Answering how much a website costs is a loaded question but one that I will attempt to answer to the best of my ability. There are so many variables that make it near impossible to answer in a well-defined way.
You can get a website that’s full of value but not the right solution for every project but you can also get a reasonably priced website that’s 100x the cost but still fair and still packed with value.
There are as many answers to how much a website should cost as there are businesses in the world.
If I were to answer the question in certain terms with well-defined numbers it wouldn’t be very helpful.
Here, I’ll show you what I mean…
The cost of a new website ranges anywhere from $100 to $100,000.
That’s not very helpful, is it? That’s because it’s a loaded question and your website will vary a lot from someone else’s. Not only that but two companies who are quoting you for a website may be quoting two very different projects.
Asking how much a website costs is the wrong question.
What’s the right question, then?
The right question isn’t one that should come from you, it’s one that should come from the company you’re going to work with. That means you either need to have absolutely every detail figured out for what you are looking for or the web design company will need to ask all the questions to get absolutely every detail about the project figured out. That’s the only way a web design company would be able to quote accurately.
A web design company which has it all figured out will know who they serve and how they will serve them. We’ve laid exactly that out with the types of clients we serve and the types of websites we build.
Not every client fits what we sell but we make that clear. We’ve even gone to lengths to break down our plans to make it easy to understand the type of websites we build and the clients we serve.
Some projects go beyond the complexity of our plans, though, which means we may not be a good fit for you. In that case, the company you work with should ask lots of questions.
I want to give you more insights into how much a website should cost, though. Let me lay out two different scenarios for you and my cost estimates for those sites. I’ll also do a bit of explaining as to how I arrived at my price estimate.
Simple Website Cost
This example covers the simple website which is 5-10 pages, tells information about a business or the website goal, and helps guide interested people to the right place. It’s not terribly complex and there’s nothing too deep here.
Most small local businesses only need a simple website. That’s who I’ll focus on, the small local business owner.
Who needs simple
This example is a local business owner who is a plumber and has 2 employees (check out the best plumbing websites on the internet). It’s a small plumbing business and the main goal of the website is to rank in local searches to get in front of more customers.
A plumbing website does require a good website that’s optimized for local searches. It doesn’t require a great deal of complexity, though. No membership areas, no forums, no social features, just simple.
We’ve put together some sample layouts of a simple 5-page website including a plumbing website. It doesn’t take much more, but it’s also a good idea to prepare for any future needs. That may mean a blog is helpful to at least have in the back pocket.
If the content is already created for the website, images ready, then the website can be done relatively cheaply. The problem comes with defining what cheap is, though.
Prices for the simple website should range from $100 to $2,000. You will get a lot of variety within that price range, though and there are some things you should consider before jumping for the $100 website.
What do you need to consider? There are a few things that you should consider ranging from the major concerns of the lower end to the lower concerns for the higher end.
- A website that costs $100 but earns you $0 is an expense of $100. A website that costs you $2,000 but earns you $4,000 made you a lot of money. They aren’t all created equally and not all websites will provide the same results.
- A website that costs $100 but gets a virus or gets hacked may cost you money and you may not even own it! That means you’re introducing yourself and your business to a lot of risk that will likely harm you significantly.
Many of the cheap websites never tell you the details about the costs of actually running a website. It’s a surprise for you later down the road. Not only that but when you need to make a change (and you inevitably will) then it’s unlikely that will ever happen. You’ll simply have to start over. It’s best to have everything including in one maintenance cost that you are educated about from the start.
We work hard to be as transparent as possible and include everything you need from the start. We even go as far as to include any minor changes you need in your monthly cost so you can always have changes made without worry of extra charges that you weren’t aware of.
It’s never fun to be surprised later down the road when your website becomes vulnerable and gets hacked. The lower value website will leave you vulnerable and exposed.
There’s a lot more involved in creating a good website than many people realize.
Anybody can choose a template they like and fill in the details. That’s not a good website though. Why? Because a template is too generic and it’s not designed to get business, it’s just designed to look cool.
The job of a website is not to look cool, it’s to get business.
So what’s involved in actually creating a good website?
- You have to create a design that works well on multiple devices. Templates never accomplish this well.
- Writing for the internet is different than any other type of writing. Just because you are a great writer doesn’t mean you’ll be a great writer for the internet.
- Not only should the content be written well, but the writing should also be formatting on pages well. This is a challenge on the internet let alone accounting for different devices.
- Optimization is an essential part of a website in order to get discovered. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get wrong and then think it’s the fault of the website.
- Visuals that reinforce rather than distract is also a balancing act. Nice looking templates often have video backgrounds, slideshows, and more cool looking flashiness. That’s not good for a website, though.
The Price Of A Simple Website
There are so many variables in even a simple website that it’s impossible to name a specific price or even a specific estimate. The best that can be done is the window I gave of $100 to $2,000 with anything under $1,500 one time fee questionable.
If you pay for maintenance, though, sometimes that cost can come done. This is similar to what we’ve done in order to offer a great product to our clients.
One thing does remain true about the price of a simple website, though.
The price you pay for a website that’s poorly done, no matter how cheap, is always higher in the long run than a more expensive website with great value.
Complex Website Cost
There’s not a lot different in the complex website than with a simple website, but there’s more room for mistakes. While we specialize in creating affordable websites for local businesses that are for local small businesses, we understand when we don’t offer the right solution for clients who require a more complex solution.
