Like a carefully laid-out physical store, a well-built website makes visiting, browsing and buying an enjoyable experience. It offers easy access to products or services, their prices and, finally, the checkout process. This channel also adds unique value, with the majority of internet users checking if a business has a website before making a purchase online or offline.
So, how much does it cost to build a website that delights customers?
The average website cost for small to medium-sized businesses is $5,000 to $15,000. This upfront expense covers professional site design and development – or the essentials. If you factor in website maintenance, you must allot another $40 to $300.
A website budget worth thousands of dollars is typical if you want to deliver an exceptional user experience (UX). The final estimated website cost varies depending on several factors, such as choosing between a basic, functional site and a complex one with all the bells and whistles. Whatever you pick, don’t forget to delight your target audience.
Also, with Google updates rolling out in mid-2021, such as mobile-first indexing and Page Experience, those who sideline UX will find their search ranking and presence suffering. With this in mind, let’s dive into how much it costs to build your business’s online home:
• What is the average cost to build a website: factors to consider
• How much does a website cost: the basics
• How much does it cost to create a website with all the trimmings?
• Working with a web design company
• Maximizing your website’s potential
What Is the Average Cost To Build a Website: Factors To Consider
There’s no single way of answering people who ask: “How much does it cost to create a website?” Even small to mid-sized enterprises are charged a broad range for professional services, somewhere between $5,000 and $15,000 on average. Crafting a complex site can go up to $20,000.
To narrow down the scope, you can check common factors that affect the average cost of website design and development.
Note: Avoid mixing up web design and development! To keep it simple, think of site creation as a house construction. Designers are the architects who visualize the structure while developers are the craftspeople who set it up, turning the vision into a reality.
Let’s see which items you’ll include in your website budget:
The first set of factors relate to infrastructure, so you can refer to them as website development costs.
$10-$12 per year
A domain name gives your site its identity on the internet, similar to a web address. When it’s entered by a user in the URL box on browsers, your index or front page loads. Before you can use it, you have to buy it from a domain name registrar.
A fictitious domain name: www.example.com
A website domain cost depends on the registrar’s pricing scheme, type of top-level domain or TLD (such as .com, country code such as .us and premium such as .archi) and upfront charges. For instance, you get a low starting website domain cost from famous registrar GoDaddy, but you have to buy the two-year bundle.
$10-$300 up per year
All kinds of websites, not just eCommerce sites, need to be HTTPS sites, in which S stands for “secure.” Purchasing an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate ensures the sensitive data passing through your site is encrypted. An SSL certificate should be included in website development costs. You can get one for around $10 per year, but installation by a professional can set you back between $200 and $300.
Starts at around $150 per year
Some people wonder “how much does a website cost?” and think about content management systems (CMS) like WordPress or website builders like Squarespace and Wix. These are platforms that let you launch a site with or without a background. But to make it functional, we say you need to know how to navigate Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and (Cascading Style Sheets) CSS at the least, or you’ll end up with an online space that looks like everyone else.
Starts at $60 per year
Your site is actually built using files that are stored on a physical web server. The service that sells or leases space on a server is what we refer to as hosting. Sometimes, you’ll find that website hosting cost is bundled with website domain cost. Other times, both website hosting cost and domain cost are included in a platform’s pricing plan.
Note: WordPress vs WordPress. If you want to learn how to host a website for free, you can try WordPress.com. But this free version has features that often work only for informational sites like personal and educational blogs. Businesses, especially eCommerce sites, can do better with WordPress.org, which allows you or your hired WordPress experts to customize the site design and functionality. Website hosting cost for this WordPress version is pretty affordable.
Website development costs do not completely answer “how much does it cost to make a website?” There’s another set of factors, which have to do with design, and together they make up the total website design cost.
Starts at $1,000 to $1,500
The number of pages is a major factor if you sign up for professional web design services. Your page count depends on your business model, size, industry and offerings. An eCommerce store with dozens of products requires more pages than, say, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) services company.
Starts at $3,000
Mobile website responsiveness could account for the bulk of website design cost. Responsive web design adapts your site layout to the screen size or device dimensions of each user. Paying attention to this detail is crucial because Google will complete its rollout of mobile-first indexing in March 2021. This means the search giant will now use the mobile website version for indexing and ranking, effectively retiring the desktop version.
Investing in this functionality will not only bolster your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts but also delight your users old and new.
