As you prepare the budget for your business, hold off on estimating the cost of your website till you are done with research. This is because a website’s total cost is divided into multiple components like domain name registration, Web Hosting, web design, web development, content creation, updates, and so on. That’s why you’re here, to find out how much do websites cost.
The type of website you want is what determines the final figure. You need to know the size, complexity, functionality, purpose, design, and maintenance requirements of your intended website before you decide on the total cost. Here, we explain all the elements that affect the price of designing a website and how you can stay within your budget.
- Websites can cost between $200 to $100,000 depending on multiple factors
- Website design, content creation, domain registration, and web development are some of the major factors that determine the cost of a website
- Budgeting, ROI calculations, value for money, and competitors are some of the things you should consider before settling on a website cost
- Websites can be expensive or cheap depending on the type of website, complexity, functionality, hosting provider, maintenance/updates, and size
- You can reduce your website cost by choosing a simple design, using ready-made templates, creating your content, and opting for shared hosting
Importance of Website Cost
Today, it has become necessary for every business to have a website. Your website allows you to take advantage of search engines, display your products, process sales and collect payments. Websites can cost anything from $100 to $100,000. However, you must have one because, without a functioning website, your reach is limited.
Simple websites are affordable and platforms like WordPress and Wix allow you to access thousands of themes, plugins, and website design options almost for free. It is super easy to create a working website and there is no reason why you should break the bank in the process. Before you start building your website, you should consider the following;
You need to know how much your website will cost before planning and carrying out your project. Think of your website as a digital house where you need to pay rent, house products, and welcome customers. If you don’t research how much you will spend on digital rent, you end up overspending.
Website cost is important because having a clear fixed amount will allow you to work within that budget to achieve optimal results. Let’s say you plan to spend $2,000 on web dev and web design and a software dev charges you $1,800 for design only, you already know you need to find a cheaper dev.
Return on Investment
ROI is the point of any business. Before you budget for your website, you need to estimate your short, medium, and long-term returns. For example, if you want to sell houses or cars through your website, you should spend more on your website to make it attractive to customers with deep pockets. This also applies to businesses in profitable blogging niches like finance and SaaS.
If you sell courses or you are regular blogger hunting for readers, you can go for a simpler, cheaper website. Also, web developers or freelancers looking to showcase their skills on a portfolio website should not spend too much o designing a website – templates are the way to go. The cost of the website should be justified by the direct ROI you hope to get from it over time.
Value for Money
When you determine your website cost in advance, you know which features or components are worth your money. Simple portfolio websites don’t need a lot of updates or maintenance and paying for them is wasting money. However, if you are building an Ecommerce website, you need to pay a lot more for maintenance because “error 404” = losing money.
The point is, you don’t need to pay for any website feature except it brings you value for your money. Portfolio websites need a lot of web design aesthetics to keep potential clients engaged while they browse through your work. However, finance blogs need a stronger domain name and more content to enjoy value for their money.
Another importance of website cost is competitiveness. You need to research the websites of your competitors in the market and see what makes them stand out and succeed. If your competitors have better websites than you, you might find it hard to break into the market and succeed.
For example, if you run an Ecommerce website, you cannot possibly compete with Amazon or eBay. However, you can design your website with a better user interface and a sales niche that allows you to own a particular part of the free market. Researching your competitors will allow you to see loopholes and budget for those areas accordingly.
The Factors That Affect a Website’s Cost
Your total website cost is the individual costs of different components merged as one. Before you begin your project, you should know the factors that affect a website’s cost and how each one is relevant to your broad objectives. After doing this, you can cut or increase costs in relevant areas.
The following are the most significant features that affect website cost;
Type of Website
The most important factor that will impact your website cost is the website type. There are different types of websites and some of them include basic websites, e-commerce websites, content management websites, portfolio websites, custom-built websites, and so on. Let’s discuss these different website types.
Basic websites can be anything from a simple blog to a classroom project or a landing page for an online course. This type of website is very cheap and its objective is usually simple. Basic websites may bring you money but not lots of it. Basic websites are built with free website builders and can also be hosted for free on platforms like WordPress or Wix.
Portfolio websites serve one purpose only – to show the profile and past work of a professional. Web developers can create a portfolio website to showcase case studies, profiles, and past work. Portfolio websites are more expensive than basic websites but they don’t run on content and might be cheaper in the long run.
The cost of e-commerce websites varies greatly. For example, a business owner that wants to sell their products (say furniture or cars) online does not need an extravagant e-comm site. However, companies like Amazon, Shopify, and Etsy spend millions of dollars on their websites.
Most custom-built websites don’t come cheap. A school, bank, firm, or hospital that wants to build a unique website will need to spend good money to set it up and maintain it. Custom websites like Google, Upwork, Facebook, and the like spend millions of dollars every year to maintain their websites.
