How Much Does A Website Cost?

How Much Will You Pay For A Website?

A lot of people ask me how much a website costs. But asking how much a website costs is kind of like asking how much it costs to build a house. The home builder needs to know what kind of house you want and where you want to build it. The homebuilder could not give you a quote until you answer some basic questions.

The same thing is true for a website. You need to understand what kind of website you want and the materials and tools you need to build the website before you can know how much it will cost.

In this article, I’m going to explain the common elements that factor into the cost of a website, including:

  • The Cost of Time
  • The Cost for Website Assets
  • The Cost for Tools & Hosting

Summary of Website Costs

Type of CostAvg Estimated Cost
Time to DIY a very basic website
40 -80 hours / DIY
Time for web designer to a build basic to complex website10 – 250 hours
Time to prepare a page of content1 – 4 hours
Cost for copywritersVaries wildly
Cost for graphic design$50 – $200 per hour
Cost for logos$300 – 1300
Cost for hosted website builders$5 – $99 per month
Cost for self-hosted WordPress website$10 – $50 per month
Cost for WordPress plugins$5 – $299 per year
Time for minimum WordPress maintenance (DIY)30 – 60 minutes per month
Cost for WordPress maintenance service$50 – $99 per month
Typical web design fees for standard small business website$1,000 – $10,000

I think it is important to understand the costs involved in building a website before you start a website project. So, let’s learn what these costs are all about.

Magnifying glass with blocks spelling cost

The Cost of Time

No website is really free, despite what you might read or hear about.

The time it takes to build a website is the cost people tend to forget about or under estimate. Every website takes time to build, and time is a cost. Your time is valuable, and so is the time of the person building your website (even if that is you)!

Time Cost By Types of Websites

Different types of websites cost more than others because some website take longer to design and build. Generally, the simpler the website, the less time it will take to design and build the website.

Below is a break down the common types of websites and their general costs in terms of time only.

  • Basic Brochure Website – Less Expensive
  • Blog Website – Less Expensive
  • Single Page Website – Less Expensive
  • Membership and E-Learning Websites – More Expensive
  • Directory Website – More Expensive
  • E-Commerce or Online Shop Website – More Expensive
  • Sales & Marketing Funnels– More Expensive

Time Cost by Size of Website

Similarly, the cost of the website will be impacted by the size of the website. Generally, a 5 page brochure website will cost less than the 15 page brochure website because it takes longer to design and build 15 pages.

How much longer each additional page takes depends on a lot of things, such as the complexity of each page, the tools and functionality needed for the page, and if a repeatable template can be used to create the extra pages.

So, while the size of the website isn’t the only factor in determining how long a website will take to build, it is one of the key factors.

Time Cost by Functionality and Tools Used

The functionality and tools used to build the website impact its cost a lot. For example, if you’re building just a simple page with some content and a few images, that will likely be quicker than building out a page that needs to collect data from another source or is limited to only logged in users. A sales page will take longer to build than a simple contact page.

Sometimes, you will also need to configure extra software or add-ons to implement needed functionality for a particular page or section of the website. For example, setting up an online shop requires some backend configuration as well as integrating payment gateways.

These costs can be very small, but they can also add up quickly and increase the cost of your website by a noticeable amount.

People sitting around laptop

How Long Does It Take to Build a Website?

So, how many hours are involved in designing and building a website? I wish I could give you a definitive answer, but I can’t. The length of time it takes really depends on who is doing the work and how experienced they are.

Expertise Matters

Someone who has never built a website before will need to spend a lot more time building a website than someone who has been building websites for years. Not only does the novice or DIYer need to spend the actual time building the website, but they also need to spend a fair amount of time learning how to use the tool(s) needed to build the website.

Even simpler website building tools like Squarespace and Wix come with a learning curve. Very few people will be able to login and immediately be able to build the website they want.

As you can see, experience and expertise reduce the time it takes to design and build a website. Even though an experienced designer or developer may use more sophisticated or complex tools to design and build the websites, they’ve spent a lot of time learning how to do this work and had hours or practice.

Time Spent by Web Designers and Developers to Build a Website

Web design projects can take anywhere from 1 day to months, depending on the complexity of the job, how much you pay, and the quality of the work you get. In general, you pay more to get things done quicker because you’re paying for dedicated time from the designer or developer.

Why does it take so long? Mostly, because there’s a lot of down time in a project while the designer is waiting for assets, content or feedback from the client, and the designer or developer is juggling other work.

Also, the typical web design project consists of multiple steps and phases, and goes something like this:

  • Research and Planning – Learning about your business, what you need and planning the website around that
  • Content Creation – Writing content and getting pictures and graphics
  • Designing the layout and color palette
  • Building the website
  • Testing the website
  • Launching the website

The hours for this type of project can range anywhere from 40 – 250 hours and above, depending on the complexity and size of the project. The two most time consuming phases are Research and Planning, and Content Creation. Does that surprise you?

