How Much Should a Website Cost You? A Definitive Pricing Guide For You

Last updated on February 2, 2017

This is a Part 2 of a 2-part series on understanding the cost to building a website:

Part 1 – We share important lessons from our own trials & experiences, so you won’t repeat some of our mistakes (losing time and money).

Part 2 – [You Are Here] – What to watch out for when costing out your website project – especially if you are new to building websites. Written by an experienced web designer for beginners and includes detailed cost breakdown.

Can you guess which website costs more?

How much should a website cost?

Website A

How much does a website cost?

Website B

(Click on each image to see the actual website)

True, the visual appeal or attractiveness of the design can sometimes give it away, but it’s not always the case.

What if I tell you Website A is a custom made design that looks like it could potentially cost between $5,000 to $10,000, while Website B is a free template from Wix.com?

That’s crazy-talk!!

(Note: By the way, I don’t know how much Website A costs. But it is not uncommon for a custom built website to fall in that cost range.)

Here’s the thing – It’s really hard to judge how much a website cost just by looking at the design.

Consider this — It is indisputable that the Lamborghini Spyder is one hot car. Even so, what most Lambo enthusiasts love about this car is not how it looks, but how it sounds – it is the roar of the v10 engine that takes the Spyder from 0 to 60mph in just 3.4 seconds.

Just like the $250,000 Lambo, what makes up the cost of a website is not only how the website looks on the surface, but rather, what lies “under the hood” that makes a website work.

So, don’t judge a website by its cover — its design is only one slice of a much bigger pie.

After helping hundreds of businesses to create their websites, I’ve done and have seen a lot.

Having experimented with different website building software and tools, I’ve developed strong opinions about…

  • What’s worth your money and what’s not worth it.
  • What to focus on and what to toss out the window.
  • What matters and want doesn’t.

Whenever you are trying something new, having someone in your corner who has experience in the subject can really help.

This is why the value of designers or developers goes beyond just the surface design of the website.

Their experiences, technical skills, and broad product knowledge can help you…

  • Avoid hidden technical and financial pitfalls; and
  • Choose the right solution for your budget level, technical level, and how much time you are prepared to commit.

If you are looking for a pricing chart for everything that has to do with building a website, there are plenty of resources scattered all over the internet (I do have a couple of pricing frameworks below, which we’ll get to later).

What I want to give you in this discussion, are advice and recommendations that I would give to paying clients – a sort of free consultation on the true cost of your website.

 

You are asking all the wrong questions!

How much a website should cost is a very generic question – it lacks specifics.

It’s the same as if I were to ask you how much should a car cost?

Uh… well, can you be more specific?

What type of car do you want? – Does it need to be gas efficient? – What do you use it for? – What is your budget?

You can quickly see “how much does a car cost?” is actually quite a pretty complex question after all.

Just like budgeting for a car, the cost of a website is different to different people because everyone values the concept of “cost” in different ways.

For example, if you are a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids under 10 years old. You might value time over money. You would rather pay a little more to get things done right and on time.

To others without kids, they may think you’re overpaying for certain services.  But to you, it’s well worth the cost.

Simply put, the cost of building your website boils down to 4 resources:

  1. Time
  2. Technical knowledge (or your interest to learn to code)
  3. Design skills (or your willingness to learn design)
  4. Money

4-resources-you-need-to-build-a-website

Most people lack 1 or a few of these 4 resources.

Spend a couple of seconds to think about which ones you have (or don’t have).

You don’t need to have all 4 to start a website because you can easily compensate one for another one.

For example, if you don’t have any coding skills but have time, you can always learn to code from various free or paid online coding tutorials.

When estimating the cost of your website, the first question you need to ask is “which of the 4 resources do you lack?”

 

What resources do you lack?

I get asked about how much does a website costs A LOT – I guess it comes with the job description as a website designer in my previous business.

One thing I’ve noticed time and time again is how much people focus purely on the dollar sign – which is missing the bigger picture.

Out of the 4 resources – money is actually the most flexible one.

Here’s why:

  • You either have time or you don’t
  • You either know / have an interest in coding or you don’t
  • You either know / have an interest in design or you don’t

lack-resources-you-need-to-build-a-website

This is not always the case when it comes to money.

Everybody has a certain level of money. It’s about how you decide where to best spend it.

Why would a person choose to pay $4.50 for a fancy Starbucks latte when an alternative is to spend $0.10 to make a simple coffee at home?

Could it have something to do with the lifestyle? Or maybe something as torturous as waking up earlier to make coffee? Is it the convenience of buying it outside so you don’t have to deal with it at home?

Let’s be honest, generally speaking, we all have some money. We all know someone that doesn’t have a lot of savings but ended up buying a brand new flat screen TV when they really shouldn’t.

The right question is — “is this worth my money.”

The truth of the matter is if you feel something has value to you, you will gladly pay up for it, right? – This is what consumerism is all about.

So, let’s put money (as a resource) aside for now, as if you find real value in building a website (if it’s really worth it to you), you’ll try to make things work.

