What does a website cost?
If you’re ready to build a new website or update your existing website, you mostly likely feel like you’re entering an alternate universe. There are vastly ranging prices and services. So what does a website really cost? And what do you do really need?
Let’s start with the basics – your website is an asset to your business. A website is your online office or storefront.
Treat hiring someone to build your website the same way you would deal with hiring someone to fix the roof on your house. Would you hire the cheapest option? More likely, you would do the research and find someone with great reviews, fair pricing and who you felt would do a great job. These principles all apply to hiring a web designer.
At Pilot Solutions, we work as a team with clients to help them make the best decisions so their website meets all their requirements – not just their budget. We start with the below questions.
Questions to consider about your new website before you get started:
- How many pages do you need? A basic website is 5 pages – home, about, services, contact + blog.
- Are you planning to invest in search engine optimization?
- Are you going to maintain the website in-house?
- Do you need additional services/functionalities like a member portal or e-commerce?
If you’re stuck on these questions – we’re always an email away! After you have a good idea about what is most important for your website, the next hurdle is what kind of website is right for your business.
What kind of website is right for you and your business?
All websites are not created equal. Websites generally fall into two categories – platforms with builders (Wix, Squarespace, Shopify) and open source content management systems (WordPress).
We have another blog post about the differences between these – for this article, we are discussing building WordPress websites. This is the industry standard for web design.
Website Pricing Breakdown
Cost of Website – $3,000 – $5,000
Average timeline – 4 – 6 weeks
Templated websites come in many different forms. At Pilot Solutions, we have built out custom templates for a few industries based on common design elements and functionality. When you buy a templated website, you can choose between 2-3 design options and know exactly what you’re getting.
Once you decide on your template, we customize the branding (colours, logo, font, etc.) and content to align with your brand.
Custom Website with a Website Builder
Cost of Website – $5,000 – $12,000
Average timeline – 8 – 10 weeks
This is the sweet spot where most website builds fall into. You want the customization of a custom website but you do not need the functionality or expense of custom coding the whole website. Website builders have come a long way in the last few years and are able to give you most of the capabilities of a custom built website without the added time and expense of having to code the whole thing.
Factors that influence cost:
- Number of pages
- Website functionality
- Search engine optimization
Custom Coded Websites
Cost of Website – $15,000+
Average timeline – 8 – 12 weeks
A custom coded website means that we will design and then write all the code for you website. For most businesses, a custom coded website is overkill. A couple situations where you might need a custom coded website – a large multinational company, bilingual capabilities based on user location or a custom member portal.
A custom coded website gives you complete control over the look, feel, and functionality of the website.
These websites are expensive because a lot of time and person power goes into building them – a designer, a web developer, an SEO expert, a digital marketer and a lot of meetings to ensure that everything is just right.
Ongoing Costs for Website Maintenance
The cost of building the website is a one-time fee but we are often asked about the cost of ongoing maintenance.
Breakdown of costs:
- Domain name – $15 – $75/year
- You will have to pay this no matter where you build your website.
- Hosting – $100 – $600/year
- The cost of hosting varies widely depending on what hosting company you are using and whether you added an SSL certificate (you should) or a static IP address. At Pilot Solutions, we offer managed hosting from $350/year.
- Shopping cart integration/e-commerce – free to $1,000/year
- If you are setting up an e-commerce store, you can use a free plugin like WooCommerce but as you get into more complicated features and products, the price goes up.
- Website content creation – $50 – $200 per page
- You can write your websites content yourself or you can hire a copywriter to do it. Like all other digital marketing, you can find extremely affordable options but usually you get what you pay for and content is very important for search engine optimization.
- Website managed services – $200/mo +
- Managed services can include blog writing, content maintenance or even pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Essentially this is having someone worry about keeping your website up to date and running smoothly!
Why Do Websites Cost So Much?
Most clients we meet with receive a wide range of quotes for their website build and are confused about where to go next. The web design industry is still the wild west in terms of pricing and consistency. There’s generally a lack of transparency about what you are getting and what you actually need. Plus most business owners deal with this issue once every 3-5 years so this is not their area of expertise.
Web design works like consulting – on the low-end, you have people who have no idea what they are doing but there’s a low barrier to entry so why not offer web design. People will pay a lot for that, right?
On the high-end, you have ad agencies that have very clear divisions of who deals with what, a revolving door of staff and high prices because they’ve “earned” the right to charge that because they’ve done work for Nike, Shell or the government.
At Pilot Solutions, we fall somewhere in the middle. We have established our pricing based on thousands of hours of building websites and aim to provide you with complete transparency about what we think you actually need and the cost of that. Our small team only takes on projects that are within our area of expertise. We take a people first approach to all our work – our relationship working together is what matters the most.
To summarize and words of advice after many website builds – you get what you pay for. Don’t be the client that came to us for SEO help with a brand new website that now needs to be rebuilt because the last developers cut corners. Do your research. Look at reviews. And think about the long term because your website is one of your greatest business assets.