When we are contacted by a client about a new website, one of the first questions we are asked is “How much does a website cost?” It’s an understandable question, but it’s not a simple one to answer. Depending on the type of website, features, and operating costs, it can range anywhere from $100 to $100,000. To help you understand why there is so much variance and why a properly built custom website is a smart investment, we’re breaking down the factors that affect the cost of a business website.
Fixed Business Website Costs
First, let’s look at the universal costs of having a website. Whether you are relying on a DIY website builder or investing in an enterprise-level custom site, there are certain necessary costs that go into launching and operating a new website. If you already have a site for your business and are exploring getting a new site, you already have these factors in place.
Your domain is your website address that a user types in to land directly on your website. To get the rights to your domain, you have to purchase it through a provider like GoDaddy or HostGator and pay for it annually. Costs vary, but typically range between $5 and $15 to purchase and annual registration, though if you have a specific domain in mind and it’s already in use, you may try to purchase it. Often, this is significantly more expensive, but, depending on your business, it may benefit you in the long run.
When a URL begins with “https://” rather than “http:”, they have a Secure Sockets Layer. A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate protects data transferring between your website and visitors to your website, providing extra security. This is especially important when someone is entering credit card information or personal information into a website because it ensures the data is encrypted, plus it helps build trust with new users who can feel confident in using your website.
The cost varies depending on the website, but the annual cost is generally between $10 and $100. Most domain and hosting services offer SSL certificates with their services.
A website host provides space on their server for your website so that it’s available online. You’re basically renting your spot on the World Wide Web through a hosting company. Choosing the right host is incredibly important to ensure your website receives the proper allocation of resources and support to ensure it operates reliably and loads quickly so you don’t lose visitors.
Shared hosting, in which your provider places your website on a server with several other sites, is the least expensive, generally around $5 to $15 per month. The downside is that sharing resources can slow down your website. A virtual private server or dedicated server is more expensive, but you have full access to the allotted resources so you’ll experience a more consistent performance with fewer outages and slow-downs. The cost for these options ranges from $25 to as much as $1,000 per month for enterprise websites.
Costs of a DIY Website
Do-it-yourself website builders such as Wix or Weebly are common options for small startups with minimal funds for investment. A monthly subscription includes your domain, SSL certificate, and website hosting, and you’ll receive a template or theme website that allows you to add text and drop in images.
However, the low cost is really the only benefit to a DIY website. Consider these factors:
- There’s little to no customization, so adding additional security features, optimizing the site for search engines, and adding additional pages is typically out of reach.
- You don’t own your website – if you want to move to another platform or upgrade in the future to a custom website, you may end up losing everything and starting from scratch.
- Thousands of other businesses are using the same template or theme.
- Limited technological abilities, leading to slow load times and a poor user experience.
The cost for a DIY website is typically less than $100 upfront and around $20 to $50 per month for subscription and maintenance costs.
How Much Does a Custom Website Cost?
While a DIY website is fairly straightforward with its pricing, there are significantly more factors that affect the cost when you choose to work with a web design agency to develop, design, and launch a bespoke business website. When we sit down with a client to discuss a new website, we address several things:
- What they need from a website: Do they need to accept payments through the website? Set up appointments? Have multiple service and location pages?
- Their goals for their website: Will their website be their main lead capture? Do they want to rank high in search engine results for their keywords?
- Their expectations: How do they see their new website? What kind of budget do they have?
Using this information allows us to map out exactly what will be included in the website and build an accurate quote for services. Let’s look at some of the factors that go into a professionally designed website that can affect the cost.
Choosing a content management system (CMS) upon which to build the website is the first decision. A CMS is a platform that allows you to update and add to the site without the need for high-level programming and coding knowledge. We offer WordPress web design because this platform offers limitless customization options, can grow with your business and are user-friendly.
Instead of choosing a pre-designed WordPress theme, custom web design has a one-of-a-kind look and a layout that’s ideal for your business and brand. More importantly, custom coding ensures that your website is designed to operate flawlessly and is able to support the aesthetic and functional features included in the design without lagging or crashing.
Tool & Plugin Integration
If you want to accept payments through your website, track user information, or connect your shipping and inventory details to your website, you’ll need third-party integrations and plugins that give you the functionality you need. However, poor quality or untested integrations can cause your entire website to go down. Professional designers and developers will choose high-level integrations that are proven to be successful and still test them to make sure they work properly.
With nearly 90 percent of web searches starting from a mobile device, you need to make sure your website offers the same experience on a smartphone as it does on a laptop. While DIY and inexpensive websites may tout mobile-friendliness, they often have longer load times and layout shifts.
A professional web design team will build a responsive website, meaning it scales up or down to fit the size of the screen and provide the same visual experience and functionality across all devices. This provides a better user experience and improves the likelihood of sales and conversions, which gives you a greater return on your investment.
Amount of Site Pages & Content
Depending on how large of a website you need and how many pages you need, this can absolutely affect the cost of your website. For example, a law firm with two attorneys who only focus on personal injury will likely not need a website as large as a website with 15 attorneys who represent clients in several practice areas so the smaller law firm’s website may be less expensive.
Search Engine Optimization
You want your website to be easily found in search engines so your business has a steady stream of new leads and prospective clients. Working with a web design agency to optimize your website during the design process may add to the overall price. However, the return on this investment can’t be understated because your website will be more visible and attract more traffic from clients seeking your services.
Adding an online store with product pages, category pages, and operational functionality including taking payments and tracking inventory can increase the cost of a business website.
Stand Out from the Competition with a Professional Website
We understand that trying to price a website is confusing, but because no two custom websites are alike, neither is the pricing. However, we are dedicated to providing our clients with professional websites that increase traffic, generate leads, and take your business to the next level, thus providing an unbeatable return on your investment. To learn more, reach out to us today at 919-341-8901 or fill out the form below to get started.