The internet is currently home to over 1.5 billion websites.
Websites are also valuable digital marketing tools for business owners. The right website can act as your 24/7 sales representative, generating traffic and conversions while you sleep.
Anyone can build a website, but competitive websites are rarely free–even if you build the site yourself.
How much does it cost to build a website, and how can you tell if you are overpaying?
Keep reading for answers to these questions and more.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website?
First and foremost, the cost of building a website always depends on the website itself.
Costs vary widely. Sites can, for example, cost as little as $60, if you purchase a template and set up the site on your own, or as much as $80,000 a year!
A lot of factors influence these costs. Here’s a list of the most prominent ones.
DIY Design vs Custom Web Design
This is a critical distinction. You will pay a different amount for your website depending on whether you build it yourself or choose to hire a web designer.
For example, a DIY site with a unique domain and simple hosting plan may cost someone as little as $60. This number may be smaller or larger depending on the domain (some are free) and hosting plan.
A site developed through WordPress.com costs between $60 – $144 per year. This includes a template and hosting (but no content or domain).
However, DIY sites still take time, skill and effort to develop. The value of this time and effort (often yours!) can add some dollars to the mix. And there’s no guarantee of creating a professional looking website if this is something you’ve never done before.
Additionally, you are relatively bound to the DIY system you choose. If you ever decide it’s not a good fit and want to move to another system, you have to start the entire process of design and development over from scratch.
Custom sites, those developed by professionals, begin in the thousands. If done correctly, these will provide exponential value for your business over the years that follow.
When it comes to custom websites, WordPress is the way to go!
Freelance Designers vs. Agency
If you choose to outsource the building of your site, you may hire a freelance designer. These designers work independently of any company or agency.
Freelance developed sites can vary widely in cost depending on the experience of the freelancer and the nature of the web design project. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $5,000.
If you work with an agency, you can expect to fork over more for your web design. Agency-crafted sites can start at $10,000!
This is because most agencies tackle a broad range of development services, including SEO, content creation, coding, marketing and more.
If you just want a quality website but will want to manage the website and marketing yourself once it’s a built a freelancer is probably a solid choice.
If you are looking for a quality website and then would like this same company to handle the content, SEO and marketing once the website has launched, you’ll want to hire an agency to oversee this ongoing effort.
As with all things, there are quality freelancers and agencies out there and then there are those who are not going to deliver real results regardless of how much you pay them. Make sure you research whoever you work with! Read their reviews, review their portfolio and read articles they’ve written.
Number of Pages
A site’s page volume is likely to influence its price.
Some web designers offer design packages based off of page volume.
For example, you may pay $3,000 for a freelance package of 10 website pages. Additional pages can add additional cost depending on their complexity.
Packages through an agency are likely to carry higher price tags.
Other web designers may charge hourly for their work. The more pages they need to create, the more those hours will rack up.
Still other designers will determine from the beginning of the project what will be needed and provide a flat rate quote for the entire project.
When it comes to the number of pages, it’s best to discuss this with the web designer you choose to work with to make sure that you have a clear understanding of what is included.
Some designers will build a website from the ground up. This means that they will create custom coding, layouts, and more for your site.
In general, the more custom a site is, the pricier it is likely to be, especially if that customization involves a lot of technical set-up.
On the other hand, if you have already established a site through WordPress and simply need a designer to take the reins, you will likely pay less.
Designers don’t just tackle a site’s hardware (although they can). They may also craft custom content for your site, including images and media.
Content creation can add more to your web design bill. The cost of content can vary pretty widely depending on the amount of content you need, such as the number of pages and words per page and the quality level of the content writer.
Remember that content volume will depend on page volume. The higher your page volume, the greater your content creation needs (and the higher your bill).
Website Maintenance involves lots of factors including security, updates, backups, uptime monitoring and page speed. You may be content to maintain your site yourself after it’s developed. In this case, the cost of maintenance will simply be the cost of your time and the cost of your hosting account.
If you work with an agency, contracted designer, or freelancer, these professionals might have a system in place to handle the hosting and maintenance of your site after it has been delivered. If you enjoyed working with them during the web design and development process, it’s a good idea to continue working with them since they will provide value for your business after the website is launched.
This may be temporary or ongoing. Maintenance fees typically start at $50 per month but can increase if the website is more complex and therefore more difficult to maintain, or if there are additional tasks you want handled by the web professional on an ongoing basis.
Are You Overpaying?
It is possible to fork over too much cash for a new website, especially if you are hiring a designer to do the work.
In this digital age, web development is a sky-rocketing industry. Designers and developers are–understandably!–all looking for ways to cash in on this demand.
Accordingly, some of them can ask for too much for their services.
Remember that freelance projects typically cost between $1,000 and $5,000.
Contracted designer work may range between $3,000 and $10,000, and agency projects tend to begin at $10,000.
Identify what type of designer you are working with and consider the factors described in this post. If your invoices are falling outside of these brackets, you are likely paying too much.
A custom site should also meet all of your demands for quality. Inspect the final result: does it meet your standards as agreed in the initial contract, especially given how much you’ve paid?
If not, consult the designer immediately. Revisions may be possible, especially if the designer has guarantees in place.
It goes without saying, but it’s very important to have both a contract and guarantees in place before even starting the project. A quality web designer is going to ensure that the scope of the project is clear from the very beginning.
How to Prevent Overpaying
After reading this post, however, you are armed with some facts and figures about the costs associated with building a website.
It’s also wise to consult several different designers before outsourcing. If possible, receive multiple quotes from different developers so that you can compare prices.
When receiving quotes, make sure to review all of the terms and deliverables specified. Quotes are likely to differ in terms of services rendered so make sure you know what is being provided in the quote.
Keep in mind that quotes should not be binding. However, it is important to hire a designer who is transparent about their prices up front.
At the end of the day, you can also build a website yourself.
Naturally, this requires time, effort, knowledge and skill, but it is an excellent option for savvy entrepreneurs with an eye for quality design who are looking to save a buck here and there.
How much does it cost to build a website? The answer to this question always depends on the website itself.
For the most part, however, custom built sites can cost individuals anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000. Larger corporations with greater needs may pay quite a bit more.
Plenty of factors influence this cost, and package prices are likely to vary from designer to designer. In general, the more custom the site, the more expensive it will be.
If you already have a website in place, it’s still important to see where your web design stands.
In fact, your design may be in need of an overhaul, especially if it’s costing you visitors. Click here to learn more!