How much does a website cost?
Our thoughts and considerations – from a team who has developed over 700 websites.
Without a doubt, the first question when considering a website is cost:
What will it cost me, my company, in time and money to build a great website?
In our experience, the range is considerable, depending on many factors. But, let’s look at it from a “budget point of view” rather than “cost”. First, ask yourself: What can I afford? Alternatively, what can I afford to do without on my website?
Other great questions should include:
What do you want your website to achieve?
How can a new website increase business?
Can the website save my company time and money?
What other goals do you have for your website?
How much does a (free) website cost?
Let’s look at low budget and FREE website options:
FREE to you website builder:
Whether you’re a startup business with limited resources. Or, even if you just want to build your site yourself. Is it really free?
Low-cost website builders:
We have heard of some ambitious business owners using Drupal. But be warned, Drupal is usually for larger organizations’ sites and is complicated to use.
If low-budget or free is your plan, please consider this:
How much time do you have to put into it?
Your website is a statement about your business. It has to help support sales. Make a bad statement and customers go looking elsewhere.
It may be easy to DIY a website, but good design is not always easy to achieve. Good search engine optimization is even harder.
Poorly designed sites reflect poorly on the businesses that use them. How much business will you lose from a poorly designed site? How much will that cost you?
Is it really free?
What have our clients told us about the website builders they used?
It’s not really free because of how many hours they had to spend using it.
You may want to ask yourself “What is my time really worth?”
Let’s put some real numbers to it. We have been told that some people have setup a good website in 20 hours. So, multiply 20 by $100 an hour (or whatever your personal hourly rate might be in your world).
20(hours) x $100 = $2,000
40(hours) x $100 = $4,000
80(hours) x $100 = $8,000
How much did your website really cost? $2,000… and that’s before considering incidentals like photoshopping images, editing video, and content writing. SEO? Forget about it!
Most people agree that spending 20 hours on a start-up-business is a worthwhile investment. Make sure your site does more good than harm!
Other questions to consider before you start on your FREE website:
What if you are already busy with other work and getting paid well to do it?
Should you build your website in your “free” time?
What if you need to spend 40 hours to get the website up? How much is it costing you now?
Are you tech savvy? Working with new technology isn’t easy for everyone.
Lots of work goes into optimizing a website for various browsers. Consider download speed. You have to get all of this right.
If you are not tech savvy, then increase your time estimate on the site. Maybe, 80 hours to create a website you will be proud of.
So if “free” is what you can afford now and you have the time, then get started.
How much does a professionally developed website cost?
If you can afford it, the next level is a budget that allows paying a web design company to create your website.
Some web design companies charge in the millions for website development, and some “companies” are really sole practitioners who will produce a website for a few hundred dollars.
There are different levels of professional website development too.
A professionally developed website will be anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000,000. If this range is too wide – keep reading for specifics.
Below are the website ranges we have experienced and the specifics on what can affect price.
How much will your website cost and what can you get if you increase your budget?
Larger companies require well-planned and well-developed websites. They need websites that properly express their brand, spotlight their products, help them educate and sell.
These can cost between $30,000 to $60,000. For these companies, losing a site visitor is lost revenue.
For small- to medium-size companies on a smaller budget, sites can cost as little as $9,000 and as high as $15,000. These companies need a well-planned website professionally developed with search engine optimization (SEO). For these firms, search results can mean gaining revenue.
What’s the difference between a $10,000 website and a $60,000 website?
Some people say that it’s just about page count but that’s not always the case. So, breaking it down, here are some of the things that affect website budgets.
How does Page Count effect price?
Sometimes a budget factor is page count. Sure.
You may have a website that only needs five well planned pages, designed and optimized. Alternatively, what if you need an e-commerce store with 3000 items? Each item gets a page with descriptions, photos, etc. What’s your page count now?
The price is going to be higher for the 3,000 product website. Or, a huge website needing lots of pages. A school website for instance.
How can you save money while having a pro develop your e-commerce site? Okay, so you don’t have 3000 products but a hundred or so employees. Still a lot of pages.
Ask what you can do to get the cost down:
- Maybe you can provide an excel with items and info?
- Can someone from your team provide perfectly edited images?
- Perhaps you can write most of the content?
Will adding E-Commerce effect the price of your website?
Having e-commerce on your website may be necessary. Do you need to sell products or services without the help of a sales team or physical store?
