How much do websites cost? (UPDATED FOR 2021)
First published and written by website developer & designer Mark D. Hulett back in 2017 and recently updated for 2021, our website costs guide is a go-to source for digital entrepreneurs and industry professionals alike.
This website costs guide deals specifically with basic websites. If you’re looking for a similar costs guide on eCommerce websites you’ll want to head on over to our “How Much Do eCommerce Cost?” guide… otherwise keep on reading!
The valuable insights and figures laid out below in my website cost guide are based on more than a decade of real-world experience in commercial website design and development. In today’s internet age, it’s not too difficult to write an award winning PhD thesis. If it’s a thesis about strawberry ice cream for example and it gets rave reviews… does that make the author a strawberry ice cream expert by default?
What if…. in reality the author had never even once actually tasted strawberry ice cream? Wouldn’t it be disappointing to learn that our “Strawberry Ice Cream Guru” and all of the knowledge contained in their award winning thesis about the flavor you love and crave is just second hand information? Regurgitated and re-spun from multiple other sources, many of which when the information is extracted from becomes misleading and often inaccurate because it’s been taken out of its original context.
You want to trust this person to help you pick out the best tasting strawberry ice cream and get a great deal on it based on those credentials? No thanks! I’d rather talk flavors and pricing with the person who eats gallons of it and eats it often! The more they buy it, shop for it, taste it, make it at home and yes, even occasionally binge on it… the more actual real-world experience they’ll have under their belt. They’d be 100x times more qualified to accurately steer you towards strawberry ice cream heaven right?
Our Featured Website Projects
In the past decade I’ve successfully developed, designed and helped clients launch websites as simple as 1 page all the way up to 100+ page corporate websites. What I can confidently tell you off the bat is that one pricing principle always applies. It’s this.
Website prices will be higher or lower depending upon your specific website requirements. That’s always a given.
You want a prefabricated single wide trailer or a custom built townhome? Maybe you’re on a budget but still want quality and opt for a nice but frugal starter home? Money not really an object and willing to go all out on the beachside mansion? You can take any of those routes and it’s essentially the exact same choices you’ll have when it comes to websites.
With more than a decade under my belt as a successful website developer and website designer I’ve been asked the “how much is it going to cost” question often as you can imagine. In my early days as a developer and designer that question from a client used to challenge me internally every time I’d hear it.
Not because I was hesitant about answering with an exact dollar figure that may have been perceived as “too much” but simply because I lacked the experience and knowledge on how to answer the question both accurately and in a way that made sense to the client.
Back in 2014 I tackled the “How Much Do eCommerce Websites Cost Question” by writing and publishing our eCommerce Website Costs Guide. It’s also been updated for 2020 and is widely considered the go-to source for eCommerce entrepreneurs and industry professionals alike.
Like that guide this one too is a bit lengthy. My apologies in advance as it’s simply next to impossible to thoroughly cover website cost topics well with short articles.
Variables That Impact Website Costs
So… how many pages is this new website of yours going to have? About how many? Are we talking about a basic “brochure type website” that’s pretty simple (2-4 pages or less) or is this a more content rich website with potentially dozens of pages?
With most standard websites you’re just looking at basic pages like about us, home page, contact us page, FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions), along with other staple pages that let your visitors know about you, your services and your business.
Our own complete website design starter package covers the basics mentioned above very well and also affords some serious wiggle room for add-ons and extra features. With all that being said… final page counts are a critical variable in determining how much your website will cost.
When we’re talking about pages we’re also talking about time and simply stated time is money in website development and website design. The more time needed to render great pages and style that content appropriately… the more you’re going to pay. If you’re going to need those extra pages written (text based content) or even proofed and revised, that additional time and work will need to be factored in as well.
Your website will need text (content). The more important question of course is… “Do you have the content “text” ready for your website pages?” Will you need assistance like our copywriting services to draft, write or perhaps simply assist you with writing that content?
To do well with your website you’ll need to have very good page titles and well written pages. You can get by of course with using copy from your print literature but more often than not print does not always translate to great web content. The requirements are a good bit different despite what the average person might assume.
Don’t disservice your site’s visitors with huge walls of unbroken text that’s been simply copy/pasted from your company’s print brochures. Website text should and needs to flow much differently.
Reading print vs. web text content should be accounted for as web reading lends more towards a scanning type behavior. We can most certainly make use of your already existing print copy text but if it’s to be done right you’ll want it revised for web reading. You’ll also want it optimized for search engines (SEO) as well.
The web today is over-saturated with business websites and there are numerous reasons for this over-saturation. Anyone can put a website online nowadays. That mere convenience is blatantly obvious as there are thousands upon thousands more low quality websites out there than high quality ones.
Let that dismal fact serve as your calling card to build a great website that will rival the competition and serve your audience well. In just a few seconds upon landing on your website visitors will have already made some very presumptuous judgments about your business and brand based mostly on the quality of your website. That may not be fair but it’s the reality I assure you.
Images, Graphics and Other Branding Elements
What about the pictures and website graphics? Do you have high quality photography shots or stock photos on hand you’d like us to use on your website? Maybe you need some assistance in this area as well? Will we need to work together on sourcing them for you?
Pricing website images and graphics into a website project can be a bit obscure at times. It can range from as little as a few hundred dollars to upwards of a few thousand. High quality stock images are not cheap nor is great graphics design and image touch-up services.
High quality images and professional graphics design will help to differentiate your website from the herd. Poor image choice and low quality photos not optimized for web and mobile devices will put a serious damper on your otherwise perfect website.
