Are you struggling to work out what your new website should really cost?
One of my biggest bug bears is that businesses aren’t properly informed when looking into spending money on a new website.
How much you choose to allocate to your website budget is up to you, but hopefully I can shed some light on website costs and solutions for various budgets.
How much should a website cost? So...exactly how long is that piece of string?
Just like when you buy a car, you really need to know what your are really comparing. Otherwise soon you will be wondering “ Hey, why did my next door neighbour’s 4 door Mercedes cost him $80k, whilst my 4 door Mazda was only $20k?”.
At the end of the day, the amount of money you wish to spend on your website is up to you. Whether you want to spend $500, $5,000 or $50k, knowing what you are getting for your budget is very important to consider.
The first thing to look at is where your money goes. With websites it goes into 2 areas:
Actual costs (Stock Images, plugins, licenses, domain, hosting etc)
Time costs (Planning, Designing, Building, Testing)
Website costs: So where does the money go?
When you really break down what you are paying for in a website, largely it is the time it takes to build a website for you. For example a 5 Page Website for client A may take 20 hours and cost $2,000, whilst a 50 Page Website for client B may take 200 hours and cost $20,000. Time is relevant.
As in every aspect of business, when you engage in a higher quality service, you usually pay more.
So make sure when comparing your quotes that you take into account the quality of the design and work that is being created by each business. You will inevitably find that many of the cheaper offerings create sub standard websites, which may not exactly be suitable for your business.
This is another key factor in the costs for your website. The experience and expertise each business has in delivering websites varies quite considerably. Website businesses that have a long history building websites for many clients, will have much more experience than new start ups.
As every project is different, it may be necessary to overcome different obstacles along the way. Businesses with more experience may provide your business with a safer solution.
So how much should a website cost?
Here are some key areas you need to look at to help you determine the cost of your website along with some helpful tips.
The size of your website plays a significant role in the cost of your website. When building a website, the size is usually determined by the number of pages that make up your website.
As you can imagine, the cost of building a simple 5 page website will be far less than that of a larger 50 page website. So when comparing quotes and costs you really need to keep this in mind.
Tip: Perhaps you could reduce your website down in size to save cost?
With every website quote, there are usually a range of ‘standard features’ included in the base offerings. It is important to work out what are the : 1) ‘Must have’ and 2) ‘Like to Have’ website functionality you require. Often website quotes blow out due to extra functionality that is not standard.
Tip: Ask your web designer to break down your quote to see if there are any extra functionality costs that can be removed for you.
The costs involved in an online store (e-commerce Website) can be far greater than those of a standard ‘portfolio’ website. The reason is there is more work to be carried out with websites that require the ability for online transactions.
Tip: If worried about the extra costs of having an e-commerce website, perhaps you could find out whether your web designer could add the functionality to your website further down the track in a 2 phase approach.
D.I.Y. vs Designer
You may be aware by now there are various ‘free’ or ‘freemium’ website solutions on offer. Most of them involve the use of clunky templates and heavily require you to build and populate the website yourself. It is important to weigh up the time, effort and possible end result of going down this path.
If you are a business with less than $500 to spend and plenty of time on your hands, this may be a great solution. However if you are an established business that really needs a professional website built this is not going to work for you.
Tip: Make sure you factor in the amount of time required from you when contemplating a DIY website.
Content is one thing many businesses don’t want to spend money on, yet is also the last thing they want to do themselves. And the sad truth is, content is actually the most important part of every website.
Content is King. And just as poor images reflect badly upon the business, so does terribly written website content.
Tip: Make sure when you are costing up your website you also factor in the time required to create your website content, or allow a reasonable budget for a copywriter to write it for you.
Theme or custom design
You may be aware that there are 2 routes go down with the look and feel of your website. You can either use an existing Website theme (like we do with Elegant Themes) or you can get your very own built from the ground up.
More established businesses with bigger budgets may very well choose to do so, however, from experience, small businesses should always try use an existing theme, which their web designer can customise accordingly.
Tip: Remember that using a custom theme can significantly blow out your website budget.
Standard plugins vs custom
Again this follows on from the website functionality. When selecting plugins to add to your websites functionality, there are 2 roads you can go down. You can either utilise existing plugins (free and paid versions) to keep your costs down.
Alternatively you can employ developers to create you your very own customised plugins. Going down this route is quite a costly exercise, however you may find out that this is the only way to get done what you have in mind.
Besides the upfront cost or your website, it s also worthwhile to note what are the ongoing payments for your website. Keep in mind you will need to cover:
- Domain Name
- Website Hosting
- Email Accounts
- Website licences - plugins etc
- Website Support
Platforms - Open Source vs Licence
The platform that your website is built on is very important to consider. Whether you are using WordPress, Shopify, WIX or other platforms, it is necessary to consider what the pros and cons are for each.
Further reading: See why we use WordPress
The ‘searchability’ of your new website is very important for your online success. Hence when comparing costs for your new website, you need to work out what exactly is included if anything regarding SEO. Again you get what you pay for, so anything that is free, probably won’t be worthwhile.
Is your website quote including:
- Keyword Research
- SEO optimisation and implementation
- Ongoing assistance
Further reading: What is Search Engine Optimisation and how can SEO help my business?
Here is my honest personal opinion about the various budgets and what businesses should be spending.
I am a firm believer, that as websites last usually 3 years, you should upgrade your website as your business grows.
So pick a website budget that suits your business stage and your annual revenue.
Start Up Businesses
Age: 0 to 1yr Revenue: Less than $50k approx
Budget: Up to $500
Solution: Try a free template D.I.Y. website or start a free Facebook business page until you are more established.
My thoughts: At this budget level, you really don't have much to work with, so if you are have little funds available try looking into a temporary free solution to get you going.
Budget: Up to $1,500
Solution: Set up a professional business splash page.
Ok, so you have a bit more to play with budget wise. Whilst this probably won't get you a fully blown website, it probably can help you get a 1 page splash page for your business up and running. This way, people can see who you are, what you do and how to contact you.
Budget: $3,000 to $10,000
Solution: Set up a nice and effective 5-15 page small business website. (See 5 Page Website pack )
For businesses that have saved up a nice budget for their new start up, for this budget you will be able to get yourself a really nice and effective small business website. 5 Pages is a good target to look at as it gives you enough online presence to get going.
Growing Small businesses
Age: 1-3 yrs Revenue: $60k-$100k approx
Budget: $3,000 to $10,000
Solution: Set up a nice and effective 5 to 15 page small business website. (See 5 Page Website pack )
My thoughts: For this budget you will be able to get yourself a really nice and effective small business website. Extending your website to 10 to 15 pages gives you an even better online presence to grow your business.
Established Medium size Businesses
Age: 3 yrs+ Revenue: over $150k approx
Solution: Set your business up a 15 to 20 page website that really showcases your business in the very best possible light. (See Platinum Website Pack )
My thoughts: Once you are established and looking to really get a more tailored and in-depth website for your business, a 15 to 20 page business website complete with SEO research is a very good solution.