Have you ever wondered what a website would cost to build?
Or are you in the market and trying to shop for a website?
Whether you have prior experience or not, you’ll find little price consistency and lots of frustration when shopping in the website design and development market.
Website development can cost anywhere from $50 to $100,000+.
Paying the right price for your website will be the difference between a negative and positive return on investment.
In this brand-new guide, you’ll learn whether you need a website or not, why you should get a website even if you’ve already got social media pages, and whether you should build a website for yourself or hire a designer. You’ll also learn how much your website should cost by following a step-by-step method that works regardless of your situation.
And when you’re shopping for websites, come back to this article and re-read this formula, or download and use our handy website cost infographic to lift yourself out of that rut.
While we recommend reading the entire article for the first time, you can click a section to jump through the parts necessary to you:
- How Much Does a Website Cost? The Complete Infographic Guide
- What does a website cost?
- Do you need a website?
- Isn’t my social media page enough?
- I want to build a website for myself.
- How can I calculate what my website should cost?
Step 2: How many pages will your website have?
Step 4: Determine additional website costs.
How Much Does a Website Cost? The Complete Infographic Guide
I know it’s difficult reading 5,500 words when you’re busy. That’s why ETI Designs came up with a handy compilation of all the guide’s information in infographic form.
What does a website cost?
No doubt, the range for website design and development pricing varies wildly. It isn’t because some website designers are greedy. Rather, websites contain many factors that affect the price.
And besides the website itself, there are other factors to consider about who’s building your website.
There are many ways website design agencies and freelancers charge clients for website design and development.
Some may charge a flat fee, by the hour or even by the feature.
However, most website design professionals charge for each billable hour that they work on your website’s design and development to prevent undercharging or overcharging.
Website Design rates range from $75 – $500+ per hour.
One website design agency may charge you $500 and the other may charge $5,000 for the same job, so it’s difficult not to feel ripped off. But you need to consider the additional services and expertise that come with a more expensive package.
I mean, an agency offering consultations, in-house design, and training will probably be the one to bring you more profit and less headache over time.
At first glance, you may want to take the cheaper agency, but the right approach to a website is to treat it as an investment.
When you spend money on a high-quality website, it acts as an equally high-quality advertisement for your business for years to come.
Still, spending too much on a website will result in a negative return on investment.
But before you dive into your pockets, let’s determine if you even need a website.
Do you need a website?
In today’s society, the way we shop is shifting in front of our eyes. Here are some eye-opening statistics to consider about websites and eCommerce, given by the balance, small business.
Some of the important trends to pick out are:
According to the US Department of Commerce Statistics, E-commerce sales rose from $156.39 billion in Q4 2019 to $206.66 billion in Q4 2020, a 32.1% increase.
The BigCommerce 2016 survey demonstrated that as millennials and generation X grow up, they prefer shopping online rather than going into a physical store.
In other words, if you want to make money, a website is one of the best investments you can make for your business.
On the other hand, I’ve seen cases where I don’t recommend websites.
If you don’t want to scale your business and you’re happy with how your business has been performing, then a website may not be in your cards right now.
After all, it’s an expensive purchase and requires maintenance which may be more of an annoyance to you than a benefit.
However, if you’d like to stay in business, you most absolutely need a website.
Websites have made it convenient for customers to make purchases and get professional services from businesses.
Additionally, websites have replaced phone book directories in finding your contact information. With the invention of social media, Google My Business, and websites, people would rather do a quick online search for your business information.
“Well, what about my social media page? Isn’t that enough?”
Social media pages are a popular alternative to websites because it’s free to set up and it’s easy to get a following and go viral on these networks. However, there are a few problems with only relying on this setup.
Firstly, people on social media are not in a purchasing mood.
Chances are, they’re on Facebook looking for a meme or connecting with family and friends.
This means there’s a higher chance that people will ignore your ads and posts if they’re not in a purchasing mindset.
However, when someone is searching for a “lawyer in Brooklyn, NYC”, chances are they’re looking for a lawyer to hire.
That’s why the conversion rates for Google searches are higher than social media marketing.
Secondly, social media pages are rented property, you can spend thousands of dollars a month marketing on these pages, but these networks are not guaranteed to stay relevant.