Content management websites
Content management websites are platforms that allow you to create and modify digital content. The most popular types of content management software include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and a few others. Content Management systems are expensive to build, maintain, and update. Only enterprise businesses venture this far.
Size and Complexity
The size and complexity of the website will also impact the cost heavily. If you want your website to have multiple pages, features, and designs, you will have to pay more. Developers have to spend more time and effort on the project and they will charge you for their time. If you own a small website with limited pages, your website cost will be cheaper and more affordable.
Companies like Google and Facebook are constantly creating new features which is why they hire thousands of full-time software engineers. Website features directly reflect website costs. Fintech and Ecommerce websites that have to integrate payment systems on their websites will also have to pay more.
Web design is an important part of your website and the UI of your website can directly impact the success of your business. Check this – 55% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website. Your website needs to be clean, and easy to navigate.
If you are to create a beautiful web design, you need to pay more to a professional web designer. However, if you are working with a limited budget, you can play around with platforms like Wix and WordPress themes to choose the right design.
Content creation can take up to 50% of your total website cost. If you are running a blog, this will be your major cost after a while. You also need to pay an experienced SEO professional to help you rank on Google. You need to create articles, videos, images, and other appealing content for your audience.
If you run an online store, you need clear images of your products along with attractive designs and copies to ensure the sale. Fintech websites need to create content around trending finance topics to attract new customers. Huge websites like Facebook and Google need to create appealing designs and answer 1,000+ FAQs. Content creation is a must for every website.
Maintenance and Updates
The bigger your website and audience, the more you need to pay for maintenance. Uptime, server speed, and loading time must be optimal for your audience to have a good experience and come back for more. You need to take maintenance seriously as 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
Ongoing updates are also necessary if you want to build a long-term business through your website. You won’t get everything right at first and customer feedback will tell you which updates are necessary at a time. After the website is built, maintenance and updates will be an ongoing cost. However, they will cost way less than they did to build the website initially.
What purpose is your website serving? If your website serves an advanced function such as payment systems, social media connection, or online sales, your website cost will be higher. Other advanced features like booking systems, custom forms, and SEO tools will drive your website cost up.
Cost Breakdown of Building a Website
The factors we discussed above are the major influencers of website cost. The final cost can vary depending on what you prioritize. If you want your website to embody the best aspects of those factors, you need to spend more. Below is the breakdown of the approximate costs involved in building a website;
Domain Name Registration
All landed properties in the world have unique addresses – same with all websites on the internet. Your domain name is your unique website address and you must choose a memorable one that reflects your brand or business name. Domain name registration is the process of acquiring a domain name and it will cost you money.
The cost of domain name registration depends on the domain extension you choose and the domain registrar. Domain registrars are companies that sell and administer domain names on behalf of businesses. Here is a breakdown of the average cost of domain extensions;
|Domain Extension||Average cost/year|
|.com||$8 – $15 per year|
|.net||$10 – $20 per year|
|.org||$10 – $20 per year|
|.co||$20 – $30 per year|
|.io||$30 – $50 per year|
|.info||$2 – $15 per year|
|.us||$5 – $15 per year|
|.biz||$5 – $15 per year|
|.me||$10 – $20 per year|
Web hosting is a digital process where hosting providers store your website files and make them accessible on demand to Internet users. When someone searches your domain name on the internet, the search engine contacts the hosting provider server and displays the site to your visitor.
You cannot operate a website without a web host. The cost of your web hosting is usually determined by the type of hosting you want and the hosting provider you choose. Some (not all) hosting providers also offer domain name registration.
Types of Hosting
The most common types of hosting include shared, VPS, cloud, dedicated, reseller, agency, and WordPress hosting. Shared hosting is the cheapest and most common hosting type Shared hosting services cost between $2 to $10 per month on average while dedicated hosting services cost between $100 to $800 monthly depending on the hosting provider.
Common hosting providers
There are tens of hosting providers including the famous WordPress. Some of the more popular hosting providers include Bluehost, GoDaddy, HostGator, SiteGround, A2 Hosting, InMotion Hosting, DreamHost, and so on. All of them offer shared hosting and other advanced hosting types.
Another major website cost is its web design. Web design entails creating the visual and aesthetic layout of your website. It includes color, brand logo, typography, fonts, images, and all other design elements. Your web design must appeal to your target audience for your website to be successful. You can either design your website personally or hire a web designer.
Website design – DIY
If you are on a budget, you can choose from the best website builders to design your website. With this option, you don’t need to have technical skills or design experience. Once you have a brand logo/color, you can use the drag-and-drop feature to create the perfect design. However, you might have some lapses on your website especially if you are doing it for the first time.
Hiring a professional web designer
If you want a website that will display the uniqueness of your business and pay attention to the littlest details, the best option is to hire a professional web designer. The cost of hiring a professional depends on the complexity of the website and the experience portfolio of the designer. Hiring a website designer can cost you anywhere between $500 to $10,000.