For now, let’s focus on estimating the cost of your website if you have limited:

  • Time
  • Technical knowledge (or the interest in learning it)
  • Design skills (or the interest in learning it)
Based on what resources you don’t have, the cost of your website will be different.

Let’s keep pushing ahead…

 

Cost of website if you have limited Resources.

When it comes to building, managing, and operating your website, there are 5 main phases you need to deal with:

  1. Website setup (this is before you even get to design or content creation)
  2. Learn how to use a website builder
  3. Designing the layout
  4. Content creation
  5. Troubleshooting and ongoing maintenance

For each of the phases, you have to determine if you have the time, technical or design skills to accomplish them successfully.

If you are missing any one of them, you may need to hire a professional to help you get the job done, or rely on modern technology to solve your problems:

Option #1:

cost-of-website-by-professional-website-designer

Pay a professional to do it for you; or

Option #2:

cost-of-website-drag-drop-website-builder-thumb

Find a website building software to take over all the technical and design challenges for you, so you don’t need to spend as much time on them.

If you have heard of website building software like WordPress or Wix.com, you might think, “Well, both are technology – so how are they different?”

I’ll illustrate the difference here with this example below:

There are a few ways to have high-quality homemade soup:

  1. Method A – make the soup from scratch by yourself. You go to the store, buy the ingredients, chop them all up and make the soup. Nothing is pre-packaged and you have to do everything by yourself – from the beginning to the end.
  2. Method  B – You can use services like BlueApron to speed up the process. They send you the prepared ingredients so you don’t need to leave your house or prepare anything. Just follow the recipe and put the ingredients in the pot. So the process is simplified by the ingredient preparation & delivery service – but there is still some assembly required.
  3. Method  C – There is an even easier way. Cooked food delivery service like CookFood.net handles all the cooking for you. They deliver the finished product directly to your door. So the entire process is fully automated. Everything is done-for-you. Just choose what you want from their online menu and arrange a delivery time. If you can fill in a form, you can get homemade soup with no cooking skills required – pretty awesome, right?

homemade-soup

Just like the different ways to have homemade soup,
different website building technologies give you different levels of website building services:

Method  A – Custom Build Your Website From the Ground Up

You can hire a website designer or developer to create your website from scratch without the use of any website building software.

Since the introduction of WordPress, most websites are NOT built from scratch anymore. Only enterprise companies with very specific needs will choose to build a website this way, but this is also happening less and less.

Method  B – Use a Website Building Software like WordPress (Assembly Required)

WordPress is like the cooking ingredient delivery service. They give you everything you need to create a website, but assembly is required.

True you can do this yourself if you have the time to learn or already have the expertise to do it yourself. It can definitely be done since a lot of people have done it before.

If you don’t have time or expertise, you can always hire a professional to put a WordPress website together for you so you can save time and headaches.

Method C – Drag & Drop Website Builders (Automated – No Skills Required)

Finally, we have the fully automated website building service like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly.

Just like the cooked food delivery services that allow you to have homemade soup even if you don’t any cooking skills, these drag & drop, fully managed website builders handle all technical and design issues for you, so you don’t have to.

They’re easy to use and require minimal to no technical knowledge at all.

Note that these fully managed, drag & drop website builders don’t give you a team of designers and developer to build the website for you. You still need to build the website yourself by using their simple drag & drop tools.  But they make it really easy for you and you don’t even need to be technical at all.

The key benefit is that drag & drop web builders automate the technical aspects of managing and operating a website – so you don’t have to.

However, there are some limitations here. It’s not like you can have any soup you can imagine because your choices are limited to what’s available on their menu. Even so, the soup selections are still very extensive and 90% of the time you will find the soup you want.

In the same way, drag & drop website builders have limits to their features and designs as well.  Each web builder has their list of tools and pre-made website designs.

While you are limited to what they have, the selection is pretty extensive and 90% of the time you will find what you need.

It is a small sacrifice to make so you can build a website yourself without having to do much technical work (or hire someone to help you).

To put everything into perspective, the cost of websites changes depending on which type of website building software you use (Method A, B or C). Each type of builder calls for different levels of skill or help from professionals.

Now that I’ve explained the two main ways to create a website, let’s put some actual dollar signs in front of them!

Option #1: Cost of building a website if you hire professionals to help you:

cost-of-website-by-professional-website-designer

When I refer to hiring a professional to create the website for you, most of the time I will be referring to using WordPress.

The reason is because WordPress the most popular website builder for developer and designers, and is currently powering about 26% of all websites.

WordPress’s main advantage is its extreme flexibility. You can create almost any type of website with any type of features you need, as long as you have the coding and design expertise to do so.

If not, you can always hire a pro to do that for you (of course cost will come into play here).

Now, WordPress, in my opinion, is not something I will suggest if you have no technology skills or if you’ve never owned a website before.

Why? Because WordPress has a much higher learning curve and setup costs than any fully managed, drag & drop website builder like Wix,  Squarespace, and Weebly.

