When starting your digital brand, the first step towards getting recognition is to build a website. This used to be a complicated process, but now there are many different ways to get your website running.
Some can still feel expensive, but most don’t require their users to know anything about coding. But just how much will this process cost?
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website?
When you’re starting to build a website, there is nothing wrong with not having a big budget. To that end, Squarespace and Shopify are great platforms that have fun themes to choose from.
The unfortunate truth is that companies need to stand out in the marketplace more than ever before. People’s attention spans are pretty small, and you need to catch their attention quickly by not only having great products/services but also great marketing.
If you’re a small business that is just starting out, it is possible to not spend thousands of dollars on a site. You’ll already know that your budget will be better spent elsewhere. If you choose to use Squarespace or Shopify, you’ll be able to get your website running at $20-30 a month.
Before getting into how much it might cost to build a website, here are a few reasons why a one-off website can be impossible to predict the cost of.
Website Design and Development are Services, not a Products
Websites aren’t a commodity. Typically they are something that someone, and usually multiple people have to put together. Building a website will take continued time and effort. This is why a one-off price isn’t simple to find.
Building a Website Takes Complex Planning
The level of detail you want for your website design will greatly affect your price. You might want a feature on your website where users can upload images. This kind of feature, based on exactly what you want might take anywhere from one to one hundred hours to build.
Just to figure out this one feature may lead to a list of questions. you’ll have to answer them in order to figure out how long it will take to develop this one feature. To build a website you need to be willing to answer 1,000+ questions for any other feature you will want your website to have.
Additionally, you’ll have to be willing to pay for the time it takes to go through this process, which will make it so that your quote will also be a charge instead of free.
You might want to simply find a trusted team that will work for a fair rate where you can set the budget and objectives and they do their best to get there for you. Sometimes it’s best to buy trust, not line items.
The Definition of Success Differs
There is a range of opinions in the web development industry, none of which is right or wrong. One designer might think a great website should look like a piece of art, while a developer may prefer websites made from the latest code built from scratch.
The success of your website will come down to the business goals you want to accomplish, not how it’s made.
There are Multiple Ways to Price a Website
The two ways you can end up pricing your website with are fixed bid or hourly. A fixed bid might give you a quote like $5,000, while hourly might look more like $100 an hour for as long as it takes to complete the project.
Fixed bid pricing tends to be less common because there’s too much grey area and the time and effort it takes to build a website can be something of a gamble.
By using pricing that’s hourly or weekly, clients can see their website as a service that takes numerous elements to effectively complete. These elements often include people, brainpower, and time.
When you buy time, you’re also buying trust and an augmented team for your business. Focusing too much on the billing component may cause you to lose focus on why you are building a site, like ROI and reaching and surpassing business goals.
The Web Development Industry has Few Standards
Web development is still a fairly new industry. This means that there aren’t many standards yet. The way that one person or company decides to build a website can be completely different from someone else’s.
There are dozens of languages that can be used to program a website. There are also many different platforms and systems that can be used. Additionally, every function you want may have a solution that can be reached in 1,000 different ways.
As the industry continues to grow, more standards will probably emerge. Until then, the lack of uniformity will cause issues with determining the price it takes to build a website.
This is why often there is no answer to ‘how much does a website cost?’
Costs When Building a Website
These are some of the specifics that you’ll want when you start building your website. This is for a basic informational website that has very little customization.
These sites are usually less than 20 pages, contain a few stock photos, and have no unique functionality. The upfront rates for these packages is between $500 and $8,000.
Your URL or domain name is what people are going to type into their browser to find your website. Without a domain name, people will have to type your site’s IP address to find your website.
Buying a domain name will usually cost between $10 and $20 per year. If you want a customized domain extension like .restaurant or .online, you will have to pay rates as high as $200 and $300 per year.
The SSL (secure socket layer) certificates encrypt your sensitive data. This includes your credit card numbers and personal information. Having a SSL certificate will be necessary if you run an eCommerce website because it will secure and protect your customer’s sensitive data and personal information from being hacked.
When you purchase your domain name, it’s like buying land. You’ll have an address but you’ll need something sitting there to hold all your stuff. Web hosting is your land and web content is your stuff.
Web hosting companies offer shared hosting plans that will range from $10 a month to as much as $99 a month for managed hosting. Plus, the more traffic you get to your website and the more features you add to your website, the higher your price will be. You can get this service cheaper if you pay for a yearly hosting plan, however, many web hosts offer monthly plans as well.
Content Management System
A content management system, or CMS, is what you’ll need to display text, pictures, videos, or articles on your website. Having a CMS isn’t mandatory, but having one will make your website more efficient and save you time.
The CMS you choose could cost thousands of dollars if you choose a customized one, or you could pay nothing using more popular options like WordPress. Enterprise CMS systems will charge fees annually, however, WordPress is free to use.
Web Design Expenses
If you want to have the most aesthetically pleasing website, you’ll need to make sure that it is designed professionally.
Full Redesign or New Design
If you’re going to be launching a new website, or the one you’re using needs a new look, you’ll have to spend some money to have it designed and tested.
SEE ALSO: 11 Popular Web Design Trends
There are some content management systems, like WordPress, that will give you themes that will let you change the look and format of your website instantly. While this option is very convenient, it will also make your layout similar to other people who are using the same theme.
Responsive Web Design (RWD)
Starting in 2015, Google began favoring websites that were mobile friendly, ranking them higher than websites that weren’t designed as well for mobile use. This trend has continued. In response, there are now websites that can detect which platform the website is being used on and reformat the layout for screen size purposes.
Having a website is necessary for your digital brand to have any real traction. Taking to the internet is the way most people get anything done. From shopping, to news, to reviews, it is all happening online. So, you’re going to have to build a website to be competitive. This can cost anywhere from $20 to thousands of dollars depending on what you want and what your budget is. Building a website is a completely customizable process. You can choose what you want and what you want to pay for. This will make developing a website affordable for any brand with any budget.
What have your roadblocks been when building a website?