The overarching question of every RFP is how much will a project cost. And so we’ve been reviewing the various cost centers that impact a web development project. In the last video we discussed the impact of the client’s team on pricing and how decisive timely feedback (or indecisive and delayed feedback) is a huge factor in both a project’s cost and schedule. In this video we’ll dive into how page count affects a project’s cost.
Way back in the early days of website development, when each page was essentially hand coded, page count was the major factor in pricing. In those days there was almost a direct correlation between the number of pages and the cost of a project. But today most websites are built on database-driven platforms like WordPress. And when you have a database-driven content management system under the hood, page count is not nearly as big a factor as it used to be.
Now there’s an upside and a downside to database-driven websites. On the upside there’s potentially little price difference between a site with 20 pages and one with 100. On the down side, even a simple site with just a few pages still requires much of the same basic infrastructure as a site with a hundred pages.
That’s because every site, regardless of how many pages, still needs all of the fundamental theme elements designed and built. Every site has a header, a menu system, and a footer. Every site needs a basic page template, as well as a post template, an archive template, a search results template, a 404s template, and usually a few more. And all these need to be designed and structured for desktop, tablet and mobile views. All these elements need to be developed even for a simple site with just a few pages. That’s a lot of overhead for a small site. And so there is a minimum cost for any project, even if it has just a few pages.
But on the upside, once the core elements of a site are completed, they can easily scale to dozens or even hundreds of pages without much additional development cost.
While building out the basic anatomy of a website is roughly the same amount of work, whether it’s for a small or large site, there are other aspects of high page count that can affect budget. For example, when a project will require hundreds of pages at the outset, establishing an effective information architecture and menu system will be much more challenging and thus require more time.
Also, the more pages a site has, the greater the likelihood that it will require more custom templates besides the basic set. Additionally, the more pages you have, the more you’ll need a wider range of content components to express that content with various custom layouts.
The last cost factor related to page count has to do with content creation and migration. New content creation is usually done by the client or agency. But sometimes, especially in a redesign project, much of the existing content will need to be migrated over to the new site. And this work, if done by the developer, will directly impact cost based on the volume of content.
Determining the costs of a web project is complicated because you can’t just use one factor, like page count, alone. All of the factors impact one another. For example, in the next video I’ll cover the content complexity and density cost center. And that factor in combination with page count can have a massive impact on overall cost.
So until next time…
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