I only recommend using WordPress (or other self-hosted website builders) if:

  • This is not your first website – you have experiences managing websites.
  • If you have very specific design or software needs that only WordPress can provide.
  • If you have both time and money to spend on learning, building and managing a WordPress website.

Otherwise, I do not recommend using WordPress if you have limited time, money or patience to learn how to code and to learn the technical ins and outs of using WordPress effectively.

#1 Cost of setting up a WordPress website:

Setting up a website involves finding a hosting provider, learning how to use FTP, linking your website build software with your hosting provider, and finally connecting your domain name to your website.

All these will sound foreign to you if you’ve never owned a website before, so let me explain what they actually mean:

Website Hosting (Cost $5 – $350/month):

A host is where your website content “lives” online.

Imagine a host is like your coat closet and your website is your coat. Whenever you want to get to your coat, you need to go to your closet and retrieve it.

This works the same way as your website. When someone enters your website address into a web browser, the browser will go to your host (your closet) and get your website (your coat) to display it to the visitor.

Generally speaking, there are several types of hosting that handle different volume of visitors to your website:

  • Shared hosting;
  • VPS hosting; and
  • Dedicated hosting.

For most people, you will never need dedicated hosting as it is more suitable for very large or enterprise level websites.

The only thing you need to know is that the more visitors come to your website, the higher your cost of hosting will be:

  • Shared hosting costs $5 – $30
  • VPS hosting costs $50 – $250
  • Dedicated hosting starts in the thousands
If you are looking for good WordPress hosting, Bluehost is a good candidate to get started with.  If you are looking for more advanced, highly-tuned, dedicated WordPress hosting provider, WP Engine is excellent and has top notch customer service.

 

Using FTP (Cost $0 – $50):

FTP is way for you to manage your website files (which are stored in the host).

These website files include your website design, images, features, content – pretty much everything you see in front of you, and also the internal workings of a website (“under the hood” so to speak).

Most website hosting provider will give you technical instructions on how to use FTP to connect to you host so you can manage all those files.

If you a newbie, it may take 1-3 hours to get this up and running.

You can always search for video tutorials on YouTube or pay for tutorials at Lynda.com (around $50).

If you need some handholding / direct support, you can hire a developer or designer to show you the ropes ($30-$80/hr for a designer or $80-$180/hr for a developer).

Of course, you might not even know what to do with the files even once you get the process set up.

Installing WordPress in a Host and Connecting your Domain Name (Cost $0 – $50):

Most hosting providers already have WordPress installed. If you want to skip the installation of WordPress, make sure the hosting provider you choose has WordPress already.

Your hosting provider will have instructions to show you how to connect your domain name to your website.

If you don’t know too much about domain names and how to get one, we have a beginners guide to domain names you can refer to.

If you’ve never connected a domain name to a website before, it may take you a few minutes to an hour to figure things out.

Again, you can always hire a designer or developer to do this for you on an hourly basis ($30-$80/hr for a designer and $80-$180/hr for a developer).

The website setup cost can be as low as $5 (cheap hosting service) if you’re willing to do it all by yourself.

If you need help from a designer or developer to save you hours of figuring things out (if you’re not experienced), expect to spend around $30 – $50 (as it doesn’t take an experienced professional that long to get it done for you).

These are the basic setup costs even before you get to build your website.

(There is a cost summary table below.)

 

#2 Cost of learning to use WordPress (Cost $0 – $50):

As mentioned before, it takes a few hours to learn the basics of WordPress.

If you want to be highly effective at it, it will take a few weeks to a month to get enough practice.

There are plenty of free tutorials online (but the quality can range from good to bad).

Or, you can use higher quality, paid tutorials from Lynda.com for about $50/month to help you speed up the process.

Within a month, you should be able to learn the basics of how to operate WordPress (note: this does not including how to use codes to customize your website).

(There is a cost summary table below.)

#3 Cost of designing a WordPress website (Cost $50 – $$$$):

Here is where the price of a website has no upper limit.

You can really spend as much as you have or as little as you like when it comes to website design.

Pre-made templates designs (cost $35 – $200):

These are ready-made designs that you can buy off the shelf. There are plenty of options for you to choose from.

The only limitation with a pre-made template is that design customization is pretty limited unless you know how to modify codes.

If not, what you see on the template’s demo site is pretty much what you get.

Basic paid templates cost around $35 to $50 and premium paid templates range from $80 to $200.

CUSTOM BUILT WEBSITE USING PRE-MADE templates (cost $300 – $1,000):

This option is an “in-between” a DIY website and a fully custom built website design.

You can hire a designer to help customize a pre-made template into something unique just for you.

This is a good option if you are not ready for an entirely custom website, and pre-made templates are not exactly what you want.

You can pay by the hour or by the project for design customizations.

Expect to pay between $300 and $1,000 for template customization.

The cost varies depending on how much work you want to be done – such as adding a header image, moving the logo location, creating a fixed navigation bar, changing the overall layout design, etc.

