Website Costs: Why is it so Confusing?
Asking, “How much does a website cost?” is like asking “How much does a house cost?”. It depends on the house and it depends on the website.
Industry Standard Pricing
- The standard price for a professional small/medium business website is tiered ranging from $3000 to $12000+.
- The standard hourly rate for a professional freelance developer is $75+ per hour.
- The standard hourly rate for a professional agency is $115+ per hour.
Project Percentage Breakdown
Website Costs: Tiered Breakdown
Website costs can fluctuate depending on technological factors, project scope, client expectations, and the professionals’ skill sets. However, if you are starting from scratch and looking to invest in a website for your business then here is what to expect.
Basic Website: $1000 – $2000
I can’t recommend this range for a professional business, but I am going to put it up here for comparison. If you are getting a price like this either a)you are doing the majority of the work yourself or b)your website is ultimately going to fail you.
At this range, you are not getting a website; You are getting an online brochure that you can’t personally update or modify in any way. In the long run you will end up paying at least double for the maintenance and update fees and then have to build a new website anyways.
Medium Website with CMS: $3000 – $8000
At this level, you will get a well design and functional site for your business. The site will come with a CMS (Content Management System) that will allow you to personally update the photos, videos, and various other content on your site. In all likelihood, the site will still have a templated feel to it, but the agency you are working with will provide some custom graphics and elements to make it feel more like home.
The majority of the costs at this level lies with the customizations required by the client. The agency and client will be spending a lot of time communicating back and forth before the final product can be handed over.
Advanced Websites – $12000+
When you reach this level, you are looking for more of a digital solution rather than a website presence. In this particular case, the website becomes less of a product and more of a service.
Website Industry: Product vs Service
You are looking for a website to be built – are you looking to be provided a service or a product?
From a development standpoint, a website as a “product” is more straightforward and less time consuming. You start with a handful of design choices and you end up with a functional website. The quality of the website can leave you indifferent or ecstatic, but the same can be said for any product.
In point of fact, you can purchase a high quality theme at Theme Forest for around $20-$40. The developers and designers for these themes are offering a straightforward product at minimal costs because their target goal is to provide a product rather than a service. The quality of these products vary but they are generally quite high. However, the real work and costs come in when you start customizing each theme to fit your business.
A website as a “service” may appear to go through the same process, but the level of refinement is entirely different. Ultimately, you still end up with a product, but it is not one size fits all product. It is a product unique to your business and your business alone, and it is an extremely time consuming, complicated, and complex endeavor.
Website Costs: Conclusion
For the purpose of this post, I chose to focus on the pricing for “product” websites to keep it simple. I said it earlier but building a website is a lot like building a house, and there are numerous details that turn a house into a home or a website into a business identity and digital solution.
The most valuable commodity in any business is time, and ultimately you want a website that saves you time and helps grow your business. If you are paying significantly less for your website than what is posted above, you may be getting a good deal or you may be hemorrhaging your own business.