by KeriLynn Engel
December 12, 2018
December 12, 2018

How Much Money Does A Basic Website Cost?

Planning on starting a website? It’s true that a website can be free to start, but if you expect any kind of return for your efforts—whether it’s ad revenue, affiliate sales, or retail customers—the truth is you get what you pay for.

What are all the hidden costs of starting a website, and how much can you expect to pay for each?

At a minimum, you need to invest in your own domain name and hosting. Depending on the type of domain name you choose, the costs could run from just $10 a year, to hundreds or even millions!

The options for website hosting run the gamut in price as well. For a new website, shared hosting is probably sufficient. But as your traffic starts to grow, so will your hosting needs and budget. While shared hosting can be as low as $50 per year, moving to a VPS (virtual private server) or a dedicated server can easily bump up the yearly price tag to over $1,000.

After choosing your domain and hosting, it’s time to consider your web design. While there are myriad options for free themes, you should consider a premium or custom design if you want your website to stand out from the crowd.

Custom web designs can cost anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. Finding a good web designer can be a challenge, but using a review site like Which Web Design Company will enable you to find a designer that will work to meet your needs within your budget.

Once your design is set, you’ll have to fill your website with content, and possibly start a blog. You could write it all yourself, but it may be more cost-efficient to hire a professional writer who knows how to engage your visitors to reach your goals. Depending on your standard of quality, you could spend as little as $1 a page for non-native speakers, up to $100 a page or more for skilled writers.

Because of all the available options, it’s difficult to ballpark a price for starting a new website. The price depends on your needs, expectations, and budget. The best way to start may be by deciding on an overall budget limit and prioritizing which expenses are the most important to you.

However you decide, the bottom line is that you get what you pay for.

Editors Note –  Thanks to Which Web Design Company. WWDC maintains a database of over 7000 web design agencies worldwide, and provided us with the average starting cost statistics for web development used in the graphic below:

How Much Does a Website Cost?

How Much Does a Website Cost?

We all know a website is critical to business success today, but one thing that’s hard to determine is how much it will cost you to have one built. Find out how to set your budget for a web design project, and what to consider.

Domain Name

Every website needs a domain name to be hosted online. You can either buy a brand new domain name, or purchase one that’s been registered for a while.

  • Brand new domains will cost about $10-15 a year, depending on registrar and TLD.
    • Registrar is the company like GoDaddy, BlueHost, etc.
    • TLD refers to: .com, .org., .net
  • Aged domains can cost hundreds, or even millions of dollars.
    • Price depends on many factors including:
      • Age of domain
      • Keywords
    • Examples:
      • SEO.com: sold for $5 million in 2007
      • Beer.com: sold for $7 million in 2004
      • Hotels.com: sold for around $11 million in 2001
    • You will pay a domain fee every year to keep the domain, which varies depending on registrar.

Total Cost (estimate): $10/year – hundreds, thousands, and even millions of dollars.

Web Hosting

Every website needs web hosting to be online. Your web designer/developer can help you secure web hosting, but this is not typically included in the design and development fees.

  • Shared: Many websites are hosted on the same server.
    • Think of a server as an apartment building.
    • Each “apartment” gets its own space and web address, but you are stuck with whatever the apartment building gives you.
    • Cost effective way to host a website.
      • Spend as little as $3.95/month
  • Virtual Private Server (VPS): Many websites are hosted on the same server, but each account gets more control, similar to what dedicated servers provide.
    • You’re still sharing the server, so you get an “apartment” but you have the freedom to do what you want with the apartment.
    • More expensive than shared hosting, but gives you more control over the hosting environment.
      • Expect to spend at least $29.99/month.
  • Dedicated Server: You are in control of the server.
    • You get your own apartment building, and are in complete control of it.
    • You choose what software to run, how many websites to host, etc.
    • Dedicated servers are best for sites that are highly trafficked, and need extra security.
    • Dedicated servers are the most expensive way to host a website.
      • Expect to spend at least $99.99/month

Total Cost (estimate): $47.40/year – $1,199.88/year

Design and Development

Costs can vary significantly depending on the scope of work required.

  • Design
    • Will a pre made theme work? (Price range: Free to ~$100)
      • This is more cost-effective than something that will require heavy modification, or something that will need to be built from the ground up.
        • Custom themes: $500 to $3,000
    • Do you have graphics and imagery, or will the designer need to provide those as well?
      • If the designer needs to provide that, think about how much they’ll have to provide.
        • Stock photography/graphics can be costly, depending on the size you need. Expect to pay around $15 to $20 an image, but other images will cost more.
          • ($1.60 to $1.67/credit, images average 6-15 credits) depending on the stock library you use.
  • Content
    • How many pages of content will your website need?
      • Are you providing that, or will the designer need to do it?
    • Will you outsource it to a copywriter, or write it yourself?
      • If you write it yourself, do you have the time and ability?
    • Content quality will vary depending on who you hire, and cost varies with quality.
      • Freelance non-native English speakers will write for around $~1/page
      • Agencies can charge $100+ page
  • Functionality (Development)
    • Do you need more than simple contact form?
    • Will you need a forum?
    • Do you want to include a blog?
    • Will your website be membership based?
    • Do you want your site to deliver dynamic content?
      • Content that’s been personalized for each visitor?
        • Example: com’s homepage is personalized based on purchase history.
    • Will you need an ecommerce platform?
    • Will your website need to be compatible with any third party platforms?
  • Additional costs may be incurred for updates and website maintenance.