CUSTOM WEBSITE DESIGN (cost $5,000 – $10,000+):

If you really want something truly unique, you can go for a custom website design where you can create any design you can imagine.

A custom WordPress design can go for as low as $5,000 if you hire a developer from an emerging country / region such as India or Eastern Europe.

Any capable developers from a developed region (such as North America, Western Europe, etc.) will start at $10,000 and can go all the way up to well over $30,000.

                (There is a cost summary table below.)

 

#4 Cost of creating content for your WordPress website (Cost $500 – $5,000):

After you’re done with created an overall design for your website, you will need to populate it with content.

The design work (in the section directly above), basically gives your website an overall framework.

The framework may include where the menu bar is located and how it works, where the logo is to be situated, how the slideshow works at the top of your home page, how your sidebar looks like and functions, how your information is to be presented throughout your website, etc.

So the design work basically creates an outline or the skeleton of your webpages.

After the framework is created, you now have to populate it with your own content.

For instance, you will need to upload a background design for your pages, upload header images, create custom graphics for your content area, insert text to describe items, insert your logo to brand your business, etc.

These are all part of the content creation process – so your visitors can understand your business, see what products you have, read your blog posts, so on and so forth.

If you splurge on a custom designed website, your designer may include the creation and population of content for you.

But, what if I don’t have tens of thousands to spend on a custom website, but don’t have time to create the content for my website?

One option is to buy a pre-made template at $35 – $200. Then hire a designer to create your website content for you.

This is a good option to save money and time, but still have a designer help you create content, graphics, and branding of your website.

Keep in mind that the design of your website will still be limited by the design of the website template you choose (as it is not a truly custom design).

Designers can charge content creation by the hour or by project:

  • $50 – $80 per hour
  • $250 – $500 minimum charge per project. This may include a minimum of 3 pages, and additional pages will be a slightly cheaper.
  • Logo or branding design will be about $100 – $1500 depending on the extent of the branding design you need.

You may also want to budget for ongoing maintenance costs. That’s usually about $100 – $500 per year if you don’t make any major alterations to you website design.

(There is a cost summary table below.)

Pro Tip:

If you don’t have the financial luxury of hiring someone to help you edit images and create logos, we have a couple of guides that will walk you through how you can do this yourself, even if you are not technical or born with a good sense of design:

 

#5 Cost of troubleshooting & maintaining your WordPress website (Cost $500 – $1,000):

The technical skills to operate a website goes beyond the initial website setup (discussed above).

Let’s be realistic, any technology will break down at some point. It’s not a question of “if”, but “when”.

Also, it’s a matter of “who will fix it for you.”

All website builders have software updates, browser compatibility updates, platform updates, security patches and much more.

All those technical updates require the owner of the website to implement and manage.

When you are using a self-hosted website builder like WordPress, you have to handle all the technical issues yourself.

If an update occurs and a plugin that you are using becomes incompatible with other plugins that you are using, or conflicts with the website builder, then you’ll need to either get the creator of the plugin to fix things, or you will need to call on a trusty developer to save you.

  • A good developer costs between $80 and $180 per hour. The good ones are always on the higher end of the range. From our own experiences, it is completely worth the money if you can find a developer that you can count on. Depending on the complexity of your website (the number of plugins you are using, the amount of custom coding you have), your annual maintenance cost will vary.
  • It is very hard to pinpoint the expected cost since every website has different needs. What we can advise on is how much we spent on technical support with a fairly simple website that has very little custom coding and plugins. We spend about $500 to $800 a year. Keep in mind that I’m a fairly skilled website designer and I’m quite proficient with HTML/CSS /jQuery and with working knowledge of PHP codes. This is one of the main reasons why our technical support cost is not as high since we can do most of the things ourselves.

 

Summary Chart of Hiring a Professional to Help You Build a WordPress Website:

Website Setup Costs Hosting Cost: $5 – $250/month

Hiring Pro to Setup: $50 – $200 (1-time fee)

Time: 1 to 6 hours

Website Builder Software Learning Costs Paid Tutorials: $50/month

Time to Learn Basics: Few hours

Time to Learn WordPress: Weeks

Website Design Costs Basic Templates: $35 – $50

Premium Templates: $80 – $200

Template Alterations: $300 – $1,000

Custom Design: $5,000 – $10,000+

Website Building Costs Free if you do it yourself (but will cost you time)

Hourly Costs of a Designer: $50 – $80/hour

Average Cost of Content Population: $500 – $5,000*

The range is wide as it depends on how much content you have and how many pages.

Website Maintenance Costs Developer Cost: $100 – $180 per hour

Estimated Annual Cost: $500 – $1,000

 

Option #2: Cost of building website if using fully managed, drag & drop website builder
that takes care of all of your website technical & design challenges

cost-of-website-drag-drop-website-builder

Fully-hosted website builders are the next best thing to hiring a developer to create a website for you.

They are drag & drop website builders that make website building as easy as it can possibly be. No setup or coding is required at all.

You can easily drive down the cost of building a website as you require less time, you don’t need technical or design expertise, and the cost of using the software is quite low.

