Website design isn’t something you should take lightly. It doesn’t matter how small or large your business is. Every company should have a professionally designed website. Quite often, small business owners don’t realize the importance of having a high class, professionally designed website. The functionality and appearance of your site can make a big difference. But how much does a professionally designed website cost? The total cost of a professionally designed website involves a few things:
- The platform the developer is going to use to build your new website. Whether he’s going to use an off-the-shelf open source CMS such as WordPress, Joomla, etc or custom code the whole application from scratch. If you are going the open source route, the CMS itself is free but the developer will charge you a fee for theme installation and any customization. This can be as little as a few hundred dollars to $1000+. On the other hand, if you choose to build a custom application from scratch, costs will be considerably higher. Providing a one-off website quote for a custom application is nearly impossible. There are so many variables involved! It could take anywhere from 100 hours to 1000+ hours. This translates to a few thousand dollars at the very least.
- Your hosting account. There are several different types of hosting accounts from shared to dedicated. Obviously, each one of them has a different price. A shared hosting account costs roughly $10 a month whereas a dedicated one could easily cost $100+ a month.
- Your site’s graphics and content. You can provide those. Alternatively, you will arrange to have that done for you at a cost. If you will be using stock photography, budget $200-500. Image quality is not something you should take lightly. As for content, if you will be hiring a copywriter, budget at least another $200 to get you started.
- CMS Themes. If you are using an off-the-shelf CMS, you will probably have to purchase a theme – a set of files that will dictate how your new website looks. There are also free themes available for most CMSs. A paid theme will cost you at least $30. A premium theme can easily cost $100+.
- Your developer’s fees for making all of the above happen! Developers work either on a flat fee basis (project based) or by the hour. Again, since hourly rates vary considerably depending on the developer’s expertise, location, etc it is nearly impossible to provide a ball-park estimate of developer’s costs.
- SEO/SEM. Whether you will be actively promoting your website using SEO, social marketing, etc. Again, this could cost as little as a couple of $200 a month up to thousands. It really depends on your advertising campaign budget, social marketing channels,etc.
A few words of caution:
You WILL ALWAYS find so called “developers” who will offer to build your site for a couple of hundred dollars. In this case, the old adage “you get what you pay for” fits perfectly. We at Webmantica have taken on literally dozens of projects which were started by so called “developers” but never finished. Most of the time, the code was so substandard we had to rewrite it from scratch. Be ware.
You do not necessarily have to work with someone local. For example, we developed 90+% of our projects by working remotely and, in most cases, we never had to meet the client face-to-face. However, we have a proven track record of delivering great results by working remotely. Regardless, when contacting a potential developer, always ask for references and work samples. Sometimes, if you are technically savy, requesting a code sample won’t hurt.
Last but not least, don’t expect a website, even a professionally designed website to launch your business for you. Your website is a piece of the puzzle but not the entire puzzle! Your website will still need ongoing fine tuning especially in terms of SEO, marketing, etc. If you don’t maintain it, it will be a waste of time and money.