After all, look at how Facebook has lost many users to other popular social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.
Lastly, because you’re on a rented property, your business page has a lot of rules to follow.
There’s only so much you can do to make your page stand out from competitors for starters. All pages have the same design structure.
And more importantly, there’s the chance you get banned.
While you’re pretty much free to post your product and service promotions on your website, Facebook has community guidelines on what to post, and business managers are often banned for breaking their community guidelines.
To sum it up, I’d stick with Facebook to spread brand awareness and give your business a perception of trustworthiness, but if you want to make your brand profitable, building and marketing a website on Google is what you should focus on.
“I want to build a website myself”
By taking this route, you’ll save yourself a lot of money avoiding website design and developing costs, at least in the short term. We’ll explain more below.
Do you know how to code? If so, then you’re pretty much free to choose any method of building a website and you can move on to the step-by-step website cost calculation guide.
If you don’t know how to code, then you’ve got Content Management Systems and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Website builder tools.
Image By: MakingThatWebsite.com
Depending on how familiar and patient you are with configuring and setting up software, you could try setting up a website using a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla. CMS platforms can do 90% of what a custom website built with code can do.
Don’t think you can just jump into the CMS tools, configure some options and get a professional-looking website.
Content Management Systems can only output maximum performance when used in the hands of an expert.
These platforms have almost countless options to navigate through and may take weeks, months, and years to master depending on what you want to get out of them, so unless you’ve got the time, we recommend hiring a website designer.
This means that if you’ve eliminated the first two options above, then you’re stuck with Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Website builder tools.
|Website Builder Tools|
|Website Aspect||Cost||More Info|
|Hosting Type||$0 – $40 per month||Depends on the plan and provider, but generally, free plans are used.|
|Amount of Pages||$0|
|Content||Varies||It depends on if you’re writing the content yourself or hiring a content writer.|
|SEO & Marketing||Varies||It depends on if you’re marketing the website yourself or hiring a digital marketer.|
While website builder tools generally cost between $0 – $40, they are limited in how much functionality you can put into your website.
The consensus for free website builder tools is that they’re frustrating to use, and they’re mostly good for small branding websites.
Additionally, these websites are filled with advertisements and have generic domain names which sometimes turn away customers.
The money saved in development costs ends up being money lost over time by way of missed lead generation opportunities.
Don’t expect to get pretty designs and fancy website features, as they’re just usually just website templates that, truth be told, make your brand look generic.
After all, you get what you pay for.
Still, if you think you can overcome the user challenges and you’re on a tight budget, or you just want to put up an MVP (experimental) website quickly, we’d recommend Wix Website Builder, SquareSpace Website Builder, or Weebly Website Builder if you want to build your website for free.
“I want to build a website for my business. How can I calculate what my website should cost?”
Step 1: Determine your website goals.
When clients approach ETI Designs, they usually come with the idea of “I want a website for my business”. But can a designer just take this idea and create the perfect website for you?
It’s important to turn that idea into an actionable goal. This sets the right direction for your website’s design.
You can build a website to capture and generate leads, sell products, represent your brand, or even a combination of all. We’ve compiled a list of common goals that we’re often approached with. Find the one nearest to your goal and note the estimated cost of building the website.
“I want a website that I can maintain”
Then you’ll want a website that’s built with a Content Management System.
What’s a Content Management System?
In super simple terms, this means that your website will be built with an interface that allows you, the client, to create, modify, delete and update your website without coding knowledge.
About WordPress CMS
WordPress is responsible for approximately 40% of the internet. It’s quick, secure, scalable, and enough to build a professional website that we can hand over to clients.
WordPress CMS Websites vs Custom Built Websites
WordPress CMS comes with the ability to import pre-made templates and Custom Website Builders like Elementor, which allows for fast website development time. In addition, WordPress gives our clients the ability to maintain their websites within a few hours of training.
Most times, we’ll build our clients’ websites with WordPress CMS.
It’s favorable to our clients as most WordPress websites are done quicker than custom-built websites, which means lower development costs.
If you want a website that will require very unique capabilities and design, you’ll probably want to skip Content Management Systems and Website Builders.
Each special feature in WordPress, such as chat boxes and website builders, will usually come in the form of plugins. These plugins slow down the website, introduce new security vulnerabilities if not maintained, and generally make you dependent on the plugin creator. The same concept follows with modifying WordPress themes.
