How Much Does a Website Cost?
So you run a small business or a startup and are in the market for a new website? You open Google and type "how much does a website cost?" and price varies from 1000$ to 15000$ or more. Your confusion meter is as high as it can go.
"I want a simple website", how hard can it be to find out the cost?
I have worked in the industry for over 7 years now, started as a freelancer, later became a software developer in a company and a few years after that I founded my own web development company. I think I can provide an expert opinion on the matter.
First off, I want to get something addressed at the start of this article, in most cases it takes a few minutes of a phone conversation or in-person chat with a developer or project manager, to get an estimate for your project, given that you know what you are looking for and your project isn't very complex.
What do I mean by complex?
Let's say you are looking for something very common, 4-6 page informational website with (Home, About Us, Services, Gallery, Contacts) pages. It is a simple website and shouldn't cost a small fortune. Depending on the design and the development choices you make, it shouldn't cost more than 1000$ to 3000$.
A complex example would be a user forum with an unlimited number of pages, post, etc.. Advanced administration system behind it, essentially you can add, remove or edit everything. Maybe your website is tied to some external third-party app. In this case, it would be irresponsible to give an estimate before the developer or project manager has more details about your project.
Let's break down the why, what and how much in website development, so you can get an estimation for your website.
Before starting a project, you need to figure out the basics! Like with everything you do for your business, first, you need to figure out what is it that you are looking to change, build, etc.., how will you do it and how much resources can you spend on this project.
What are you looking for?
There are many types of websites and that is one of the main factors when it comes to the website price. For example, a standard informational website will always cost less than a standard eCommerce website. I say standard because there are exceptions like (I want the best design, I want the best developer to work on my project) and that comes with a price tag. So what are you looking for? Here are some common websites businesses are looking for.
- eCommerce (your typical e-store)
- Blogs and Personal
- Online Community (forum)
- Catalog and Brochure (small businesses displaying their products "not selling")
- Bio (for authors and writers)
- Portfolio (yes resume and portfolio are different)
What tools will be necessary?
You have a few things absolutely needed and others you can choose for your website. Things you need are domain and hosting, essentially that's the name of your website (example.com) and a physical data storage location, but you probably already knew this.
Next one is a big decision! To use CMS(content management system), Website builder or hire a professional. Personally, I can suggest three routes you can take.
- CMS - If you are short on resources but have a lot of free time to invest, study about WordPress and build your first temporary site with it. There are many resources online to use if you want to go this route.
- Website Builder - If you are great with design and have a "good eye" and have some knowledge about UI/UX design or are ready to do some research. You can use a website builder like Wix or Squarespace temporary before hiring a professional for your project.
- Professional - Use a professional web development firm. They will take care of all your needs and your website will be done in no time, they will adjust the design as you wish, make sure back-end is optimized for SEO and you will save time. Here is my opinion on why you should hire a professional.
What is your budget?
It's important to figure out the budget for your project, especially if you want to hire a professional. Make sure they know your budget, if the base price is too expensive, ask them what functionality you can cut or tweak to make sure your project doesn't exceed the budget. DON'T give away your budget at the start! I know I just said, "make sure they know". Get their estimated price first. It's very common in the web development industry to use all the budget "make the website as good as it can be". Please don't fall for this, even if the developer believes that they are doing everything they can to develop your website as good as it can be, it's not always objective price evaluation. More often than not developers will ask what's your budget at first so they could offer you something, you should say "it's flexible, let me know how much do you think my project will cost and we go from there?". If the price is too expensive, try to lower it down by cutting some functionality, if the price is lower than your budget, good, figure out what exactly you are getting for that price, compare it to other companies.
DIY Website Costs
So what do I mean by DIY websites? Remember the website builders you were reading about before, I call those DIY websites or trying to build a website with any CMS by yourself. Don't get me wrong, I think some DIY websites look amazing, back-end is well optimized and clean, but most do not follow that example (If you are not an architect, you probably shouldn't design your house).
DIY Website PROS
If you decide to go the DIY(CMS) route, one amazing thing is that you can reduce costs drastically! Domain and hosting will cost you (around 75$/year), with 0 development costs. It's very easy to build a DIY website especially with the modern CMS systems like WordPress.
