Building a website is a big task.
Think about it:
Your website is a big part of your business’ presence online.
With that in mind, you should also know that there are many factors you should consider when building your website. While beauty is attractive, have you considered what will be under the hood?
Your website needs to be beautiful. But even more importantly, it needs to be functional. When building your website, you also need to ensure that the user experience is top-notch and users can enjoy their stay on your website.
According to Adobe, 48% of people cited a website’s design as the most important factor to determine the credibility of a business.
This will help you keep your website visitors on your website. Additionally, your website will please search engines and help you get more organic traffic.
But building a website that is effective at achieving your goals will cost money? How much?
It depends. The question of how much a website will cost is a question without a single answer for everyone. It’s like asking: how much will a house cost?
What design do you want your website to have? What features do you want to make available? What level of traffic are you expecting? What type of content will you post on the website?
The answers to these questions will go a long way to determine the cost of your website.
In a moment, we’ll go through all the details you need to know and how much you’ll be looking to spend to design your website. Generally, there are 2 options you get when you want to design your website:
Hiring a Designer/Developer
One option, which is probably the easiest for you, is to hire a designer or developer. This is a professional who will do all the work depending on your specifications.
A developer will ask important questions about what you aim to achieve with your website and the features you want to have. You have to know that the cost of a developer will vary due to many factors.
Some factors are:
The expertise of the designer/developer
The amount of time needed to complete the project
The complexity of the project.
If you want to build a website from the ground up, this will take a lot of time and cost a lot of money.
Generally, you can find a designer for a price range of $30 to $80 per hour while a developer could cost between $80 and $180 per hour.
A website designer is usually more involved in creating the layout and visual aspects of a website and ensure it’s usable for visitors.
Nowadays, very few people are building websites from the ground up. This is because it is costly and most times unnecessary. You can always get most of your needs met without having to build every part of your website.
However, there are cases where big companies may need specific and personalized functions on their website that can only be done by building every part of the website.
In fact, some of these companies might hire a team of developers rather than a single person. Of course, these are companies that have no worries about cost.
In most cases though, you can easily meet your needs with solutions that are in existence. Many designers or developers today will help you build your website using website building software.
In most cases, this will be WordPress. There are other less popular options like Joomla! and Drupal. A designer will advise you on the best website building software to use if those fulfill your needs better than WordPress.
Using a Drag and Drop Builder
If you don’t want to pay for a developer, you can use a drag and drop website builder.
These platforms have done most of the background programming and you can just add the different elements you want on your website.
If you have an idea of what you want your website to look like, then this is a good option for you. Also, you can have many features on your website with these builders.
For instance, you can have the option to integrate eCommerce platforms into your website. If you’ve never built a website, you should read a few posts or watch videos that will walk you through the process.
When you use this option, how much can you expect to spend? It depends on the platform you’re using.
Some popular platforms you can use are:
i). Wix: this is a platform you can use to build your website with the drag and drop options. You can get monthly fees of $5, $10, $14, $17, and $25. You’ll pay for these plans annually.
ii). Weebly: this is another popular platform that offers you many templates you can use to build your website.
You can get monthly fees (paid annually) of $8, $12, $25, and $49. Weebly also gives you more opportunity to customize your website as you can edit its templates.
iii). Squarespace: you can also use this option to create your website. The service offers monthly fees of $12, $18, $26, $40.
To go into more details about building your website, you need to consider the following steps and the probable costs you’ll incur along the process.
If you’re using WordPress, which is the most popular content management system online, you’ll have to look at the following costs:
1. Hosting costs
Your website host can be compared to a store where you conduct your business online. Whether you sell products or offer services, people can visit your website to get all the important information.
In another sense, your website host contains all your website files. Visitors to your website can use your website address to access the files you’ve uploaded to your website.
On your website, you can have different subfolders or even subdomains to separate your web pages into different types of content. Having said that, hosting your website come at varying costs.
Just like having a home come at different costs, having a home for your website also follows the same trend. There are 3 common types of hosting available for your website today. These are:
i). Shared hosting: this is the most common type of hosting. It’s also the cheapest. For most websites, this type of hosting is sufficient for their needs. The word “shared” means many websites are hosted on a single server.
