If you’re wondering what it costs to build a website these days (whether it’s a brand new site or a redesign of a stale, outdated site), I can give you a pretty good estimate right here today.
Maybe not to the exact dollar, but I can definitely get you in the ballpark.
The cost to develop a website is based on 2 main factors … size and complexity.
That means a simple, but nice-looking 6-page site is going to cost less to build than a highly customized 52-page site with all the bells and whistles.
The cost to develop a website can range from as little as $750 all the way up to $100,000 and beyond. It just depends on what you want and how much work is involved.
If you’re a small business owner or a professional services provider (doctor, dentist, swimming pool installer, etc.) and you’re looking to build or redesign a website for your business, you basically have 2 options …
Option 1: Attempt To Do It Yourself
If you’re not tech-savvy and you really have no desire to be, then the DIY option probably isn’t a realistic option for you.
However, if you have a basic understanding of web technology and you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and do the work, you can totally build your own website.
The raw materials you’ll need aren’t horribly expensive:
- Domain name: $10-12/year to register a domain. There are a zillion registrars to choose from. I prefer NameCheap.com.
- Website hosting: Costs range from about $100/year for standard web hosting from companies like BlueHost or HostGator to $300-500+/year from companies like WPengine or SiteGround (which you really won’t need until your site is getting gobs of traffic, at which time you could upgrade to a web server with more horsepower).
- Premium Website Theme. $100-150. There are hundreds if not thousands of themes to choose from. Some free, some paid. I urge you to spend a few bucks and get a quality theme. Don’t skimp here. You’ll thank me later. We’ve experimented with many website themes over the years and the ones we use exclusively to develop clients’ sites are from StudioPress.
- Premium Plugins. $100-150. As with website themes, you usually get what you pay for. Do yourself a favor and invest a few dollars to get quality plugins. For example, two premium plugins we use on nearly every site we build are Gravity Forms and Envira Gallery.
- Education. $25-300. Unless you do web development every day, you’re probably going to have to buy a few books or take an online course or two to learn Photoshop, HTML/CSS coding language, etc. to get yourself up to speed in one or more areas of web development.
In total, you’re realistically looking at about $300-400 in expenses.
Obviously the main cost with the DIY option is your time.
Even for a “simple” site, don’t be surprised if it takes you 20-40 hours to produce something of high quality you can be proud of. And that’s assuming you’re already somewhat familiar with how to build a website. If you’re totally new to this, multiply that time estimate by 2x or 3x. Just being honest.
Building a modern, well-engineered website is way more time-consuming than most people realize. But if you have more time than money right now and you don’t get overwhelmed by web technology, the DIY approach is a perfectly viable option.
Option 2: Hire A Professional To Build Your Site
If you’ve shopped around online looking for a good web developer to build your site, you’ve probably encountered one or both of the following:
- No prices listed at all.
- Prices all over the map, from super cheap to super expensive.
In fairness, it’s not because web developers are deliberately being evasive about pricing. It’s really more a matter of HUGE variability from website project to website project.
It also has to do with the clientele a particular web development firm usual caters to. A firm that serves large, multi-billion dollar companies is probably going to be using web technology that is complete overkill for the typical small business.
Here’s a true story from a few years ago. A prospective client was referred to us after getting a price quote of $90,000 from a large web development firm here in the Detroit area. As you might be guessing, this prospective client didn’t have $90,000 in their budget for building their website.
Fortunately we were able to take them on as a client and develop exactly what they wanted for a fraction of the $90k they were originally quoted—saving them tens of thousands of dollars.
As the saying goes, “You have to use the right tool for the job.” In this case it was a matter of finding the right web developer for the project.
Would you like to know what we charge to develop a small business website?
Prices start at $750 and increase from there depending on the size and complexity of the site. Nearly all of the sites we build are less than $10,000 … often in the range of $3,000-6,000.
Pretty straightforward. If you shop around, this is what you can expect to pay for quality small business website design & development.
In case you’re wondering about the specific factors that affect the cost of your website, here they are:
- Page volume. A good rule of thumb is to add about $100/page to the price of the “base model” website a web development firm offers. So what would it cost to develop a site with 26 pages? With us, the base model price is $750 for a 5-page site. Add on $2,100 for the remaining 21 pages, and you arrive at a total of $2,850. Obviously every web developer is going to have their own custom pricing, but at least this will give you a ballpark figure based on current market rates.
- Custom site layout (i.e. “theme hacking”). Every website project starts with a pre-built theme, but rarely is that theme going to be exactly what you want right out of the box. A certain amount of customization will be needed. Obviously the more customization required, the greater the cost. And if you want something really unusual or complex, it might require the services of an outside specialist — kind of like when your dentist sends you to a periodontist.
- Custom images & graphics. Tricked out images and graphics can really give your site a one-of-a-kind look, but it also comes at a price. Complex visual effects often require special software and/or the services of an custom graphic designer.
- Custom programming (i.e. site functionality or 3rd-party integration). Sometimes you can get a plug-and-play application that will give your site the functionality you are seeking without too much problem. Other times, getting your site to do what you want it to do requires large amounts of trial/error and testing until you get the bugs worked out and everything runs like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately there usually isn’t a big, red “easy” button like you see on TV.
- Number of design revisions. A design revision is like going from the initial rough draft of your soon-to-be bestselling novel to the final draft that’s ready for sale on Amazon. With each iteration, the end product becomes more refined. In the web development process, it’s standard in the industry to have either 1 or 2 rounds of design revisions before your site actually gets built. Naturally a 2nd round of design revisions will help you fine tune things a little more than just a single round of revisions, but just know there’s a cost to that.
- Researching and testing custom solutions. If you have an ample budget, you can get your website to do pretty much anything you want. However, it’s unrealistic to expect any web developer to have every conceivable scenario and solution already worked out. So if you are seeking some highly unique design or effect for your site, you’ll need to factor in some “research & development” costs to your project.
So there you go. The cost to build or redesign your website has now been demystified. Now you know. ;-)