.com for some good books on financial specifics. Also Quebooks has published Internet Business Guides as well.

WebmasterMac, an incredibly simple book about Apple Internet servers has a great description of different connections and their costs, as well as a list of hundreds of servers that provide space. As far as I know the price of Web site design depends on the customer, their needs (i.e. do you need to maintain the pages as info changes,etc.), and what they can pay.

I read that one Web site designer charged 100,000 for a very large commercial site that sells lots of products. I create simple Web sites for not-for-profit organizations for free, although some people have been able to arrange deals like $1000 a month for twelve months to design the whole Site, and maintain it for a year.

There are many questions to be asked in order to do pricing.

Will the material sit in a database or will you be making static pages? How will you receive the material? Who does the updating? Will there be online ordering?

There are many more questions that need to be answered before coming up with a figure.

A site like this can be done for four figures or five figures.

Having a commercial presence on a Web site seems to run $25-$40 /month.I just (nearly) completed a 20 hour Homepage production for a client, and I'll be charging $40/hr.

And I haven't even done the sound, animations, etc. yet. From what I've heard, $40/hr is cheap. But then, I didn't write the content, only formatted it.

Curious? http://www.trail.com/~monroe/homepage.htm It's rough, still a draft, but it's startin' to look good.

Our company, BC Publishing, offers both of the services you described.You can find the exact prices at the URL: http://bcpub.com/bcpub.html

As foryour question, honestly there is no real benchmarks. Space is cheap, most services are cheap.

Anyone who tells you differently is taking you for a ride. Some design consultation and perl/cgi programming can be expensive, but the bare bones (space,ftp,telnet,listserv,etc.) should be cheap.

The reason why I say there is no benchmarks is that each package is different. It is like buying a car it depends on what you want/need. As for the expensive consultation/programming issue. It again depends on what you need.

I have seen rates anywhere from $25 to $150 an hour.I better be getting some good advice for $150, but I guess some folks think that is a fair price.

If you need any help or find someone with a deal you like and want another opinion, feel free to ask. If you need any of the details of our accounts explained please let me know. We have everything from cgi access to Real Audio.

I'm new to this myself... the iMall (http://www.imall.com) charges $3000 for five pages which comprise a storefront in their electronic mall.

The storefront is on their server; they do page update and design. it's a multi-level marketing scheme.Their promoters claim that $3000 is a price which the market will bear.

Oh, and by the way, the $3000 is the startup; the monthly rental is $89.

Depending on amount of storage, data movement and services, from $150US on up (my provider starts at $25/mo for 4mb of storage + 2mb per day data movement).

We charge, depending on type of needs either $100 to $300US per page OR by the hour PLUS extra for creation of graphics + programming (C + PERL).

Check out our Web page, under SBA.NET.WEB and find the sample of FEEs page.

It looks to me like "getting a specific url" or domain registration is about $200US.

Commercial pages are prices by megabyte about $5/month per 10 meg and by number of accesses.

Look at www.metronet.com for an example.Metronet offers varying levels of WWW service based on the volume of traffic a user's web pages generate. There are currently two levels to this service:

Low-Volume - up to 5 meg of WWW transfers per day, 150 meg/month average

High-Volume & Commercial - avg 10 meg of WWW transfers per day, 300 meg/month average, for the first tier of service.

After the first 300 Megabytes of traffic per month, there is an incremental charge for each unit of 300 Megabytes of traffic.

Low-volume usage applies to our session users; any user paying for a Session (shell) account may put webpages up in their own public_html directory.

Personal web pages are low usage and non-commercial, andas such any personal web user whose pages average more than 5 meg of WWW transfers per day will be asked to convert to high-volume WWW service. High-volume Web accounts are for heavier and/or commercial use pages. The following rates and restrictions apply for our high-volume web space: Web space rental, high-volume user, $50/month. Up to 10 megabytes disk space for html/graphic data/email/etc. Extra storage is $5/10mb.

