How Much Does it Cost to Make a Website?

For online and offline business alike, having a website is critical in today's digital landscape. But how much should you spend to build it?

5

min. read

July 26, 2021

iMac computer on a wooden desk

A key part of your marketing strategy, your website is one of the first things prospects see before deciding to make a purchase from you or even speak with you. An outdated, difficult-to-browse website can make you lose a sale as quickly as a browser tab can be closed. 

On the other hand, a smoothly functioning, user-focused website can help convert browsers into customers, build trust with your audience and, of course, increase your sales. Needless to say, it’s an investment that can easily double or triple itself in the long run.

Small business website costs

The price of a website can cost anywhere from $100 to $10,000 to $100,000.

So, how much should a website cost? Well, it depends on your needs, what your objectives are and how much functionality it will need. Ultimately, the price of a website is determined by how complex it will be in terms of its visuals and its backend. 

While an aesthetically-pleasing website is important, even more important is connecting with the right customer with the right functionality. Before building your website, spend time figuring out exactly what your goals are.

Do you want to collect more leads? Are you looking to sell products? How do you want to scale your business? Think about how the site will help you achieve your objective.

To put things into perspective, on the frontend, web design primarily consists of page volume, design layout and content development. On the backend, you’ll need to consider page speed, accessibility, databases, and search engine optimization (SEO). 

Besides that you’ll also have to factor in the user interface (UI) design (how your brand visually communicates its personality via graphics, colors, typography, photography) and user experience (UX) design (how easy or difficult it is for visitors to browse your site and complete basic actions). 

Up ahead, we’ve put together some information to help you get a better idea of how much a website should cost as well what's included. Keep reading to learn which option is the best for your business.

Template website builders vs custom designs

Most economical: DIY template site builders

Price range: $10 – $500+  

The least expensive option is to build a site yourself. Nowadays there are plenty of website builders where you can make and manage your site without any web design or coding skills. 

However, what you save on costs, you spend on time. These platforms are relatively user-friendly, and may have a lower learning curve, depending on your experience and comfort level with web technologies.

While these platforms start out as economical options, they rely on a plugin ecosystem for more functionality and their monthly price quickly piles up, the more plugins you add.

One of the main drawbacks is arguably the limited options for customization. Most website builders are template-based and are for those with limited technical knowledge. Their components are made to work out of the box, but struggle with customizability.

The result: your end product won't look as on-brand as you need it to be. So while you are able to build something that’s clean and straightforward, a generic, templated website may not differentiate you enough from your competitor.

Another big drawback includes the lack of mobile responsiveness. Most site builders don't allow you to customize the mobile designs—rather, the desktop design "fits" in a mobile view. This is designated as "mobile friendly" and is commonly confused with "mobile responsive."

In a true mobile responsive site, the layout and UI for each device view is optimized per device. For example, a small button that is easy to click on a desktop with a mouse will need to be enlarged, and with larger font, on a mobile phone in order to accommodate user thumb sizes.

This level of granular customization is difficult to achieve with template based builders because it may require custom coding.

Intermediate website

Price range: $2,000–$10,000+

If your business is growing, you'll likely want to invest in creating a more cohesive brand experience, conversion optimization, and messaging. Intermediate websites typically contain more brand messaging, technical functionality, and custom visuals.

A well-designed website of this scale is backed by strategy, user research, and UX  best practices designed increase site conversions. Common features it might include are:

  • Cleaner code that allows for your site to scale
  • Up-to-date hosting
  • Website maintenance
  • Local and organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Interface and interaction design with custom graphics, animations, videos or photography 
  • Lead generation funnels
  • Third party integrations with marketing platforms
  • Compelling copywriting

Premium website

Price range: $10,000+

The more functionality your website needs, the more complex the features become, and thus more expensive to build.

How do you know if you need a complex site or not?

Do you need it to automate in-house processes, let customers book appointments or provide a suggestion system, your site would be considered complex.

Have you been thinking about opening an online store? An e-commerce website is the most complex, as it needs to be able to process payments, integrate shipping, automate customer emails, and keep track of inventory. 

Expensive websites have higher page volume, are more technically involved than intermediate sites, and usually contain intricate visual design and imagery.

How should you invest?

A website is a living, breathing asset, and is constantly changing. It's an investment, and should not be treated like an expense.

The question you should ask is not "how much will the website cost," but "how much value or revenue will my business get in return?"

Jim Rohn, a business consultant said: "don't put a small effort into a big result." So if someone spent $900 on a website, vs someone who spent $6000, in the long run, the $6000 website will most likely have generated more traffic, and converted more leads, costing the $900 website $20000 in lost opportunity.

A well designed website can easily pay for itself 5x over.

The moral of the story is, do your due diligence before figuring out what to do for your website, and assess your business goals. Figure out the desired future state of your business and the value a what a website can do for you.

Websites are not to be taken lightly—we're here to help you make sense of all of this and all while reaching your business goals.

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