How Much Does a Website Cost? A Complete Pricing Guide

how much does a website cost
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Most people when faced with the prospect of building a website for their businesses must deal with the issue of cost at some point in the process. However, the variables involved in building a website make it nearly impossible to answer the question of cost easily.

Websites are more than just a collection of pages. They require code to run. They also require organization, good design skills, and sometimes, complicated functions, depending on the purpose of the website.

Not knowing how these issues can be negatively affected by bad site design can cost you in time, money and resources.

Therefore, the purpose of this post is to shed light on this issue. Once you’re done reading it, you should come away with a better understanding of what building a website could potentially cost you.

What is the Purpose of Your Website

A website is as unique as a thumb print in a way. That’s why asking “How much does a website cost” only scratches the surface of the issue.

In the literal sense, a website consists of a series of pages, so in theory, it is possible at times to get a per-page bid on the cost of a website.

However, it is unlikely that you’d find a web designer or developer who’d quote you a price based on the number of pages you’d like on your website. Not all pages on a website are equal. Some sites require more effort to build.

That’s partly why knowing the purpose of your website helps. The content, or more specifically, the purpose and function of the content on your website, counts as one of the chief determining factors in the cost equation.

In order to understand this, it’s helpful to look at all the possible purposes of a website. Here are just a few reasons why people hire someone to build a website for them. When people have a website built, they often want to:

  • Educate people
  • Facilitate commerce
  • Promote lead gathering
  • Access social networking
  • Write a blog
  • Offer training
  • Create affiliate sales
  • Boost their branding
  • Sell their business’s services
  • Develop a reputation as an industry expert
  • Provide entertainment

This list makes it apparent that some websites’ content will create different demands on the website builder.

More specifically, a fully functioning commerce site complete with shopping carts and automated parts cost more to build and more to maintain than say a blog, which is primarily text.

What Is a Domain Name and Other Purpose Considerations?

Most websites consist of a number of different parts. In other words, they rarely consist of the same kind of webpages throughout the site. For example, a commerce site may also host a blog.

Another website may also include sections intended to establish expertise or to provide training and education. In the latter case, the website owner may choose to host videos, animated features and other complicated moving parts.

All of these individual elements have bearing on how much it will cost to build a particular website.

In light of this, consider what the purpose of your site before you reach out to someone about web design and web development. If you haven’t done this part, it may make the cost of the site build more expensive.

The web professional must take extra time to go over the purpose of your site. By doing some of this legwork ahead of time, you may at least cut down on the consulting fees that are related to the building of your site.

Even if you decide to go the DIY route, you’ll still need to answer these questions. If you don’t know the purpose of your site, you’ll have trouble planning out the site’s layout because you don’t know what function the site is supposed to serve.

Additional Domain Name Considerations

You may also run into trouble when it comes time to buy a domain name. A website’s domain name is its address on the Internet. This is the URL associated with the site.

For example, Google’s domain name is www.google.com and Facebook’s is www.facebook.com. Many times, website owners base their website’s domain name on the function of their websites.

Should You Hire Someone or Go the DYI Route

Only you can truly answer this question, and indeed, many people consider the DIY route at least once. True enough, some people have the skills to build their own website, particularly if they use a platform, like WordPress or Wix.

These sites have ready-to-use templates that take some of the guesswork out of the process.

some people choose to go the DYI and use platforms like Wix to build their website.

However, even these sites aren’t completely work-free. Many times, it’s necessary to create more personalized graphics for a site in graphic design programs, like Adobe Photoshop.

The person who has the graphic design skills to make these individualized features stands a better chance at being a DIYer than someone who doesn’t.

As you move through the decision-making process, here are some questions you should ask yourself.

They should help you determine whether you should hire someone to do your website or if you can do it yourself.

  • Do I have the skills to do it?
  • How much does it cost to hire someone to build a website?
  • Do I need assistance when it comes to website maintenance. If so, can the person who built my site do this or will I need to hire someone else?
  • Web design vs web development: Do I know which I need?
  • Do I have the time to take on this project myself?
  • If I do this project myself am I taking time away from other projects that make my company money? In other words, have I stopped doing the activities that bring in the money for my business to concentrate on this project?

There is no right nor wrong way to answer these questions. However, knowing the answers to them will help you make a decision about who should build your website.

How Much Should I Spend on a Website

As you’ve probably guessed, the costs related to building and maintaining a website varies greatly. In light of this, there is no one answer to this question.

For the do-it-yourselfer, the cost can run low at least in terms of dollar costs. DIYers do pay for their websites in sweat equity. However, they don’t pay much in actual dollar costs.

On the other hand, a big business may pay quite a lot of money to have a site built. The cost of this type of site may run into the thousands.

That being the case, the following information will compare costs of building a website yourself and hiring someone else to build it.

What is Web Hosting and How Is It Related to My Costs?

Most website owners will pay to have a company host their website on the internet. There are exceptions, which this section will cover briefly, but for now let’s go over the costs associated with hosting a website.

