What Would YOU Pay for a Brand New Website? (And Why It’s Trickier Than You Think)

If you own a business, I am sure that you have gone through the process of getting a new website. Even if you ended up building one yourself, you likely shopped around to see what it would cost to have someone else design and build it for you. Did you end your process wondering why website cost varies so much in price? Simply put, there are many factors that influence the cost of a website.

We’ll focus on pricing of a typical 6-page website – home page, about page, contact page, and up to three service/offer pages. Digging deeper than surface level, we’ll take some time to talk about the behind the scenes action like the design process, development time, functionality, and more.

If you’re a business owner of any kind you know that hiring employees is expensive! Finding good help can be really expensive, training can be expensive, and hopefully you don’t have to replace an employee because that’s super expensive. The only thing more expensive than hiring a new employee is hiring the wrong employee. Unlike personnel, your website works 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It delivers your company message exactly how you want it to be delivered every single time someone interacts with it. How valuable would an employee be if they were capable of those two things? Dumb question because it’s impossible. 

The “Less Than $X” Illusion

Let’s say you have a general idea in mind for your 6-page website. It’s rather simple, some text here, an image here, an image there, a video on the home page, and some really cool animations to “make it pop.” Sounds pretty simple, no?

After 10+ years in this industry, we’ve noticed that people typically expect the cost of a website to fall within three-ish price points: less than $1,000, less than $5,000, and less than $10,000. Those are some pretty big jumps, getting into some pretty big numbers.

We understand that those higher costs can be quite scary, especially as a newer business.

Let us introduce the idea of “It depends.” This is something you’re going to hear a lot when it comes to finding someone to build your website and market it because there is a massive spectrum of what is possible, what you need, what you want, and what you can afford.

The cost of a website depends on many different variables; it’s not just a set-it-and-forget-it operation. It’s not as easy as the click of a button (and never will be). So what are those variables? Let’s find out.

Why Website Pricing is NOT a One-Size-Fits-All

You may have heard this before – building a website can be similar to building a house. There can be different building materials, different sizes, different features which, if you’ve ever built a house (or been involved in the process), you’ll know that all of these things come with different costs.

On top of that, what happens when changes are (and likely will be) made during the process?

Here are the main factors that will influence the price of a website.

Design complexity

Is the website a completely custom design or templated? Will it need to be revised at all (chances are yes)? In our experience, the design phase of any website actually ends up being the longest part no matter how you slice it. Good design is all about solving problems; does this website need to solve problems for its users?

Functionality & development time

What kinds of functionality and/or features does the website need? These can be things from fillable forms to payments to animations and more. The more extensive or customized, the longer the development time will be in order to incorporate that functionality. The longer the development time, the higher the cost. You may find yourself suddenly asking “why”. Take an extra second and consider there is a human or, in some cases, teams of humans that are working on your project. These people need to be compensated for their time, usually with money.

Content creation

Will the website need content creation prior to launch? If so, this can definitely consume some time and resources. It includes research on the subject/business, UX copywriting (crafting text to guide digital users), supplemental images, and even other features such as CTAs or callouts in the middle of the content. Quality agencies will book a photoshoot for you to capture the essence of your business so your users can get a feel for your company and stand out from your competitors rather than blend in. 

Ongoing maintenance

Again, like a house, a good, solid website requires regular maintenance. For a website, you’re looking at services such as hosting, security, and content updates. Regarding hosting, there are tons of options here all at varying price points. To be quite honest, you get what you pay for. If you’re only paying $2 per month for hosting, chances are you’re on shared hosting and so your website may not get all the resources it needs to perform well. 

Shared hosting is like renting an apartment with roommates – you split the cost, but you also share the space (and sometimes the noise). In website terms, this means multiple sites share the same server resources. It’s a budget-friendly option, but it comes with a catch: if one of your “roommates” throws a huge party (gets a ton of traffic), your site might slow down or even crash. Definitely not ideal for making a good impression on your visitors.

Additional services

Services like SEO or marketing consultation fall into this category. SEO especially is extremely time consuming if done right and also requires regular maintenance. There is no shortage of people on the internet who claim to do SEO. This is something you’re going to have to gauge and sort through. SEO is very real. If you’re serious about building a website for your business you need to also be serious about marketing it. 

To further the example of a website being like a house, once you’ve built your house you may want to throw a housewarming party. SEO is like an invitation with the directions on it. People will not find it unless you spread the word and SEO is one way to do that. PPC or Pay Per Click advertising is another way of letting people know that your company exists. Instead of paying an SEO to build content and gain backlinks from other websites, you pay each time your ad is clicked. Both marketing campaigns require careful planning and execution. Can you do it yourself? Yes, of course. You can also technically build a house yourself as well, that doesn’t make it a good idea or the best use of your time.

Another service you might consider for your website would be professional photography and/or videography; truly a game changer. Stock options for photo and video will always be cheaper, but will likely never fully align with your business and brand. You will also miss out on an immediate and crucial connection with your user that stock photography just can’t impose.

What Each Price Range ACTUALLY Gets You

Using our previously illustrated price points, let’s break down what you can realistically expect to receive for each. We’ll preface this by saying that most of these expectations are from our own experiences.

<$1,000

Bottom of the barrel; here, we’re likely looking at a lot of DIY or extremely basic template-based sites with very limited special features, if any. You are likely getting a developer/designer that has less experience than with one that charges more for the build. With a templated site, you’re getting something that is already built and sold to other businesses, not just yours. These sites are designed to save you time. They are not designed specifically for your business, they do not consider how you are different or how your users interact with your business. You may even come across another site using the same template with some colors changed around but all in all, it will look very similar. It’s not a great feeling when you find a direct competitor using the same theme.

