What Does A Website Cost?


By Jay Adamsson

Without a doubt, the most common question people ask when they first look at building a website is “what does it cost for a new website”?

Probably the second question is “why does it cost so much for a website?”

So, let’s deal with the first question – “what does it cost for a new website”? Of course, asking this question is like asking “how much does a car cost”. The answer is – it depends. And it depends on what you want to get out of your website.

Free Websites

The internet is littered with “free” website builders these days – like Wix or Weebly – all of which seem to have lots of money for marketing. But think about it. If these website builders are really free, just where do they get all of that marketing money?

With a free website, you can expect some pretty serious limitations. And you can expect to pay extra for things like your email, storage space, or a long list of extras. Free website builders have very limited ability to customize the site, and you can sometimes expect ads to be placed on your site. You’ll also have a website that looks very similar to millions of other websites out there. In other words, you can expect to get what you pay for.

Another downside of this is that you have to do it all yourself. While the free website builders make it easy to create a very basic website, that is what you will get – a very basic website. There will be little or no support if anything goes wrong, or if you can’t quite figure out what is happening.

Now, this may be the best solution for you, especially if you are dipping your toes into the web for the first time. But it becomes pretty limiting for most people.

Around $2,500

The next step beyond the free do-it-yourself websites usually come in at around $2000 – $2500 (or maybe a bit cheaper if they are very basic sites). For this price, what you are normally buying is the services of a jack-of-all-trades that does the design, development and implementation all for you using standard website templates.

While these templates offer more customization that the do-it-yourself builders in the hands of someone that know a bit of coding, you are still getting a template. The programmer just has to add in the logo, some photos and text, select some options, upload it to your hosting, and you have your website.

Again, depending on what you want to accomplish with your website, this may be a good choice for you. But there are limitations. Often, these templates will have limitations that will only show up over time as you try to expand and/or change your site. Also, most templates are built so that they are somewhat flexible and have some built-in customization. But this comes at a price, and it is not unusual for templated websites to be much slower than custom sites. In particular, this can have an impact on mobile performance, where speed is very important.

Also, be cautious if someone is promising a fully custom website for this price. Usually, their definition of custom is not what you would expect. They will usually purchase a template on your behalf, and add in some custom features on top of it. But you are certainly not getting a custom website.

$5,000 – $10,000

The next step up is websites that start at about $5000. For a basic website, this is the starting point for truly custom websites that are created specifically for your needs. A basic site without too many custom features will be in the $5,000 range, while adding in a few more interactive features will bump the price up to the $10,000 range. For instance, adding some e-commerce will increase the price beyond the lower range.

For this price, you will often be getting some professional design, which can make a huge difference in the look and feel of your site. You will then usually get professional programmers that can optimize the technical aspects of your site, and make sure it works smoothly and without errors. This type of site should account for some future growth and changes.

This level may be too much for some people, but this is the point where a website moves from the work of a talented amateur to a truly professional product.

Over $10,000

At this level, you are dealing with specialized websites that have plenty of features and interaction. You can certainly expect truly professional work at this level, and will normally be dealing with a team of specialists. The price will range up from this point, potentially into 6- or 7-figure sums for the most complex websites.

How Do You Choose?

Don’t get overwhelmed by the options. Take a step back and ask yourself “what do I want to accomplish with my website”? If you have a local ice cream shop that’s open for two months of the year, probably you’re happy with something that posts your hours online, and a free website may suit your needs. If you’re hoping to build the next online bicycle parts empire, you will certainly need more than the basic website.

But when you go out and start asking about how much a website costs, you will probably get a wide variety of answers, and lots of helpful (and sometimes not so helpful) advice. If you know a bit about what you are getting for your money, you can make a better decision.

Can we help you figure out what you need? Contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.