Up to 300 megabytes of www/ftp transfers per month. With our current mean hit size being 5K this is roughly equivalent to 2000 hits per day.

After the first 300 Megabytes of traffic per month, there is an incremental price of $50 per month for each unit of 300 Megabytes of traffic.

Domain name application (We submit it for you. Please note that there is an additional $100 setup charge from InterNIC to register your domain.

This registration fee is not included in our setup fee.) WWW specific Domain Name Service: Our servers are attached to your domain name. This lets you use yourdomain.com to refer to your pages on Metronet's host. i.e a URL of 'http://WWW.YourDomain.com/' works.

One limited access shell login for server review, html text editing, file transfers of data to the server, and email to yourid@metronet.com. This is for Web management only and not for general Internet access (Usenet news is not included). SLIP/PPP or full Session access is $16 or $19/month extra. Use of our dedicated WWW server. This machine's sole purpose is WWW service, so your Web pages and programs are not slowed down by other processing. Independent log files.

All WWW logs for your pages are stored in private logfiles that ONLY show your accesses. This makes logfile analysis much easier and faster, so you can see just who is accessing your pages.

Month-end logfile analysis, mailed to you each month, showing how much traffic your pages had the previous month, and which pages received the most traffic. Access to imagemaps and cgi's in your own directory.

No intervention by our staff is required for you to set up your own imagemaps and cgi's. Dynamic html/cgi documents. If you have index.cgi in a directory, rather than index.html, the cgi will be invoked. An anonymous ftp directory. Ftp traffic is included in your overall hit count each month.

High-Volume web space setup fee - $100 A one-time fee, includes Setup of your user id and directory. One simple html form and cgi that sends you email (same generic form) Links in our homepage index, and A list of major index sites you can submit your page address to, to be announced to the net Registration of your domain, and activation in our nameservers

Choice of three host names (we recommend YOUR.com, WWW.YOUR.com, and gopher.YOUR.com) Domain Email Service - $20/mo, plus one-time $20 setup fee

This allows you to receive email at yourid@YOURDOMAIN.com. (The regular hi-web service only includes email to yourid@metronet.com). Please note that high-volume Web rates include a limited access account, but do not include a full session or SLIP/PPP account on Texas Metronet. These are $16 or $19/month extra.

GoldenGate Internet Services would do it for $89.00 per month which includes10MB hard drive space.

The Domain Registration (ie; www.yourcompany.com) is a one-time fee of $100.00.

I have been having difficulty finding a good source of web pricing norms in general. I have been pricing my work from $50 to $18,000 depending on the need.

I have not actually gotten very much work of any sort though I have been bidding on a lot of things and I have been able to bill five people from $50 to $2,300.

I pay $200 a month for 20 megs. I have developed two sites within this space (http://www.rvhfreegate.com and http://www.informationgate.com). The site provider was going to charge my client $75 an hour at an average of 10 hours($750) to develop the site. I taught myself the html programming and charged my client $50 an hour. I know there is a lot more to learn, but I got them online with original graphics. I now service their sites for them on a per-upload fee.

The going rate in southern Or's Rogue Valley seems to be based more on what each provider charges their business clients ($20-$35/month, plus development fees (page creation) of $25-$45/hour.

Another attempt I've heard of offers a flat fee of $500 for page creation, plus $25/month to post the pages.

Our own service runs differently, since it is my effort, but hosted on my provider's server. Check out http://www.wave.net/guide/rvg.html From the "Imagine" link on the cover page, you'll find pricing info. We're pricing by megabytes of storage on the hard drive, with throughput a separate (and so far unnecessary) issue.

This project is has only been online about 1 month, and we are still figuring it out, but this looks workable for now. Comments or ideas are welcome.

A "decent" starting price for an interactive commercial site is 15K - 25K.