A shared hosting plan will cost you between $5 and $30 per month and most website hosts will require you pay annually for their plans.
While shared hosting may be your cheapest option, it’s also the most inferior. For instance, if you share the same server with a website attacked by malware, your website is also at risk of being affected.
Another possible drawback is that your website speed will be poor compared to other options. Also, if you suddenly get a huge spike in your website traffic, your website may crash and become unavailable for users.
Some companies that offered shared hosting are Bluehost, Hostgator, Siteground, GoDaddy, Inmotion, etc.
ii). VPS hosting: if your website is big and you expect revenues in thousands of dollars monthly, you should invest in VPS hosting. The term VPS means virtual private server.
VPS hosting is the middle ground between shared hosting and dedicated hosting.
With this type of hosting, you have a sort of a dedicated server but your website is still in a shared hosting environment. It’s similar to having different operating systems on the same computer.
Here, your host creates virtualized operating systems on a single server so that each virtualized operating system function as a dedicated server. It’s safer than shared you’re at a lower risk from an attack on other websites.
It also costs lower than having a dedicated server. This plan will cost you between $50 and $250 monthly.
Even though this is better than shared hosting, it has its drawbacks too. While you’re on an individual server, there’s a limit to the amount of traffic spike you can have on your website as most VPS services use containers.
If it exceeds your server capacity, there’s little flexibility to accommodate the change.
Most of the companies that offer shared hosting also offer VPS hosting. Examples of companies that offer VPS hosting are Inmotion, Bluehost, Hostgator, iPage, GoDaddy, DreamHost, etc.
iii). Dedicated hosting: this is the type of hosting customized for your business. If a few seconds of an outage can lose your business thousands of dollars, then you should go for the most reliable hosting option available.
This type of hosting solution also tends to render your website at a high speed and offer a high level of security against hacking incidents. If you want full control of your server, you should go for this option.
However, it’s also the costliest as you’d expect. This hosting solution could cost from $250 upwards and even into thousands depending on your features.
Examples of dedicated hosting providers are A2 Hosting, Hostwinds, OVH, Liquid Web, 1&1 IONOS, etc.
2. Install WordPress in Your Web Host and Connect to a Domain Name
After selecting your host, you’ll have to install your website building software. In most cases, many hosting services offer you a one-click option to install WordPress.
Your WordPress content management system is free and you’ll pay no additional fee for installing WordPress. You can do this yourself by following instructions supplied by your host.
Another important aspect of your website is your domain name. It’s vital to choose your domain name carefully. You can always change your website host if it’s poor.
However, your website address will most likely remain forever. Once you have a domain name in mind, go to a domain name registrar to search for the domain name availability.
If your preferred domain name has been used, then you’ll have to think of another one you can use. Once you have a domain name that’s free, you can purchase the domain name.
The cost of a domain name will also depend on the prefix you’re using. The dot com (.com) prefix is the most popular and also one of the cheapest.
Generally, a domain name will cost between $10 and $20 annually. Popular domain name registrars you can use are Namecheap and GoDaddy.
Once you’re through with your domain name registration, you can now connect your domain name to your host. You’ll find step-by-step instructions on how you can do this from your domain name registrar.
In some cases, you’ll find that your website host also offers domain name registration. You can also use this option if you want.
Alternatively, you can hire a designer to do all that for you and it will only take an hour or less. So, you’ll only pay $30 to $50 for that. Paying that is better than messing up your website if you have no clue.
3. Designing Your WordPress Site
This is where websites start to look different. It’s difficult to find two websites with exactly the same design. Likewise, there’s no limit to how much you can spend here. And you can spend nothing.
There are many options when it comes to designing your website. We’ll consider some of them below:
1). Download an already made template
WordPress has a huge library of templates that website owners can use to customize their website. You can always see a demo of a template before applying it to your website.
In this huge library, there are free templates and also paid ones. In some cases, a template might be a combination of the two.
When you download the free version, you get limited features of those templates. You can then purchase the paid version to unlock the full features.
If you only want a basic site or blog, a free template may be enough to meet your needs. However, you can buy a better basic template for $35 to $50. To purchase a premium template, that would cost you between $80 and $200.
2). Download and customize an already made template
If a template lacks some personalization that you want on your website, you can employ a designer to customize a template to suit your taste. You can make changes like adding a logo or making a fixed navigation bar.