I would recommend using Wix, Squarespace or Weebly (aka fully-serviced drag & drop website builders) if:

  • This is your first website.
  • You don’t need any custom design or specific software / tools on your website.
  • You have limited time to spend on your website so you don’t want to learn how to code.
  • You have limited money to invest in your website so you prefer not to hire skilled designers or developers to help you.
  • You want more control over your website – so you don’t have to keep paying a designer or developer to make changes. You prefer to manage your website yourself.

Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly are some of the most popular and reliable drag & drop website builders in the market today.

Of course, there are more web builders out there – I’ve tried most of them already. But these 3 are the best ones I’ve used.  That’s why I’ve referenced them throughout this post.

#1 Cost of setting up a website using a drag & drop builder (Cost $0):

There is no time or monetary costs involved in setting up a website with either Wix, Squarespace, Weebly or any other fully managed, drag & drop website builder.

You don’t have to worry about hosting, setting up FTP, installing the website builder software or linking your domain name.

All of that setup work is fully automated by the website builder.

This will save you hours (and a lot of frustration if you are a beginner) in setting up your website (keep in mind you are still not building your website yet).

You just need to sign up for an account with your email address and you can start building your website right away.

Both Wix and Weebly have free plans, so all your hosting requirements and the use of the website builder is completely free. There is no time limit to using their free plan either.

While the free plans come with limited features, you can test out the builder first before you commit to any paid plans.

Squarespace gives you a 14-day free trial period.

(There is a cost summary table below.)

#2 Cost of setting up a website using a drag & drop builder (Cost $0):

Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly are very easy to use. It’s very intuitive, so it only takes minutes to get a good idea on how to use the drag and drop builder.

If you can use a mouse to drag things around your computer screen, you can use a drag & drop website builder.

So you don’t need to pay for any lessons, nor do you have to spend the time to search for tutorials online.

Of course, if you want to master the ins and outs of how to use the web builder, it will take some time to build up that level of experience.

(There is a cost summary table below.)

#3 Cost of designing a website built with a drag & drop builder (Cost $0):

All fully hosted website builders give you a broad range of design templates for free.

Now, this may be a pro or a con depending how picky you are with your website design.

Most of these free templates are as good as paid WordPress templates. But the downside is that you are limited to what the website builder gives you as most of them don’t grant you access to the codes of the template to make custom modifications – with the exception with Weebly.

Here is a summary of each website builder’s template design selections:

  1. Wix.com: Largest website template library with over 510 professionally designed templates.
  2. Squarespace: Some of the best website design that can rival some custom designed websites.
  3. Weebly: Their templates allow access to the codes so you can make custom changes if you want to – an added design flexibility.

(There is a cost summary table below.)

#4 Cost of building content in your drag & drop website (Cost $500 – $2,000):

Drag & drop website builders are designed for DIYers. So hiring a designer to build the website for you is less common.

But of course, if you want to, you can still hire a designer.

If you don’t want to create the content yourself, you can spend a few hundred to low thousand dollars for the designer to create all the graphics, branding and page content for you.

Since the overall cost of using a fully managed website builder is so low, you have extra budget to pay for this little bit of luxury if you want to.

Hiring a designer for a drag & drop website builder is slightly cheaper than for WordPress.

This is not because these designers are less qualified. It is because drag & drop website builders remove the technical barriers previous required to be a website designer.

All of a sudden, any brilliant graphic designer (who don’t know how to code) can become website designers because of the drag & drop builders.

They no longer need to know how to code and can still create beautiful websites.

This gives you a much bigger pool of talented designers to choose from, at a slightly lower cost.

(There is a cost summary table below.)

#5 Cost of troubleshooting and maintaining your drag & drop website (Cost $0):

Fully-hosted website builders handle all the technical issues for you. They have full-time, dedicated support teams that manage all that for you in the background, so you won’t even see any issues at all.

With self-hosted websites like WordPress, it is not just an issue of the cost of paying for someone to fix your website.  The biggest headache could be where to find a trustworthy developer to resolve the issues for you in a timely manner.

This is one of the main reasons why I often recommend fully managed website builders for people with no technical knowledge, or for those who are new to building websites.

It removes a lot of confusion, complication, and frustration so you can focus on building your website and let the drag & drop website builder’s tech team handle all the tech issues.

Summary Chart of Cost of Website using Drag & Drop Website Builder:

Website Setup Costs Automated Setup: $0
Website Builder Software Learning Costs Time: few minutes – 1 hour
Website Design Costs Free Templates: $0
Website Building Costs Free if you do it yourself (but will cost you time)

Hourly Costs of a Designer: $30 – $60/hour

Average Cost of Content Population: $500 – $2,000

Website Maintenance Costs Wix:                 $4.50 | $8.50 | $12.50 | $16.50 | 24.50

Squarespace: $12.0 | $18.0 | $26.0 | $40.0

Weebly:           $8.0 | $12.0 | $25.0 | $49.0

*Monthly fee, based on annual plans*

All plans come with dedicated, 24/7 support.