So how much does web hosting cost usually? Basically, the cost to host your website is like rent. You pay rent on your office in order to reserve your spot in your business (in a manner of speaking).

Different factors affect how much you’ll pay in rent, like the size of the office and its location, the traffic around it and the access it gives you to goods and services.

It is similarly true of renting your spot on the Internet. It’s totally possible to host your site for $5 a month or less. This is affordable for most people starting out.

As the traffic to your site increases, you may wind up paying more in hosting fees in part to avoid the slowdown in function that increased traffic causes. In this case, you may be looking at hundreds of dollars a month to host a website.

However, a lot of advantages come with the increased cost of hosting your site. Like the well-appointed office space, a well-functioning high traffic site costs more because of all the perks that come with it.

As for free hosting, it’s certainly an option for the person who is faced with budget issues. This option isn’t attractive to some site owners because free websites come with a bunch of downsides.

For one thing, in order to provide the user with the free site, the web host will run ads on the site.

Additionally, people who get a free site won’t have a dedicated URL (domain name). Instead, they’ll have a site with an extension in the name.

So instead of having a site that might read “ThisIsMySite.com,” the website in question will read “ThisIsMySite.FreeWebsiteforYou.com.” From a branding standpoint, this is very unattractive.

Web Design vs Web Development

If you build a website completely from scratch as opposed to starting with a platform, like WordPress or Wix, then you’ll have to pay development costs. In order to understand the difference between these terms, it’s helpful to explain the difference between web design and web development. 

Web design deals with how a website looks. It’s the interface that website visitors see when they visit your site. Web development deals with the underlying programming language, like Javascript, CSS and HTML, that’s required for the website to function.

Platforms like Wix and WordPress have already worked out the web development portion of building a website.

Basically, these platforms hand off the web design portion to the user, and even then, many of the design templates associated with these sites even take care of that aspect of the process.

Even the user who has no design sense can probably make his or her way around this type of site, particularly considering the fact that many of these platforms come with templates and drag-and-drop features that make the design process simpler.

However, there are occasions where it’s necessary to build a website from the ground up so to speak. For example, an online multiplayer gaming platform may require this kind of work.

This kind of website requires a lot of work, and that’s where you see the big bucks come into play.

In this case, the cost of a website like this may run into the thousands. The price could start at $10,000 or $12,000 and go up to $150,000 or more. There are related costs to this as well.

For example, it’s easier to maintain a website that you build from WordPress because it’s a pretty standard website platform.

It’s a different story with a built-from-scratch website. Because those are not standard, they require someone who knows the sites’ architecture to keep them maintained.

This site maintenance could also cost thousands of dollars a year. It isn’t unusual to hear of website owners paying $50,000 or more a year to have a specialty website like this maintained throughout the year.

With a juxtaposition like this, it’s easier to see why creating a website from a platform, like WordPress, is cheaper even if you hire someone to design the site for you.

The whole process requires less work and therefore, fewer dollars to build and maintain.

Do I Need a New Website or Just a Redesign?

For many business owners who already have a website that has lackluster results at best, the question of a redesign or refresh versus building a brand new site also comes into play.

Whether or not you need a redesign or a completely new site will depend on many of the factors that have already been addressed here.

Here are some additional factors to consider if you need to make this decision:

  • Has traffic increased to your site? If so, you might need a newer, more efficiently-built site to accommodate that?
  • Has your brand message changed?
  • Was the site poorly built to begin with?
  • Do I need a more user-friendly site so that I can maintain it myself?
  • Do I need to add features that may complicate the operation of the site, like shopping carts or video game play?
  • Is the issue primarily aesthetic? If so, will a change of color or graphics be enough to bring the site back to life?

Again, these questions only represent a small portion of the decision-making process when it comes to deciding on a course of action to follow. If you’re not sure, then it may be best to at least consult with a web designer or web developer to find out.

Final Words – How to Determine What’s the Right Website for Your Business

The right website for your business allows you to provide goods and services for your customer. It also allows you to promote your brand, to educate, and to entertain. In other words, it allows your business to function more easily as a business.

However, as with most things that have been covered in this post, the answer to the question can get complicated. It’s also why it’s so hard to answer the question “How much does a website cost?” 

As you now know, the cost of the initial site build is only one of the factors. If you do not have the skills or the time to build and maintain the site yourself, you may have to hire someone to maintain it for you.

By now you realize that building a website yourself may save you money only if you have the skills to build and maintain the site.

Finally, you know that there is a difference between web design and web development. It’s important to know which of these you need in order to create a site that will work for your needs.

If you’ve considered all of the factors outlined in this blog post and believe you need a little more help with your website, reach out to us. We can take a look at what you need for your business’s website and offer you some guidance.

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Air Force veteran and online marketing authority, Micha is a pragmatic problem solver with relentless dedication to his clients’ success-- with a passion for helping businesses achieve exponential and sustainable growth. He serves clients as a strategic partner who believes in addressing their digital challenges head-on by implementing quantifiable best practices. His hobbies include billiards, chess, mountain climbing, and traveling with his loving wife and kids.

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