How Much Should A Website Cost? Do I Save Money If I Build My Own Website?

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Trying to figure out how much a website should cost is never an easy thing. Designers all have different ways to price out projects. Use this break down to get a better understanding.
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How much should a website cost?

Determining the cost of a website is not the easiest thing.  Not to mention, it is a very touchy subject for web designers. There is no secret formula to decide what a new website or a redesign should cost.  You could call and ask for a proposal from multiple freelancers/marketing firms.  But, the prices will vary.

You get what you pay for … sometimes.

Unfortunately the old phrase, “you get what you pay for”, doesn’t really fit the website design space.  I have been building websites since the late 90’s and have found that the prices for a website are based on “what the market will bear”. But, there is a lot of gray space in that phrase.

Basic Website Design Cost

When building a website you will have a few costs that are the same regardless of the site.

The first thing you will have to pay for is a domain (.com, .net, .org, etc.) which will cost around $15 per year. This is what people type into the “address bar” to go to your website.  Think of this as your online address. There are many different companies that offer domain registration but, we recommend HostYak. You will also want to register the domain with “Privacy Registration”. (Read more about registering domains & privacy registration here.)

The second thing you will need to buy is hosting.  Web hosting service allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible online. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server owned or leased for use by clients. Basically put, it is where the files for your website are stored online. This will cost around $20 per month. The cool thing with HostYak is you will get a FREE SSL Certificate with the recommended hosting plan. (cPanel Ultimate)

Other Costs Associated with Website Design.

Depending on if you are in the hunt for a “Make My Own Website” tutorial or you are paying a designer to do it for you there are a few platforms you should know about.

HTML Websites – Custom coded websites are great when they are designed. The problem is HTML website design is a dated method and normally costs more money than it’s worth ($5,000+)

Content Management System Platforms – Joomla, Drupal, and Others.  These platforms are easy to use but if you are wanting to stay in the loop we recommend you use WordPress.

WordPress is a free “blogging” platform you can use and install on your hosting account to build a website. Just to be clear, I am not talking about WordPress.com which is a standalone blogging platform. WordPress.org is the self-hosted platform that I personally use for ALL of my websites.  According to managewp.com, there are over 70 million WordPress websites published.  Out of those, about 50% use the self-hosted WordPress.org platform.

Now that you understand the platforms, we’re going to get into the cost of a WordPress website.

Cost #1 WordPress Themes & Plugins
The WordPress theme is in a way a lot like, the old school “templates” but rather more of a guideline for the way your website will look.  Some designers do create custom WordPress themes but the price is a lot higher (approx. $2500 – $5,000). But after years of looking for the best theme, I’ve found the new “Hello” theme by Elementor to be exactly what I need for almost every website I build.

WordPress Plugins come both free and paid. I’ve used hundreds of plugins over the years and at the time of writing this, there is ONLY ONE PLUGIN that I continue to pay for after over ten years of using WordPress. That plugin is the Elementor Pro Plugin. Because I use Elementor on many different sites I have one of the larger licenses but you can grab your copy for only $49/year.

Cost #2 The Designer
This is a touchy subject.  I can’t say what designers will charge you for a website but I can say what I charge along with what I have found other designers charge.

For the first 2-3 years, I was building websites for small businesses my price range was from $500 – $1,250. After years of charging the same rates, I increased my prices from $1,250 – $2,500 but the finished product was drastically different between the first few years and the later years.

When it comes to other designers and marketing firms I have found that I am on the lower end of the scale.  I have networked with designers all over the map & after many conversations, I have found that the basic website will cost $2,500 – $5,000 depending on the features included in the website design package you choose.

Some provide content for your pages including text & images. Some will include Search Engine Optimization which will increase the cost of your website a lot if they truly know what they are doing.

The Verdict is Out
Want to know how much a website should cost? Here we go …

The upfront cost for a website includes three different things. Please keep in mind these prices are an average based on what I’ve seen and the knowledge I’ve gained over a very long career.

Domain with Privacy Registration (approx. $20/year)
Hosting, Security, Backups & SSL (approx $20/month & $40/year)
ElementorPro Plugin (approx $50/year)

I know as an entrepreneur, paying a designer (approx $2,500) could be a high ticket for a new business.  If you do not have the money for it and would like to build your own website, I have put together a tutorial and am continuing to record tutorials to help you with that question that every budget-friendly entrepreneur asks How do I make my own website

Access the webinar here and keep coming back as we continue to add pieces of training.

I hope this has helped you. If you have any questions please feel free to comment below or shoot me a message on Twitter.

If you have some questions you can contact me directly via the contact page.

Talk Soon,

CJ Hallock

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