A simple explanation can be found here: Q: How much does a website cost?

I work much like a GC (general contractor) for construction. My primary goal has always been to be a great coder, and along the way I have learned that being a good GC also means being good at every job my sub-contractors might have to do. If someone leaves the job site or is not available I often need to be able to finish their job! There are a few analogies I could use here to keep thing simple…

Websites are built by experienced professionals.

New Website New Home New Car
Manager Foreman Engineer
Graphic Designer Interior Designer Vehicle Designer
Developer Carpenter Mechanic
Database Administrator Blueprint Architect Systems Controller
Content/Copy Writer Home Electrician Auto electrician

Websites are built using digital materials.

New Website New Home New Car
Features Furnishing Extras
Templates Pre-built or Trailer Car Kit
CMS system Furnace+AC Engine
Graphics, Code & Content, ect… Concrete, Wood & Materials, ect… Steel, Rubber & Electrical, ect…

Websites require component maintenance.

New Website New Home New Car
Hosting Property upkeep Parking
Domain Name Registered Address License Plate
System updates Home Improvement Regular Maintenance
Enhancements Replacements Fluid Changes

Website bottom line estimates.

New Website New Home New Car
Build Range: 15-250K Build Range: 15-250K Build Range: 15-250K
Monthly (maintain): 1-10k Monthly (maintain): 1-10k Monthly (maintain): 1-10k
Yearly (additional): 1-50k Yearly (additional): 1-50k Yearly (additional): 1-50k
Finance monthly: 175-2500 Finance monthly: 175-2500 Finance monthly: 175-2500

From here the real cost of a site becomes evident! Long after the architect and engineer are out of the equation of your home or vehicle there are still taxes to be paid, gasoline to be bought, warranty and insurance to consider and so forth. The time commitment is also important!

Websites can be treats or tricks.

In the bigger picture there are indeed many other analogies to consider, some of which will reduce cost, others will increase it – here are a few!

New Website New Home New Car
Buggy CMS Template Bad Foundation Lemon
Community Rental Lease
Animation & interactivity Gold on the ceiling Chrome & custom paint
SEO, SEM, SM and Campaigns Lawn care, Upkeep, Plumbing Scheduled mile maintenance
Hackers, Data loss Arson, Break ins Theft, Accidents