How much should a typical website cost?
That’s a loaded question already because there really is no “typical” website.
If you really would like to set a “typical website” in a budget range that most people expect to pay would place you with a Host gator or GoDaddy shared account with website builder. That will run you about $30 per month. You could get by for cheaper by using a FREE hosting account, if you want it plastered with advertising and pop ups.
The word “typical” in most people’s mind equates to “shitty”. In order to build a decent, functional website that cleanly represents your brand, you should hire a small hosting & web design company. Better yet, if you know any good, experienced freelancers that are will to help you get started you might be able to get some preferential service or even pro bono work, but don’t rely on that happening, only the most sainted of web designers are willing to work for free.
In the article How Much Should A Website Cost? the author discusses all the elements and skills required to pull off a decent website which include: content, photos, design, structure, layout, optimization, functionality, compatibility and finally launch.
Good Web Developers are hard to find. They posses a wide range of skills that most people can hardly pronounce. Experienced developers are also rare, especially those who go back to the dawn of modern computing, the late 1970’s. Web designers also need pricey and highly complex software, like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Autodesk Maya, InDesign and more. Video work requires even more complex software like Final Cut, Sony Vegas or other video editing package. All these programs require the developers time, patience and creativity. They also need to navigate the jungle of menus, settings and configurations in all these programs as well as online scripts, servers and account management portals. Webmasters who also know SEO and best practices in design are worth their weight in gold.
So How Much Should A Website Cost?
These prices do NOT include annual domain registration or hosting fees. This is just the site design cost.
$2,000 – $4,000 = Entry Level
This is where you’ll be if you’re just getting started, a small service business, or one without ecommerce or data management requirements. Plus platforms like WordPress afford you the convenience of content management without the added expense of custom programming. It’s often a good place to start on a redesign, since you likely have your logo, branding and content ready and will only need to tweak and perhaps reorganize it.
$5,000 to $8,000 = Fully Customized
This is where you’ll be if you want to move past a basic design and if you’ve got fairly simple eCommerce requirements and don’t need anything customized like inventory management.
$10,000-$15,000 = Specialized / Custom Functions
think of this in similar terms to the previous category but with “more stuff” and a couple of added bells and whistles; perhaps multiple photo galleries, quite a few product pages, or more complex user forms. It’s also where you want to be if you need someone with a copywriter’s eye to kick your content up a bit.
$20,000-$30,000 = Full Hands Off Service – All Content Provided By Copywriter
this is sort of the all-inclusive vacation of websites. It’s where you want to be if you want to take more of a “hands-off” approach to your website and let the professionals deal with everything from the creative to the content to the optimization and construction, with some bonus collateral materials like business card and letterhead design.
$40,000 – $60,000 = Application Level Website
if you’re a retailer, distributor, manufacturer or other corporate entity with specialized data management or ecommerce needs, this is the place to be. In this range, your developer will create a project specification that details your website needs and then build around them.
$60,000+ The plus means “whatever you want sir”.
in this price range, you have little concern for costs and thus, virtually anything is possible. if you’re a corporate entity with serious internal and external requirements, or maybe a start up with funding and an experimental idea, you can reach for the stars.
Finally the article suggests what NOT to pay for a website…
$500 – “If that’s what your site cost, I bet you’ll find at least one fuzzy pixelated photo, at least one mis-programmed form validation, at least one missed optimization opportunity. Maybe you can get your blog set up for $500, but you cannot build a professional web presence for that little. Even an unskilled developer charging $50 an hour can’t put together an optimized, functional, professionally branded site in 10 hours. Please do not tell me how you know someone who did it because I promise you won’t want me to look at that site and pick it apart.”
Now that we’ve examined some very broad price ranges, what else should you look for? First be sure you are comparing apples to apples. Be sure hosting is fast. Nothing kills even the best site than slow server performance. Avoid hosting farms. If you have a phone number and your developer answers it and reacts quickly to your needs, that’s a big bonus. Remember even webmasters have lives. I personally have been called after hours countless times.
It’s Not Over…
Also, don’t think that developing the site means that costs are over. There is annual hosting fees and maintenance (get that included with your hosting if possible). This would include plugin updates, server maintenance and light site tweaks. We offer only fully managed hosting. You also need someone working your webmaster tools account getting feedback on any detected site errors, canonical issues and the endless and most important task of all, SEO. Search Engine Optimization Services can run costs even higher, especially since the web becomes more competitive each and every day. See this article > for more on SEO Costs.