Understanding how much a website should cost you is an integral part of the web design and development process. After all, if you don't know how much a website will cost you, how can you be sure that you have the right budget and are getting a good deal?
The cost of a successful website can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of the site, the experience of the web design team, and the location of the company.
This article will break down the different factors that affect website cost. This will help you better understand how much you should expect to pay for your next (or first) web project.
Let's dive deep into this topic.
Factors To Consider
A simple website with a few pages and basic features will cost less than a complex site with many features and custom design elements. And, as you might expect, web design companies in large cities tend to charge more than those in small towns.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. For example, some web design companies offer very low-cost "starter" packages that may be a good fit for small businesses or individuals just getting started online. Similarly, if you have specific needs or want a highly customized website, you can expect to pay more.
The best way to determine how much a website will cost is to discuss your project with a few different web design firms and get various quotes.
Maintaining A Website
Also, consider that creating a website is not only an upfront cost. There are also maintenance costs after the site is launched. For example, you'll need to pay for hosting, a domain name, and security. Additionally, you may need to budget for website content updates, software upgrades, and other ongoing website maintenance tasks. I'll talk about this later on in this article.
Website Costs Specifics
Let's dive deeper into some of the specific factors that affect website cost.
Every website needs a domain name. A domain name is your website's address on the internet (For example, www.example.com). Domain names typically cost around $10 - $15 per year, but prices vary depending on the registrar and extension (.com, .net, .org, etc.). There are even registrars that offer one-dollar domains for the first year.Choosing the right domain name is essential for branding and search engine optimization (SEO) purposes, so it's worth selecting a good one.
Keep in mind that various domain registrars will charge different rates for your domain name. While this cost is minimal, you'll typically have to pay it every year unless you purchase your domain name multiple years in advance.
Also, it's good to know that some companies will include a free domain name as part of their hosting services, which I'll discuss next.
Every website needs to be hosted on a web server. This is a physical machine (or virtual server) that stores all the files and data associated with your website.
You'll have to decide what type of hosting to go with. For example, you could go with shared web hosting, usually the most common and affordable option. With this hosting, your site shares a server with other websites.
Or, you could choose a more expensive option like VPS (virtual private server) hosting or dedicated server hosting. With these types of hosting, your website gets its own physical or virtual server.
Additionally, you'll need to decide how much webspace and bandwidth you need. Webspace is the amount of storage space you need to hold all the files associated with your website. Bandwidth is the amount of data transferred to and from your website each month.
If you plan to have a site that hosts tons of traffic or is central to starting an eCommerce store, you'll need more web space and bandwidth than a simple blog or portfolio site. While you don't have to start on a high-end hosting package (as you can always upgrade), it's helpful to have an idea of the hosting requirements your site could have in the future. This will help you choose the right hosting platform.
Most hosting platforms also come with a website builder that makes it easy to create an essential website. Hosted platforms like WordPress.com and Squarespace also provide templates and editing tools that make it easy to create a professional website without any coding knowledge.
Web Design And Programming Costs
If you want to build a custom website and require programatic input, the cost of the web design can vary greatly - depending on the scope and complexity of your project. A simple site with just a few pages might cost as little as $500, while a complex eCommerce site could cost $5,000 or more.
As a general rule of thumb, the more features and functionality you need, the more it will cost to have your website built. The cost of web design will also be affected by the size of your site. For example, a five-page website will naturally cost less than a 50-page website.
The programming language used to build a website can also affect cost. Creating a site in PHP will typically be less expensive than making the same site in Java. The cost of web design can also be affected by the experience level of the designer or agency you choose. More experienced designers or agencies will typically charge more than less experienced ones.
A Note On Responsive Design
Responsive design is an essential factor to consider when choosing a web design company. Your website will be optimized to look and work well on all devices, from desktop computers to mobile phones, with this type of design.
This is important because more and more people use their smartphones and tablets to browse the internet. Failure to have a responsive website could result in a loss of traffic and potential customers.
There are two ways you can go about having a responsive website:
Here's what you need to consider when making this decision.
Part Of Your 'Normal' Website
This is typically done by using a flexible " responsive " theme. A responsive theme is a pre-made design that automatically adjusts to fit any screen size. In general, many WordPress site themes are responsive. If you're using another content management system, check if they offer any responsive themes.
