How Much Does It Cost To Build A Website?

(Everyone who knows me knows that I have a problem with this statement. It’s missing the foundation of everything I preach – a brand strategy. But I won’t get into that here.)

Yes, you need a website. It’s the hub of your digital marketing efforts and the place people will go first after they meet you or when searching for a solution to their problem. Your website should be easy to understand, easy to navigate, represent who you are as a person or a business, and be Google-friendly (meaning it’s technically set up correctly so you don’t get penalized by search engines. If you want a quick, free report to see if yours is set up correctly, click here.)

In this post, I want to list what goes into building your website.

First, we need to understand your needs

When I get approached to quote someone’s website, we first send a questionnaire that asks anywhere from 20 to 40 questions depending on the scale of the site and the client. Here’s an example of some questions:

  • What is the main goal of the website?
  • What do you like most about your current website?
  • What do your current competitors’ websites have that you wish to have?
  • Name the things that are MOST important in the design of your new website.
  • Do you have a Google Analytics account?
  • What types of things do you see on other websites that you really hate?
  • Does your current web host meet all your new website’s needs (space, bandwidth, databases, etc.)?
  • Do you already have a URL you plan to use?
  • Do you have any wireframes ready or will those need to be produced as part of the scope of work?
  • Do you have existing content for the website or will we need to include content creation as a part of the scope of work?
  • Would you like to incorporate online chat features?
  • Will you need a shopping cart system for e-commerce?

Yes, there are more, but this will give you an idea. If people quoting your site don’t ask you questions like this, go somewhere else. They aren’t interested in what you need. They are only interested in building what they think you need.

Building a website is like building a house. You’d never go to an architect or home builder and just say, “Build me a house! I’ll be back in a week with my stuff to move in!”

You need to know how many windows, the square footage, does it have a basement, is there a third-car garage, etc. These details are important in order to build the house that’s right for you.

Let’s get started

After we understand some of the specs of what needs to be done and have initial phone calls with the client to get more clarification on the answers, I can start to put together a quote for you.

Here’s the breakdown of the pricing model so you can understand what goes into building an effective, beautiful digital home for your brand.

For starters, most agencies will charge $75-$150/hr. to design and build your site. The bigger the agency, the more you’ll pay for their expertise, quality, reliability, efficiency, and end product.

Can you find people that are cheaper? Yes. Will you have more problems? Probably. You get what you pay for most of the time.

Can you outsource your website design and development to someone in the high mountains of Asia? For sure! Will they really understand (or care) what you need? No. Will they be easy to get in touch with if you have a problem when the site is complete? No.

The Simple Template-Based Website Cost Breakdown 

At the core, it takes around 30-40 hours to build a SIMPLE website. I’m talking about a 3-5-page website, built on a template, with zero extra features, and no content development.

  • 5-8 hours to develop the homepage
  • 2-3 hours per interior page
  • 4-6 hours of meetings
  • 4-8 hours of modifications
  • 6-10 hours of designing extra images, icons, or infographics
  • 1-2 hours of basic technical SEO
  • 1-2 hours of domain name management
  • 1-2 hours of hosting management (having someone to rely on is important)

Total hours = 24 – 41 hours (Plan for the worst-case, then if it launches sooner, celebrate!)
Total cost = $3,500 – $6,000

Can you get a site for $1,500? Sure. I’d be VERY skeptical though. If they are quoting you $1,500, they are cutting corners, doing you a huge favor, or they are desperate for work.

But wait! You can’t forget about all the extra “extra costs.” Things like:

  • Expect to pay $750-$1500 for basic SEO optimization
  • Content creation = $100-$300 per page
  • Stock photography
  • Custom CRM (Customer Relations Management) tool integration with forms – 3 hours
  • Store locators – 5-10 hours
  • Multiple languages? 5 hours + translating the text
  • Ongoing plugin and platform updates

A simple site can usually be built and launched in a month depending on whether the content is done and delivered.

The Standard Website Cost Breakdown 

  • 6-12 hours to design the wireframes (blueprint for the website)
  • 20-30 hours to design the homepage and subpages
  • 8-12 hours to develop the homepage
  • 2-4 hours per interior page
  • 8-12 hours of meetings
  • 10-20 hours of modifications
  • 2-4 hours of basic technical SEO
  • 1-2 hours of domain name management
  • 1-2 hours of hosting management (having someone to rely on is important)

Total hours = 58 – 156 hours
Total cost = $7,500 – $17,000

For a “normal site” with around 7-15 pages, forms, high-level messaging, design, wireframes, programming, testing, and helping with all the technical stuff (domains, hosting, plugins, etc.), we estimate around 2-4 months from start to finish to complete the site.

Larger websites with 20+ pages and additional functionality (e-commerce, third-party integrations, etc.) can range from $17,000 – $25,000+ and take up to 6 months.

Why wouldn’t you just use a template-based website?

I’m here to educate you, so that’s what I’ll do.

Template-based website pros:

  • They are faster to launch
  • The designs are already done (most of the time)
  • They are cheaper (if you don’t make modifications to the template, which in our experience rarely happens.)
  • If they are built on a site like Squarespace (please don’t use GoDaddy website templates to build your website! We aren’t fans of Wix either, but that’s for another day.), then you don’t have to worry about hosting, platform updates, support, backups, etc.

Template-based website cons:

  • The people that build the templates (because you usually purchase the templates from a marketplace unless you are using Squarespace) don’t care about you or your specific needs. That’s why they build a template!
  • You look like everyone else (because other people can buy that same template)
  • You are working within the confines of the template structure
  • When (not if) they break, there is low or no support (although they say they offer support)
  • If you use a platform like Squarespace, you don’t own your site, you’re renting it. Stop paying Squarespace? Site goes away.

As you can see, we aren’t big fans of template-based websites. As someone that wants you to think “brand first,” we want you to have the freedom to create what you need without being tied down to what someone else has built. I’m also a big believer in you owning your own stuff! I don’t want you being dependent on people that don’t care about you or offer good support.

Is there a time and a place? Yes. Do we build template-based sites? Sometimes, if it’s a stepping stone in the process of building your brand and your business.

Another word of advice

When getting quotes from different people to build your site, consider these things:

  1. Are the quotes comparing apples to apples?
  2. Do they have a reputable portfolio of work?
  3. Do the sites they build not only look good but function well?
  4. Are they take the time to find out what you REALLY need? You can’t go to your doctor for medicine before they diagnose the problem. Likewise, someone building your site should diagnose the problem you’re trying to solve, not just build you a site like it’s something you pick up off the shelf at the grocery store.

Remember!

Your website is the front door to your brand online. If people come to your site and they have a bad experience or perceive your site as low quality, that’s how your brand will be perceived. No one wants that.

If you have questions about pricing out your website or just need another set of eyes on quotes you are receiving, email me 

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Are you tired of empty marketing tactics that never seem to produce results? Businesses need more leads and sales to survive. So, how do you get more leads and sales? With an effective marketing strategy. And, how do you create an effective marketing strategy? With a focused, strong brand and clear positioning. Click here to start building your brand.