Deciding whether or not you are ready to build a website can depend on many factors but chances are that one of the most important ones when just starting is the upfront investment. You’re probably wondering how much a website costs.
If someone asks me this question and I say a website costs $100 bucks, I’d be right, but I could also say a website costs $20,000 or more, and I’d still be right. So generally when you inquire about website costs, you have to give more information on what your specific needs are or at least expect to be asked some follow-up questions.
The many variables of new website fees
The truth is that website prices can vary greatly due to the many variables involved in a website project. These variables include:
- who you’re working with (a beginner or a seasoned pro, a U.S.-based or overseas professional)
- your timeline
- the professional’s experience level, whether they’re a web designer, a web developer, or part of a team,
- whether you need help with copywriting
- most importantly, your specific wants and needs
So if you jump on the FIVER platform, I can almost guarantee that you will find someone willing to build you a website for $100 if not less. Usually, it will be someone from overseas where the cost of living is significantly lower than that of the U.S. At the same time you can ask top marketing agencies in the U.S. how much a website costs, and more than likely they will give you a proposal or a quote with an investment range in the five-digit numbers or higher.
So, for you to get an answer you’re comfortable with, you need to be informed on what to ask and be as clear as possible on what your needs are.
Understanding what your needs are
Usually, when you ask for a quote from someone good at their job, you’ll be asked to answer a set of questions before being presented with a quote.
You’ll be asked questions regarding where you are now, and where you want to be in terms of your website and online presence. This includes information about what you offer and how you offer it (is it a course, a product, e-commerce, or a service) and what the main purpose of your website is. Each of your answers will have follow-up questions like how many products, avg price, what the process looks like, what actions you want to be taken on your website, (ex. sales or leads) etc. Via this process of asking questions, the web designer/developer will have a better understanding of what you need exactly and how much work that will take. Then they can take that plus your timeline and any risks and assess how much it is all worth.
So, what does $100 get you? Well, I can’t say for sure because my services are not in that price range. I live in California, so I can’t compete with that. What I can say from the experience of having clients come to me after taking that route initially is that you may get a lot of miscommunication & frustration because you may be dealing with language barriers and time changes.
Alright, so now that you know that the investment for a website can range on a big scale, I can tell you what I’ve done in the past and how I price websites now, more or less.
Common pricing structures
In the past, I had always priced projects based on the work and everything that entails. That is how I was taught years ago. Nowadays, it is becoming more common for people to price projects with predetermined packages and add-ons, and also as what is known as value-based pricing.
Value-based pricing is exactly that, based on the value that the website will bring to your business financially. This type of pricing is more common for businesses that are already well established rather than new small businesses.
I spent the last days of 2022 determining how I wanted to price my web services and crafted packages based on the common needs that most of my small business clients have. I prefer this because It simplifies the process for everyone involved and also allows for wiggle room so that the packages can be tailored to fit each client.
While I’ve worked with businesses with a revenue of 30 million, the majority of my current clients are within 3-10 years in the business range so they have smaller budgets. However, I find it more fulfilling to work with small businesses because not only do I find it more exciting to be part of that journey but it also allows me to be more creative with my work.
So for those small businesses, I currently offer two packages. My signature package comes with what I call all the bells and whistles for a new site. For businesses that need a smaller website or have a smaller budget, I offer a semi-custom mini 5-page website. Most of my client’s needs can be addressed within these two packages. Of course, I am no content writer so my prices are exclusive of content, which brings me to my next point.
Other services to consider
Content is king when it comes to building a website so if you don’t have your content ready to go you will stall the process and launching your website can take months. Unless you take on the challenge and commit to actually producing content yourself, it is best to work with a content writer, also known as a copywriter. Copywriters can either charge hourly or project-based as well, again, depending on your needs. Sometimes, content can be bundled into your website price which means you can expect a higher investment.
Basic website maintenance fees
On top of the website development fees and copywriting, you must account for basic website maintenance needs. You’ll need to register your domain (ex. yoursitename.com) which usually is less than twenty bucks, but if you have a very valuable domain (not as common) that will easily generate organic traffic because of its keywords, it could be in the thousands. Then there is website hosting, which you also need. Website hosting is what stores your website files, so you have to pay for it either on a monthly or annual plan. There are a lot of different companies for both and they all have different pricing of course. For hosting I like to use Siteground, which has starter plans for about $10/month or so for your first year.
The DIY approach
Alternatively, there are platforms that allow you to not only register your domain but also host your files, and even have starter websites you can customize for less than $200 a year! I’ll talk more about that later.
Steps to take
As you can see, getting a quick answer when asking a professional about website fees is trickier than it seems. There is a lot to consider both for you and for them. Now that you have a basic understanding of what your initial website investment may look like, you can start focusing on what works best for you. If you feel like you are ready for a website, I’d recommend spending some time evaluating your website goals and needs.
Not sure what your website goals are? Grab a copy of my questionnaire to get your wheels turning. This is the exact questionnaire I send out when working with clients.
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