How much should your website cost?

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When we want a new website, or even a redesign, the options are endless. Even for an average sized website, the costs go from as low as $15 up to even as high as $150 000 +. So which one should you choose? The answer is: it depends. Let’s explore the factors, and how much investment is worth it.

1. The lowest end: DIY via site builders

For those who want to take matters into their own hands, but have zero technical knowledge, there are a lot of DIY options. Most of those are Site Builders. Usually, they operate with a monthly fee, sometimes their cheapest plans include forced ads by them, and in order for their users to be able to have every feature at their disposal, the monthly fee can go up quite a bit.

PROS:

  • No coding skills are required.
  • No design skills are required.
  • They are relatively cheap.

CONS:

  • The code is not yours, and will never be. If you grow it out, you will have to create a new site from scratch.
  • You don’t need skills to create it. While this is a pro, it is also a con, if you need a website that convers well.
  • Limited features. Most of them offer a LOT of features, but if you need something unique that is not implemented, you are in trouble.

Investment type: Time.

Results: depends on your skills.

 

2. The middle-low: buy a Theme and customize it

If you at least have a basic technical knowledge, you can go to a marketplace, choose a CMS (like WordPress, Drupal, etc), buy a theme, import some demo data (in best cases), edit it to suit your needs, and you are ready to publish a website. These usually go between $20-80. This is almost the same as the former choice, except the code belongs to you and you are free to change it however you want later, if your website needs start to grow. Be mindful though, that the theme will probably be tossed away at this point, because it has the same limitations (very hard to make code changes outside it’s capabilities, even if you used a child theme), not too optimized from SEO or code point of view.

PROS:

  • No coding skills are required. Some help 🙂
  • No design skills are required. Some help 🙂
  • They are relatively cheap.
  • The code is yours, and you can do what you want with it.

CONS:

  • You don’t need skills to create it. While this is a pro, it is also a con, if you need a website that convers well.
  • Limited features. Most of them offer a LOT of features, but if you need something unique that is not implemented, you are in trouble.
  • Lots of features. A paradox, but not. Especially lots of features you will never ever use, but they get executed every single time the page loads. Your site will be sluggish.

Investment type: Time.

Results: depends on your skills.

 

3. The good but risky way: Hire a freelancer

This could be one of the better options, IF you find a really good one. Depending on the framework used, you can have a hard time choosing the correct one, that will not only make it affordable, but also with a ROI that counts. For Drupal, Laravel, etc, the hard hitter ones, you are more likely to find a good one, because it has a very steep learning curve, while for WordPress 90% of the people you will met are basically…. scammers. They Learned how to setup a site, how to install some plugins and a premium theme, and you will get to back to the 2nd option, with extra steps and extra fees.

PROS:

  • They are relatively cheap, but most of them work for hourly rate (those who don’t are usually red flags), between $15-45 per hour
  • The code is yours, and you can do what you want with it.
  • One person works on your site and it is very unlikely that they are both good designers, developers, SEO specialists, Digital Strategists, and Marketing specialists at the same time. SO your ROI will hurt. Good conversion performance is not a good design, but a good digital strategy, or good code. It is all of them, AND campaigns focused on the best keywords, targeting the ideal customer persona, competition analysis, newsletter campaigns, press release, link building, etc.

CONS:

  • You can pay a lot for nothing but a pretty but empty site (best case scenario)
  • They can disappear, leaving you with a custom code nobody else wants to continue on.

Investment type: Money.

Results: depends on the freelancer’s skills.

 

Book a meeting so we can create something awesome

 

4. The proper way: Go with a good all inclusive web and branding agency

Self respecting agencies have highly qualified people for everything you need for your website to not only be a website, but your best sales person. If your site is well optimized, all the content has perfect SEO, you are given the optimal keywords to use on your campaigns, the site structure has a pleasant but efficient user journey, to maximize interaction and conversion to a customer, the cost of it is not a cost. It is an investment, which will return itself as revenue multiple times.

PROS:

  • They are usually expensive outright, but they also usually have guaranteed growth and ROI rate. Hourly fee is $75-125, some projects reaching 3-4000 hours.
  • The code is yours, and you can do what you want with it.

CONS:

  • If your or the agency’s marketing and digital strategy team is weak, you will lose money.
  • The code is yours, but usually limited. Agencies void guarantees the moment you require FTP access.

Investment type: Money.

Results: usually profitable despite the initial expense.

 

Which one is for you?

  • for a personal portfolio, a photography site, or where you are expecting little to no profits: sit builders and themes
  • if you have a bigger project, but have a strong in-house marketing team, and design team, go with a freelancer.
  • if you want to just “run your business” and want someone else to help you sell it efficiently, go with a full digital agency.

 

Book a meeting so we can create something awesome