Total Cost (estimate): $200-$10,000+

Average Starting Prices

WhichWebDesignCompany.com keeps track of 7,382 web design companies world-wide. Here are the average starting prices for common website develop projects.

  • UK Companies
    • Prices start from £610 brochure website (data from 1452 companies)
    • Prices start from £1165 content managed website (data from 1518 companies)
    • Prices start from £1660 ecommerce website (data from 1472 companies)
  • U.S. Companies
    • Prices start from $1190 brochure website (data from 237 companies)
    • Prices start from $2235 content managed website (data from 226 companies)
    • Prices start from $2640 ecommerce website (data from 231 companies)

Examples

  • Brochure Website: $1,190 – $3000+
    • A “Brochure” website refers to a basic informational site about your business.
    • Creates an “online presence”
    • Generally Includes Pages for: Home, About, Products/Services and Contact
  • CMS Website: $2,235 – $10,000+
    • For membership-based sites, forums, blogs or other sites that use a database and/or dynamic content.
      • Generally Includes Pages for: Home, About, Products/Services and Contact
    • Plus: a CMS-integrated design & programming
    • (Popular CMSs: Joomla, Drupal, WordPress)
      • “Dynamic” functionality gives website owners the ability to “log-in” and make changes to the content of the site.
  • e-Commerce Website: $2,600 – $10,000+
    • Includes the basic “brochure pages”: Home, About, Products/Services, Contact
      • Plus eCommerce functionality with:
      • Shopping cart software:
      • Ability to add & update products
        • Accept and Process Payments (Credit Cards, Paypal, etc)

Example data provided by WhichWebDesign.com

Total Cost

Depending on which decisions you make along the way you can plan on spending hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. Low end amounts come from shared hosting with pre-made themes and graphics, higher end amounts come from dedicated hosting and/or completely custom design and coding robust features.

You get what you pay for: quality matters.

Sources

About KeriLynn Engel

KeriLynn has worked through the internet as a writer. She is an advocate for domestic abuse victims and has way too many hobbies. KeriLynn lives in Connecticut.

Comments

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Neil Ferree

August 13, 2014

Not a bad 30,000 foot view if someone needs a new website or a redesign of their current website. I upgraded to a RWD theme using the Genesis Fraamework and things got a lot better once I did.

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Bill Abramovitz

February 17, 2015

That’s a great rundown and explanation of the various ways that websites can suck cash. I’d suggest upping those numbers depending on: the importance of the website to the success of your business, how well you need your site to compete functionally and aesthetically with the sites of your competitors, and your method of measuring ROI. Is it sales, traffic, shares. What is it exactly that justifies building the site at all. I would spend more effort considering what you need the site to do.

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Anna

April 20, 2018

Helpful, but the web content cost estimates are wildly unrealistic! To pay $1,000 per page for high-converting web content is not unusual. Cheap content will hurt a business – don’t do it! Most web designers will tell you, copywriting is actually more important than design.

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Frank Moraes

May 12, 2018

I believe the problem with this is that until people have substantial experience in a particular niche, they will not have any idea what will be a high-converting site. Even the experts at WhoIsHostingThis.com have and continue to experiment. What’s more, people have all kinds of reasons for having websites, as the infographic discusses.

But your point is well taken. You aren’t going to take over the internet on the cheap. But since the vast majority of businesses of all kinds fail within the first year, it is bad advice to tell someone to spend a great deal money on their initial site. Sites evolve. Look at the history of WhoIsHostingThis.com to see how it went from a one-page, simple tool to an extremely successful website.

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Corneliu

August 17, 2018

I am an absolute beginner in the field and this article made me start to understand what a domain can do for my professional interest (I am not vending any kind of product, but I am interested in spreading my scientific knowledge, which is valuable, I think, to many other people). I have a poor budget, so I have to carefully consider the future action, and in that view the details offered by this page is still poor in content. Anyhow, it was a good start and useful at first approximation.

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Trina McLaren

November 1, 2018

I would love a name or list of web designers that I can hire for $1/page, even for the most basic of pages (and at that price I don’t care if they speak my language or not; I’ll use Google Translate). i checked the site you referred to and cant see any offers of workers for that cheap. :-(

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Frank Moraes

November 1, 2018

I’m sure you can find someone. It doesn’t allow for much collaboration. But if it works for you, great.