How Much Does a Website Cost?

cost of a website

There are thousands of web design companies out there quoting you a price from free to thousands of dollars for a website. Now how do you figure out what is the right price and how much should you actually be paying for your website?

So How Much Does It Cost to Build a Website?

First, consider the type of website you need. There are many types of websites you can opt for.

If you need a simple static site, that is HTML based. It would perhaps be the cheapest. But it is pretty useless today where businesses actively focus on content creation as an effective marketing strategy.

So, if you want to use your website as a marketing tool, you would want to opt for a CMS based website.

If you want to sell online, you would want to opt for an e-commerce site. It gives you all the right tools to showcase your products and keep a track of your online inventory. These sites are more demanding in terms of time & expertise, so they would cost more than other types of sites.

Typically you would expect to pay anywhere between $500 to $3000 USD for a simple website. The cost would also depend on the agency or the individual designer working on the project for you.

The cost of a website built could quickly skyrocket if you need a custom built features. It could then run into many thousands of dollars.

So should you shop around for the cheapest price, when there is so much price variation in the market?

Cheap Websites Are Not Good

It is true, you get what you pay for. Cheaply designed websites are not good for anyone. It is not good for the designer or the business owner.

When someone is offering their services at cheap throwaway prices, you can be assured that you will get what you are paying for. There is so much more to a website than just the look. But I doubt such companies will get even the design right for you.

A website is an online catalog for your business. In fact, it is the face of your company online. People will judge your company using the look & feel of it. And first impressions do count. They will form an opinion about your business by just looking at the website in the first few seconds itself.

How important is this opinion that your potential customers would form about your business? I am sure your answer is huge!!

This first impression or the opinion they form would determine whether they do business with you or not.

There are so many other points that go on to make a successful website & creating a good user experience.

  • Mobile friendly website – A website that displys optimally on all devices, including mobile & handheld devices. Learn why a Responsive website is important.
  • A fast loading website – Website load speed is an official ranking factor. One needs an indepth knowledge of how a website works to make it faster, apart from deplying a fast hosting server, of course.
  • Identifying the type of website required – There are numberous types of websites can be built for your business. Which one is right for you?
  • SEO Friendly Site – There are many On-Page SEO factors to consider when designing your website to make it more search engine friendly. Many years of experience and an indepth knowldge of how Search Engine Optimization works are all required in creating a SEO friendly website.
  • Website Security – Taking care of website security and making sure you have not left the site vulnerable to security threats and viruses.
  • Coding best practices – Following coding best practices & standards.

These are just a few of the considerations I have listed above. Can a novice web designer be ready to handle all of the above? Solely looking for the cheapest price, in my opinion, is looking for trouble. Instead of adding an asset to your business, the website could very well turn out to be a liability.

Should You Ask For Free Mockup Designs?

Mockup web page designs can take days to complete. The usual procedure is to get as much information about the project from you as possible. This would usually involve sending you a questionnaire. Based on the questionnaire and other inputs, one proceeds with the designs for the homepage and other internal web pages.

Where so much time and effort is involved, is it feasible for someone to invest all this time and energy for nothing? And even if they did, would they put in their hundred percent?

I know I said some companies are offering for “Free” in my opening comments. Because I have come across designers who are willing to work for next to nothing. They are willing to offer mockup designs prior to even getting paid. So desperate to get work that they are willing to work for free in the hope those clients would like their design and would agree to work with them.

It is difficult to blame the designers here though. These are usually freelancers, or new design agencies looking for work. Sometimes it is a “do or die” situation for them. Either you get clients to grow your business or you perish. In such circumstances, you desperately grab for anything that comes your way. Anything that can keep you afloat long enough until you get a hold in the market.

On the other hand, clients here are taking advantage of designer’s vulnerability & week position. Trying to get work done at a much lower price than what would be deemed a fair price. They are also somewhat liable for many of the start-ups that perish into oblivion.

Both parties are actually at a loss here.

The client thinks he or she is really smart in getting the designs done for next to nothing. But in reality, the client already knows that they will not work with this designer. Since a good designer would usually not agree to work for free. The client understands the weak position of the design company and the lack of ongoing projects which enable them to take on work at such nominal prices.

However, the lure of the free service is so strong that it nevertheless keeps the client tied up with the designer for some time, making them both waste each other’s time.

I am yet to hear of a web designer who offered his services for free and got his work approved by the client. The work may be good and the client may have liked it. But they are so sure there is something wrong with the designer that they just won’t work with him.

We have had many clients tell us they have a mock up design done by some other designer that they want to be converted to a website.

So if you are looking for some free stuff, then don’t. Everything has a price tag attached to it and there is no free lunch. Same goes to the web designer or freelancer, “Stop wasting yours and others time!” Learn to value yourself and never offer your services for free. Working for free convinces the client that you are worthless. Sounds rude, but it is quite true!!

Choosing The Right Web Design Company Within Your Budget

Usually, clients would contact a few web design companies to compare prices and to check the quality of their work. It is also a good idea to see the type of clients they have worked with and how long they have been in business etc. Then you would evaluate the quotes received from different companies or designers.

Although, it is a good practice to get quotes from a few companies at the same time, however, overdoing can make you look like you are just looking for the cheapest designer and not for quality. We usually do not bother with the client when we see client sending the same email to more than a few design companies for a quote.

A web design involves more than just the visual aspect of it. The design company should be aware of the latest web trends in the market, the best coding practices, tools that the company uses to design your website, using CSS rather than tables to style the website etc.

These are some of the design aspects only that need to be addressed. Apart from this, you need to see whether your designer is actually taking your requirement into consideration and planning the website accordingly. Planning is a vital part of the web design process.

The design company should pose a series of questions in the form of a questionnaire that would help the designer understand your requirement first. Is the designer doing that? If the designer does not know the actual reason behind the design, he or she won’t be able to deliver a website that achieves its intended objective.

Is your design company aware of the latest marketing and SEO trends? Is your website going to be SEO friendly? These are a few of the aspects that would impact the pricing of the website.

Getting the cheapest website is definitely not the solution. Convey your requirements and objectives to the designer or the design company and let them suggest the best options available to you. It may also be a good idea to indicate a budget if you have one, that would also help the designer suggest options based on your budget to best achieve your goals.

Conclusion

Remember, you know your business objectives better. But the web designer is best equipped with the knowledge of how to achieve it online. Therefore, do not impose your design ideas or personal bias on the designer. But rather let the designer come up with the best functional design for your website.

Related: Essential Web Design Tips For An Effective New Website

So, how much does a website cost? To conclude this, there is no fixed amount that is right for a website. What you pay should be determined by your business objectives and a lot on the budget you have set aside for your website.

Editor’s Note: This post has been edited extensively for accuracy and relevancy. It was originally published in Feb 19, 2012.

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