The Ultimate Pricing Guide: How Much Will Your Website Cost
Planning your budget for website building can be a challenge, as there are a number of factors that come into play. After all, it’s not just about the initial setup and design. There’s also content creation and site management and maintenance.
Money is not the only resource you need, too. Time, technical knowledge, and design skills are required. Plus, costs will differ based on the type of website you intend to create and how simple or complex it will be.
So it’s best to keep these considerations in mind as you decide on which of the three approaches to website building will suit your business best.
A. Outsource to a Website Developer or Designer
This is the way to go if you want your website to be completely custom built, giving it a truly unique identity that will make your brand stand out.
For this, you would have to hire highly-skilled professionals to get the job done. The key here is to find a reputable and reliable website developer/designer or website development agency. As experts, they can help you create your website from the ground up.
If you have precise needs, the web developer or design company may have to start from scratch. But nowadays, most of them use WordPress, a flexible content management platform that powers more than 25 percent of all websites.
WordPress also works to your advantage in that you can easily find another designer to manage your site in case your original designer is not available. Also, thanks to its user-friendly dashboard, you can edit or update the content of your website without the help of your designer.
Outsourcing, however, is the most expensive route to website building. It can cost $2,000 to $5,000 or even more, depending mainly on how complex you want your website to be.
Rates tend to differ as well for designers from emerging and developed regions. Note that the design cost may or may not include content creation and population. For your custom domain and hosting, it varies from a little over $60 per year or more.
B. Use a Website Building Software (WordPress)
If you are tech-savvy and would like to take a more DIY approach, you can create your website using WordPress. Just be prepared to invest both time and money.
While WordPress simplifies the process by providing everything you need to build a website, it still requires assembly. And it is a complex system—one that has a high learning curve and may even require HTML coding at some point.
You can set up your website on your own, with guidance from free tutorials on YouTube or sites such as Lynda.com (where tutorials cost about $50). Or you could seek the help of a pro (hourly rates are from $30 to $80 for a designer and $80 to $180 for a developer).
Before you begin working on WordPress though, you must find a host for your website content. Popular hosting providers include Siteground and WP Engine. Monthly costs range between $4 and $350.
Second, if you’re new to all this, you have to learn how to use FTP to connect to your host. FTP allows you to manage website files, from the design and images to the features and content.
If your hosting provider already has WordPress installed, you can move forward with connecting your domain name to your website.
Now on to designing your website with WordPress. The cost for this depends on the template you select and the design customizations you require.
WordPress has a wide selection of pre-made templates or themes. Basic templates are between $35 and $50, while premium templates start at $50 to $80 and can reach $100 to $200 as they are more customizable and adaptable (to updates). Also, premium templates usually come with quality customer support.
The template serves as the framework of your website—a layout of how information will be presented on each page. Although you can tweak this to your liking, there are certain changes that will require some coding. You’ll also need to populate your site with content—a background design, custom graphics, header images, your logo, text for your pages (e.g., About Us, Products and Services, FAQs), blog posts, etc.
If you need help with these tasks, you can add to your budget $300 to $1,000 for template customization and $250 to $500 for content creation.
You may also want to hire a developer to maintain and troubleshoot your website. Operating your WordPress site calls for even more technical skills than setting it up. Technical issues are bound to crop up due mostly to security patches and software, platform and browser compatibility updates.
Annual maintenance costs begin at $100 and can go up to $800 or even $1,000 per year if you have a complex website with numerous plugins and lots of custom coding.
C. Using a Website Building Platform
Let’s get to the easiest and least expensive option: fully hosted, managed, and automated platforms such as Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, and Bookmark.
This kind of online software is perfect for newbies looking to DIY their way through website building, as it is designed with non-technical users in mind. And because coding is not required, it has a smaller learning curve than WordPress.
The best part: that convenience comes at a low cost and with very little financial risk.
For starters, you don’t have to find a hosting provider, set up FTP, link your domain name, or install a website-building software. All you need to kick things off is to sign up for an account.
Weebly and Wix let you choose between a free plan and a paid plan when you sign up. Their free plan is not only free of hosting and web-building charges but also of any time limits (so you can stick to this for as long as you want). If your budget permits, go for a paid plan to access a full range of customization features and tools. Or to minimize risk, try the free plan first and then upgrade to a paid plan when you’re ready.
Squarespace offers a two-week free trial period, so you can see how the software measures up to your needs and expectations before committing to a plan.
For paid plans, monthly subscription fees range from $4 to $25. In some website builders, these plans come with a custom domain name that’s free the first year and can be renewed for $15 to $20 per year that follows. Alternatively, you could pay $10 to $15 annually for a domain name via GoDaddy or Namecheap.
In terms of setup work, you can save on tutorial expenses since you’ll be able to figure out the basics on your own. Their what-you-see-is-what-you-get platform is incredibly accessible, and you can simply drag-and-drop features such as text and images to where you would like to place them on your website (which explains why such software is also referred to as drag-and-drop builders).
Design-wise, plenty of pre-made templates are available for free. In most cases though, custom changes are not possible, so you may not be able to personalize your website as much as you want. The exception to this is Weebly, which grants access to the codes of its templates.
All this leaves huge room in your budget for content creation. Of course, you could always develop your own page content. But for about $500 or more, you can have a designer take this off your plate and even create custom graphics to help establish your branding.
There’s no need to hire a developer though when it comes to managing and maintaining your website. This is because drag-and-drop builders have dedicated support teams that will take care of technical issues you may encounter along the way and at no additional cost.
Here is a breakdown of costs associated with each method.
Method A: Custom Built
Cost of Custom Built Website –$2,000 to $5,000
Cost of Website Hosting (Annually) – $47 on Siteground
FTP Cost – $0 to $50
Cost of Domain Name – Free
Maintenance Cost –$400 to $1,600 annually
TOTAL (first year): $2,400 to $6,700
Method B: WordPress
WordPress – Free to use
Cost of Buying Theme – $35 to $200 for pre-made templates
Cost of Website Hosting (Annually) – $47 on Siteground
Cost of Buying Domain Name – $10 to $15
Cost of Hiring a WordPress Developer (unless you do it yourself) – $300 to $1,000 for design customizations; $250 to $500 for content creation
Cost of Learning It Yourself (if needed) –$0 to $50
Cost of Maintenance – $500 to $1,000 annually; $80 to $100 per hour
FTP Cost – $0 to $50
TOTAL (first year): $1,100 to $2,900
Method C: Website Builder
Cost of Building Website – Usually free
Cost of Learning It Yourself – Often free
Cost of Buying Domain Name – included in paid plans
Cost of Hosting – Free
Cost of Using a Website Builder (if you upgrade plan) – $4 to $25 (monthly)
TOTAL (first year): $48 to $300
Note too that your monthly website development costs will be fairly similar if you availed of ongoing services that include optimization, content creation, and link building. But for the cost per year, make sure to factor in any special projects or one-time-only charges such as a redesign or the creation of a new logo.
There are different ways to go about website building, and your budget will depend on your specific needs and the resources you have and are willing to invest in. It’s very important, then, to plan ahead and to carefully consider what aspects are worth spending on.
This website pricing guide will help ensure that you start off on the right track. It will hopefully take you a little bit closer to launching a website that will effectively establish your online presence.