“I want a website to show what my business does”
21st Century Educators advertises education services on their portfolio website.
This is known as a portfolio website.
Typically the website displays information about your brand. The goal is to get prospects to either leave their contact information or contact you directly.
At ETI Designs, our hourly rate is $150, which is about the average for a website design and digital marketing agency.
|Portfolio Website Costs|
|Website Aspect||Cost||More Info|
|Design and Development||Starts at $3,000||Starts from a one-page portfolio website.|
|Amount of Pages||$300 per page|
|Plugins||$0 – $100+ a year||If you want a custom design or faster website, you’ll need to pay for a Website Builder and Caching Plugin.|
Using our rates, a one-page WordPress portfolio website costs $3,000+.
If you’re on a budget, or you’re a small business, then you can fit public information and advertising for your business on one page.
However, if you have a bigger business, such as with multiple employees and a portfolio, we recommend increasing your budget for 5 pages. We can estimate that each page takes about 2 hours to build. Therefore,
A 5-page WordPress portfolio website costs $3,000, with $300 per page extra, costing a total of $4,500.
“I want a website to capture and generate leads for my business”
A website with lead generation features is usually a portfolio website, with a sitemap that encourages positive SEO practices.
As such, this website will usually include extra pages that each allow for additional chances to show up based on specific keywords and their related website page purpose.
For example, you may want pages for each service offered by your business, pages for each service area your business operates in, and a blog.
At ETI Designs, our solution is a WordPress website with 15 to 20 pages, which costs between $7,500 – $9,000.
“I want a website that I can blog on”
Again, we’ll probably recommend WordPress CMS.
WordPress CMS started as a blogging tool, where website owners could create and host a blog using WordPress.org in less than 10 minutes. Nowadays, the platform has evolved to be the best-known option for blogging.
In case you’re still not convinced, here’s a list of blogs using WordPress with millions of readers.
A WordPress blogging website will follow the same rates as WordPress Portfolio websites as they’re designed by us with the same goal of becoming a brand.
“I want a website so that I can sell products online”
JJIM Trading sells household products on their eCommerce website.
This is called an eCommerce website.
The main purpose of this website is to allow customers to view your products and their details, and purchase them online. As a result, the eCommerce website replaces the physical transaction model and does your selling for you.
Depending on the number of products and the number of customers you expect, most times we recommend an existing eCommerce solution to customers.
Two of the biggest eCommerce solutions that come to mind are WooCommerce (from the WordPress platform) and Shopify.
An eCommerce website needs extra features, such as:
- Payment Processors such as PayPal, Stripe, and ApplePay to take online payments.
- Shop Page to see products.
- Product Details Pages to see details of your products.
- Cart System to add products to a shopping cart.
- Inventory Management System to add, view, update and delete products and their details such as availability, dimensions, descriptions, and SKU Codes.
- Checkout Page to allow customers to create an order.
- Shipping and Billing Forms to collect customer information for shipping and invoicing.
- Order Management System to view & manage outgoing, canceled, and past orders.
ECommerce websites take more time than portfolio websites to develop, test, and hand over to the client.
|eCommerce Website Costs|
|Website Aspect||Cost||More Info|
|Design and Development||$0 – $8,000+||Shopify’s Plans come with Plug-n-Play themes that you can modify from the get-go.
However, if you want a custom theme or WooCommerce functionalities, ETI Designs starts packages at $8,000.
|Amount of Pages||$300 per page|
|Plugins||$0 – $100+ a year||If you want a custom design or faster website, you may need to pay for a Website Builder and Caching Plugin.|
Our WordPress eCommerce Packages cost $8,000+ for these features and each extra page outside the features and pages listed above costs the same $300 to build.
For example, a warehouse wanting a website with brand perception and shopping capabilities will want an eCommerce website with branding pages, such as the 5-page portfolio website package above.
At ETI Designs, this website will cost the client $8,000, with $300 per page extra, costing a total of $9,500.
“I want a website that has a unique design / needs to have a special function / needs to be fast and scalable”
UWI HSU Pharmacy’s website and CMS were custom-built with Vue.js & Flask.
