Building A Website in 2016: A Breakdown of Costs
Do you have any idea how much a website costs nowadays? Don’t worry, the vast majority of business owners are in the dark when it comes to these types of figures, especially when you consider the substantial price gap inherent in the estimates from the different web development agencies. In fact, it’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to get estimates ranging anywhere from $5,000 – $120,000+ for the same project.
The budget of a website project is generally determined by the estimated amount of hours needed to design and build it. Website developers charge different rates, usually based on how much overhead they have. For instance:
- Offshore web companies charge anywhere from about $10 – $50 an hour
- Established US web agencies charge anywhere from $60 – $250 an hour
- A solo web developer may charge anywhere from $20 – $125/hr
If you are serious about the success of your website/business, it is recommended that you enlist the help of a established US web agency for your website development needs. For web design to be successful, it must utilize several different principles like project management, programming, visual design, user experience design, and marketing, and it can be hard to find a single person that can handle all of these responsibilities on their own.
Alternatively, offshore agencies are usually commandeered by technicians who are non-native English speakers, making communication a challenge. In cases like this, you must ask yourself, will these technicians be able to fully understand the goals that you have set forth for your business? Do they understand your instructions? Plus, when you add the time difference, it’s easy to see how this can turn into one big logistical nightmare.
In addition, when you are hiring a professional agency, it is recommended that you write up a list of requirements to give to all of your candidate agencies. In this way, each individual company will be able to reference it in their proposals, making it easier for you to compare apples to apples.
This list doesn’t have to be too complex (a page of so will do) and it should include:
- A description of the type of website you want
- The kind of pages do you want (About, Contact, News, Services, etc.)
- Desired functionality
- Business goals for your site
- Examples of websites that you are inspired by
Website Cost Breakdown
To help you get a better understanding of your options and potential costs, we will discuss a variety of different scenarios to help you better pinpoint what you need. But, before we begin, it is important to note that we are going to assume the following:
- Estimates include programming, design, planning, launch, and marketing setup
- All new websites are mobile-responsive
- All the websites are built in a CMS framework so that non-technical staff can make changes to content on their own
- Clients are responsible for all of their text content, this includes images and body copy
- The costs for websites that are already mobile responsive and simply need to be upgraded or enhanced, with a brand refresh, relevant content, etc., should be cut in half
I’m in need of a new small business website so that I can sell a couple of products or promote my services. In this scenario, a first-time website for a small business has up to 5 main sections, but not more than 10 total pages. Also, databases, custom plugins, and 3rd party integrations are not necessary
It’s sad to say but, first websites aren’t always the most successful. But, if you do your due diligence and dedicate some time and effort to its success, then your chances of failure will be drastically reduced.
If you only need an informational website or are only selling a couple of simple products, you can get a site that will help you build your brand and reach your business goals for around the following prices:
- Planning: $0 – $700
- Programming: $3,200 – $4,900
- UX (wireframes, sitemap): $0 – $1,300
- Client Training/Documentation: $300 – $700
- Content Support: $300 – $700
- Visual Design: $1,300 – $2,600
- Testing and Launch: $960 – $1,200
Total Cost: $5,640 – $11,400 *These prices may be higher, based on your requirements
In this estimate, we are also assuming that building your website is a short, streamlined process that doesn’t require a lot of revisions or extra requests. It is also important to note that programming for e-commerce or complex sites will take more time and could increase your costs dramatically.
I already have a small business website, but I would like to make it more effective. In this scenario, a small business website has us to 7 main sections but doesn’t exceed 20 total pages. Also, databases, custom plugins, and 3rd party integration are not necessary.
Owning an existing website puts you in an excellent position to improve your online presence with just a simple redesign and some other tweaks. These changes will help increase your functionality and make your website more competitive. Plus, since you already own a website and have a little bit of knowledge about how it works, it’s relatively easy to leverage that experience to make your new website better at meeting the goals for your business.
