The Cost of a Website - Everything You Need to Know

Mara Calvello
Mara Calvello  |  March 4, 2019

We’ve all heard the saying money doesn’t grow on trees.

It’s definitely something that I’ve learned to be true, especially as I’ve gotten older. Considering the cost of various items and asking myself, “Do I really need a new sweater?” have become a regular occurrence.

There are things that are worth spending a good amount of money on—like a website for your company. If you have recently started a new business and need to know how to make a website from scratch, you may be unsure of all of the factors you’ll need to consider that can go into the cost of building a website.

There’s a lot to cover when it comes to the cost of a website, so if you’re looking for some specific information regarding how you’ll be spending, skip ahead to:

How much does a website cost?

When considering all of the elements that go into the cost of building a website, it would be very easy for me to say it depends and end this article.

For starters, you should factor in things like the time and energy it will take to create it, if you have the design and tech skills necessary, and what your budget is to cover all necessary costs.

Factors of the Cost of a Website

You also need to consider the size of the website you’re looking to build, which style of website you’d like to create, and all of the little steps you’ll need to take, from start to finish. It seems like a lot, but I break everything down below.

Types of websites

First things first, decide on the type of website you’ll be needing. You should take into consideration the size of your business and what you want your website to accomplish.

Small business website

If you’re a small business looking to build a website, chances are there won’t be too much information on the site, it will consist of a few pages, and have very little customization. Let’s assume you have less than 20 pages, a few stock photos, and nothing too crazy when it comes to functionality. You should expect an estimated upfront cost of $2,000 to $8,000.

Medium-sized business website

For medium-sized businesses, let’s say your website will have a maximum of 75 pages, a content management system (CMS), a custom designed layout, and some unique functions. If this sounds like the website you’re looking to build, estimate an upfront cost in the $10,000 to $25,000 range.

eCommerce website

If you’re interested in creating a website where your customers can browse and purchase products? This would fall under an eCommerce website. Depending on the number of products you’re looking to feature, you could have an upfront cost ranging anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000.

Large business website

If you’re not in the market to cut any corners, a large scale website could include hundreds of pages, custom designs and images, a CMS, blog integration, and so much more. This could cost anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000.

Route to take when building a website

Now that you know the type of website you’re looking to build, let’s examine the three main routes you could take when creating a website.

Custom build a website from start to finish

Admittedly the hardest, and most expensive, direction to go in is to custom build a website from start to finish. If you don’t have the skills to do so yourself, consider hiring a website designer or developer from a freelance platform to create a website from scratch without the use of a website builder.

Use a website building software

There are tons of options when it comes to website builder software that you can choose from to help you create a website. You’ll have everything from search engine optimization, analytics, eCommerce plugins, and mobile web functionality.

These platforms can also provide tools for marketing and social media, web design, and content management, giving an added layer of functionality to the website. And, you won’t need too much knowledge when it comes to coding and design to create an eye-catching and user-friendly website.

Drag and drop website builders

Truly the most basic, and easy, route to take is to choose to create a drag and drop website. These fully automated website building services handle all of the technical and design elements, in addition to any issues that you may run into along the way.

If you don’t have a ton of tech knowledge and aren't overly picking about the features and designs you’ll have to choose from, this is the route you will likely want to take.

Elements of a website price

Once you have these factors decided on and totally ironed out, there are various elements of website price that will depend on how much you’ll end up spending.

Setup

Setting up a website involves choosing a domain name and a website hosting provider, in addition to obtaining an SSL (secure socket layer) certificate that will encrypt all necessary sensitive data. This is an absolute must if you’re building an eCommerce website. All of these steps come with a price tag and are vital when it comes to figuring out an end-result cost of a website.

Design

Once the setup is complete, it’s time to consider the design of your website. This can include everything from creating a logo, deciding where the menu bar will be located, which font you’ll use, what the color scheme will be, if you’ll have a slideshow or video at the top, how information will be presented throughout each page, and more.

The design should create a positive user experience while also getting your point across. Whether you’re using a pre-made template, employing a freelancer to create a design for you, or using your preferred web design software, each come with pros and cons, in addition to a cost attached that needs to be factored in when estimating the cost of building a website.

For instance, choosing a ready-made design on a web building platform gives you a variety of options, but you will be limited when it comes to any customization. If you choose to go the route of hiring a freelance designer to create the look and feel of your site, you’ll have total say of customization options, but will likely spend more money.

In addition to the overall theme, it’s also important that you build a website with a responsive web design (RDW), as Google began favoring websites that are mobile friendly in 2015.

Elements of a Website Price

Content

Have you ever heard the saying content is king? If you haven’t, you may not understand just how important creating unique and engaging content truly can be for your website.

If you think about the design of your website as the bread, the content is the meat and cheese.

Similar to the design aspect of building a website, you can hire a freelance writer to create the content for you. Or, perhaps you have a content writer on your team whose job it will be to write new copy for the entire site, as well as fresh copy every so often. Both options come with differentiating price tags.

During the content creation process, this also when you should consider choosing a content management system to assist with the display text, pictures, videos, articles, etc., on your website.

Maintenance

Unless you live in a world where nothing ever goes wrong, you’ll eventually need to do some maintenance on your website. Any and all technology will break at some point, and being able to fix it requires some technical knowledge that you may or may not possess.

Because of this, ask yourself who will fix the inevitable problem when it does arise, especially if you choose to self-host your site.

If you’re not too tech savvy, hiring a good developer that could do maintenance on your site usually runs between $80 to $180 an hour. You can also choose to have a website maintenance retainer with the firm that helped to build your website.

The amount of issues you could run into with your website depends on its complexity, the number of plug-ins you’re using, and how much custom code you have installed.

You get what you pay for

The website that represents your company or business isn’t where you want to cut corners. It should be easy to navigate, pleasing to the eye, and have engaging content. Of course, building a website is easier said than done, as it takes a lot of work, a certain skill set, and of course, money.

If you’ve gotten all the way to the end of this article, you know there is no hard and fast answer to how much a website costs to create. Hopefully, the breakdown of all of these factors have given you a better idea as to what lies ahead for you and the website you want for your company.

For even more information, check out our list of 42 must-have website features to make it stand out from the crowd.

Mara Calvello
Author

Mara Calvello

Mara is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at G2 Crowd. In her spare time, she's typically at the gym polishing off a run, reading a book from her overcrowded bookshelf, or right in the middle of a Netflix binge. Obsessions include the Chicago Cubs, Harry Potter, and all of the Italian food imaginable.