If you have a developer build a responsive site from scratch, it will likely cost more than using a responsive theme, and you can easily be quoted upwards of $3,000.
A Separate Mobile Site
Another way to have a responsive website is to have a separate mobile site. This is typically done by detecting if the user is on a mobile device and then redirecting them to a different version of the site built solely optimized for mobile.
One advantage of having a separate mobile site is the ability to design it specifically for smaller screens and touch interfaces. This can result in a better user experience for mobile users.
However, one disadvantage is that maintaining two separate sites can be more expensive and time-consuming.
After considering your design needs, functionality is the next most crucial factor when budgeting for your website.
Some standard features that affect web design costs are:
While the functionality costs start from just a few dollars per month (if you're building up a site yourself using specific platforms), they can quickly add up if you require a lot of custom functionality.
For example, adding an e-commerce system to your website will likely cost more than if you need a simple contact form. The same is true for other custom functionality like interactive maps or calculators. These elements can benefit your users, but they also require more time and effort to develop.
Content management system (CMS) integration is another common feature affecting web design costs. CMS is software that helps you easily create and manage your website's content.
Examples of popular CMSs include WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. If you want to use a CMS for your website and already have a site you want to keep, you'll need to factor in the integration cost.
Animated Elements Or Video Backgrounds
Animated elements or video backgrounds can add a lot of visual interest to your website. However, they can also be very time-consuming and expensive to create.
Examples of common animated elements are sliders, parallax scrolling, and hover effects. Video backgrounds are another popular trend in web design. While they can look imposing, they also require more time and effort to produce.
As a result, animated elements and video backgrounds will likely increase the cost of your website. If you're on a tight budget, it might be better to stick with static images instead.
As many as 39.5% of all the websites run on WordPress, which is an insane amount of websites.
This is an excellent solution for most businesses, as it's easy to use and has many features.
Here's essential to note that I'm referring to WordPress.org, which is a self-hosted platform. If you go with WordPress.com, it's a hosted platform, so there's no need to worry about website software costs - but you won't have much control over your site.
When it comes to software, you can also decide to run your site on a platform that serves a particular purpose. For example, running an eCommerce site and using Shopify typically go hand in hand as it's a platform created for just that - selling stuff online.
Website software is typically a monthly recurring cost so make sure to do your research right from the get-go.
Using Plugins On A WordPress Website
There are tons of free and premium plugins available for WordPress. Plugins are a great way to add additional functionality to your website without hiring a developer.
However, it's essential to remember that not all plugins are created equally. Some plugins are very well-coded and well-supported, while others (typically free plugins) are not.
Before selecting a plugin, do your research and read reviews from other users. It's also good to test the plugin on a staging site before adding it to your live site.
Some more premium plugins get regular updates that keep them compatible with the latest WordPress version. This is important because WordPress is constantly updated with new features and security fixes.
If you're using a plugin that doesn't get regular updates, there's a chance it will eventually stop working properly on your site. This can cause problems with your website and may require you to hire a developer to fix it.
In a nutshell, it's usually worth paying for the extra functionality that premium plugins offer.
Number Of Pages On Your Site
As mentioned earlier, the size of your website will play a significant role in the overall cost.
A simple 5-page website will take less time to design and develop than a complex 50-page website.
The number of pages on your site will also affect the amount of content you'll need to create. If you're planning to add a lot of content to your website, you'll need to factor in the cost of writing and editing.
Additionally, the more pages you have, the more menu items you'll need to add. This can impact the design of your menu and may require additional website development costs and time.
Typically, page prices can go up to $10,000 for around 250 pages. This might seem like a lot, but it's not unreasonable if you need an eCommerce site with tons of product pages and a blog. Working with a content writer that understands SEO is critical here as you want your pages to be optimized for the search engines.
If you're working with an agency, you might find that you can get a lower price per page if you purchase a package of pages upfront.
For example, an agency might charge $5,000 for a hundred pages but only $8,000 for two hundred. In this case, it's cheaper to buy more pages upfront, even if you don't need them all right away.
If your content requires interactive media, such as animations, videos, or 360-degree views, you can expect to pay more for development.