Protip: be very careful at this price range; you are likely a little worried about the budget here. Plan to save up for an upgraded website after this option fails to perform to your expectations. 

If you’re looking to stand out, this is definitely not the way to go. This price point really only works if you’re doing a landing page type of project, maybe a single page site.

<$5,000

Here we’re getting into some custom design, basic to intermediate functionality, and maybe some true professional content. This will still likely fall into template range, with some customizations, but should be devoid of any DIY efforts. Expect this site to have the basic structure (Home, About, Contact, Service/ Offer) at minimum. The template keeps the cost down and reduces the length of the project by giving the designer/developer a head start on much of the basic structure that needs to be built. Things like menus, headers, footers, page and post design are all ready to be manipulated to better suit your business. Professionals will have a thorough onboarding process that outlines your goals, what you need, and present a service that will keep you on budget.

Protip: at this level, make sure to vet your agencies (or freelancers). Understand what is being offered and what is included – are there any limits? Is hosting included? What is the launch process like?

This level can work well for small and even some mid-sized businesses as well as smaller non-profit organizations.

<$10,000

In between $5,000 and $10,000, you can expect much more customization, potentially even a fully custom website. At around this level, you’re likely looking at professional ongoing support. You’ll probably get content creation and maintenance with mostly custom design. Some features you could expect would be complex forms and payment processing.

$10,000+

Once you break the $10,000 mark, you’re likely looking at extremely complex, unique sites; 100% custom. At this level, we’re likely looking at ecommerce features on top of everything listed previously. The costs can really start varying wildly from here, depending on the design, features, and functionality. 

Something like this should uniquely position your company to stand out, but we will admit it gets very expensive at this level, which is why this tier is typically reserved for larger organizations or businesses that are seeking something truly unique. In our experience, these projects require maximum effort and preparedness from the entire team. 

Designers need to come up with something unique while still being usable that balances form and function. Developers need to be involved with the design from the beginning to ensure what is being designed can actually be achieved. Marketers should be chiming in on who the audience is, who the competitors are, what the industry trends look like, and provide insight to the Designers so they check as many of those boxes as possible.

Protip: ask for a complete plan. For this money you should have very detailed discussions outlining what your site is going to look like, how it is going to work, who the audience(s) is and how it is going to attract them. Have a plan for launching, hosting, maintenance, and of course marketing.

Questions to Ask BEFORE You Get a Quote

Before you send off a request, it’s imperative that you know what you’re getting into and what to expect. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to prepare for a website project quote.

What is/are your website’s goal(s)?

No one knows your business like you do, so it’s imperative that you know and understand your website goals in order to maximize your ROI. If you don’t know, do not attempt to build a site until you do.

Are you trying to inform? Sell? Entertain?

These are questions that can and will impact the overall design and content of your website. Do you want people to call, email, text, or fill out a form? All of the above? Do you need people to be able to book appointments or do you want them to request via contact form? Buy products straight from your website? Think about it very specifically. 

Who is your target audience?

A bit similar to the above question, your target audience will determine the design and content of your website. For example, let’s say you run a retirement home. Who is your target audience? If you said users 70+ you’re only about half right. The users searching for retirement homes are usually the children of the people who will ultimately be checking in. Your design should be geared as such. 

What features and functionality are essential?

Some websites will need certain features and functionality, and some won’t. Not every website needs ecommerce capabilities, but if taking payment online is essential to your business the website is going to need a payment processor, an SSL certificate, shipping and tax configurations, etc. It’s important to consider what extra costs AND time may be needed to implement such features.

The same goes for pretty much everything else that wouldn’t be standard; in our eyes, a “standard” website would be up to six pages with basic content on each (images and copy/text), with one form on the contact page.

Some features and functionality that we’d consider non-essential would be, for example: complex forms, quizzes, polls, ecommerce and payments, custom reporting and event tracking, 3rd party API integration, and complex animations.

What is your budget?

What are you looking to spend on this project?

As mentioned above, you will generally get what you pay for. Sure, there are some exceptions to that, but by and large the lower your budget, the less you can expect to get out of the website. If you have lofty goals and expectations for your website, your budget should match that.

Be realistic, ask questions, and be ready to market after launching. If you want to start returning on your investment you need to understand NOBODY KNOWS YOUR NEW WEBSITE EXISTS. 

It (always) depends!

At the end of all this, we’re really hoping to illustrate how website pricing is highly variable (and likely always will be). However, with informed decisions being made you can be sure you’re getting the best value for your budget and understanding what goes into that price.

With all this information in mind, what would you pay for a brand new website now?

At Kodeak, we are heavily focused on ROI with all of our projects. Can our service provide necessary ROI to outweigh the cost? If we don’t feel it will, we will pass on a project. You won’t end up happy and as a result, you won’t sing our praises. So while Kodeak may not be a good fit for your current project, understand there will always be someone out there that will do things cheaply. The question shouldn’t be “how cheap can I get this done for?” It should be “who is the best partner to build this website for me?”

Never settle for the first offer you hear; take the time to research and invest in a website that truly reflects your brand and meets your specific business needs.We hope this has shed some light on the variations of website needs and the website costs associated. If you’re interested in a new website for your business, we offer a FREE 15-minute assessment call. Looking for even more? You’ve done your research – take a look at our web design and development service pages for more information, and let us know when you’d like to chat.

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