You need a new website. And that’s probably why you’re here – trying to figure out how much it’s going to cost you. Let’s talk about that a bit more.
If you own a business, you know the drill: you look over your website and break out in a sweat because it clearly is less than great. Not only that, but you can tell without a doubt that it is hard for customers to use—it’s even hard for you to use! What can you possibly do about it?
Hiring a web designer or web design agency is a significant step, and typically one that makes you gulp at the expense of the investment. However, if your website is a major factor in bringing in leads and sales, it is, therefore, something you don’t want to mess up and should consider investing in.
Pricing your website shouldn’t be mystery
Cost is the biggest fear factor for most of us in the process of investing in a custom site. It can be downright confusing sometimes to know what factors play into the website cost, and if it is worth the investment—or if you should just do it yourself.
Two of the biggest mistakes people make when building a website is either paying way too much or not nearly enough—either overpaying or underpaying.
Over the years, we’ve seen many great companies get taken in by a less-than-professional agency that promises the world but doesn’t deliver. Or sometimes a company doesn’t want to spend much money, so they hire a freelancer or obscure web developer who stops replying to emails halfway through the process. The company is out the amount of their deposit, and the site never gets launched.
So, how do you avoid the two traps of either overpaying or underpaying? How much is the right amount? What’s the right price?
What factors affect the website cost?
There are three main factors that will affect the cost of your custom website.
1. What are your specific needs?
Every business and individual is different and will look for different things on their company’s website. Are you looking for an extensive website with pages of products and lots of team bios? That will factor into how much the final cost will be: more web pages means more design time, which means more cost.
2. What platform do you want to use?
Some platforms cost more than others, so make sure you take the cost differences into consideration as you are planning your website.
If you use a hosted solution like Shopify or Squarespace, you won’t pay an initial cost but you will have monthly fees between $30 and $300/month. That fee includes upgrades and security updates, which you would need to pay someone else to do on a self-hosted solution.
WordPress is open-source so it is free to download and install. However, it requires that you host it yourself, which costs between $5 and $500/month.
Magento has an open-source version but also an enterprise version that has a license fee of around $15k/year. You would need to host this platform, as well.
What expert help is available for you?
Make sure you do your research on the best website designers in your field. There is a difference between a freelancer, an in-house web designer, and a web agency.
They will incur small to large costs, respectively. Be aware of what you are looking for and who will do the most professional job for your particular needs.
Additional factors that affect website cost
These questions are all things to keep in mind as you plan toward a conversation with your designer and what questions they will ask. All of these factors will affect the final price of a custom website.
Is your website new, or a redesign?
A website redesign is like a house remodel—you have an existing website that’s outdated or doesn’t function properly. A new website is like a new house build—you’ve identified some land and now you want to build a house on it.
Typically, when you’re building a new house, you need to establish the infrastructure (water, sewer, power, etc.) Same thing with a website, you need web hosting, a website domain, possibly even a CDN. These are upfront costs that really only need to be done once.
With a website redesign, you’ll use the existing infrastructure to remodel, revamp, or rebrand the templates. In this case, you’ll save on some infrastructure costs.
How many page templates do you need?
Templates are the building block of standard web pages, and sometimes the same template will be used as the basis for a few different web pages. For example, on an ecommerce website, a product display page (PDP) is a standard template used to communicate everything about the product being sold. This template is one design but can be used for an unlimited number of products.
Other common page templates are Home, About, Contact, and Blog. For an ecommerce website, you have additional page templates such as Cart, Checkout, and Order Confirmation. That’s one of the main reasons ecommerce websites are more expensive.
The number of page templates you will need will vary according to your individual website and could affect cost if a wide variety of templates are needed.
How many pages does your website have?
The number of pages needed for your website will of course depend on what information needs to be available to your customers. Extensive information on your website may require additional pages and could increase the total cost.
Note that more pages don’t necessarily mean more page templates. However, since each page has its own unique content, you’ll need to consider the creation and population of that content on your website. Think copywriting, images, icons, illustrations, etc.
Does your website have a blog?
Blogs are very helpful for getting information to your potential clients or customers. Not to mention, the foundation for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)! However, they will slightly increase the amount you should budget for the website project as you’ll need at least two templates for a standard blog: Category Archive template and Post template.
The Category Archive template is the main blog feed where you can filter and see the most recent posts. The Post template is the actual blog post itself. It’s what you see when you click on a blog post in the main blog feed.
Advanced blogs or media sites will have additional page templates such as Tag templates, Taxonomy templates, and others. However, these aren’t common for most businesses.
Do you already have media content?
If you already have a supply of stock photos, the sourcing or creation of new images may not be something you need to factor into the cost. However, if you need your web designer to come up with illustrations, photographs, or video content, it will increase the overall price tag of your site.
Does your website need e-commerce and payment processing?
Additionally, as we mentioned above in the templates selection, an ecommerce site has additional page templates that will increase the cost.
Will your website require any specialized features?
Including special features such as a quoting system, maps, payment processing, user accounts, integration with a CRM, etc., will inevitably increase the budget that you should set aside to make sure your entire site can do exactly what you want it to do.
Ballpark custom website costs
Small business website
An informational or small business website that has 8-16 pages will probably run between $10,000 and $15,000.
Medium-to-large business website
A large, corporate website with 25-75 pages will be between $15,000 and $35,000.
An e-commerce website featuring 10 to 1000 products will cost $20,000 to $55,000.
Complex website or appliation
A database-driven website or application with 20-2000 pages will run anywhere between $25,000 and $75,000.
As you can see, the size and complexity of the site are the primary factors in what the final cost will be.
Main costs of a custom website
So, what elements of the web design process are the main factors in the cost?