In reality, a lot of designers and developers don’t itemize out their time. They’ll give you a fixed or package price. So when evaluating that price, I think it’s helpful for you to think about the time they’re devoting to your project.

Time Spent by DIYers and Novices to Build a Website

If you’re building your website yourself, I’d budget at least 40 – 80 hours for a basic website to just build the website and learn the tool. Remember, building your website using a tool like Squarespace or Wix isn’t the only thing you need to do.

You’ll also need a logo, content, and other assets to build the website. If you want better results, you’ll also spend some time planning the website before you start building.

Person calculating costs on calculator

The Cost of Website Content and Assets

Often, when we think about the cost of the website, we think about the actual act of laying out the website and publishing it. But there’s a lot more that needs to be done to design and build a website.

Preparing Website Content

For starters, you’re going to need some written content for your website. Please do not underestimate the time and cost to create good content! Content is an essential ingredient to any website. And, your website needs good content to be successful.

Writing content for your website is a lot harder than you might think. Even good writers can struggle because writing for the web is different than what we learned in school. And, it’s hard to write about ourselves! Often, writing website content is the most time intensive part of the project.

How Long Does it Take to Write Content?

That’s a great question. First, you ideally spend some time thinking about your messaging before you start to write. That can take 8 – 12 hours for a basic small business.

Then, drafting the content for each page can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours of writing, depending on the purpose of the page. Finally, you’ll need to format the content for easy reading on the web.

Getting Content Creation Help

There are lots of books and online courses to help you learn how to write copy. These usually aren’t that expensive, but they are time consuming.

To speed things up, you could purchase an AI writing tool like Jarvis (now Jasper). While tools like this won’t do all the writing for you, they can help with writer’s block and speed up the writing process. But those tools, of course, come with a cost.

For best results, you can also hire a copywriter. While this is your most expensive option for getting content, it will save you the most time and get you better results.  The cost to hire a copywriter varies wildly again, with some copywriters charging by the word, some by the page, and some by the hour.

Sometimes, hiring a copywriter can cost as much as hiring a web designer.

Preparing Website Assets

Websites need images and graphics to be appealing. And, you’ll usually want to include a logo for your business. So, you’ll need to factor in the cost for these assets when calculating the cost for your website.

Graphics and Images

While many website builders include images with their templates, often those images or graphics don’t work for your business or your website. So you’ll need to get some of your own.

You can search online for free stock photos and graphics, but you need to be aware of copyright rules and attribution requirements for those images and graphics.

Alternatively, you can use a tool like Canva to create images and gather photos. Again, you’re going to need to factor in the time it will take you or someone else to do this, and the cost to purchase software or the photos individually.

Finally, you can hire a professional photographer to take your photos and a graphic designer to design any special graphics you want. These professionals charge anywhere from $50 to $200 per hour, or you can try a service like Fiverr.

Sometimes graphic design or photos are included in your website project. Look for this line item in your proposal, or ask your designer!

Logos

Most small businesses eventually want a logo. And, adding a logo to your website can be another way to brand the website. You can try to design your logo yourself using an online logo creator application, or using software like Canva. How long this will take you depends on what you want. But it will take at least a few hours.

Or, you can hire someone to design your logo for you. According to 99designs.com, a good logo design for a small business should cost between $300 – $1300. Again, logo design may or may not be included in a web design package from a web designer. Check your proposal to see if it’s included!

Two people using calculator

The Cost of Website Building Tools and Hosting

Another set of costs for websites are the costs for the tools used to build and host the websites.

There are a lot of website building tools available. But the most common ones are:

  • Wix
  • Squarespace
  • Weebly
  • WordPress.com
  • WordPress Self Hosted Website

The Cost for Hosted Website Platforms

A hosted website platform is a service that includes a website building tool and website hosting. They also maintain the website for you and keep things up to date. Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and WordPress.com (not to be confused with a self-hosted WordPress website) are the most well known examples of these. Web Flow is another one that is often used by web designers.

These tools can make building and maintaining a website easier because everything you need is integrated into a single platform. Thus, using a tool like this can be more affordable, no matter who is building the website, although they are not always more affordable.

While some of these services offer free tiers, the options and functionality are usually pretty limited. For example, you don’t get to use your own domain name (mybusiness.com) with free plans. So more often than not, you’re going to end up paying for these services. These services generally cost anywhere from $5 to $99 per month or even more, depending on the service and your website needs.

The Cost for Self-Hosted WordPress Websites

A self-hosted website is kind of like building your own house. If you self-host your website, you need to sign up with a website hosting provider, buy your domain name, build your website, and then connect everything together. You are also responsible for maintaining that website.

