Web - 9 min read

How much does it cost to build a website?

Person using a laptop to pay for a business website
Posted  |  Written by David Ligtenberg

One of the first questions people ask when it comes to web design and development is: How much does it cost to build a website?

Nowadays, there are so many options for building a business website that you can easily set up website for your company. From a free website builder like Wordpress to a customised $15,000+ website that is tailored to your exact growth needs, the cost of a website does depend on a few variables. So the real question is: What are your business needs? 

The cost of a website will depend on your budget and what you want to achieve with it. In this article, we will give you an estimate of costs for a website project considering different scenarios and also discuss a few key points you need to take into account before making a decision. 

What are your budget & business goals?

It doesn’t matter whether you are working with a set company budget or have some flexibility around how much you can spend on a website: either way, the first thing to consider is what you want your business website to do for you.

This depends on your industry and what’s out there in the market. For instance, if you have a consultancy business, you might want to use your website to get new customers. On the other hand, if you own a restaurant, you are not necessarily converting visits into customers through your website (unless you have a booking system in place). However, you will be increasing the visibility of your brand online. In the travel and hospitality industry, for example, having a website is crucial as people rely more and more on Google and other search engines before deciding where to go out for dinner, so consider this when working out your budget. As you can see, improving online presence is important for all business sectors but goals will differ, and it's these goals that will help you or the company you work with determine what is needed. 

Here are some of the goals you might want your website to do:

  • Site visitors to email for more details / request a quote
  • Educate site visitors, saving time on questions that you regularly get asked
  • Automate sales process / increase sales
  • Take payments online
  • View key options and call your to order / make a booking
  • Generate leads from your target audience via relevant offers

Keeping in-mind what you want your website to do for your business, you can now estimate what sort of revenue your website may give you, which will then give you an approximate allowable spend based on the return you will be aiming for. This is key, as a website, no matter what industry, can and should deliver value to your business. If you know how your website will increase the revenue of your business, you can then work out a budget that matches this. 

How to determine the investment needed based on client life-time value

For example say your client spends $1000 per annum with your business and they typically stay your client on average for 5 years, this one client is worth $5000 in revenue to your business. Then if you expect your website to generate an extra 10 clients per month, you could say that your website has the potential to then deliver you an extra $600,000 ($10,000 monthly sales x 12 months x 5 years). If you took a conservative 5% out of this for marketing this would be $30,000 could put aside for your growth focused website. 

Please note: This is a rough way to show you how to start breaking things down for costing estimations. Also a website with no digital strategy will not deliver this sort of value. This though should show you how to start to think about your website as a marketing machine and how each industries value on a website will be different. 

The next step is to think about the technical aspect of the project. 

The website design project

Are you having a tough time deciding between a DIY (Do It Yourself) website, outsourcing it to a freelancer or working with a specialised web development agency? Let’s talk about each scenario so you can make a better decision:

DIY website

The internet has infinite possibilities and nowadays you can easily build a free website from an existing template available online. With website builders such as Wordpress, Wix, and Squarespace, you can have a website ready in a few hours.

If it's that easy, what could possibly go wrong? Well, the real question is: Will this website be good enough? Think about it, the website represents your brand online.

Imagine someone who never heard about your business looking at your website for the first time, what do you want them to see?

In other words, is a “website template copy” from a free builder good enough to attract new customers?

Moreover, you will still need to invest in domain hosting and domain name anyway. Unless you choose to host your website with a free service (and as a consequence have your homepage address named as yourbusinessname.wordpress.com), you will need to purchase domain hosting and domain name. This is to show you that even if you DIY your website, the process won’t be 100% free of charge as it might initially look like.

There are multiple downsides of "DIY your website":

  • No customisation options - You won’t be able to customise your website according to your business needs - Website builders offer templates which can rarely be changed to incorporate more page elements. Paid templates usually offer more choices of design, but they are also more difficult to work with. 
  • Lack of technical knowledge - Unless you have an IT background, you most likely won’t have the expertise to make tech changes or fix issues as they arise. For example, if you need to change the website provider at one point, you will need to spend a good amount of time learning how to adapt your website design all over again.
  • Limited options - You might come across limited marketing-specific features and functionality when working with a template. If you want to convert website visitors into customers, expect to spend a good amount of time connecting your DIY website to a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. This is only one example of the technical challenges you may face. 
  • No flexibility for changing specific features - Free website builders might not allow you to remove their branding unless you work with a paid plan.
  • Unoriginal style - Your website will be literally a copy of other existing websites. Is this really ok considering your target audience?