You’ll want a custom-built website.
While development costs are higher since there’s no template to start from, your website will reap the benefits of taking a fully flexible approach to design and development.
You can include special and detailed features such as tailored Content Management Systems, software integrations, and unique designs.
|Custom-Built Website Costs|
|Website Aspect||Cost||More Info|
|Design and Development||Starts at $8,500||For a one-page portfolio website.|
|Amount of Pages||$500 per page|
|Plugins||$0||Design and Development costs go to designing custom software rather than 3rd party paid plugins.|
A custom-built website costs $8,500+ for a one-page custom-built website and $500 per page thereafter.
For an exact cost on how much it will take to build specially requested features, a consultation call with your website design and development company would be best.
Step 2: How many pages will your website have?
Each website page has a different purpose for your business goals. For example, the front page, also known as the landing page, summarizes your website content. This page can contain all your business information or be sectioned off with links to other pages of your websites.
Unless you’re on a tight budget, we recommend having multiple pages as it allows you to include more information about your website, but more importantly, it gives you more chances to show up in Google’s search engines for various results.
For example, a person searching for “construction services in Brooklyn, NYC” is likely looking for a construction company, but the company that has multiple pages, including a blog, has more chances to show up for each page and is viewed as a higher quality website by Google’s search engine algorithm.
Typically, for branding purposes a 5-page website package by ETI Designs can contain the following:
- Home Page
- About Page
- Services Page
- Portfolio Page
- Contact Page
This collection of pages forming your website, called a website sitemap, is enough to look professional as a small to medium business. But, it also serves as a foundation to show up on Google’s search results, also known as Search Engine Optimization.
However, if you’ve taken our advice and viewed a website as a return on investment to your business, you should skip the drama in a prolonged website development project and include more pages that increase your user experience and SEO points with Google.
A website that’s SEO Optimized to find leads for Ray’s Auto Inc
As such, we recommend the following additional pages to the first 5 above:
- A dedicated page per service offered by your business.
- Website Design Page
- Graphic Design Page
- Content Writing Page
Potential Google Search made by a lead: “Content Writing Services”
- A Service Area Page for each location your business offers services. This is best for businesses with a local presence.
Service Areas Page:
Potential Google Search made by a lead: “Website Design Company in Brooklyn”
- Reviews and Certifications Page
Potential Google Search made by a lead: “I-Car Certified Technicians in Brooklyn”
- FAQ Page
- Portfolio Page
At ETI Designs, we average that each website page can take about 2 hours to develop using WordPress CMS and Elementor Pro Builder, and hence at our $150 per hour rate, it costs $300 per page on top of our $3,000 base rate, whereas with a custom-built website, it costs $500 per page on top of our $8,500 base rate.
|Website Type||Cost Per Page|
Step 3: Do you have existing material to put onto your newly built website?
We’ve established that your website serves as a high-quality advertisement for your business. But whenever you want to post an advertisement in the newspaper, do you expect the newspaper company to write the headline and copy?
Instead, it’s understood that you are responsible for the content and the newspaper simply charges for the space taken up by your ad in their paper.
Likewise, your website designer is creating a “space” for you on the internet, rather than in the newspaper, for you to advertise your business.
Before the project initiates, you, the client, are responsible for giving website content to the website designer. They consist of information related to your company’s branding, such as:
- Images of your logo
- Any advertising graphics
- Staff pictures
- Your company’s history
- Blog Posts
and other text, graphics, and photography that you’d like to have on your website. If you have website content readily available, you don’t have to worry about any additional costs here. You can move on to step 4.
“So what if I don’t have content to give my website designer?”
This is fine as most professional website design agencies offer in-house content creation services as an additional service. Meaning, you’ll have to pay for a professional graphic designer, photographer, or copywriter to create content to put onto your website. Content creation can cost anywhere from $50 to $500+ per hour.