These features are often used on product pages or portfolios to give users a more immersive experience. For some eCommerce sites, this might be a helpful way to showcase products that are difficult to photograph.
One can also use interactive media on landing pages to grab attention and increase conversions. The cost of interactive media will depend on the complexity of the features you're looking for. A basic website animation might only cost a few hundred dollars, while a more complex feature could cost a few thousand dollars.
Hire A Web Developer - How Much Does It Cost?
Let's now speak about the costs of working with a web developer.
There are many ways to find and hire a web developer, but the most common method is to use an online freelancing platform such as Upwork or Fiverr.
When using these platforms, you'll typically set a budget for your project and then receive proposals from developers interested in working on your project.
The cost of hiring a professional web developer will depend on the skillset you're looking for and the developer's location. Developers in developed countries such as the US, UK, and Australia will typically charge more than developers in developing countries like India and Pakistan.
The price you pay will also be affected by the developer's experience level. A junior developer will typically charge less than a senior developer.
To give you an idea of what you might expect to pay, the average hourly rate for a web developer on Upwork is $30 per hour on the higher end.
The cost of hiring a web developer will also depend on the type of project you're working on. A simple website might only take a few hours to develop, while a more complex website would take much more.
Of course, these are just estimates, and the actual cost of your project will depend on the specific requirements of your project. To get an accurate estimate of the cost of your project, you'll need to get proposals from developers who are familiar with your type of project.
For advanced projects, having a database is a must. This will store all the data your visitors input on your website and any other data you need to keep track of. The cost of setting up a database will depend on the type of database you're using and its size as well.
Again, a simple database might only cost a few hundred dollars to set up, while a more complex database could cost several thousand dollars.
The cost of maintaining a database will also depend on the size of the database and the frequency with which you need to update it. A small database that only needs to be updated once a week might only cost a few hundred dollars per month, while an extensive database that needs to be updated daily could cost several thousand dollars per month.
Prebuild database integration can cost anywhere between $1,200 to $6,000 annually.
Furthermore, the cost could increase significantly if your database needs to be integrated with another system, such as an accounting or CRM system.
However, having this process done right will ensure that your site can handle any size and type of traffic. Having a well set-up database is a must when it comes to eCommerce platforms.
Marketing Your Website
One significant (and ongoing) cost you'll need to consider when launching your website is marketing.
There are many ways to market your website, but Google AdWords is one excellent channel to consider. Google AdWords is an advertising platform that allows you to place ads on Google.com and thousands of other websites.
The cost of using Google AdWords will depend on the keywords you're targeting, the competition for those keywords, and your budget.
Typically, you'll need to pay a few cents to a few dollars per click on your ad.
For example, if you're targeting the keyword "web design" and are willing to pay $2 per click, your ad might appear whenever someone searches for "web design" on Google.
The cost of using Google AdWords can add up quickly, so you'll need to consider your budget before you start using this platform carefully. This means that you need to know your numbers and how much you can afford to pay per click while still making a profit over the lifetime value of a customer.
On the flip side, a cost-effective way to market your website is to use social media. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great ways to reach out to potential customers and promote your website.
The cost of using social media as a marketing channel will depend on the time you're willing to invest in creating and maintaining your social media accounts. Typically, developing and maintaining a social media account doesn't cost anything - apart from time. However, if you're looking to hire someone to manage your social media accounts, the cost can range from $300 to $5,000 per month.
The answer to how much a website costs depends on the project's scope.
A basic website can cost as little as $500, while a more complex website can cost several thousand dollars. The cost will also depend on the features you need, the platform you're using, the design of your website, and the marketing methods you're employing.
To estimate how much your website will cost, it's best to consult with a web development company or agency that specializes in building websites. This way, you'll be able to get a tailored quote based on your specific needs and budget.
Alternatively, you can go at it yourself and use one of the many website builders available on the market. These platforms typically have monthly subscription plans that, on average, start at around a few dollars per month.
Whatever you decide to do, ensure that you stay within your budget and create a website that meets your specific needs.
Keep reading on MikeVestil.com: Want to know how much a specific website platform might cost you? Here's an article on the specific Wix website costs involved if you used this platform to host your website.