 

Conclusion – Action Step

The cost of building a website adds up pretty quickly if you are missing a few key resources:

  1. Time
  2. Technical knowledge (or your interest to learn to code)
  3. Design skills (or your willingness to learn design)
  4. Money

4-resources-you-need-to-build-a-website

But the cost of a website isn’t always related to money. It can be the cost of your time away from your family or business; it can even be the cost of maintaining your sanity when it comes to technology.

So how you budget for your website should take into consideration:

  • How much time you are prepared to commit to the project;
  • How much money you are prepared to invest into hiring professionals; and
  • The missed opportunity costs of being able to use your time on higher valued business or personal things.

To summarize what you should take away from this discussion, here are my suggestions:

Use WordPress (self-hosted website builders) if:

  • This is not your first website – you have experiences managing websites.
  • If you have very specific design or software needs that only WordPress can provide.
  • If you have both time and money to spend on learning, building and managing a WordPress website.

Use Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly (aka fully-hosted website builder) if:

  • This is your first website.
  • You don’t need any custom design or specific software / tools on your website.
  • You have limited time to spend on your website so you don’t want to learn how to code.
  • You have limited money to invest in your website so you prefer not to hire skilled designers or developers to help you.
  • You want more control over your website – so you don’t have to keep paying a designer or developer to make changes. You prefer to manage your website yourself.

Finding out how much your website will cost you doesn’t have to be very complicated – you just need to be asking the right questions.

Once you have a better understanding of what resources you have (time, money, skills, interests in learning new skills), then you will have a much better idea of which path you should head towards (WordPress or a drag & drop website builder).

If you need some guidance in finding the right website builder for you, here are some more resources for you:

Comparison Chart: we break down the differences between each drag & drop website builder for you.

Free Quiz: To find out which drag & drop website builder works best for your needs.

How to Choose a Website Builder: 9 questions to ask yourself to find out which website builder is suitable for you

WordPress Comparison Discussions: In-depth details of how each drag & drop website builder compare to WordPress

Found This Guide Helpful?

Question – Did this guide benefit you? Leave a comment below. 

Do you know anyone who can benefit from this guide? Send them this page or click on the share buttons on the left.

You’ll be helping us out by spreading the word about our website, and you’ll be helping them out!

 

Connie Wong

About Connie Wong

Designing and creating your website (especially your first one) is not a simple task. If you're a designer like me, then you're already way ahead of the game. But what if you're one of the 99% of business owners who are not technical or creative? I want to share my website design expertise with you to help you build a professional looking website to grow your business.

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Connie Wong

About Connie Wong

Designing and creating your website (especially your first one) is not a simple task. If you're a designer like me, then you're already way ahead of the game. But what if you're one of the 99% of business owners who are not technical or creative? I want to share my website design expertise with you to help you build a professional looking website to grow your business.

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38 Responses to How Much Should a Website Cost You? A Definitive Pricing Guide For You

  1. #

    Great Article..
    Thank you!

  2. #

    Great article! I just recently learned the basics of setting up a website and hosting then got an offer to do it for a small business, I’m a newbie though and had no idea how much to charge. So thank you, I’ll be reading your other posts as I still have so much to learn about.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Glad you found this website costing guide helpful, Anna. Good luck with your website!

      Jeremy

  3. #

    Thank you so much! you helped me get past a big roadblock standing in the way of launching my business. I really appreciate the way you were open about all the platforms and I was able to make a decision and move forward. Thanks for your thorough assessment!

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Thanks for your feedback, Tiffany. I’m glad to hear that you found this cost guide helpful to you. Good luck with building your website!

      Jeremy

  4. #

    Connie,
    Thank you for your thorough and descriptive analysis. I feel much more confident in how well I am informed on the subject!

  5. #

    HI to All ,

    thanks for u giving lot of information and please can u provide me the link where i can find the drag and drop tutorials of wix,weebly,sqarespace.

    Thanks a lot

    praveen

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hi Praveen,

      I know Weebly and Squarespace do have recorded webinars demonstrating how to build a website from scratch. Perhaps you can go to YouTube and do a search. I think you’ll find some examples / case studies there, show you how to use these platforms to build a website.

      Jeremy

  6. #

    Very clear and helpful guide. Thanks for making it!

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      You’re very welcome, Kyle.

      Jeremy

  7. #

    Great Article – I’ll refer future clients here to become more familiar with the costs of building a website. Our firm will charge between $600 for a 3 pager WordPress to over $5500 for Multipage WordPress. And unless the customer needs an SSL Certificate for ecommerce, paying more that $60 for a WordPress, or HTML5/BootStrap theme is not warranted. Again, great article.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Thank you Eddie. I appreciate your comment and endorsement!

      Jeremy

  8. #

    Very helpful.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Thanks, Don.

  9. #

    This was excellent information. I have created a website in the past and while feature rich it did not meet my audience need so I’m now focusing on what is needed vs want. I am not clear about one item in the cost section. Question:What does “Average Cost of Content Population: $500 – $2,000” entail?