At ETI Designs, we offer the following rates on various content creation packages. Simply add up the content services you need based on the 3 categories below and you’ll get an estimation of what it’s gonna cost to create content for your website.
|Content Creation Costs|
|Deliverable Type||Cost||More Info|
|Graphics||$250 – $600+||Our logo design package for a small business starts at $250.|
|A complete graphic design package for a small business, including a copyright-free logo, Facebook cover image, business card, and letterhead costs $600+.|
|Photography||Starts at $150||We offer staff headshot photography services at $150 per person. Group sessions (8+ staff members) get a group discount.|
|Copy Written Content||$200 per page||If you want us to create text copy for your website pages after building them, it’ll cost $200 per page.|
|$0.10 per word||Blog posts cost $0.10 per word.|
Step 4: Determine Additional Website Costs.
Besides manual labor costs charged for designing and developing the website, you’ll often find a few other things in a website proposal that you’ll be charged for. Below, there’s a general list of these additional charges, whether they’re required for production, and what they should cost you when you add them all together.
|Additional Website Costs|
|Website Aspect||Required Purchase||Cost||More Info|
|Domain Name||✅||Starts at $6 per year for .com|
|Starts at $10 per year for .net|
|Hosting Type||✅||Starts at $3 per month(Shared Hosting)||Smaller websites with less than 10,000 visits a month can use shared hosting.|
|Starts at $4 per month(Managed Hosting)||Good for brands who already have a following.|
|$0 – $10,000+(Custom Hosting)||Custom Hosting wildly varies depending on the web stack that was used to build.
Django + Vue.js can be hosted on a free tier with PythonAnywhere and Netlify hosting, even though it’s not suitable for production websites.
On the other hand, huge websites with lots of users using IaaS providers like AWS can cost tens of thousands a month.
|SSL Certificate||✅||$0 – $200 per year||A free SSL from Cloudflare works for most websites, but if you need more encryption, you’ll have to pay for it.|
|Testing & Handover||✅||$600 – $1,500+||Testing of the website’s speed, security, and user experience is necessary before production launch.
In addition, handover meetings and post-support fixes can cost up to thousands.
ETI Designs offers 2 free weeks of post-support website fixes, a free handover meeting.
|Content||❌||$0 – $200 per page||It depends on if you’re writing the content yourself or hiring a content writer.|
|Maintenance||❌||$0 – $150+ per month
(WordPress & Shopify)
|ETI Designs offers free maintenance with a marketing package, but typically a WordPress website takes at least 1 hour per month to run maintenance tests, make fixes and generate a report.|
|$0 -$450+ per month(Custom-built)||3-hour minimum maintenance job.|
|SEO & Marketing||❌||$3,500+ per month(SEO Marketing)|
|$1,500+ per month(PPC Marketing)|
- Domain Name – This will be what users type in their browser’s search bar to go to your website. Typically, .com and .net are below $15 per year. I’d recommend picking your domain up at NameCheap for domains under $10.
However, there are rare cases where the domain you want is taken. You can either try purchasing a different domain name or purchasing the taken domain from a third party. I’d recommend trying a different name as people tend to resell domains for thousands of dollars. Unless you’re already a huge brand and someone picked up your company’s name in hopes that you’d buy it one day, you’re better off trying a new website domain name.
If etidesigns.com was taken, I’d try seeing if etidesignsagency.com was available to purchase.
- Website Hosting – This is the ‘living space’ that will host the files your website needs to be online. You’ll therefore be paying to rent this storage space for your website files to a hosting company.
This ranges anywhere from free to thousands of dollars a year, depending on the size of your website and how many people visit your website every month. Most websites, however, can run on shared hosting or WordPress managed hosting, for additional benefits like a free website acceleration plugin.
If you’re a small business, chances are you’ll probably have less than 10,000 visitors a month, which means it’ll probably cost you on average, between $3 – $5 a month.
I’d recommend Namecheap once more for their hosting as their prices are $3 per month, with a 99.9% uptime guarantee, free support chat, and a free private email for your business!
- SSL Certificate – This is a necessary certification that shows website visitors that their connection is secure on your website. Usually, a hosting service can charge about $20 per year. But we recommend getting it at no cost through Cloudflare’s Free Plan, which also includes extra security protection and shorter loading times.
- Testing & Handover Training – Testing can cost anywhere from $600 upwards, depending on your website’s components, target audiences, and types of testing needed to be done.
Since most websites are built on CMS like WordPress, clients have the option to maintain the website. Therefore, a meeting may be hosted by the website designer to train clients on how to maintain and update the website.
