How Much Does a Website Cost?
by Meghan Belluomini, on Sep 17, 2020 12:00:00 AM
A website is the single most important sales and marketing tool your business can have. But what is it worth? How much does it cost or better yet, how much should it cost for your business to get the most out of it?
The cost of a website is a main factor that businesses consider when choosing when, how, and who will design or re-design their website. This fact is not news and cost is and has always been “the main foundation of any purchasing decision.”
In addition to that, throw in that the cost of a product or a service can change based on supply and demand. If the product or service is deemed valuable and instrumental, the demand for it goes up and subsequently the price. That’s why we’ve seen a huge increase in the cost of website design and development over the past few years. Not only has the demand increased, the complexity of website development has as well, increasing the time and strategy it takes going into building it. Add on top of that, users expect an intuitive experience and you have a lot of moving parts to consider.
In the first years of the internet’s existence, websites were still new and considered to be a bonus for a business to have. Compared to other forms of communication with the consumer, like traditional advertising, websites were still an afterthought when it came to marketing and sales.
Nowadays, it’s quite the opposite. Companies worldwide view a website as the best sales and marketing tool that money can buy. Not only is a website your most hardworking salesperson, it’s also an inbound marketing machine that attracts new customers who may not have found your business otherwise. Your website sells your product or services 24/7, no salary required, and in a way that you can fully control.
So let’s get down to business! Here’s a breakdown of what a website costs based on three different means of creating one:
- DIY-ing it: $50 to $600 or more (plus your time – and likely a lot of it) depending on what you use to build your website. Also, as with any other website, factor in that there will be ongoing costs for things such as hosting and security.
- Using a Contractor: $2,000 to $6,000, depending on the size, customization, and complexity of your website. This is a good middle-of-the-road, but not always as reliable as opposed to the DIY method or hiring of an agency.
- Hiring an Agency: While we can’t speak to everyone’s pricing, Sauce offers Growth Starter websites, comparable to those you may have built by a contractor, but with the advantage of the perspectives of our entire team of experts. These range from $6,000 to $15,000 for a simple, custom website, that is built using Growth-Driven Design so that it will scale with you as your business and needs change.
Beyond the Growth Starter website are completely custom solutions that can do everything from integrate with your CRM, automate follow-up communications, qualify leads, nurture prospects, accept payments, exchange information with 3rd party applications, etc. – the sky’s the limit. In this instance, the cost directly correlates to the complexity of the scope. You will likely pay upwards of $20,000. A lot higher than the other options? Yes, but there are many factors that contribute to that higher price tag and make it worth the investment in the long run (we’ll get into why later).
If you’re just starting out or your existing website is in desperate need of an update but money is tight, DIY-ing it is your most budget-friendly option. When choosing this option, consider this: the true cost is your time. If you’re willing to push past through that, you can save a lot of money by building your website yourself. The cost of doing so can run you anywhere from $50 to $600 depending on the tools and software you use.
So, you don’t want to spend countless hours learning how to code. Great news! There are countless WordsPress themes available that will help you build a professional website with not much money or effort in learning a whole other language. When choosing a theme there are a few things to consider:
Choosing a WordPress theme:
- Make sure you select one with a decent number of good reviews. This will ensure that the theme is reliable and has worked well for others.
- Check that the theme is listed as responsive for smaller screens. “Mobile accounts for approximately half of web traffic worldwide” so you want to have your website look just as good on a phone as it does on a desktop computer to reach the largest audience as possible.
- Confirm with the theme designer or company that they make consistent, regular theme updates. This is extremely important because Wordpress itself updates every few weeks and using an old, outdated version of a theme can break your site.
- If the theme designer or company offers free support or paid monthly support that is a huge plus. This means that if you have any issue with the theme you are able to reach out to them for a solution. They may even offer customization hours that you can purchase to have them add additional functionality to the theme.
As you can tell, there are many advantages to building your own website, but there is one major pitfall you will want to avoid. You may want to jump right into the build, but in order to future-proof your investment as much as possible – the first time around – you’re going to want to lay a solid foundation and come up with a strategy for your website. Regardless of how you will be building your site, an effective site starts with a sound strategy. At Sauce we put each one of our clients through a Simmer Session to ensure our understanding of who they are as a brand, who their best customer is, and how we can best reach them. All of this information is then factored into the build.
It may be hard to step back, especially on your own, and come up with a strategy. Even if you’re going it on your own, it doesn’t mean you can’t start with Sauce for strategy! Investing in a solid strategy is one of the best decisions you can make. By using a company who can implement based on experience and who understands what it takes, you can accomplish your business goals.
Using A Contractor
If you don’t have enough time (or patience) to design your own website, you may find the thought of hiring a contractor appealing. Using a contractor can save you money and time when designing or redesigning your website. The price will usually range from $2000 to $6000 depending on their experience and expertise.
This option can work relatively well and be tempting for a business owner, especially a new business owner. Don’t get me wrong, working with an experienced contractor can get you a good looking website that functions. Unfortunately, the pros end there. The site will look professional, but won’t yield results because there is no strategy behind it. So although the price of using a contractor costs less than hiring an agency, the ROI won’t add up in the long-run. Your website will be up-to-date, but it won’t be the best salesman for your business by helping you grow it.
Besides the lack of strategy, problems can also arise when it comes to accountability. Contractors often work alone and on multiple client sites at once so they may not be able to dedicate the time it takes to develop the best possible site for you. This restriction can cause an extended timeline, costing you more money while you wait for the website to be finished when you could be reaching your audience much sooner!
Hiring An Agency
The best and most effective way of getting a website up and running for your business is to hire an agency to build it. Agencies are the most equipped with the knowledge, resources, and time to create a website that will help you reach your business goals and grow your company. The cost of using an agency to build your website can range anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000 depending on the complexity and customization required. This may seem like a daunting number, but the pros here outweigh the cons.
It can be scary feeling like you’re putting your most valuable asset in another's hands. But agencies want to build a relationship with you. For Sauce this relationship, as previously mentioned, starts with a Simmer Session. This way, we can get to know you and your business, and build the best possible website that suits your needs. We are able to develop a sound strategy that helps us build a strong digital foundation for your website.
As an agency, Sauce is also further away from “your baby” so we have a more unbiased eye for your needs. We can stand back, look at your business objectively and determine what your website will need in order to help your company to evolve and grow. So although it may feel like you have less control, that may be a good thing!
Another advantage of working with an agency is that your website will work for you longer. With the help of an agency, you are future-proofing your investment with much less trial and error. So although you are paying more, the cost evens out over the longer length of time that your website is running and up-to-date. Even better, if the agency follows Growth-Driven Design methodology, like Sauce, your website will be improved upon over time. Professionals do this work for you, and have the resources and data to back up any changes. Software like SEMrush, used for competitive analysis and tracking will yield data that can be used in the GDD process to improve your site, make it more user friendly, and ultimately grow your business.