A lot of businesses and people use WordPress as their website building tool when they self-host a website. WordPress is open source software, and anyone can download it for free. According to W3 Techs, WordPress powers about 43% of all websites, and BuiltWith.com estimates over 30,000,000 live sites are using WordPress.

Building a Self-Hosted WordPress Website is Not Free!

First, you will have to sign up for website hosting. Website hosting costs vary wildly, from $3 per month to hundreds of dollars per month. The average hosting cost for a small business is probably $10 – $50 per month.

Cheap website hosting isn’t always as cheap as it seems, but it may make sense for you. You can check out my article, How Cheap Hosting is Bad for your Business, to learn more.

Second, you may need to purchase a theme to get the website to look the way you want. A WordPress theme is the basic template that controls the style of your website. While there are many free themes, the styling options are usually very limited.

I usually recommend you purchase a premium theme. The cost for these is minimal, averaging about $50 per year. The extra functionality you get from a premium theme can save you a lot of time, and this time savings more than makes up for the cost of the theme.

Third, you may need to purchase plugins to get the website to work the way you want. There are hundreds of types of plugins, from turning WordPress into an online shop or membership platform, to simple things like improving SEO or adding a page builder to your website. The price for plugins generally range from $5 per year to $299 per year or higher.

The Cost of Maintaining Your Self-Hosted Website

Lastly, you’re going to need to keep the website secure, backed up and updated. So you should factor this cost into the the cost of your website. You can of course do this yourself, but make sure to set aside at the very least 30 – 60 per minutes per month to get this done. Then, be prepared to troubleshoot and fix things if something breaks from an update.

Alternatively, you can hire someone or pay a service to do this for you. Some web hosting companies offer this service, and many web designers offer this service. Costs vary again from $15 – $199 per month for a small business, depending on what’s included.  I’d say the average cost is about $50 – $99 per month for basic website management services.

How Much Should You Pay for a Website?

First, I recommend you determine what your budget is for your website.  Your budget is dependent on you and your business.  Once you know what your budget is, you can decide what type of website you want and can afford, and if you can hire help.

According to Forbes, marketing agencies recommend spending about 25%- 30% of your marketing budget on your website. You can also think about the value or return on investment you’ll receive from your website, and factor that into your budget. Your website may be an investment you make for future growth.

If you’re a new business, you may not even have a marketing budget! But I’d consider building a website a part of your startup costs for your business.

If you only have a small amount of money to spend, then realize you’re going to have to spend time to build the website. I encourage you to calculate the value of your lost time. It might be worth it to you to pay for some help at least.

For example, you could get some help writing your content, or just get some technical help setting up the website. Maybe a virtual assistant can help you if you can’t afford a web designer. Alternatively, you can consider starting with a simple one-page website that you can add to later as your business grows.

Caclulator, cost sheets, and pen on desk

What Are Typical Web Design Fees?

Web design and development fees vary a lot. You can find someone on Fiverr to build a website relatively cheap. Or, you can hire a designer or an agency and spend anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 or more for a standard small business website.

You’ll pay more for an online shop, marketing funnels, membership sites or anything with custom functionality.  How much you pay relates to where you and the designer are located, the experience of your designer, and what’s included in your project.

Some web designers also offer monthly subscriptions for website design so you can spread the cost out over one or two years. These costs range from $99 to $599 per month, depending on what’s included. Often, these types of websites are turnkey or semi-custom websites based off templates.

Summing It Up

Wow.  We’ve covered a lot in this article. But, the cost of building a website includes a lot of moving parts. Hopefully this article gave you a better understanding of the costs involved with building a website for your business so you can budget for your next website project appropriately.

Here’s a summary of the costs again:

Type of CostAvg Estimated Cost
Time to DIY a very basic website
40 -80 hours / DIY
Time for web designer to a build basic to complex website10 – 250 hours
Time to prepare a page of content1 – 4 hours
Cost for copywritersVaries wildly
Cost for graphic design$50 – $200 per hour
Cost for logos$300 – 1300
Cost for hosted website builders$5 – $99 per month
Cost for self-hosted WordPress website$10 – $50 per month
Cost for WordPress plugins$5 – $299 per year
Time for minimum WordPress maintenance (DIY)30 – 60 minutes per month
Cost for WordPress maintenance service$50 – $99 per month
Typical web design fees for standard small business website$1,000 – $10,000

Web designers and agencies consider the factors I’ve discussed in this article, along with the value of their expertise and possibly other factors, when setting their prices. If you don’t understand the pricing you receive from an agency or a web designer, ask for an explanation. I believe your designer or developer should be able to justify their pricing when asked.

Of course, if you want some help building your website, you can check out my services.

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