How Much Does A Website Cost?
I have been creating websites for clients for quite some time. One of the most common questions I get from potential clients is: “How much does a website cost?”. There is no easy answer for this. I tried to answer this question in several ways to not scare the client, but still be realistic. The cost of a website really depends on your needs.
Before you are going to ask for a quote for a website design and development, you should know exactly what you want. Just like in the case when you are buying a phone, a car, or a house. You know exactly what type of phone or car you want, home many rooms you need in your house and you also know your budget.
Well with a website is very similar. You have to know what you are going to use it for. You also have to allocate a budget for the development. But before you rush in deciding on your budget, let’s recap what elements a website is built with:
- Logo – this represents your company, your brand and you should be using on your website too. If you don’t have a logo yet or looks old and outdated, you might want a redesign.
- Domain Name – this is the address on which your potential customers can find your website by typing it in the browser’s address bar. The domain can be your brand, company name or a keyword domain that represents your activity.
- Web Hosting – this is the web server, where your website’s files are stored and accessed through your domain. It is essential to choose a hosting plan that can support the amount of incoming traffic and can provide a good uptime too.
- Site Design – the look and the design of the website makes it stand out from the others. The design part of your website will be done by a web designer, using editing software such as Photoshop. The designer will plan and create the layouts, will choose colors and fonts and will style the elements of your website.
- Site Programming – the developer will code your website and will integrate the functionalities and features you need, such as contact form, maps, slideshows, payment processing, etc.
- Website Content – another important element of any website is the content. This can be text, images, videos or other files. Content is very important and you can’t just copy other’s text and images. First, because this is illegal and second, because Google might not even consider listing your website due to copied content.
- Marketing – why have a website if nobody visits it? You want your website to be visible, therefore it is crucial to use different marketing techniques to drive traffic and get more customers.
Now you know what the main elements of a website are. So when you are asking for a price quote, you have to be very specific about what parts of your website you want to be taking care of.
Each of the above mentioned part of a website will cost you money. How much each part will cost? It depends on the agency or the freelancer you hire. With an agency you can get an A to Z service from getting a new logo through website design and development to advertising. This will cost you a lot. I mean, you really have to think on a big scale of thousands of dollars of initial investment as well ongoing maintenance and marketing expenses.
If you choose the freelance route, you can save money, but the process will be much slower.
The price of a professional logo can start from $300. Sure you can search around on different freelance sites and web design forums, and you might find someone who will do it for less.
A domain name will cost around $15 yearly. You might also want to secure your brand by purchasing all the top level extensions (.com .net .org .biz). Obviously, each domain will be an extra expense, but in my opinion it worth buying them and redirecting to your main website.
Depending on the size of your website and business, the cost of web hosting can vary. A simple website, a portfolio or company profile site can live on a budget host, which will be around $5 per month. For online stores, online forum or community website, you will need to buy at least a virtual private or a dedicated server, which starts at $30 monthly and climb up to $500 or even more per month. Cloud hosting which starts at $10-15 monthly is a great solution for international websites.
A unique website design with one to three design suggestions can start from $600 and can go up to $2500-$3000, depending on the number of pages, the skills of the designer and your needs.
The design has to be converted into the actual website, so you will need a programmer, who will convert the design files into web files. The hourly rate of a programmer starts from $100, so a website with 5 pages will cost your minimum $500. This price includes only the basic features. For additional functionality you will have to pay extra.
Once your design is converted into html and css files, you end up with some blank pages, which you have to fill with your own content. You can writer few pages yourself, but if you don’t have the time, a copywriter can put together 5 pages for you for $15-30 each. This content might not be just right for your website, so you might want to hire a content specialist that will help you develop the content. A website content specialist can easily charge $100 per hour, but most will start from a higher rate.
Ok, so you have already spent few hundreds or thousands till now to have your website ready. But as it is, does not make you any money. The fun begins only now, with the marketing. Hiring a marketing expert will cost you a lot. Rates can vary much in this filed, because it depends on may factors such as niche, marketing strategy, number of people needed to get the job done.
Once you have a plan to market your website, you have to start the actual process. You need more money to advertise your website. In marketing, the sky is the limit when it comes to how much you want to spend monthly. Big companies such as Nike or CocaCola spend billions every year for marketing.
So, how much a website costs? Roughly, it will cost you around $3000-$5000 for a simple website, with some very basic marketing plans, excluding the actual traffic generation. An online shop will start from $10K, while a custom application can be five times more.
But, this means, that if you don’t have a budget of at least $3K, you can’t start a website? No! You can actually create a simple website yourself, with no or minimal technical skills. In the next part I will show you how you can have your own website that will cost you under $200.
How to Create a Professional Website for Cheap?
There are many ways you can build a professional website yourself. You don’t have to be a programmer or designer to create a simple website and save a lot of money. With the use of different tools you can create and publish your site in one day. In the following I will show you how.
Using Website Templates
You can buy a ready-made design and modify it to your needs. This method requires a good understanding of HTML and CSS languages to be able to modify the purchased design.
I recommend Themeforest for buying professional website templates. Here you can choose from over 7000 designs and filter them based on your industry or category. Certainly, price filtering is also available, so you can easily find the cheapest themes.
You will still have to look for a hosting plan. I recommend checking out our web hosting reviews section to find a low cost and reliable service.
Using Website Builders
You can choose from hundreds of different designs and with the drag-and-drop functionality of the website builder you can remove or add elements easily. Create a custom layout, add images, insert contact form or maps, add buttons or image gallery, you name it! Just drag and drop the element and you are ready. You can design and publish your website from iPad.
This method is great for beginners and users who want to publish a website as soon as possible. With under $10 per month you can have your own domain, email address and professional website. This price also includes the hosting, so you don’t have to worry about anything, just build your site, upload content and publish it.
Create Your Own Professional Website with Weebly.com
Create a website in 3 easy steps with Weebly. No coding or design skills needed!
Using Content Management System
A content management system (CMS), as the name suggest, is a software that enables you to easily manage website content. If you choose to build your website using a CMS software, first you have to decide which to choose.
There are many systems that will do the job, but I recommend using WordPress. I have created a detailed tutorial on how to build a website with WordPress and why should you consider using this software. With WordPress you can build any type of website. From simple company profile, through photography portfolio to ecommerce, anything you need.
Start Your WordPress website with BlueHost – One Click Install
Sign up with BlueHost and install WordPress to your domain in few clicks. Free domain included!
Obviously, you can use other software such as Joomla or Drupal to manage your website and content. A while back I did a quick comparison of the mentioned three CMS, you might want to check out the linked article.
I will not go into details here, but you should know that with a CMS you can do a lot more than manage your content. You can extend the functionality of your website by easily installing extensions or writing additional code. This certainly requires a good knowledge of PHP and MySQL programming languages.
The above mentioned content management systems are open source and are free to use for both personal and commercial website. However these come with very basic features and design. You will want to change the design of your website and make it as unique as possible. At Themeforest you can buy premium themes for WordPress, Joomla or Drupal as well for other systems.
So how much does a website cost? Hope you can answer this question yourself now. The real question is: how much you are willing to spend for a website?
In the end I think everything is about compromise. If your time worth more than the money you are going to pay to a web design agency, than go ahead and get a quote. If you can’t afford paying thousands for a simple website, than build it yourself. The result can be different, but as I said it before, it is all about compromise.
I’m really looking forward to hearing your opinion in the comments below.