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hey William,

      This includes hiring someone to help you set up your pages, insert your content (text, images, videos, etc.), linking between pages, making sure your layout looks good, etc.

      You can definitely do it yourself if you have a small number of pages. But if you have a lot of content, and you have limited time, hiring someone to help you do that is an option.

      Jeremy

  10. #

    Thanks alot, its a great guide.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Thanks, Andrew. Hope you found our cost estimates helpful!

      Jeremy

  11. #

    Hi,
    I have a situation that may or may not be unique. I would like to offer e-purchasing, but I need to control how many items are sold. For example, if I only have 3 widgets, I need to stop selling them at that point so that a fourth customer can’t buy one. Is this a common setting in e-purchasing?
    Thanks fro all the great info!
    John

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hello John,

      I’m not sure if I fully understand your question but I’ll try to answer it anyway.

      All capable ecommerce website builders (like these ones here) have the ability for you to set how many units of your product you have in stock. So if you only have say 10 items for a specific product, you can configure that in your setup.

      So on your product page, it can show that you only have 10 items in stock, and once the 10th unit is sold, it will show that your product is “out of stock” so your next customer won’t be able to purchase it.

      Does that answer your question?

      Jeremy

  12. #

    Hi Jeremy:

    Your site is loaded with helpful information – much appreciated!

    Question? – For their annual costs, can you build “as many sites as you like” (like XSitePro used to allow) -OR- is it a “new cost” for each site you wish to build?

    Many thanks! / Peter A.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hey Peter,

      I’m not entirely sure about other website builders, but the ones that I’ve built a lot of websites with (including Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, Jimdo, etc), you have to pay on a per website basis.

      So you can sign up to an account with Wix (for instance), and you can build 20 websites with that single account. But you upgrade each website on their own, standalone basis.

      So you can’t put 100 websites on a premium plan for only $10 – $20 per month. However, you can build as many “free” websites as you want to. But these “free” websites, you can’t use your own custom domain name, and you won’t have access to all the tools.

      Hope this clarifies things.

      Jeremy

      • #

        Ok, many thanks Jeremy.

        This is what I thought – but before, I couldn’t find a clear answer on this.

        So, as I understand it now (using WIX as an example) …

        — For the FREE Account – as many sites as we wish – but with obvious limitations;

        — For the PREMIUM Accounts – “each site” has a yearly cost – but we get the “bells & whistles” that go with them.

        Much appreciated / Peter A.

        • Jeremy Wong
          #

          You got it!

          So you can log into Wix with your log in credentials, then pick which website you want to edit.

          Jeremy

  13. #

    thank you very much for this Information I will be using some for I am new to this but have people thank has some of the skills that’s need
    This is my first time and I was kind d if nervous because I trying to save at this time to build and any part I can do myself at aow cost or no cost will be great thank you very much for sharing this

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hey Morris,

      Not a problem at all. Building a website for the first time can be confusing and nerve-wrecking. Glad our guide here is helpful to you. Good luck!

      Jeremy

  14. #

    Jeremy – EXCELLENT article – a ton of great info – much appreciated!

    My situation – As a Business & Financial Consultant, I want anything I create (in the way of Online Sites) to be professional.

    — XSitePro – I used to use the XSP Sitebuilder software (loved its simplicity – but sadly, they went out of business). I built about 150 Web “Pages” (not multi-page “Websites”) using XSP – partly because their (once only) cost of about $200 enabled users to build “as many” single Web Pages (or multi-page Websites) as they wanted (even ‘thousands’), at no additional cost – ever. However, not thast they’re out of business, there’s no more service or support (which for me, is a disaster).

    — Site Sell’s SBI – I also experimented briefly (years ago) with SBI – but found the learning curve to be quite high there (for me) – but they seem to have a huge fan base.

    — WordPress – Then, I moved to WP, but had a Webmaster build my Web Pages there for me. I am not a “technical” person – I don’t understand a cPanel, etc (although I do know some basic HTML coding). However, I am able to do basic “edits” my WP Web Pages (via the Thrive Content Builder he put in there for me). But I find WP (other than doing occasional “edits”) to be far too technical for me – and much too costly to keep hiring a Webmaster to build (and service!) these for me when something goes wrong, with a Plugin, or something else.

    — GoDaddy – Previously, I had also built (5) ‘Website Tonight’ multi-page Websites (by myself :>) using GoDaddy’d Sitebuilder – but it was “tough” for me! I am about to let these sites lapse, despite their recent efforts to improve their (archaic) Sitebuilder (although I do like their 24/7 phone support – and I have all my Domain Names with them [about 175].

    —————-

    — Wix / Weebly – Then, I came across “your” website (superb material here!) – and now, I’m thinking I should perhaps go with either Wix or Weebly – but …

    (2) QUICK QUESTIONS?

    1)- With these popular Sitebuilders (Wix / Weebly), can you build simple, “single page” Web Pages (like I had done with XSP – almost like building PDFs, but with much more flexibility on images, hyperlinks, etc) -OR- are they designed more for “multi-page” Websites?

