How Much Does a Website Cost?
Have you ever wondered how much does it cost to make a website?
Do you have an estimate in your head?
Maybe you need to start your website but don’t know anything about website design cost?
Are you aware of the wide range of options you have and the pros and cons of each?
If you’ve answered “Yes” to at least one of those questions, read on and decide what suits you best.
One thing is certain though:
Having a website is essential for any kind of enterprise. Everybody needs a website for their small business, be that a portfolio, a one-page website, or an online store. A website can save you money on traditional advertising and is easy to update.
Reaching customers from all around the world has never been easier.
If you don’t have a website yet, the perfect time to start is now!
You only need to make a little bit of research before that.
So, How Much Does It Cost to Make a Website?
… you just have to be more specific.
Website design cost depends entirely on your needs and budget. There are many options to choose from, and they can be confusing if you are a beginner.
You don’t need to be a developer or to study how to code to start building your own website. There are a lot of platforms there that can help you do it.
When opening a website for the first time, sometimes you can guess whether the design is custom-made or if the creators have used a template. But that is not definite enough.
The range of web design prices varies from literally $0 to more than $100,000 for the whole development.
Maybe you just need a decent-looking blog or website, but nothing too fancy. There are ways to do this almost for free.
Or you are aiming for the stars and will take nothing but the best business website ever.
The question is:
What are you willing to spend? Time or money?
Spending money on a professional team that will do all the work for you means paying no less than $1,000 and then the sky’s the limit.
Even if you choose to invest your personal time in this, still there will be expenses involved.
The best option is to try and bring the website design price down, while still getting a quality product.
Here’s how you can go about it.
What Do I Need to Figure out Before I Start Building My Own Website?
Start smart! Decipher the brain game.
Get your details sorted out and figure out what you need for your future project. Then you can make an estimate of the site-building budget.
But how do I do that, you ask.
What exactly am I going to be looking for?
Can you be absolutely sure about the prices of other things without knowing the specifics?
If you think about it, can you put a price on a meal?
How much does a meal cost?
- What kind of meal?
- Fast food?
- A meal in a restaurant?
- A vegan lunch?
- Low carb?
OK, let’s say a hamburger.
Excellent, now you are giving me something to work with.
We’ll get to the website costs soon enough.
The average cheeseburger costs around $4,49 across the US. An average portion of french fries – about 30 cents.
And if your strategy for today involves something more healthy – an estimate of a classic chicken caesar salad is roughly $8,59.
That’s all it takes.
Still wondering what that has to do with website development costs?
Just wait a second, I have a point, I promise.
If you are asked how much a journey across the country would cost —that’s mighty general.
- Which country?
- For how long?
- Low-cost, average or luxurious?
How about an average cost journey across the US.
Now that’s something we can work with.
For a road trip across the US you can expect to pay around $2,382. That is an average of $149 for a 16-day trip.
The same principle applies to website building.
The more clear you are about your strategy – the better will you adapt in the world of web design prices.
Alright, so how much will you have to pay for your own website?
If you want to build your own website – you have several options. One way is to hire a designer or a company to do all the work for you and pay them a lot of money in exchange.
Or do it all by yourself, invest much of your personal time, learn some new skills, and save money.
Or, use a website building platform and choose from a vast variety of options. You can have it for free, or invest in something a little bit more sophisticated.
Why Do You Need a Website?
I am sure you have a great reason to wish for a website. But you also need to have a clear idea about what exactly you are going to do.
Maybe you are an artist or musician and you need to post your schedule online?
Or you wish to promote your one-of-a-kind hobby…
(For example, extreme ironing – you know, ironing your clothes underwater or on a high cliff somewhere in the desert and taking photos and posting them online, that kind of stuff.)
…and need a platform with sufficient storage to be able to post your pictures daily so your friends, family, and fans can be up to date with what you are doing?
Do you have an online store for shoes and accessories and you need an excellent ecommerce platform to sell them? Or maybe you own a small restaurant and need a website to post your new menus and information on the daily specialties.
My point is, regardless of the website you’re aiming for, having a strategy in mind before you start investing in a website is going to help you greatly with estimating your site-building budget.
I know you already have some idea what you want.
Let’s get started then.
What If I Want to Do All the Coding Myself?
Being independent is great, isn’t it?
That is a good option, but you’ll need to consider what it involves before making the final decision. It will be time-consuming and you will need to put a lot of effort into it.
Eventually, you will be able to hand-code your site and perform maintenance all by yourself.
If you do all the coding you will avoid all those web creation costs. Anyway, keep in mind this option is definitely not for everyone – especially if you’re not technically inclined.
You will have to spend time developing the required skills and it will take months to actually launch your website.
What else is there?
The next possibility sounds great to me:
Choose a Website Building Platform
There are a lot of online platforms that will do everything for you. Some of them can be quite affordable. It all depends on what you need.
Here are the pros and cons of working with a website builder.
I’ll mention all the associated website costs on the way.
What Do You Need in Order to Start Creating Your Own Website?
Where do I begin?