At ETI Designs, we do audience testing to fix any potential crashes or security vulnerabilities before launching your website into the public internet. In addition, we provide a 2-hour training session for our clients. We factor these costs into your website design packages, so you won’t have to worry about adding on any testing fees when you design and develop a website with us.
Additionally, you get a free training and handover meeting, and free 2 weeks of post-support and bug fixing in case you have any questions or notice something’s not working how it’s supposed to on your website.
- Post-Production Services – If you want to make money on your website, you need to get it in front of interested customers. Post-launch, a website needs advertising and continuous content creation for Google to recommend your business in Google My Business and Google Searches. While it’s not essential, it’s recommended you include this within your website budget if you’re treating it as an investment.
To get your website ranking on Google’s search engine, you’ll typically need Google PPC services, SEO Marketing services, or a combination of both, as recommended by your digital marketer.
PPC management services, which manage a company’s Google Search Display ads, typically start at $250 per month but should average around $1,500 per month for good results. In addition, they usually require a minimum investment of 6 months and an initial investment for an evaluation and marketing plan. On average, you should expect the agency to charge 10 – 20% of your monthly ad spend.
SEO marketing services, which include content creation and outreach marketing, typically start at $500 per month but should average around $3,000 per month for good results. Just like PPC management, this service also requires a minimum investment of 6 months and an initial investment for an evaluation and marketing plan.
In addition, your website’s software needs to be updated and protected from spam and viruses, or else it’ll slow down, crash, or even be stolen over time. Maintenance packages should cost anywhere from $150 a month upwards.
ETI Designs offers in-house SEO Marketing services, PPC Management Services, and website maintenance services as an all-in-one branding agency. We work based on the business’s budget, but on average, a marketing package can go from $1,500 to $8,500 per month.
If you’re interested in marketing your website, try your first month with us, for free, with no strings attached.
Final Step: Local or overseas developers?
Choosing whether you want a local or overseas agency to work on your website can be a tricky decision to make.
While there are cost savings to be made by choosing an overseas developer, you’ll have to consider factors like their cultural barrier, trustworthiness, time zone, and many more potential risks that can outweigh the benefits of saving money.
On the other hand, you’ll likely be able to get face-to-face interaction and local laws protecting your investment from a local website designer. However, that doesn’t guarantee that the work done will be better than overseas talent.
There are many gems to be found on websites like Fiverr, where websites are usually done by overseas website developers for as low as $30, but chances are, you’re going to be sacrificing some sort of quality and customer service. Likewise, don’t expect extensive consultations, fancy websites, and extensive testing for a low-budget website. As I’ve said before, you get what you pay for.
I’d recommend that you forget about choosing a website design agency solely based on their location. Sure there are a few business owners who prefer meeting face-to-face with local designers, and that’s fine. But given that the Coronavirus pandemic has shifted many businesses into a remote workspace setting, here’s how I’d choose a website developer:
- Their Reviews – Referrals, Blogs, Social Media, and other trustworthy, unbiased platforms are good ways to check if the designer you’re choosing is legitimate.
- The standard of their work – Ask for a portfolio to see if the websites they create are up to the standard of what you’d expect for your business.
- Their Communication and General Helpfulness – A website designer should promptly answer your question or request and make sure you understand everything about your project during the proposal stage.
- Their Timezone and Cultural Barriers – If you’re going with an overseas developer, make sure they’re in the same timezone as you, or they work at the same time you’re up. Likewise, make sure the websites they create would fit the criteria for users in their country.
- Your Budget – While it’s not the most important factor in choosing a website designer, it’s not to be ignored. There are always going to be website designers who can fit in your price range. If your budget is under the current market rate, however, you’re going to have to do lots of searching before you find a website designer who you can trust. Try finding a college student looking to build a portfolio, an overseas developer who’s looking to build their reputation on a freelancing website, or an overseas agency.
JJIM Trading: A Small Business Website Cost Example
So there you have it. If you’ve read through this guide, you know whether you need a website, why you should get a website even if you’ve already got social media pages, and whether you should build a website for yourself or hire a designer.
You’ve also learned how much your website should cost by following a step-by-step method that works regardless of your situation.
Now we wanna know your thoughts:
What do you think about website rates today?
Are websites worth the cost of building?
Comment below with your thoughts.