    2)- For their annual costs, can you build “as many sites as you like” (like XSP) -OR- is it a “new cost” for each site you wish to build (or some other option, such as so much “bandwidth” giver per package you buy)?

    I look forward to your answers and/or guidance on this, when your schedule permits..

    Many thanks, Jeremy!

    Peter Arnold, CLU, CFC / Canada

  15. #

    Thanks. This was helpful to organize a presentation. When people ask what does a website cost, many expect a simple numerical answer. Hope you don’t mind a share or two.
    Good job!

  16. #

    Thanks for the great rundown. Can you post ads of different sizes on Wix, Weebly or Squarespace?

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hey Rick,

      You sure can. At a very basic level, you can insert an image / ad banner just like any images, then link these ad images to wherever you want. You can technically insert images of various sizes into your website.

      Hope this helps!

      Jeremy

  17. #

    This was so incredibly helpful!! So much good information, and broken down into plain English. The whole idea of creating my own website with WordPress was causing me so much aggravation and anxiety. I thought I “should” go with them. But now I can make a fully informed decision.
    So much gratitude!!

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Thanks Rita! Glad our discussion here is helpful to you.

      Jeremy

  18. #

    Excellent articles and great discussions guys!

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Thanks, Ant!

  19. #

    this is an awesome write up, and I loved the “how much does a car cost” analogy! In terms of my own experience I found plenty of awesome web developers via Odesk for no more than $20/hr – I also did a fixed price job to contain costs, that said, it was still about $1,000 for a custom design.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with all of us.

      For $20 per hour, I’m guessing you are working with developers from developing countries?

      Did you start with a pre-made template and have them alter / customize it to your needs?

      What’s your experience in finding them on oDesk (did you have to sift through a lot of bids)?

      And how was your overall experiences in managing them?

      Would you do anything differently after your experience?

      Sorry for all the questions, but we’re always interested in hearing others’ stories! I think this will also help our readers as well!

      Jeremy

      • #

        hi Jeremy,

        Yes, the developer was from a developing country. The chap I used was in Bangladesh, and he was excellent.

        I used a pre-made template, then specified all the changes I wanted in detail. This was put into the oDesk job that I listed. I asked for a fixed price quote.

        I got about 20 bids in less than 2 days.

        As part of evaluating the bids I asked people what they thought would be the hardest part of the job. While I had no idea what would be hardest, the responses I got quickly let me get a feel for who had thought it through and who had not. While I asked for fixed price, I also asked how many hours they were expecting to do the job in – the hourly rates varied from $5/hr to $100/hr (the top end rates where from developers in the UK and US). The job I awarded equated to about $20/hr.

        I then released the job in stages (oDesk has a feature to do this) – the first stage was only about $100 worth. The completion of the first stage let me confirm that the developer was on the right track, it also let him know he was on the right track too! I then released the rest of the job in 2 more stages (so 3 in total). This approach let us both be comfortable on the progress/ quality.

        In terms of managing him: I had to give lots of feedback (which probably drove my developer crazy). I did this by taking screenshots and then annotating where I wasn’t happy. We did the odd Skype IM chat and also Teamviewer session too.

        I wouldn’t do anything differently – its about the 10th job I’ve done like this and I took learnings from the past: describe your job in detail, get fixed price, release in increments, and be prepared to change developers if the first release stage does not workout.

        Oh, perhaps one last thought, I used a CMS that had very low market share (I’ll spare the CMS the bad press). The CMS while it great on paper, had a huge number of bugs. So probably a key learning I had was don’t use a CMS that isn’t mature – and in my book, “number of active users” is directly correlated to a mature CMS (the one I picked has about 0.1% market share of CMS platforms).

        • Jeremy Wong
          #

          Hi Richard,

          Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with all of our readers! I’m sure your data points will be extremely helpful to everybody – especially those who are building websites for the first time.

          We do share similar experiences. One of the key things after a few years and having the benefit of using developers from a developing country and also from a developed country, is the quality and caliber of the work.

          When we used some developers from India, while they were decent and cheaper, we had to do a lot of handholding and provide a lot more guidance on what we want and what we don’t want. We also had to spend a lot more time on testing and “bug hunting”.

          In our own experience, the team we hired were more “do-ers” than “thinkers”. So while they’re definitely cheaper, we had to spend more energy and time to manage the work and push the project forward.

          With our developer from a developed country, it was a lot more hands off as he helped us do a lot of the “thinking”. He made suggestions on how certain things could be better off if we approached them from different angles. So he acted like an advisor and provided a lot of value-adding advice based on his experiences working on other projects.

          The quality of the codes was much higher (we were able to assess this as we learned much more about coding at that point), and he was proactive in driving the project forward instead of “sitting around waiting for instructions”.

          So in our own experiences, it’s a bit of “you pay for what you get” type of situation. When we paid less in monetary terms, we paid more in our own energy and time.

          Anyway, that’s just our own experiences and I’m sure others will have different stories to tell!

          Jeremy