A website is not just composed of pretty pages. It takes intention to make sure that each piece of the website is crafted in the most effective way to get the business results you’re looking for. It’s an investment after all, and your website investment should have a direct return.
A website needs to be carefully thought through. It is important that you define the pages you need and map out how they will work together for a smooth transition into a sale—or at the very least an excellent impression.
Your website logo, copywriting, images, video, illustrations, and more need to communicate to your potential customers how you’re going to transform their life.
Your website blueprint is one of the key parts of the process. Each page’s layout will need to be carefully created and its usability detailed.
The bones of your website will need to be built so that your custom website will function and work in the way that you and your customers or clients expect.
Additional website costs to consider
Web hosting is simply the service that allows you to post a unique website online. Server space for your custom website will be an additional cost. Expect $150–500 per year. And remember: you get what you pay for when it comes to hosting. We recommend and use WP Engine for all our client sites, which runs about $300/yr for fast, reliable hosting.
Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing the content of your website so it’s easy for search engines and customers to find. This takes research, planning, and implementation to do well—and thus typically incurs extra fees.
Data or content migration
If you’re moving from one host to another (e.g. HostGator to WP Engine), or one platform to another (e.g. Squarespace to WordPress), part of the process will need to include moving data or content from your old site to your new website—and ensuring you don’t lose anything in the process. This can be simple or complex depending on the size and technical setup of your current website.
Your new website will possibly also need to be connected with other data sources, such as your CRM (Customer Relationship Management System) like Salesforce or Hubspot, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planner), and ESP (Email Service Provider) like MailChimp or ActiveCampaign.
Internal costs of a custom website
Strategy and planning
Your web designer will need to have several conversations to capture your vision for what the website design will be, and run ideas or details past you.
There will most certainly be photo and/or video creation necessary in your website design, as well as copywriting. Sometimes companies have these assets ready-to-use or want their in-house team to capture them. Either way, your web designer will have to review the material and decide what to use and how to use it on your custom website.
Review and feedback
Your website designer wants you to be happy with the end result! This will include video calls, screen sharing, phone calls, and emails back and forth. We believe that the best work comes out of the best relationships. Therefore, clear, thorough communication is extremely important to a successful project.
Opportunity costs of a custom website
How many leads or sales do you think you could generate in a year if your website actually worked?
A website can create a significant increase in sales. You should be willing to spend a portion of that amount, as long as it is reasonable, to have a website that works and drives sales.
If your website is old, broken, or confusing, it is costing you money every day that it stays up. But it doesn’t have to! Your website could be your company’s best sales tool. It could be producing leads and increasing income at all hours of the day and night. However, when your website is sloppy and hard to understand and navigate, potential customers will tune you out and take their money elsewhere.
Should you DIY or hire a freelancer or web design agency?
So, what is the best way to build a website? Should you try to tackle it yourself? Hire a freelancer who does independent work? Or go with a more professional design agency? Each of these are options with differing advantages, disadvantages, and prices. In most cases, businesses will partner with either a freelance web designer or a web design agency to create a professional website.
DIY website cost
A DIY site is clearly the cheapest option upfront—but in the long run, it might actually cost you more than even what you would pay to hire a freelancer ($500–$5000 for a custom site) or a web design agency ($3,000–$100,000 for a custom site.).
Freelancer website cost
A freelancer is generally an experienced web designer that is not quite as low-cost upfront as a DIY site, but is not quite as professional as a web design agency. A freelancer is a great option to go with if you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, but lack the experience necessary to build it yourself. Freelancers operate independently of larger agencies, and may have more flexibility then established web design agencies will.
Web design agency website cost
A web design agency also will have the necessary experience needed to create a website with a third-party website builder. An agency is different from a freelancer, however, in that agencies have an entire team of people working on the various components of your site.
The main reason to go with a freelancer or agency is simply because of the experience that is necessary when using a third-party website builder (such as Wix or Squarespace). Even though these website builders are made to be easy to learn and could help you create an attractive website, they don’t ensure that the end result is user-friendly along with being good-looking. And a user-friendly site is critical—if none of the visitors to your site understand where to go to learn more or purchase, they will close it as fast as they can and you will lose the sale and the potential of a good impression.
How to pay for a custom website
The upfront cost of hiring an experienced designer to build you a custom website can look pretty daunting—and understandably so. You could take out a loan, of course, but that can be a lot of headache and really is not always necessary.
Arrangements can be made for you so that the payment process is more feasible. The most common method for paying for a custom design is in two or three payments. Some agencies also are open to dividing the cost of the website out over several months and having you pay a flat monthly fee.
A final option for you could be to pay the full amount upfront and ask for a discount. Many agencies are glad to knock a bit of the price off if they know they are guaranteed to receive the entire payment all at once.
What does a website cost from Structure?
Here at Structure, we aren’t the do-it-cheap or the do-it-yourself option; we are the do-it-right-option. We work hard to ensure that your final design reflects your business’ style and values.
The standard fee per page template here at Structure is $1,500.
On top of the base fees, you can also expect:
- $750+ per page for Copywriting
- $1,500+ for Foundational SEO
- $250+ per integration with CRM, ERP, ESP
- $1,500+ for data migration or replatforming
We offer two main options for ways you can pay. One option is at milestones—you pay part of the amount when the strategy is complete, another part of the amount when the first draft is done, and so forth.
You also could opt for the monthly flat fee option: we spread the work out over a certain amount of months, and you pay the same price every month until the website is complete.
It’s time for a website that works
Your website could be making money for your business. Watch our free website training 5 Reasons Your Website Doesn’t Create Sales and you’ll know how to increase sales, create fans of your business, and stop losing to the competition.