First, you need information on the tools that will get you started. Those are the domain name, the platform itself, and the hosting.
How much do you pay for a domain?
We use the domain name (e.g. Microsoft.com, Google.com, ExtremeIroning.com… I’m kidding!) to identify the IP – this is the website address on the internet. In order to purchase and hold a domain name for one year, you need around $10-$15 annually.
It depends on the type of domain name that you choose.
The good news is the average TLD domain name costs around $10 per year. There are websites that will even grant you the first year for free (e.g. Hostinger).
Did you know that a domain such as CarInsurance.com was sold for the astonishing $49.7 million in 2010?
Next on the list comes the site building platform. Wix.com and Weebly.com, for example, offer free website building services.
The last thing you need to figure out is the hosting, but we’ll get there in a bit.
Let’s examine site builders and their offers more closely and you’ll get the full picture.
Which Website Builder to Choose?
Assuming you have decided to go with a website builder, you need to be aware of the different options.
Learning to work with a website builder is relatively easy. Soon, you will even start to enjoy the process.
There are plenty of sources online to help you understand the basic principles of web design and the best website builders offer a super intuitive interface that will get you going within a minute. It’s infinitely easier than learning how to code.
However, even a website builder does not give you everything for free. Still, compared to the average website cost of hiring an agency, this will prove a much better deal.
There’s one disadvantage to using a website builder, though. It’s pretty hard to switch to another once you get going.
In the vast majority of cases, due to the specific server configuration necessary for a website building platform to operate, it is outright impossible to copy a site over to another server environment. I mean, copying it is quite easy; making it work without glitches isn’t.
This is one more reason for you to do some research before you start.
Alright, so how do you choose a website builder?
What Are the Options?
First, you need to figure out which one to choose, and how much it will cost to set up your website.
There are a lot of platforms to choose from.
Never forget that:
You deserve the best!
The most obvious options out there are:
It’s up to you.
Keep in mind that the options listed abovе belong to the so-called hosted site builders because they provide software-as-a-service. In exchange for a monthly fee, they provide site building tools, web hosting, and technical support.
A neat package with a decent convenience factor.
Paid website builders start at $4-$5 a month and some of their themes and plugins are free. Make no mistake, you can build a great website on any of those platforms. With that said, we can start by getting to know them first.
Using a professional programmer can cost thousands of dollars. In contrast, some of the platforms we’ll mention are free or cost less than $10 a month. Others cost more but they have other desirable features to offer.
How Much Does It Cost to Set up a Website on the Different Website Builders?
Hosted solutions offer unparalleled ease of use, moderate fees, and unmatched convenience.
WordPress.com is a hosting platform and it is very user-friendly. It is a popular choice for students and bloggers who are not looking for much customization. You can just sign up for a free account, choose a theme, and start publishing.
With WordPress.com you don’t need any previous coding experience. However, if you wish to get deeper into the design and have it your way with the code, you should better choose the .org version. You can read more about it in a minute.
Another popular choice is the WiX platform. It is known for its flexibility and is one of the preferred choices for small business, restaurants, and online stores.
There is a free version, which you can use for a year. After that, there is a minimal price of $5 a month. With the smallest paid plan you can connect your own domain to the WiX website but WiX will continue displaying its own ads on your web page.
On the other hand, Weebly is probably the least technically challenging website builder on the market. It offers many themes and doesn’t require any coding skills at all.
Weebly comes with several pricing plans – they start from $60 annually and can reach $540. A great plus is that the platform provides all the maintenance needed. The custom domain for the first year is free on Weebly as well.
Squarespace has different pricing plans to offer – from $12 to $40 per month and it is perfect for photographers, bloggers, restaurants, and musicians, among others.
WiX and Squarespace are a great option for a restaurant website – they will provide you with the best features, themes, and tools to get things going.
If you need a simple business website, you can start with one of the basic plans. Even there, you can benefit from the unlimited storage space Squarespace offers. This feature makes it perfect for online stores.
The Cost of Self-hosted Website Builders
HostingTribunal.com is all about self-hosted options. Generally, you need to look no further than some of our shared hosting reviews to estimate how much self-hosted solution would cost you.
After all, both WordPress and Joomla (and Drupal, and Magento) are free, right?
Well… Yeah, they could be totally free. They can be extremely expensive as well, though, as all of them offer premium themes and tools.
Running a site on Joomla will cost you between $20 and $80 per year. It is the second most preferred CMS after the obvious leader – WordPress. The added costs could be in the range of $200 to $500.
The maintenance on Joomla is between $100 and $1000 and they provide a great variety of well-functioning plugins.
WordPress is one of the most popular and oldest online publishing platforms out there. It is self-hosted, which means that the user has full access to the files and code and can modulate them any way he chooses.
WordPress is user-friendly, and you can download the app for free. The website hosting costs should be no more than $8 a month for a starting, small website. The domain name will come for around $10-$15 per year.
While you get the basic WordPress features for free, there are still additional features you can spend money on. Some website owners can spend more than $300 a month on themes and plugins.
Getting noticed is what everyone strives for!