Through this customization, you can make the template unique to your website. You can hire a designer based on hours or project. If you’re only making minor changes, you can hire a designer on an hourly basis.
However, if you need extensive customization, you can come to an agreement based on the project. Generally, it will cost you between $300 to $1,000 depending on how extensive you want the changes to be.
3). Develop a unique template
If you find no template that comes close to satisfying your needs, your best option may be to develop a unique template for your website.
You need to note that this is the costliest option and you shouldn’t take this route if you’re on a budget.
This option could see you spend up to $5,000 to $10,000 to create this design. The designer will have to communicate with you to understand your needs for your website.
Another factor that can affect the cost of hiring a developer will depend on where they live. For instance, designers from a place like India are likely to create a design at a lower cost. This is understandable as the cost of living is lower in these places.
A developer from America or Western Europe will probably charge you higher as the cost of living is higher in these places. You can expect to spend upwards of $10,000 depending on the complexity of your design.
4. Using staged areas
Some website hosts allow you to have a staging area where you can experiment with your website design.
Here, you can make changes to the design and functionality of your website without affecting your website.
These hosts create a copy of your website where you can apply new designs and see how it will appear on your website. When you’re satisfied with your new design, you can then apply those changes to your main site.
This can help you redesign your website without interfering with the user experience of your site visitors during the design process.
5. Purchasing Plugins
To add functions to your website and improve your website’s usability, you’ll need to install and activate some important WordPress plugins on your website. This could cost you between $50 and thousands of dollars.
WordPress has over 50,000 plugins in its ecosystem and you’ll usually find one or more that meet your needs. You can read reviews about a plugin before you install it on your website. In another case, your developer could advise you on the plugins to select instead.
You’ll find free plugins and you may need to pay for some. Some plugins have free versions and you can upgrade them later at a cost.
6. Creating Content for Your Website
No matter how beautiful your website is, no one wants to visit an empty website. This means you’ll have to create content for your website.
If you lack writing skills, this could be a problem. But you can always find a writer to write based on topics you want to have on your website. You’ll have to create your service pages, about page, and other pages.
Another type of content you might need are header images, custom images for your content, your brand logo, and other forms of content.
This could cost between $500 and $5,000 depending on the amount of content you want to create.
7. Regular Maintenance of Your Website
While running your website, you’ll always encounter glitches and important updates you need to make. In fact, you could have issues with the security of your website or some plugins.
These issues need fixes and you shouldn’t do it yourself if you feel you lack the knowledge and skills. When you have technical issues on your website, you’ll need to hire a developer to fix things for you.
If you’re hiring a good developer, this could cost you between $80 and $180 per hour. The amount you’ll spend on your website maintenance will depend on how knowledgeable you are about little fixes.
If you have little knowledge about the technical aspect of your website, it would save you money as you can fix some issues yourself.
If you have no knowledge, then you’ll pay more to your developer. A range to look at is $500 to $1500.
8. SEO Costs
If you’re designing your website, one of your aims is to have your website show up on Google and other search engines for important keywords relevant to your business.
However, to achieve this, you’ll have to optimize your website to increase its chances of showing up on search engines. You can hire an SEO (search engine optimization) agency or a freelance SEO consultant.
In most cases, hiring an agency would cost more as you can end up paying upwards of $500 and into thousands.
You can reduce costs by hiring a freelance SEO consultant who will carry out an SEO audit on your website and give you important recommendations to increase the chances of having your web pages in the rankings.
This will usually take a few hours and you can get freelance SEO consultants with hourly rates between $100 and $200.
9. Building Your Website with a Drag and Drop Website Builder
Using this option means you’ll have to take care of little when it comes to your website’s backend. These builders would have taken care of all those issues and you only need to design your website.
To use this option, you’ll need to have a clear picture of what you want your website to look like. This will help in arranging all the different elements of your website.
Building your website with builders will also drive down developer or designer costs. Even if you have to hire a designer, it will be for a short period of time and cost significantly less.
It can also be a great option if you’re building your first website and have no need for a custom design.
You can have more control of your website as it’s easy to make changes to your website without having to hire a designer.
What is the cost breakdown if you’re going for a drag and drop builder?