There are several dozen variables to take into account (is any scanning required or can the info come in electronic formats, how much interactivity in the way of forms/database programming is required, how elaborate is the graphical user interface front end - for retail, it better look good as well as download fast, is a commerce application required, etc.)

Again, this is a starting point. A good site has to grow and change at least every two months, or it will whither and eventually die. Technical innovation and user expectation demand that you keep the thing alive. We're based in Toronto, and I work just outside Ottawa.

Right now we're working on a catalogue for the Royal Canadian Mint www.rcmint.ca, which will be completed Nov. 15th, several government sites, and we've recently completed sites for companies like Simware www.simware.com, Dynamic Mutual Funds www.dynamic.ca, Armada www.globalx.net/armada. We also do lots of mainstream multimedia work (CDs, diskette promos, training apps.) for companies like Xerox, Mackenzie Financial, EDS, etc.

It happens I've been doing some research in this area.

This provider of presence, web storage, design, consulting, updating service, etc. gives detailed examples of their cost structure on their web page. - http://www.empire.net/ Empire.Net, Inc. - They're full-service only: design, implement, host. After initial setup, extra maintenance and changes are billed at $60/hr. Setup Prices in the three ranges are negotiable.

Small Web Tree: Couple of mostly text information pages, no forms, < 15k accesses/Mo.: ~$350.00+ setup fee, $75.00/Mo. flat fee to keep your web tree available on the net.

Medium Web Tree: Several pages, simple feedback form, graphics buttons with hypertext links. $1800-3500.00+ setup fee, $150/Mo. for first 10k block of accesses, $50/5k block/Mo. above the first 10k block of accesses.

Large Web Tree: Complicated, large amounts of graphics, text. extensive forms and/or custom scripts: $3500-5000.00+ setup fee, $500 for up to 10k accesses, $250/10k block/Mo. above the first 10k block of accesses.I found them (and hundreds of others) at http://www.thelist.com/.

Web page hosting varies quite widely across the Web.

Prices range from as low as $60/mo. (or even less) to quite a few at $200-$300/mo. & some much much higher. Is there that much of a difference?

Ideally - you would want the server to be "dedicated" to Web page serving (such as ours), and also be backed up daily off-site for disaster recovery purposes -- hurricanes etc.. (such as ours), and not be "part dial-in and part Web serving".

The issue is the speed and reliability of serving. Why such a low price when we could get much more? We believe in getting the small and small-medium size business on the Web in an affordable manner - because not as many folks seem to be serving them (at least from a price perspective) - and we enjoy serving entrepreneurs. Many of the Web page production and hosting firms just go for the big bucks for hosting - because they can get it - no questions asked... probably because of the hype and "mystery" surrounding the Web (& their non-Web advertising budgets)

Site set-up charges vary quite widely as well - and depends upon what services are packaged together.

Of course - this makes it all the more confusing for the consumer who does try to compare apples to apples - because of the different kinds of "breakouts." Most folks don't seem to be "shopping around" - sand& they usually go with the host that they have heard about on the radio or TV etc...or that happens to be located in a fancy building or whatever.

Because people either can't do the research (because they aren't on the Net yet) - or because they don't know any better (even people who have been on the Net) - many folks just want to get on the Web - at whatever the cost.

We feel that we should be priced at a "fair deal" vis a vis what we think the cost should settle at (or will eventually settle at) on the Net - and give them that value today.

Of course, Web page production costs depend upon many factors such as creative talent, features that can be or will be incorporated in the site etc.

The intangibles - just like deciding between various advertising firms in the print, TV, or radio medium...Page production fees vary widely as well.

The bottom line is - you could probably charge them whatever your heart desired - but you might want to take into consideration your overhead - & whether you really want to be charging different customers different prices for the same thing - just because you could get it.