Here are the things that might affect the price of your e-commerce website:
- Number of Items
- Number of photos of items
- Descriptions of items
- Credit Card Processing
- Shipping and handling calculators
- Multiple pricing options (EX: public prices and reseller pricing)
- A smooth checkout and confirmation process
- Returns and Customer Service feature
- Chat Bot
- Customer profile builder and order database
How does User Experience affect the price of a WordPress website?
Statistical research has proven that stronger, better UX/UI in a website closes more deals and creates more sales. Not sure what UX/UI is? More on User Experience here.
If you got half-way through this blog and thought, “UX/UI? Isn’t that what Elon Musk named his daughter? The answer is no, her name is … X Æ A-12 — pronounced X-Ash-A-12.
Many companies will build their website and navigation as “they” think about it. Alternatively, UX/UI aims to build a website that is best for the visitor to your site. Your customer – not you. UX/UI pros consider visitor flow, sight-lines, attention, ease of navigation, balance and feng-shui.
Planned and tested User Experience Planning on a website generates more sales. It keeps visitors on your site longer. And, it increases site development time. This translates into a more expensive website that earns more in the long term.
Of course, it takes more time to do quality UX/UI research while planning a website. Our clients expect us to do this as part of site development. So, if you want a really well-planned experience for visitors to your site, stretch the budget.
What else will effect price?
How about SEO? (SEO= Search Engine Optimization)
How much does a website cost with good SEO?
What these search engines read when they visit your site will decide if you are ranked on the first page or not. Read our extended blog on how search engines work. Do you think being found is important? Many of our clients do. Search means getting eyeballs and business.
Some companies and organizations choose to skimp on SEO spending. It is possible to save hundreds and sometimes thousand by not really investing in website SEO. What is the flip side of that? You can lose hundreds and sometimes thousands by not turning up in search results. You decide which is more important.
Great SEO is planned into your website in the early development and writing phase. Good SEO can be achieved after the site is developed. Maintaining good SEO is an on-going process. It’s not a set-it and forget-it thing.
How do you keep good SEO? Keep writing and blogging and updated meta data and headlines etc. throughout the year. Add content. Add people and news. Remove outdated stuff. Keep the site fresh.
Note: Why do you think we write so many blogs? Sure, we want to educate and keep our prospects and clients informed and engaged, but there is the need for continuous SEO.
If your company needs to be found accurately and easily on Google and other search engines, you should think of SEO as an investment in your business growth. It’s just like any other advertising you may do. Stop advertising and customers look to others for their needs.
How might photography and video effect the price?
A major budgetary item to consider is great visual media. How many images and of what type (people, products, etc.) do we need to have an effective site?
Does it need to be media content created specifically for your company, or will stock images and video footage suffice? What about editing photos, editing and customizing video, testing image optimization and download speeds?
Amazing, mouthwatering, emotionally charged images and video can add upwards of $50,000 to a website or marketing budget. We have seen more spent, and less. How much is your company image worth to your bottom line?
Why spend the money? These elements take you from a smaller website to a much more advanced, more appealing one to attract and keep customers engaged.
Budget minimum $2,000-$4,000
Budget maximum around $50,000-$80,000
Will the number of decision makers effect a website budget?
How many client-side decision makers are involved? We have encountered projects where upwards of 10 decision makers were on a website committee.
What is the difference between having 1 or 10 decision makers? In our experience it is many extra months of work on both sides. This translates into extra hours, thousands of extra dollars and more rounds of revisions.
One way to save money is by appointing an individual or a small committee of three. The individual or small committee will have full authority over the project and can always report back to the larger committee.
Add $1,000 and an extra month for every additional decision maker.
Now that you know more, what can you afford? What can you afford to go without?
Every business we have ever worked with has had some kind of budget maximum. If you are on the fence and really don’t know which way to go, consider…
- you underspend and your website isn’t effective?
- the new website repels customers?
- all of your competition invests properly in their websites and people have a better experience there?
- your site doesn’t work well with search engines and it drives all Google traffic there?
Alternatively, ask yourself or the planning committee:
“In our line of business, how many new projects or sales does the website have to generate in order to pay for the investment and make it all worthwhile?”
So… How much does a website cost? That is up to you. What it all boils down to is how much you are willing to financially invest to reach your goals. What do you need and what can you go without.
Opting for a free or low-budget website can cost you time and possible new clients if not executed well. All of the little details that go into a quality website – strategy, SEO, great photography, UX/UI design – may seem trivial, but our 35+ years of experience in web design says that it is crucial for a successful website. What you invest in your website now will shape the success of your business in the future.