If you decide to use Website Builder, this is another story your monthly costs can vary from 17$ to 40$, when it comes to website builder eCommerce they usually cost from 30$ to 300$ a month. The amazing thing about website builders is that all you do is drag and drop some images, text and it just works!
DIY Website CONS
- Well about the previous statement that "it just works", that depends, not always it is going to be mobile compatible (responsive) or not always you will be able to have the functionality you want.
- Of course, if you use a website builder there are additional costs depending on the one you use, like Wix or Squarespace. Usually, it's from 18$ to 40$ monthly.
- Very often people end up hiring professionals to fix, change, rework their DIY sites.
When we talk about the costs of DIY websites, there are two routes you can go.
- Website Builder - Costs usually are 0 for development, and the monthly cost for domain and hosting + access to the website builder from 18$ to 40$ monthly.
- CMS - Let's take WordPress for example if you decide to develop the site yourself, then again development costs will be 0 plus domain and hosting (~ 75$/year).
Custom Built Website or Website Builder?
How do you know when to use a website builder, cms or hire a professional?
I touched on this earlier in the article but the main factors that drive this decision are your budget and time availability.
- If your budget is at least 1000$ to 2000$ just get a professional.
- If your budget is around 200$ to 300$, consider going for a website builder with some assistance from a freelance designer.
- If your budget is bellow 200$ go for DIY CMS solution, but keep in mind it might take weeks to study up on how and what you should do to make sure your website not only looks good but works too.
Detailed Website Costs Explained
Let's talk about what makes up the price of your website. There are many factors that impact your websites price, but let's keep it simple and short, after that, we will compare approximate pricing for CMS, Website builder, and professional development.
- Design could be the least expensive or most expensive part of your website. Very simple standard design goes for 200$ in the industry, but unique design, tailored just for you and your brand can cost up to 3000$ alone.
- A number of design revisions increase the price drastically. Make sure you explain to your designer exactly what you want, supply them with examples that you really like and explain why, that way you reduce the number of revisions and save money.
- Mobile friendly website is an absolute necessity! Sometimes website development companies charge extra for this functionality, but in my opinion question "do you want your website to be mobile-friendly" should cease to exist. Absolutely make sure that your website is mobile-friendly whether it's a DIY, CMS or professionally developed website. In 2018 more than 50% of online traffic was from mobile devices.
- The same rule applies to development, if you know what you want and have a set specification with the functionality of your page you will be surprised how low are the costs in comparison to "I just need a website, how much does one cost?". So always make sure that you specify what you do and don't want to see on your website. Essentially make a plan.
- Back-end optimization includes optimizing website speed, images, content, and structure, it is very important that your website back-end and front-end meets the standards of Google and other search engines but mainly googles. Make sure you ask about Search Engine Optimization of your websites back and front-end to your developer. Nowadays it should be a standard, but in some cases, developers fail to address this very important step for your website.
- External SEO cost can vary drastically because website development companies usually hire a third-party to assist with external SEO. Those are backlinks, content, social media, etc.., it all depends on what are your goals.
Small business Website
WordPress or Other CMS
|Hire a Profesional Agency|
|0||0||1000$ - 3000$|
|17$ - 50$ /month||3$ - 20$/month||3$ - 20$ /month|
|Time spent learning||1 day||2 - 8 weeks (Depending on what you are looking for)||0|
|2 - 3 days||1 - 4 weeks||1 - 2 weeks|
|WordPress or Other CMS
|Hire a Profesional Agency|
|0||0 - 1000$||3000$ - 15000$|
|30$ - 300$ /month||10$ - 30$
(could be more but that depends on the size of your store)
10$ - 30$
|Time spent learning||3 days||4 - 10 weeks probably more||0|
|1 week||1- 4 weeks||2 - 4 weeks|
So what have we learned today, certainly each of the website development types we discussed today has a place in the market and is suited for different situations. As I mentioned previously DIY website tools are amazing, but if you have a business and resources to invest into a professionally developed page, in the time you would spend to learn and develop, you probably would make the same or more.
Before you are opening Google and searching for someone to develop your website, don't forget about us! PointCyber develops websites, software, apps, CRM systems and more, let us know what you are looking for and I promise, you will be happy with the result.