How do we realize we’re not the solution for every website problem?
Because we ask those important questions from the start. Or rather we make all the information available on our website.
A complex website can range from anywhere between $5,000 to $100,000. Yes, that’s a huge window of cost but it’s also honestly what a complex website can and should cost.
The price of a complex website starts with the process of getting to know your business and your needs. Right from the start of a project, you can tell if a company is going to be good by the number of questions they ask regardless of the price.
Some web design companies throw a price out immediately without understanding the requirements of the project. That’s never a good sign.
If they’re asking a lot of questions and the questions they’re asking are hard to answer, you’re on the right track. That means you shouldn’t judge based on price alone but mostly off of the questions they’re asking.
The value a web design company delivers to your project is directly related to how many valuable questions they ask and how much they get to know your project.
What kinds of projects are complex?
The somewhat simplistic definition of a complex project is one that is a large number of pages (50+) or requires any type of interaction or complex features.
What the heck does that mean though? It means a great number of things can be considered a complex project.
Here are a few:
- Most eCommerce stores can be considered complex and in fact, most eCommerce websites do take a lot of effort to get right.
- Any website that requires a user to log in or have an account. That could be a client portal, classes, any user protected environment, etc.
- A website like Facebook, Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, Groupon, or any of the other web 2.0 websites that are complex and provide a lot of unique functionality.
The real cost of a complex website
Any level of custom functionality can increase the complexity and cost of a website. That means the cost can range from $5,000 for the most simplistic complex website to $100,000 or more.
Most complex websites will fall in the range of $8,000 to $20,000.
That would change very quickly if you wanted a website like Facebook or Groupon, though. They are a billion dollar company and have invested millions of dollars into their website and apps.
What determines the cost of a website?
The platform your website is built on doesn’t determine the cost of a website (though it can indicate a low quality website). Neither does how much money you have to spend on your website. How much you have to spend on your website absolutely does determine the quality of website you can get, though. The more you have to spend the better quality website you can get.
It is, of course, no guaranteed that you will end up with a great website with a big budget, though. Without proper vetting, questioning, and due diligence to find the best person for the job you may end up just spending a lot of money without ending up with a good website.
How prepared for the project you are also will affect the cost of a website. If you have no content, no plan, no branding, no guidelines, and no ideas then a lot more needs to be done. If you expect to work with an agency on that, expect the price to grow significantly.
These are some of the factors that determine the cost of your website
- How much content you have created for your website.
- The level of customization you need for the content and customization.
Aside from those things, everything that may add to the cost of your website are actually out of the realm of web design itself.
There are many other things that could affect the cost of your website and you’d be expected to either have or create before building a website. That could be any number of things such as
- If you have brand guidelines to start with.
- Any graphics you already have prepared or if you’re working with a graphic artist.
- Images that are either stock images which fit your brand, are taken by you, or photos of your product.
If you don’t have all your content and need help with it then that will increase the overall cost of your website. In fact, this can increase the price of your website significantly.
There are many things that are not cheap for web design if you want them done well. For a simple website then content provided by the business owner is usually sufficient. That changes as the requirements get more complex though and the expcations increase.
A website with higher conversion expectations, which requires a more cohesive message to make a sale, requires higher quality writers. If you expect to rank in search engines at all, then you need to invest some in search engine optimization (SEO). Even SEO varies a great deal, though, and can involve simply preparing your website for search engines or ongoing work to rank your website in search engines.
Clients come to us all the time who don’t have any of the following:
- Copy for the website.
- Pictures that work well on a website (low resolution, blurry, etc.)
- Brand guidelines including the basics such as fonts and colors.
If you don’t have that information you’ll either need to create it or hire someone to create it. These things are not web design and go out of scope for more affordable websites. We do our best to work with every client but there are some things we can’t do in our price range.
When we design a website, we expect the content to be provided. We do give you an allotment of stock photos with every website, though, which gives you the opportunity to choose images that you like.
The less you have for your new website the more it will increase the cost of the website.
Brochure website or highly customized?
When it comes to a simple website or complex, the simplest of simple website is often referred to as a brochure website. These are websites which are 5 or less pages and all content is provided for the web designer.
Is maintenance included? How much does it cost? What if I need to make a change? How much do updates cost?
These are all questions you should be asking and one that will not be sufficiently answered on the lower end websites.
The Right Choice
While we understand we’re not the right solution for everyone, we are for many. We build affordable websites that are high quality and specifically created for small local businesses.
There are no surprises with us and we’re always available to answer questions before you buy. We’ve simplified the process of web design because we know and understand our specific client. We are clear about everything before you get started and always available to answer questions.
There are not surprises with our websites. What we list in our prices is what you pay. You provide us the content (even in .doc files is fine for the text) and we take care of it from there.
If you need a simple website or simple eCommerce website for a local business then we are likely the best option.
You should already have all of this ready to go before you purchase any of our affordable website plans:
- Each page listed you’d like for your website.
- The copy (text) for each page.
- Images for each page and descriptions of any icons, etc. You can find images for your website on Depositphoto.
- Your logo ideally in vector format or at least in PNG format or purchase a logo.
If we can offer what you need then there’s never a better time to put your business online right or improve your website.
We work with local business who want to be found by local customers.
We’re ready to work with you whenever you’re ready.