When a firm decides to build a new website, the first thing they ask is, “How much will it cost?”. Many businesses are seeking a single, definite answer to this issue, but it’s as complicated as answering the question, “How much does a home cost?”
The answer, like with most price-related queries, is “it depends.” In reality, the cost of developing a new website might range between hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The cost of a new website is determined by several factors, including:
- The size and complexity of the site
- Whether you want to build it yourself or hire a professional,
- What level of customization your site will necessitate
To help you answer the cost question, we’ve divided the type of website that a small to medium-sized business might need into four cost categories.
Less Than $2,000 Websites
While a website at this price point can be built for an individual or a tiny business that requires a static, catalog-style site with only a few pages, most sites at this price point are for an individual or a tiny business that requires a static, catalog-style site with only a few pages. A DIY website builder like Wix, Webstarts, Jimdo, or Weebly can be used for this website level. All of them are marketed as free website builders that allow you to build a “professional” website with a simple drag-and-drop interface, but that’s not the whole story.
Although the basic levels of these tools are free, most web builders will place advertisements on your site in exchange for “giving” you a free website. You’ll also need to upgrade to a premium plan or pay for extra plugins or add-ons if you want things like your own domain name, more storage, or more design and functionality flexibility.
Consider how your needs may change in the future before deciding to use a web builder to create your new website. Most web builders allow basic SEO, such as page meta titles and descriptions. Still, they do not include sophisticated SEO optimization tools if you want to promote your site with longer-term SEO efforts.
Because not every web builder allows site owners to migrate their sites to another platform, you may have to start from scratch if you need a more significant, more complex site on a more sophisticated web development platform in the future.
Consider the following:
- Are you confident in your ability to build a website from the ground up, including deciding on the design and writing all of the content?
- Do you have the time to sift through hundreds of templates to determine what features and functions your site requires?
- Are you okay with a design and functionality for your website that is “close enough” to your vision?
- Is this website portraying the image you want for your business?
- Do you mind if your website isn’t entirely unique, doesn’t match your company’s brand, and looks similar to other websites built with the same website builder?
- If you don’t have a professionally designed website, will your business lose out on traffic, sales, and brand recognition?
Websites that range in price from $2,000 to $7,500
You might want to hire a freelance web designer/web developer to build your site if you want a higher-level website than you can get with a free website builder, and you want a professional to help you with design and development.There are numerous factors to consider when hiring a freelancer. You’ll want to inquire about their experience, skillset, availability, and platforms they work on, as well as how you’ll be billed (by the hour, task, or project), and what happens if time or budget are exceeded.
Because web design and development are two very different skill sets, it’s also critical to know precisely what you need. A web designer is a creative who (hopefully) understands good design and user experience (UX) principles. It can design the visual aspects of your new site, such as the layout, photos, typography, and the hierarchy and navigation that will provide a positive user experience.
A freelancer who specializes in web design may create a beautiful design but only know enough coding to provide basic functionality. In contrast, a freelancer who specializes in programming will most likely use design templates rather than creating a design from scratch to build your site. And neither a web designer nor a web developer will likely be able to write or edit the content on your site, including headlines and calls to action.Make sure you’re clear on your priorities and what your freelancer can deliver.
Consider the following:
- Do you feel at ease hiring a freelancer?
- Who will be the owner of the site, including the domain, design, and content?
- Will the freelancer prioritize your project, or will their availability be determined by how busy they are with other projects? What will happen if they get a full-time job?
- Will you have access to the site once the project is finished, or will you need to continue working with the freelancer for updates and changes?
- Will you be comfortable promoting the site and increasing awareness with ongoing SEO, social media, content marketing, digital marketing, and advertising once the new website is up and running, or will you require assistance with these tasks?
Websites ranging in price from $7,500 to $20,000
If you want a more robust, complex website and want access to a larger and deeper pool of web design and development talent, partnering with a marketing agency specializing in web design is your best bet. Working with a web design agency gives you access to experienced, professional web designers and web developers and additional guidance on web design strategy, best practices, and the latest web technologies.
Most agencies will also have other professionals on staff, such as digital marketing specialists, copywriters, social media experts, branding strategists, and others who can provide valuable input during the design and development process and after the project is completed. Working with an agency also adds a level of professionalism and accountability because you’ll be dealing with a company that relies on referrals from satisfied customers and has systems and policies in place to ensure the process runs smoothly and to address any potential problems or issues.
Many agencies work with multiple web development platforms. They can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each, such as whether to use an open-source content management system (CMS) or one developed internally by the agency. A website in the $7,500-$20,000 price range will most likely use a template and allow you to install standard modules for a blog, news, careers, events calendar, online support, FAQ, photo and video galleries, and so on, but the agency will be able to add some customizations based on your company’s specific requirements and preferences.
Most importantly, working with an agency will provide you with a proper marketing partner who can do much more than just build a website. A good agency will begin your relationship by learning about your company and industry, your business challenges and goals, and identifying how your website can help you achieve them. Instead of someone who simply executes your orders, you’ll be assigned an ally and advisor who will walk you through the entire process, assisting and supporting you every step of the way.
Consider the following:
- Do you want a website that gives you more say and flexibility in terms of design and functionality?
- Do you want a website that accurately reflects your company’s brand and image?
- Do you prefer to work with a professional web design firm rather than a freelancer?
- Do you want to have access to a team of web design and marketing experts both during and after your web project?