The most accurate answer to the question of, “How much does a website cost?” would be that … “it depends.” But, what does it actually depend on? By the end of this post, we promise that you’ll know exactly what contributes to how much does a website cost, plus what sort of website you can expect for your budget, no matter what that might be.
Therefore, how much does a website cost, on the average? This comes down to a couple of key elements:
• the cost of your domain name and hosting, • the cost of the technology/software used to build the website (including the cost of the features), • the cost of the design, • the cost of hiring someone to build the website.
The interesting thing here is that those four “cards,” if you will, can be played basically independently. Which means that you can minimize the cost of one of them while maximizing the others. Or even minimize all of them, which will give you a super-affordable website as a result.
On the average, though, experience shows that a website can cost you anything from $100 to even $10,000 or more. Here’s how it all plays out:
1. Domain name and hosting cost
A domain name is your website’s address on the web, you probably already know that.
A custom domain name – one where you can choose the actual words that make up the domain – will cost you around $11-$13 per year if you opt for a classic .com, .net or .org. If you want something fancier, like .store, or .design, it can be $30 a year or more. ITsecura offers multiple options with domains and you can choose what fits your budget and purpose
Web hosting (aka. a web server) is where your website is stored and from where it’s served to the people who try to visit it. Your website can’t exist without a web server. The cheapest solutions are around $4-$6 a month and depending on your needs can go up to $30+. Though, this is not necessary if you’re just starting out with a new website. ITsecura – offers secure and reliable hosting accounts for as little as $3.95 per month.
How much does a website cost – subtotal: • Domain name: $11 / year • Hosting: $4 / mo = $48 / year • Together: $59 / year
2. Technology cost (including website features)
Not more than 5-7 years ago, the cost of website technology/software itself was a huge contributor to the overall equation of how much does a website cost. Basically, whatever feature you wanted to have on your site, needed to be either bought as a pre-made script or custom-built by a web developer – and those are expensive.
These days, however, we can use what’s called a CMS (Content Management System). The great thing about those is that most of the classic, standard website features are available right out the gate in the CMS itself. I’m talking about things like the ability to edit and publish content on your own, upload images, feature user comments, integrate the site with social media, optimize it for the search engines, and much more. With something like WordPress – the most popular CMS of them all, (this website is built with Drupal CMS which is more advanced but also requires more technical skills) – you get all of the features listed in the previous paragraph for free. Yes, free! It is only once you start getting into the advanced stuff such as e-commerce, credit card processing, user membership panels, etc., some tools start coming with a price tag.
How much does a website cost – subtotal: Basic website features: $0
3. Design cost
We’ll talk about the cost of hiring a designer later on, but for now, let’s assume that you’ll just use a design template that you’ve found on the web. Many of such templates are free and simple to use, such as drag&drop SitePad website building software, also ITsecura provides help with installation and fine-tuning of templates and themes for WordPress. Templates and themes that do require a payment are usually less than $40 a piece anyway. The decision whether to go with a free or premium template can be a tough one, but it basically comes down to the quality of the final design that you consider good enough. To get something more polished, optimized and functional, you simply might have to pay for it.
How much does a website cost – subtotal: • Premium design template: $40 • Alternatively, a free design template
Hiring a designer/developer or an agency?
This is what’s going to contribute to the bulk of your final website bill, provided that you actually decide to hire anyone (you don’t have to). In all honesty, hiring someone to build the website for you has always been the traditional way of “becoming a website owner.” However, this is really not needed anymore. With tools like WordPress + a good design template, you can build a great-looking and functional website all on your own, without ever spending a dime on a “rock-star designer” or “ninja designer” or whatever they call themselves these days. Of course, if you have more money than time then hiring someone can be a good idea. But if it’s the other way around, you really shouldn’t be afraid to start building a website on your own. If you still think that hiring a pro is indeed going to be the better solution, here are the costs you can expect: First off, you need to decide whether you’re going to be working with a sole freelancer or an agency/firm. You can find freelancers on a site like Upwork.com. Depending on the person you choose for the task, you’ll end up paying $30-$100 per hour. That’s quite a spread, I know, but it’s just how the market works. A simple website project – one where you get a classic set of features and a nice design on top, but nothing flashy – can take anything from 15-30 hours to get done. This comes down to anything from $450 to $3000 in total. Working with an agency is a whole other thing. First, you’ll probably get to interact with a number of people as the project progresses. You might talk to someone about the goals, another person about the design, and so on. In the end, you’re more likely to end up with a quality result, but it comes with a price – sometimes to the tune of even 10 fold. It turns out that you will easily find rates in the range of $100-$500 / h, or even more. The lowest quotes (for the whole website) you might be able to get is about $3000, and all the way up to $30,000.
If you decide to work with an agency, keep the following in mind … just to stay safe: • If they’re trying to bill you per number of pages, you’re most likely getting scammed, or at least taken advantage of. • If you have to pay extra for mobile-friendly design, they’re trying to extort more money from you. The mobile-friendly design is a standard these days, and it shouldn’t be paid extra.
Subtotal if working with a freelancer: • … Averaging things out: $50 / h * 25 h = $1250
Subtotal if working with an agency: • … Averaging things out: $5000 for the whole project
How much does a website cost in total?
As you can see going through the numbers above, the answer to how much does a website cost can be all over the place! If you opt for a total DIY (Do It Yourself) approach, you can get a site for as low as $59 (annually – just your domain and hosting cost). And if you go all out, you can spend tens of thousands of dollars. Here’s a cut-out-and-keep reference sheet:
What type of website you can get for sub $500
Your own custom domain name and hosting.
WordPress as the engine running your site.
Free plugins for SEO, contact forms, Google Analytics, and other.
Free or premium design template.
You must do everything yourself – including getting the hosting and domain, installing WordPress, picking a design template and installing it, doing all the other setup steps involved. With the help of Do-It-Yoeself Starter Bundles from ITsecura you shouldn’t be afraid to take matters into your own hands.
What type of website you can get for $1000
Custom domain, hosting.
Site built on WordPress.
Free and premium plugins.
Free or premium template with some modifications to match your requirements.
A freelancer helping you get the website running. Though, don’t expect any fancy modifications or upgrades. What you’re essentially paying for is to have someone do the dirty work for you. But if you wanted to, you could do those things yourself with enough time on your hands.
What type of website you can get for $5000
Custom domain, hosting.
Site built on WordPress or some other CMS.
Tailor-made features, either custom-built or implemented through plugins.
An online store if you need one (to sell products directly from your website).
A tailor-made, original design – something that will be in tune with your brand.
Either an experienced freelancer building the whole thing or an agency. You can also expect to be able to suggest a couple of revisions to fine-tune the website. In many cases, they will also take care of setting up the hosting and the domain on your behalf.
As always, please feel free to leave comments or ask questions.