Pricing for a website can vary greatly, depending on the size and complexity of the project, the level of customization required, the number of pages, and the level of functionality desired. In addition, the cost of a website may also be affected by the following factors:
Factor #1: DIY or Hiring Out
The top factor when determining the final $$ cost of a website is whether or not you are planning to build it yourself. You can absolutely create your own site these days, with popular website building software such as Elementor Pro but do you have or want to spend the time doing so? It’s not a quick or easy process and there’s certainly a learning curve involved.
If you’re wanting something more unique -that is, not using a templated website- then it’s likely going to require help from a developer no matter what route you go.
How Can I Build My Own Website?
The DIY-Route (cost-saving, headache-enducing)
If you’re looking to create your own website, you’ll have two major decisions to start. One, where to host your website (my personal favorite, and one that I use myself, is Siteground hosting). This costs me about $25/month and comes with backups for your site (an almost must these days if you plan to add new content change images in the future and want peace of mind).
Once you have a hosting plan you’ll need to decide what software or content management system to use in order to actually build and design the site. My #1 recommendation if you’re doing it yourself is WordPress, keep in mind I’m biased because I have a fair bit of knowledge with how it can connect with marketing and email software in the future. Other options are Squarespace, Weebly, etc. Can’t say I’m a fan of these as they limit the amount of organic growth you’ll have in the future.
Overall, it’s important to make sure that your content management system is available through your hosting provider.
Once you’ve got the CMS (content management system) decided, find an easy to use website builder plugin, my favorite (which this site was built with) is Elementor. This makes building a website take hours not years.
Average Cost for the DIY-ers
If you go with something like Siteground and WordPress as your content management system you can get started for as low as $20/month (or less if Siteground has specials going on). WordPress comes free with all of their hosting plans (as it should). I mentioned a page-building software, like Elementor Pro, which is going to help align images and content where you need. Now, this isn’t 100% necessary but it’s going to save a lot of time in the future (even if there’s a learning curve now.
Additional add-ons include, site security and domain privacy (optional) — I pay for these and it adds an extra $10/month to the total bill. I do have other marketing and 3rd party plugins installed on this site for an additional cost but they aren’t needed by any means to start.
Total bill for the first year:
- $20/month – Hosting
- $10/month – Domain Privacy/Security
- $49/year – Elementor Pro
Total bill for year is about $409
(if you go the DIY-route with the recommendations above – it’s important to mention that these are the costs at the time of this post and it’s worth checking to see if they have changed since)
What If I Hire Out?
The first factor here is who are you hiring out to, an agency or a freelancer.
The range between hiring a freelancer and an agency build your site can be between $500 – $5,000.
The large range between hiring a freelancer and an agency is due what’s being brought to the table. Think of a freelancer as a la carte pricing, whereas an agency is going to charge you fixed fees for setup, contracts and management. Freelancers can be great, but keep in mind sometimes an agency will charge you more for their project managers, meetings and bill for keeping the lights on (overall, they have more overhead costs to cover).
The benefit of an agency is if you have vastly complex projects that require multiple coding languages. A freelancer might only specialize in one or two types of website builds whereas an agency might have a variety of developers on staff.
Major Factor 1: Speed To Build
Even with website builders, 3rd party plugins and website templates, the website building process can be slow-going if you aren’t familiar with the software. BUT without a doubt, this is going to be the cheapest route because you are doing it yourself and saving costs all around.
The same goes for having others build the site for you, if you need it fast then you will most likely pay a premium on top of the base price. If you don’t need it in a rush, most companies will work with you to avoid extra charges and more (see below my thoughts on agencies).
Major Factor 2: Bells & Whistles
What are your must-haves for your site? Contact form, check. Top menu navigation, check. Core pages that include ‘about,’ ‘services’ and a homepage? check.
But what else do you actually need for the site…if we start adding in hover effects, scrolling images, popups and more this can take more time to build and add to the overall cost. It really boils down to whether or not you need a bare bones website or the premium level of fancy.
Hosting and maintenance costs are another factor that can affect the total cost of a website design project. Hosting is the service that stores your website on the internet, and maintenance is the service that keeps your website up and running.
Generally, the more features and functionality you want your website to have, the more expensive it will be to host and maintain.
Upfront Content and Assets
If you already have the content, color scheme and images to use ready-to-go, that will speed up the design process and reduce costs.
Conversely, if you need the designer to create all of that content from scratch, that will add to the cost and potentially extend the final delivery date.
Size and Complexity
The size and complexity of the project are two important factors that will affect the cost of a website design. A small, simple website will generally be less expensive to design than a large, complex website. The more features and functionality you want your website to have, the more time and effort it will take to design and build.
In addition, the level of customization you require will also affect the cost. If you want to add all the bells and whistles, custom sorting systems and ecommerce functionality, it will take more time and effort to design, which will result in a higher price tag.
Number of Pages
Another factor that can affect the cost of a website is the number of pages. A website with fewer pages will cost less to design than a website with more pages. This is because the designer will need to spend less time on each page, and can focus on creating a well-designed, user-friendly website that meets your specific needs.