A custom, professionally designed logo falls into this same category. If you don’t have a great one already it’s highly recommended to get this worked out in the initial stages of your project as well.
Do you really want to use a $5 to $50 dollar generic logo from a cheap web source to represent the brand you’re investing a few thousand dollars at minimal into? If you don’t already have a great logo you’ll want to get a professional designer to work with you to create a unique logo designed specifically for you and your brand.
Quantifying The Question
For the sake of getting a starting point to answer (in general terms of course) the how much do websites cost question let’s assume your new website is what we consider a “basic business website”. It’s pretty straight forward stuff.
A couple of pre-published blog posts or articles, the standard pages like about us, home page, contact us page, FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) along with other staple pages that let your visitors know about your business.
You have all the content written (rarely is this the case). You have all of the images ready, sized correctly and optimized for web (again this is rare). You have most all of your site’s pages and it’s information somewhat neatly organized.
In essence you’re ready or very close to being ready to truly begin the website design and development process with a developer or designer like myself. If you’re not at this point that’s perfectly acceptable but do keep in mind that this distinction in “readiness” is where you are going to end up either paying more or less for a website.
Regarding project “readiness & preparation” impacting costs it’s simply a question of budget and how much of the preparation work you can realistically do on your own and do it to where it meets the quality standards to produce a high quality website. You can do a lot of the preparation yourself or you’re going to pay a professional to do it for you.
You can easily see how the “unknowns” like the assumptions I’ve made above about “readiness” can make it next to impossible for even an experienced website developer and designer to accurately answer a generic “how much” question. These unknowns or variables can mean the difference between a 120 hour website development/design project and a 200+ hour project. That’s a huge gap between estimated and actual design/development time that has to be better quantified.
So we’re still talking about a a “basic business website” equipped with pretty straight forward stuff. It’ll have at least 5 pages like Home, About Us, Contact Us, Portfolio and a few blog posts (articles) published. The site we’re pricing as an example will have a professionally designed layout and custom branded graphics/images for the pages that are created exclusively for the website.
This example site we’re quoting for will have social media integration along with a complete CMS (Content Management System) included so you can add or manage your website content easily from a simple to use editor. Essentially all the bells and whistles of a great basic business website included.
So… how much should you realistically expect to pay for this particular, professional website we just quantified?
- CPanel Server Hosting (Included)
- Domain Name (Included)
- Branded Company Emails (Included)
- SSL Certificate (Included)
- Design & Development (Included)
- Extras (Included)
Basic Website Deliverables and Cost
- Domain Name – About $18/year
- Hosting – About $300 to $400 a year (your specific hosting and server requirements will depend on a number of variables such as page count and anticipated site traffic).
- Website planning, development, content prep, database setup and custom theme design time – (Costs vary widely – from as low as $500 for smaller websites up to $5,000+ or more for corporate level websites hosting hundreds of pages). *Time and billing for this bulk of the work is heavily dependant on the number of pages, page complexity, level of site customization and the sophistication of website functionality desired.
- Continued Website CMS Maintenance – $300 minimal a year and up (depending on the number of updates, frequency of page changes and the level of site management required). *Georgia Web Development includes 12 months of post launch care services that allocate up to 2 hours per month for page additions and content updates.
- Marketing and Promoting your website online – $300 minimal per year and up (depends on frequency of promotions, PPC (pay per click) campaign budgets, social media management and content additions to the website).
When trying to budget website costs consider these factors (some were already mentioned above):
- Is this a new website or is it a redesign and/or redevelopment project?
- How many pages?
- Do you have the content ready for your website or will you be needing assistance with content creation?
- What about the page images and site graphics?
- Do you have a server already hosting the domain or do we need to work on setting that up?
- Do you have the domain name secured or will you need assistance with domain registration?
- Do you need other special features like “white paper downloads” or advanced SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
In a quick telephone call that typically last less than 15 minutes I can gather enough information to give anyone an accurate projected cost for their website project. Call 229-234-0181 for a free, no obligation, website telephone consultation. You can also use the contact form on the bottom of this page to request a FREE website consultation or a project quote.
Training and Ongoing Support
You’ll definitely be needing ongoing support and at minimal initial training for managing your new website. Depending on how sophisticated the Content Management (CMS) system is and the number of users to be trained, expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1,000 for quality training. (In every new website launched, Georgia Web Development includes 12 Months – up to 2 hours per month of free ongoing website support and up to 5 hours of basic website CMS training immediately following the live launch of your website.)
It All Adds Up
Using the information above one can easily see how the costs can add up rather quickly. Another way to better understand the cost analysis is to consider these typical allocations for time:
10% Planning & Pre-development Tasks
55% Development / Database & Website System Configuration
25% Design / Layout
10% Project Management
Final Answer To The How Much Question
In 2020 the average cost of basic websites we designed, developed and launched typically ranged between $2,000 – $3,500.
Website Consultation & Project Quote
Simply use the form on the bottom of this page to send us your website questions or request a FREE website project proposal. You can even include a phone number (optional) and we’ll call you.
At Georgia Web Development we know first hand the many challenges and decisions that you’ll face along the way to establishing a successful presence on the web. From choosing the right website hosting provider to deciding on the best Content Management System (CMS) we’re here to offer our free expert advice and website industry knowledge without any fancy sales pitches thrown in (we promise).
Best wishes on your website venture!
Mark responds personally to all inquiries and is more than happy to setup a quick phone call to discuss your project and answer questions.