Working with an online freelancer

Nowadays you’ll find multiple websites where you can hire people per hour for a specific job, such as Upwork or Freelancer.com. Typically, you create a project briefing describing what you are willing to achieve, so that freelancers can reach out to you with a quote. You will then choose one of them and pay the freelancer through the chosen online platform.

When it comes to outsourcing your business website creation to a freelancer, there are a few pitfalls you need to consider:

  • You don’t really know who you are working with - As much as “people per hour platforms” have been trying to improve portfolio features so that freelancers can showcase their work better, you will still never really know who you are working with. It’s important to create a relationship with the person who is building your website, as you will be in touch with them a lot throughout the process and ideally, afterwards.. 
  • Less control - Generally, you will have less control over a freelancer than a trusted partner who you signed a contract with. If you don’t plan well and set clear progress reporting rules with a freelancer, you might experience last-minute disasters.
  • Availability of the freelancers - Even if you are happy with the freelancer choice, you need to make sure they are available as the first thing. You will need to find someone committed to a long term project, as building a website can take up weeks or sometimes even months of time considering this would be a one-person job. 
  • You don’t know how much money it will cost in the end - If you hire someone online, you will need to make sure there is a clear agreement regarding budget limitations, as there might be the need for last-minute fixes and changes. If you are ok with this, prepare yourself for unexpected expenses along the way.

How much does it cost to build a website using any of these two methods?

Since the main topic of this blog post is budget, it's time to talk about money. Take a look at a comparison between hiring a freelancer web designer and using a website builder.

Keep in mind the points discussed above are to identify if any of these options are the right one for your business. Additionally, this comparison was made by an American blogger and the costs indicated are in US dollars. We think it's still a valid example though because USD is the currency used by some of the most popular freelancer platforms and website builders nowadays. Again, keep in mind your skills, the value of your time and the additional skills or money you will likely need to get these options of the ground (especially the website builder option). 

Cost of building a website


Working with a specialised marketing & web development agency

If you are serious about having a high-quality website for your business, it’s a good idea to consider working with a dedicated partner you can trust and work with long-term. Working with a marketing & web development agency is the best way to reach the quality level of work you are expecting / need, along with the benefit of having someone you can talk to throughout your journey.

Some of the advantages of building your website with a marketing & web development agency:

  • You won’t work with one person only, but a whole team of experts in their fields - Typically, in an agency, you will find people who are experienced in fields such as Digital Marketing, Web Design, and Web Development - three distinct areas which in combination will help you reach your business goals.
  • Get new perspectives - A Marketing agency works with clients from different industries so they have experience with proven success marketing strategies. Let's just say they know what works and what doesn't work when it comes to marketing strategy and company websites. 
  • A clear strategy - A good marketing & web development agency will sit down with you to understand what your business goals as the first priority, instead of simply giving you a fixed quote for the job. This is the best opportunity to discuss additional business challenges you might be facing and also what exactly you are trying to achieve with your website. It's also a great way to get to know the company you will be spending heaps more time with and entrusting your brand online to. 
  • Budget and deadlines predefined - You will have a clear agreement regarding budget and deadlines beforehand, which is something that not always happens when working with individual freelancers.

If you simply hire a great web development company that does not have digital marketing & web strategy skills, then you're shooting yourself in the foot & missing out on all your website should deliver for your business. 

These are only a few of the advantages of working with a marketing & web development agency to build your business website. “But what about the costs”, you are probably wondering… How much does it really cost to build a website with a good strategy behind it by partnering up with a specialised digital agency?

We hope we were able to clarify things for you. If you have any concerns about your current website and would like to speak to our team about your web strategy, feel free to get in touch at any time. Interested in hearing more about our additional marketing services? Take a look at our services page and don't hesitate to schedule a chat with us. We're happy to accommodate your business needs.

Here's to your online success!

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David Ligtenberg Post written by
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This post has been tagged
Web, Web Design, Web Strategy, Website

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