We prefer consistency in our pricing - and endeavor to make our services a great value - from both a quality and price perspective. In a few weeks - we will supply links to our clients at http://akainc.com/intereac.htm

a) In the UK, the average cost of Web Space is about 300 per year for 5Mb. The people I use charge me 5 per month per 1Mb.

b) I design and sell Web Pages as a turnkey operation and charge 50 per quarter (3 months) for 1,000 words text and an image. For that I design the page, provide updates every quarter and keep the page in Webspace on the Server I rent. Larger sites are calculated from there eg 2,000 words = about 80.00 etc.

Indianapolis is kind of an odd bird in that web site development and internet access in general is quite low. The going rate just for access is about $10 to $15 a month for 120 hours, 14.4 and around $25 for same service at 28.8.

a) a web site For up to 10 megs, the average storage fee is around $35 dollars, but maintenance of a site (changes, etc.) is $75 per hour. Some ISPs were charging so much per download, but many won't when pressed. If you find your client is using more bandwidth than anticipated, simply revisit the flat fee you're charging for storage space.

b) designing a web site Rate averages about $75 per hour locally, but have seen some developers that charge up to $150 hourly. Some charge so much per link, per scan, etc.

To find out what your local ISPs are charging I'd start with a look at *The List* at: http://thelist.com/

Just under 1600 ISPs are listed with contact information. Many have autoresponders that can give you rate, service and development information.

Most ISPs include URL registration in popular search engines as part of the service. Normally don't cover more than 25, though. At Macmillan's Information SuperLibrary we have nearly 200 search engines and directories in which we register mini web sites, a service we've just developed. Like you, we're offering display advertising and mini web sites on our server.

Our rate card is designed much like a magazine rate card with open and frequency rates offered. Rates were developed according to traffic in different areas of our site. In addition, we offer classified advertising in the newsletter and Yellow Page advertising in the New Riders WWW Yellow Pages.

Clients have the option of getting display ads only (banners that link to their home pages) or of building mini web sites within the library. In constructing a mini web site, we cover development costs by charging for the following services, in addition to the display advertising rates:

Graphics submitted in hard copy,$50 scanning fee for the initial scan; $25 for each additional scan. Programming services for creation of mini web sites, $50 per hour. There is a $50 minimum charge for this service. For each graphic that must be reloaded or converted, there is a $25 fee.

Design Costs:

The costs of designing and implementing a site for a retail client are contingent on the complexity and objectives of the client.

For instance does the client wish to offer secure transactions for online sales (digicash, Netsite commerce server, 1-800 sales etc.). In addition, is the product range large enough to justify the incorporation of a database/search engine? And more importantly is the consumer demographic well represented on the Web. These are important questions that must be answered before an online initiative is considered.

To give you an idea of a cost range I would say that a Web site with "several pages and features"(?) and a modicum of interactivity, without online transaction capability, would run anywhere from 10K all the way up to 100K+(database/online transactions).

Hosting costs:

Bandwidth usage and hard disk space are the two factors that drive the costs of hosting a commercial site. A successful commercial site may put undue burden on your existing server and you may need to invest in a dedicated server to feed a potentially high hit ratio. No one likes a slow server.

The fairest costing model would involve a flat hosting fee plus bandwidth usage (ceiling/scalable rates). If you are capable you may wish to absorb the hosting costs in exchange for a cut of the online revenue if there is any. (be careful here...)

The going rate in the NYC area is based on pages or hours. $100-$150/hr and $100-$300/page

For a large company like that, depending on the size, complexity, interactivity, of the site, they start at 25k and go to 100k or more. I have a diagram in front of me for a large retail site ( Toys R Us) that is about 200 pages and includes an interactive game. Too bad the design is so bad. The whole thing has to be torn down and begun again. That's what's expensive.

To maintain the site depends on hours of additional production per month and bandwidth required (hits). I would propose a sliding scale based on these criteria.

The often-cited cost for a turnkey Web site is a minimum of $10,000, plus on-going charges per megabyte transferred.