After you have your desired web design, you need to develop it into a fully functioning website. This will involve writing code, integrating database systems and features, and making sure your website is compatible with different devices and browsers. For this purpose, you need a web developer.
Web developers have different skills and areas of specialization. There are different types of developers and some of them include frontend, backend, full-stack, and WordPress developers among others. The type of developer you hire depends on the type of website you want to build. Most web developers charge between $30 to $100 per hour.
Ongoing Maintenance and Updates
Imagine if Amazon still uses the same crappy website, they first created in the 90s.Impossible right? Same with your website. When you create your website, you need to maintain and update it periodically. You need to carry out security checks, back up important website files, update your software, and polish your content.
All these cost money and you need to factor them in when preparing a budget for your website cost. The frequency of maintenance and updates will determine how much you spend eventually. However, you also need to determine the scope of tasks required to successfully carry out these updates.
Tips To Reduce Website Cost
It is easy to spend too much on a website if you are not well informed. Before hiring a professional to build your site for you, you should research and see where you cut costs (reading this piece for example). You can keep your website project expenses below budget by applying the following tips;
Choose a Simple and Clean DesignSave cost on web design
Web design is one area where you can cut down the cost of your website. If you choose a clean, simple design instead of complex branding and designs, you will save money. If you are hiring, your web designer has less work to do and you can cut out billable hours. If you are designing the website yourself, you can get it done faster.
Choose a simple page structure for your web pages and use minimal colors (maximum of two) to reduce cost. The funny thing is readers prefer a website that has less of everything and is easy on the eyes. It improves UI and readability which leads to greater traffic retention.
Save cost on web development
Features, functionality, complexity, and experience will determine what you spend on web development. If your website has fewer features and optimal functionality, you get to save cost on development. The complexity of the website will determine how long your web developer spends on your project and you want to reduce those hours to the barest minimum.
Also, if you are developing a website with simple features, you can opt for junior to mid-level software developers. They will charge far less than experienced developers, and deliver exactly what you need.
Use Ready-Made Templates
If you are on a budget, hiring professionals might not be an option. In this case, platforms like WordPress and Wix have you covered. These platforms will deliver fully functioning websites to you at the click of a button. They are cost-effective and available almost for free.
As you scale, you will need to subscribe to their paid versions to access some features. This is still far cheaper than hiring professionals. You can use their website builders to design your website. Their systems also act as a backend so you don’t need to worry about web development or website functionality.
Opt for Shared Hosting
99% of hosting providers offer shared hosting because it is the most affordable type of hosting available. Here, you share a server with multiple websites which helps to reduce the cost significantly. Most shared hosting plans cost between $1 to $8 per month.
With shared hosting, your hosting provider takes care of maintenance and security updates. If you are a new business with low traffic or a blogger looking for a basic website, shared hosting is the perfect option. You should know advanced websites like online stores with integrated payment systems will not get top-notch security with shared hosting.
Avoid Unnecessary Features and Plugins
Features and plugins cost money and you need to keep maintaining them or renewing subscriptions. As much as you can, avoid unnecessary plugins and features. You should only start considering extra plugins, features, and advanced hosting when you have scaled your traffic and your website is already monetized.
Create Your Own Content
Videos, Images, articles, SEO, landing pages, homepages, booking forms, website copy… It can all get overwhelming quickly. However, one of the best ways to cut website costs is by creating your content till you can monetize. Content is the lifeblood of any website and you need to keep it coming if you want to engage your audience and retain traffic.
Outsourcing content (especially to professionals) is very expensive and you need to have a huge budget to accommodate that expense. Another viable option is to engage freelancers and agencies that can create quality content at a lower cost. Most websites employ this strategy and it works like a charm.
Regularly Maintain and Update Your Website
If you don’t maintain and update your website regularly, it will not function properly. This will affect your Google search ranking and that website might never recover. All that money was wasted because of a lack of maintenance. To avoid this, make sure you regularly update all the software used on the website. The plugins, themes, and other software must be up to date.
Also, perform regular backups so you can restore any lost website data or files. Make sure your server speed, uptime, and loading time are at optimal levels. Regularly check for broken links, missing pages, and other errors that might lead to user dissatisfaction. Lastly, make sure to update your content to fit current-day trends and engage users.
So, how much do websites cost? The cost of your website depends on you and what you need. It can cost as low as $1,000 and can go as high as $100,000. If you are starting a large enterprise with huge capital, you might spend way more.
If you are a small business owner, blogger, freelancer, or software developer, you can proceed with your website project. You now understand the different components of a website, the factors that affect the total cost, and how to cut down on expenses. Take action right away!
Next Steps: What Now?
- Start drafting your budget
- Decide on the type of website you want
- Understand the difference between web design and web development
- Research web design options
- Hire a web developer or opt for a content management system
- Look for an affordable hosting provider
- Choose the shared hosting option
- Compile the cost
- Start your website project