10. Setting Up Your Website
The website builder has automated most of the tasks you’ll have to go through to set up your website. You can just follow the simple steps stated by the builder.
This won’t lead to extra cost. In fact, builders like Wix and Weebly have free plans which mean you can set up without spending a thing. You can also have this free plan for as long as you want.
Although you need to know that this plan comes with limitations as it lacks some features, it will still work if you’re trying to see how a new website works.
Squarespace also offers a 14-day free trial when you can test the builder to see if it suits your needs before you pay. Setting up your website won’t be as stressful as hosting on WordPress.
You can just set up each section and see how your website looks. Even though it will take time before you master it, it’s easier to master as you don’t need to learn to code.
11. Designing Your Website
Another question you might ask is: can your website look beautiful and maintain its functionality with drag and drop builders?
It depends on your needs. If you want a basic website, then you’ll have enough templates to meet your needs.
Templates offered by these builders are free and the catch here is that some of them are as good as paid templates on WordPress.
Options you have based on the builder you use are:
Squarespace: this builder has many great templates and designs that are as good as some custom designs that cost hundreds of dollars.
Wix.com: this builder has one of the largest template libraries you can find on a builder. With over 510 professionally designed templates, you’ll find one that suits your taste.
Weebly: you get many templates on this platform that you can use on your website. Another advantage you get with Weebly is that you have access to the codes of these templates to make changes to it and make it unique to your website.
Although if you have little knowledge about coding, you’ll have to hire a designer to customize the template for you.
12. Creating Content for Your Website
Whether you hire a developer to build a WordPress site or use a drag and drop builder, your content needs will still be pretty similar. You’ll still need to create a logo, other graphics, and written content for your pages.
You may find more designers at a lower cost for the drag and drop builder as there’s little need for coding.
However, written content would still be of similar prices compared to WordPress as this is independent of your website design.
Generally, this will cost from about $500 to thousands of dollars depending on your content needs.
13. Maintaining and Troubleshooting Your Website
You won’t have to worry much about maintaining your website as drag and drop builders have employees that ensure that all issues are resolved without website owners having to worry about it.
If you also encounter issues in terms of maintenance, you can contact customer support to register your complaint. This will cost you nothing.
If you have no experience building websites, using a drag and drop builder would eliminate costs and help you build your website faster.
You can also eliminate continuous maintenance activities that you’ll have to worry about if you use WordPress.
Different Scenarios for Website Design Cost
Having given the explanation above, what are some possible costs you might accumulate while building a website and running it?
Before we go into that, you should note that costs don’t have to be in monetary terms alone. If you have a bit of knowledge about coding, it will still take time to implement those changes on your website.
Let’s consider these cases:
If you’re looking to build a website on WordPress while employing a developer, you should prepare for a cost of $10,000.
This will include set up costs by developers, creation of content for various pages, and maintenance and troubleshooting costs over a period of time.
If you have knowledge of coding, you can carry out some of these tasks. This will help you spend a lower amount of money but spend more time doing it.
Also, if you search for information about a task to get knowledge about it before doing it, this will take a period of time.
If you’re building a basic blog, and you can go through all the processes like setting up your hosting and installing it, registering your domain name and connecting it to your host, and creating content for your blog, you’ll spend a little amount of money.
You could spend as low as $150 for hosting and renewing your domain name annually. But this option would mean you spend a lot of time on your website taking on the tasks yourself.
The cheapest option is to use the drag and drop builders to design your website.
With the various monthly plans for the drag and drop builders, you could spend as much as $600 for the most expensive plan (on Weebly) and as low as $60 for the cheapest plan (on Wix).
If you pay for content, you could spend as much as $2,000 depending on how extensive your content needs are.
If you have to customize a template (on Weebly), you would need to pay for a designer and this could cost between $100 and $200.
Overall, you could set up your website with a drag and drop builder and spend less than $3,000. If you create your content, you could spend less than $1,000.
Designing your website could take as little as $500 or as much as $50,000 depending on the option you select and the features you want on your website.
When you ask about the cost of website design, it’s a question without a single answer for everybody. The amount an individual will spend depends on their unique situation.
However, this guide has gone through all the possible costs you can accumulate during the process of building your website.
You can consider these options and decide on an option that suits your budget and needs.