Why does a website cost so much?
Websites vary a lot in cost, and can be relatively cheap on the low end, but in most cases, effective websites cost a lot more because they require a lot of work to create, and they require the skills take years of learning and practice to be able to do a great job making them.
The biggest factor that determines the cost of websites is of course the amount of time the designers and developers spend working on the project, as well as their support colleagues (like their project managers). Each of these individuals is highly skilled, and therefore needs to be paid accordingly and varies a fair salary, depending on their experience and which type of company they work for. Imagine hiring a full-time designer and developer for a month or more to build your website, and you'll get a better idea of just that portion of the project cost.
More specifically, in the process of making a website, the team will spend some time on planning and research, iteration of the ideas and website design, website development, and finally optimisation and improvements.
Some things we don't often think about are the time the team need to spend working on revisions of drafts based on your feedback, maintenance of the website when it's complete, managing hosting and migration (moving the site from one web host to another), setting up analytics (to measure website activity), and administration training.
Lastly, we love to meet our clients face-to-face and discuss their project with them, and this cost of travelling and meeting time is also factored into the price. This normally take half a day for each of the team members involved.