The vast majority of redesign projects will need new programming. This is because web standards are always changing and websites that are more than 2 years old are usually in need of a newer framework that is able to support an increased level of functionality and new design specifications like a mobile responsive design, wider pages, and more.
For a simple website redesign with no 3rd-party integration or no custom database, you can expect to pay:
- Planning: $700 – $1,300
- Programming: $3,200 – $7,400
- UX (wireframes, sitemap): $0-$800
- Client Training/Documentation: $0 – $800
- Content Support: $300 – $700
- Visual Design: $1,110 – $2,600
- Testing and Launch: $900 – $1,300
Total Cost: $5,800 – $14,400 *The prices may be higher, based on your requirements.
I work in the marketing or online management department of a medium-sized business and my company is looking for a web agency that will help enhance our existing website. In this scenario, a mid-size business website consists of up to 7 main sections, but doesn’t exceed 30 total pages, In addition, databases and custom plugins and not necessary and 3rd party integration is minimal.
If you would like to upgrade your current website, the first thing you must figure out is if your site’s existing framework can be changed to reach your goals. Nowadays most business want their sites to be mobile responsive and this can only be accomplished if the entire site is rebuilt. Your estimated costs are as follows:
- Planning/ UX (wireframes, sitemap): $800 – $2,400
- Programming: $3900 – $4,900 for smaller websites and $4,800 – $9,600 for larger ones
- Client Training/Documentation: $0 – $800
- Content Support/Migration: $800 – $1,400
- Visual Design: $1,400 – $2,600
- Testing and Launch: $960 -$2,400
Total Cost: $7,200 – $14,200 for smaller websites and $8,160 – $18,600 for larger websites *The prices may be higher, based on your requirements
I work as an online manager for a large business and our internal team needs some help enhancing our brand and improving our website. In this scenario, a large size business website has up to 8 main sections but doesn’t exceed 40 total pages. Also, databases and custom plugins and not necessary and 3rd party integration is minimal.
Companies with multiple divisions or branches tend to have websites that are more complicated than normal, with several sections and subsections of content. In other words, both your page templates and the database will need more effort to build and your existing website framework may have to be altered to reach your goals. All of this means that your costs will be substantially higher than a smaller company.
Estimated website costs for a large company are as follows:
- Planning/ UX: $1,400 – $2,600
- Programming: $7,700 – $15,500
- Client Training/Documentation: $700 – $1,800
- Content Support/Migration: $700 – $1,800
- Visual Design: $2,600 -$3,800
- Testing and Launch: $2,600 – $4,900
Total Cost: $15,500 – $29,900 *The prices may be higher, based on your requirements
I am interested in learning about some of the costs that can be associated with websites.
Besides the main costs of building and designing a website, there are other expenses that may impact your budget during the development phase as well as when performing maintenance on an ongoing basis. They include:
- Domain name: About $15 a year
- SSL Certificate (especially needed for e-commerce websites): $60-80 a year
- Hosting: $50-$150+ a year, depending on hosting and traffic services
- License or cost of plugins: There are tons of applications, modules, widgets, plugins, and extensions that can add greater functionality and other features to your site for a surprising low price ($0 – $300 when you buy it outright of for anywhere from $20 – $1,000 if you buy an annual license) But, it’s important to note that, these plugins are effectively mini-applications and may expire at some point and will need to be upgraded. This may be as simple as one click or it may be a complex project that takes hours of effort to complete. If this is the case, a professional developer may be needed to help you update or upgrade the expired plugin.
- Regular website maintenance and upgrades: $1,000 – $3,500 + a year, dependent on the level of updates and/or support that will be needed
- Stock art: Royalty-free stock art graphics and photos can range anywhere from $15 – $100+ for each, dependent on usage and license fees
- Online website marketing/SEO: About $750 – $3,500+ a month to market your site proactively.
- Ongoing, proactive SEO and marketing efforts: It is recommended that you invest at least $500 – $1,500 every month towards this practice, it can significantly increase your ROI, or return on investment