Starts at $250
Putting interactive elements on your mobile website is the final major factor that affects your website design cost. How much does it cost to create a website when you add interactivity? It depends. Something as simple as a clickable button or snappy pop-up form can drive conversions without breaking the bank. But animations and videos may bump up the average cost of website design.
The average cost of web design and development is upfront and ongoing, but some of it can be attributed to website maintenance cost. Compared to the first two, the latter is less expensive.
If you have an in-house team that knows how to host a website, you may be charging website maintenance cost to operations and salaries. But making sure everything is running smoothly, from sales to support, still amounts to $40 to $300 monthly or $480 to $3,600 yearly.
How Much Does a Website Cost: The Basics
How much does it cost to make a website in 2021? Based on the factors outlined above, the average cost to build a website that covers all the basics are as follows*:
|Domain||$10-12 per year|
|Hosting||$60-100 per year|
|Design||$4,250 per project|
|Maintenance||$480-3,600 per year|
|Web Design Agency Fees||$550-3,700+ per year and $4,250 for a one-off web design package|
*The average website cost for a small to mid-sized business hiring a website design company
How Much Does It Cost To Create a Website With All the Trimmings
How much does it cost to build a website when you include additional website development and website design services to improve its functionality? Here are estimates based on the average cost of website design, development and maintenance for the following website types:
• Informational/Small Business: $2,000 to $8,000
• Medium-Sized Business: $10,000 to $25,000
• eCommerce: $5,000 to $40,000
• Data-driven/Corporate/Large Business: $25,000 to $40,000
Working With a Web Design Company
The question of how much does it cost to build a website is fundamental to small and medium-sized businesses. The average website cost reaches hundreds to thousands of dollars when a web design agency is involved.
With the right website design company, however, you can customize the website components to your needs and preferences.
“If you are an established business, it is almost always better to hire a professional to design, build and optimize your website. Look for a company like Thrive that has a proven track record in building sites that look great and rank well,” said Josiah Wiles, Thrive’s director of client experience.
Here are some of the pros and cons of hiring professionals to deploy web development and web design services:
• The right web design company can save you time, money, energy and resources.
• Its website development and website design services are reliable and responsive.
• It provides an online strategy that integrates SEO, content writing, conversion rate optimization and social media.
• It gives you access to a prolific team that knows how to host a website, make you look trustworthy and put you in front of your target audience.
• Having produced results prior, it offers a reasonable response to “what is the average cost to build a website?”
• The upfront costs are high.
• The website design company could be the wrong fit or have the wrong culture that includes miscommunication, lack of transparency and delayed delivery.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to find an agency you can trust and align with. Wiles added: “Would you trust putting your largest client into the hands of someone with no experience in sales or delivery of your service? You should be thinking of your website the same way. You need an expert who will deliver a website that will positively impact your reputation as well as your revenue.”
Meanwhile, here are the pros and cons of doing it yourself (DIY).
• Time is on your side, so you can launch when you want.
• With free options, the upfront costs may be more manageable.
• Some website builders come with pre-packaged basic SEO, analytics, hosting and security features.
• It can be time- and energy-consuming. Even when no coding is involved, you will have to figure out how to use a website builder or install an SSL certificate yourself.
• Some service packages are limited, so you can’t maximize the potential of your site.
• Free hosting, speed and security may be unreliable.
Maximizing Your Website’s Potential
A website that offers seamless, enjoyable experience brings in new business, sales and revenue. Google’s Page Experience update and mobile-first indexing also put the visitor experience front and center, making it more vital than ever to invest in a professional-looking, fully functional website.
In this article, we’ve answered the most pressing question: “how much does it cost to make a website that prioritizes the user and adheres to the best practices on the web?” We’ve published the most recent figures for small and medium enterprises to use as a guide to getting started.
More importantly, here’s a reminder to allot a realistic website budget. Contrary to popular notion, hiring a web design agency may be one of the smartest decisions you can make in 2021. We’ve established how the pros of sourcing web development and web design services outweigh the cons.
In this regard, finding the right fit is the key to keeping your costs to a minimum and bringing better results. Thrive is a full-service digital marketing company that offers website design services. For more than 15 years, we have delivered custom web design solutions to diverse clients. Our extensive experience has honed our skills for spotting trends and maintaining high standards for any business and budget.
Contact us or give us a call at 866-908-4748 today to learn more about how we can help you build a website that’s ready to delight customers and deploy bottomline success.