Our sites start at $500 setup and go up depending on the amount of work / features and we have a $30/mo maintenance fee. http://www.intersphere.com/

I have seen web site pricing range from "template" based web pages for an even US$100.00 giving the client four pictures, several thousand words of text [if supplied electronically] and basic administrative statistics on a monthly basis, with an additional US$30.00 per month hosting fee. I don't know that there is an upper limit on the cost of a web site.

Many ISPs provide up to 5MB of disk storage for a web site included in the monthly fee for a connection. Some of the [IMHO] more business-oriented ISPs also include a certain number of "hits" per day. In both cases, there is a charge if the storage or hit limit is exceeded.

Right now, pricing is all over the map. The best pricing model is to attempt to optimize competitive advantage over other media with a return to keep your business profitable; i.e. do a business plan, as onerous a task as this can be.

In Australia we've found pretty much what you reported in your posting: pages vary from anything from free (often done as a favor) to $1000 a page although I have heard of one major ad agency which has an interactive unit here which isn't interested unless you have $50,000 up front - that's Aussie dollars! I understand that is for a whole interactive marketing package.

Rough Cost Estimates for Startup Website

One-Time Costs

Computer -- $5,000 to $25,000+ (depending upon whether you get a souped-up PC and run Linux or go with a high-end, turnkey platform from SGI, Sun or other.

OS/server software -- $0 to $10,000+ (depending upon whether the public domain apps are sufficient for your needs or whether you need to buy proprietary stuff like Netscape's Commerce Server or Progressive's RealAudio)

Connectivity hardware -- (router, coupling, etc.) around $5000?

Connection installation -- $1,000 - $2,500

Modems -- If you need to provide dialup access.

Ongoing Costs (Monthly)

Connection -- $250 to $1,500 (leased line to full T-1)

Labor -- Of course, you need someone to do UNIX programming, listserver management, HTML coding, hardware maintenance, billing, administration, content development, editing, etc.

What have I left out? Obviously, there are sizable ranges in these projections.

When doing your projections also analyze your ongoing costs into their fixed and variable components so that you can do a breakeven analysis according to changes in sales volume.

For pure Web hosting, you might want to look at NaviService. We have 7x24 monitoring and multiple T3 connections to the ANS backbone. In addition, we offer the unique NaviPress remote authoring tool. There are four service levels, depending on traffic, storage, and scripting requirements.

Here's another web developer to check. They're focused mostly on small business that don't have any existing internal networks or connections to the Internet. They're rates can be found at: http://www.dvisions.com/services.html

Here are some general parameters if working with us:

A comprehensive marketing or business premises, with a substantial amount of information plus a full list of typical bells and whistles, like mail-to forms, site navaigation and searching, etc., starts at around $15K, plus bandwidth.

We sharge for bandwidth at tiered rates (depending on usage) starting at $450 per month for a guaranteed availability of 290 MB per day.

Integrating things like sound, video, and interactivity are additional and quoted based on per-hour rtes of between $50 - $150 per hour depending on requirements.

We charge a base rate of $125 for setup with a monthly maintenance charge of $95 per month, which includes 6 graphics, 25MB of storage, 100MB of transfers, access statistics, posts to all of the Web search engines, and monthly press releases to computer mags and publications related to the field of the business we're building the site for. We also charge $25 a month to handle e-mailable forms and $55 a month for image maps.

This isn't an easy sell, because most people don't understand what the Web is. Most need to be educated first.

This was quite thoroughly thrashed out on Internet Marketing and Market-l in July '95. Keith Gillespie generously summarized it for the group in his posting "Itemizing Web Site Costs". The posting won't tell you "exactly" what to charge but it does provide a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes rationale for what webdesign companies are charging.

Keith's article can be found online at http://www.interlog.com/~bxi/gillesp.htm

[ TBTF for 1995-11-19 | TBTF for 1995-11-26 ]


Copyright © 1994-2023 by Keith Dawson. Commercial use prohibited. May be excerpted, mailed, posted, or linked for non-commercial purposes.