If you need a unique WordPress theme, you will have to spare around $300 in order to get lifetime access. The average premium theme will cost you around $60.
However, if you are a WordPress beginner, you can get a theme for free. This will bring the web design cost down to zero.
Even on a tight budget, you can start your website quickly and it will work great. WordPress is the most popular open source Content Management System (CMS) in the world, used by more than 75 million websites.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Each of Each Website Building Platform
Prodigious ease of use, moderate prices, and convenience that allows you to launch a site within minutes – this is what website builders worth their salt offer in a nutshell.
Take WiX, for example. If you are looking to express your creativity and you appreciate a more fancy design – WiX might be the perfect fit. It is extremely easy to use, doesn’t cost all that much, and provides good technical and customer support.
I can also recommend Weebly to anyone who is not technically proficient. Keep in mind that the website costs on Weebly are high if you want to have a business or ecommerce site.
Shopify is a great ecommerce platform and it is meant to be a great starting point for an online store. You can also take advantage of a free trial period, which lasts 14 days. The advanced Shopify package costs $299, but starting store owners won’t need something so big and expensive early on.
Bottom line, if you wish to use a website builder, there are a couple of things to know:
- They are very easy to use
- You have a great variety of website templates to choose from, according to your needs
- Using a website builder may not be the cheapest option
- Migrating your website to another builder might be impossible
- Site built on website building platforms tend to be slower, on average; optimizations could remedy that
Hosted Solutions – WordPress and Joomla
I am not going to talk about Drupal or Magento here on purpose. Drupal is very powerful but requires significant technical aptitude, while Magento is for large stores.
Chances are that budding webmasters won’t need all that early on. Besides, WordPress is the CMS of WooCommerce, the most popular ecommerce solution in the world.
So, in brief, content management systems like WordPress and Joomla require for you to find a suitable host, install them (a semi-automated process that includes several clicks on your behalf and nothing more), and maintain them. Many website hosting providers maintain them for free, i.e. install updates automatically, saving some time and hassle and increasing the security of your website.
Cost-wise, both WordPress and Joomla can be as cheap as $50-$80 per year (domain name included) if you use free themes and plugins. Frankly, for starters, you won’t need premium solutions all that much, but they do have certain advantages.
Paid themes and plugins come with better support, more frequent updates, and greater functionality. They are definitely something to consider once your site takes off and traffic starts flowing through it.
Premium themes for either of the CMSs can cost as little as $25, but they can also stretch well into the hundreds. Again, it depends on what concept you have in mind and what you want to achieve with your site.
The plugin fees also vary greatly.
All the same, a realistic annual expense for a small Joomla or WordPress site is about $150. Such price commands quality web hosting provider, a moderately priced theme, and premium subscription for a couple of extensions.
Time-wise, building a site with WordPress is marginally harder than doing with WiX or Weebly, while the possibilities and control are infinitely greater.
Joomla is slightly more challenging technically, but it is better equipped to handle subscription sites and social networks. If you invest the time to learn how to work with it, you’ll get to know a handful of internet technologies a lot better.
Professional Web Design Services
Professional designers and agencies are the way to go if you want no responsibility in maintaining and managing your web presence. Throw money at them and get a catchy site in return.
Again, before approaching professionals do your homework. Create as precise a concept of your future website as you can because good designers and developers will ask a bunch of questions. If you cannot answer well, they will devise their own ways to finish your order. The end result might misalign severely with what you had in mind if you fail to communicate your vision across.
An inexperienced web developer might charge you $50 per hour, while a professional will cost you $150 per hour. Bear in mind that if you start building a website from scratch, you will need to pay for design services as well. In the end, the total might extend beyond $20,000. All things considered, website builders are quite affordable.
Web design from an agency means pulling out the big guns.
There are a lot of factors that can impact the total price:
- The website style and features
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Responsive design
A basic web design costs between $1,000 and $10,000. This will buy you a simple, but effective website.
The website design pricing for even an average site can go through the roof – it can start modestly from $15,000 and reach $100,000.
Website design prices are definitely a brain teaser. You have a wide variety of options and you can pick just one. Most of all, you need to come up with a great strategy and get the details straight.
When You Have the Full Picture, then You Get to Face All the Options
Are you going to save time or money?
If you want to save time, hire a designer or an entire agency to do the work for you.
In that case, web design costs are going to be much higher but are going to be worth it. Bear in mind, paying professionals is not an option unless you have at least $10,000 to spare.
Are you going to start coding yourself?
It will be time-consuming, not to mention the intellectual challenge.
If you have the option to wait for your website until you learn how to get it started yourself, this can be a wonderful strategy. Most of the time, however, you’ll need to get things going fast if you want to keep your momentum. Getting lost in the development process can lead to never starting a website in the first place.
There’s also the “middle of the road” option – the website builders. There are some great options here, each with their strengths and weaknesses.
Now let’s get back to our original question:
How much does it cost to make a website?
Now you have all the necessary information to calculate the costs yourself. Because these will be your costs and yours alone, depending on your needs, research, technical aptitude, and budget.
Good luck with your future website!