How Much Does a Website Cost?

I am subscribed to a lot of industry email newsletters, and one popped into my inbox with the subject line How Much Does a Website Cost? I dropped everything and eagerly opened the email. “Finally,” I thought, “Someone is going to tell me exactly how much a website costs!” 

Website pricing is so elusive! So frustrating! So variable! It will be so great when someone just announces THE ONE price to rule all websites, and then we can be done with it. Ha! 

And here’s how the email read, “It depends. A regular website can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $20,000.” 

Can you believe it? What a let down… and maybe this will prepare you for me parroting this exact information: There is no ONE PRICE for a website design. They are all different: sizes, requirements, design expectations, quality of programming, and the list goes on and on. 

Not surprisingly, one of the largest impacts on how much a website costs is… who you choose as a web designer!  Check out this video all about Website Pricing (by Ran Segall at Flux Academy) reporting on how a startup company gathered a bunch of different quotes from multiple companies and found big discrepancies between proposals. 

Even though design fees vary across designers and agencies, a website design project definitely needs to itemize the same necessary items and assign prices. These are classified as ongoing expenses, disbursements and/or maintenance fees. 

Read on as I outline all of the different types of fees and expenses associated with building a WordPress website. 

And here's how the email read, "It depends. A regular website can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $20,000."

Can you believe it? What a let down… and maybe this will prepare you for me parroting this exact information: There is no ONE PRICE for a website design. They are all different: sizes, requirements, design expectations, quality of programming, and the list goes on and on. 

Not surprisingly, one of the largest impacts on how much a website costs is… (drum roll please) who you choose as a web designer!  Check out this video all about Website Pricing (by Ran Segall at Flux Academy) reporting on how a startup company gathered a bunch of different quotes from multiple companies and found big discrepancies between proposals. 

Even though design fees vary across designers and agencies, a website design project needs to itemize the same necessary items and assign prices. These are classified as ongoing expenses, disbursements and/or maintenance fees. 

Read on as I outline all of the different types of fees and expenses associated with building a WordPress website. 

1-Time Upfront Web Design Fee

1-time upfront web design fee

The money you invest into your new website design is just that: An Investment

Within this biggest part of your web design quote, you may find the following items: 

A website project—even for a smaller site of 5 pages or less—is a Big Project, with smaller sections that need to be completed in development phases in the correct order. Essentially, each of these 4 sections of a website project needs to be accounted for, even if you do some of them yourself or hire a different company for a specific part (like the SEO). 

A common mistake by small business owners or inexperienced entrepreneurs, is to underestimate the amount of time, work and effort that goes into creating a website. There’s almost two mindsets when it comes to shopping for a website; the first assumes that you just pick your website off a shelf (like a tomato or box of cookies), pay a nominal fee, and Voila, your website is done. The second more experienced and discerning website client knows that you get what you pay for, and that it’s worth it to pay experienced web professionals higher fees for amazing design, development and service. 

Even I needed to learn the difference between treating a website like selling a commodity and moving to pricing it as a critical business investment service that is worth every penny (and thousands of dollars). 

On the flip side, some business owners don’t care about the design that much and aren’t concerned about quality. They have a tight budget and are just happy to have some web professional respond who can get up their website tomorrow within that budget. I say, this is great! This industry is booming and there’s opportunities for great matches between all levels of clients and designers to build websites together! 

And coming back to my main point from above: The website design part of the quote for a standard website could be priced anywhere between $1,000-$20,000. It really does depend. 

Ongoing Website Expenses

Moving on, there are many ongoing costs associated with keeping your website up and running, including: 

Some of these costs are bundled together for one easy price. For example, we offer our clients a combined package of web hosting, email hosting and SSL Certificate. But we still prefer our clients to manage their own domain names, establish their own account with a mailing list provider and purchase some of their own premium plugins. 

Clients can get overwhelmed by all of the different vendors, logins, renewal dates and costs. Many of these services are technical and confuse and frustrate clients because they don’t know what they are paying for and need to trust the vendor that they actually need whatever service. 

Sometimes a client will get a quote just for the web design part (as per the 1-time upfront cost above) and think that’s the total amount it will cost for a website. In reality, there’s many more pieces to a website to set it up and keep it running. 

Website Maintenance Fees

Professional Website Maintenance by Fun4business

I define “website maintenance” as updating your website content: text changes, new pages and posts, etc. WordPress websites are well known for being a platform where you can update your own website. You could assign an intelligent in-house assistant to do most of your content updates. 

On the other hand, working with a company like Fun4business to do your updates for you is smart because you know it will be done right and probably faster than you could do by yourself. 

Budget for your Website Maintenance needs over the next year by planning out the content that you intend to change and publish. Ask yourself: Will you be posting any new: 

  • Blog articles
  • Products
  • Job posts
  • Team members
  • Portfolio pieces, case studies or testimonials
  • Sales funnels, launches, campaigns or lead magnets

Estimate the quantity of website maintenance you expect to have and then negotiate with your web designer about rates and scheduling. 

Once a year, at minimum, you need to review your entire website content and update it, especially on important pages like your Contact, About, Privacy Policy, Home page, Services, and more. 

Technical Issues & Support Requests

Website Technical Support Requests

Occasionally something can go wrong with your website. I mean, have you seen the blue screen of death? The white one? The “your website is dead” one liner of a code error blinking across the screen like a ticking timebomb as you start freaking out and then crawl under your desk? Or how about on the original Jurassic Park when the geekster locks the system down and puts up this absolutely hilarious message! 

Think this can’t happen? It happened to us in 2006! 

Stupid hackers! I bet they thought they were so smart!

My point is you need to budget for a website rainy day fund when something goes wrong and you need to get it fixed. This is the nature of owning a website. 

I hope I didn't just scare you out of a website!

There are many costs that go into your business website:

  1. Web Design Fee
  2. Ongoing Expenses & Disbursements
  3. Website Maintenance Fees
  4. Technical Support Costs

In reality, your website is one of the best business investments you can make and is even more valuable when strategically paired with building your email list. You own both of these intangible assets and they are long-term marketing strategies that, if implemented correctly, can take you soaring through leaner times. Especially in our current online and remote working world, your website has never been more important. 

Your web designer should, in fact, walk you through all of these costs and can even manage them for you. It’s smart to educate yourself to at least know what you need and what questions to ask. 

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Allison Kessler
Allison Kessler has been web designing professionally since 2002. She guides you through the website design process and helps you keep your website updated and secure. She lives in Calgary Canada with her adorable toddler and is usually found outside hiking and enjoying the Rocky Mountains.

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