Why a website costs what it does (and why it’s worth it)

If you’re looking to build a new website for your small business, chances are your first question is how much will this website cost.

It’s the natural thing to do. Money is basically everything for any business, and website cost can be a big factor in whether you build that new website or not.

But then you take a look at what other people have paid for a website. And you stop dead in your tracks. Suddenly, it seems like everything is out of your league.

The stark reality is that a completely custom website will more than likely cost you over $1,000. And that’s on the low side of things.

But before you completely back away and think that a professional website for your business isn’t feasible, let’s go through and understand why a website costs what it does and why that cost is worth it. Plus, I’ll throw in some good news about how you can save money on your website and still come out with a top-notch product.

Every project is different

First off, every project is different. No two businesses are alike. No two needs are alike. And no two websites are alike.

So if you see or hear someone talk about how high they had to pay for their website, it might not be the same for you and your business.

Maybe that person wanted a completely custom website that had a video hero image on the homepage and a store that was extremely complex. That adds time and a lot of complexity to the project, so naturally a developer is going to charge a lot more for that type of site.

And you might just want something that’s simpler. Maybe it has a smaller online store and a blog and can be built quicker and with less effort. That’s going to result in a much lower cost for you.

So just keep in mind that your website might not cost as much as someone else’s simply because your project and your needs will not be the same.

Different components add to website cost

There are a lot of steps and a lot of parts to a website build.

First, there’s usually a discovery phase where the developer or agency will ask you a lot of questions to get to the heart of your business or organization, figure out what you’re really wanting to achieve and what you want from this website so they can design a solution that works for you.

Then they’ll take those answers and thoughts and formulate them into a website design. This will likely be a custom design (if you want) and they’re going to do their best to balance the best design practices with what you want in your design.

Next, they’ll take that design that you’ve signed off on and create an actual website for you. It might take a while, but for the price you’re paying, you can be sure that they’re using the best practices and that it will be both working and quick.

Then they’ll take your content — the text, photos and any videos — and get it into the website, make sure it looks good and then take the website live for you. That’s the whole process.

It’s a lot of time. And, as you’ll find out here in a second, all of that time is, well, money as they say.

Learn more about how to build a website for your business

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Time is money

And all of that time is money. Obviously.

You’re paying for the time the agency or developer could be doing something else. And you’re paying for the time it takes to handle this website with care.

As I mentioned, websites take a lot of time to build. For me, with a basic custom website build, I usually budget about 60 hours. And that might seem like a lot of time, but once we get into the meat of creating it, those hours go by very quickly.

Plus, the time you’re paying them to create the website frees up your time to be growing your business and bringing in more money. You don’t have to dedicate hours upon hours to sit down and work on your website (which will take a lot longer than a web developer) and not work on your business. That’s no good for you.

Time is money — both the developer’s and yours.

Experience is everything

Plus, a developer’s or agency’s rate isn’t just for nothing. It’s based on what they do, whether that’s basic websites or more complicated ecommerce work, and their experience.

The higher their rate, the more experience the person you hire will have. Or at least that’s the idea. And that experience will lead to a better overall experience for you. You’ll sleep easier knowing the person on the other end knows what they are doing. You don’t have to worry about whether the website you’ll get is what’s going to work for you or not.

Also, you might be tempted to build the website yourself. After all, how hard can it be? But what do you really know about creating a website? Do you know about HTML, CSS, PHP and JavaScript? Do you know about the web design best practices?

You probably don’t. And that’s okay. The people you hire to create your website do. And that’s why you’re paying them.

Now of course, you do have a budget and while the one with the highest experience would be great, it probably might be out of your range. And that’s okay. I don’t want to put you in a bad financial situation because I say you need the best experienced developer ever.

You’ll need to find that balance between paying a bit more for a better experience agency or developer and what you’re going to be able to afford. It’s a balancing act, which is what every business has to do with basically everything.

A working website matters

And most importantly, that all equals out to a website that actually works.

I can’t tell you the number of horror stories I’ve heard from people who have hired a developer from Fiverr or Upwork or somewhere else and either ended up with the developer leaving them with a half-baked website or given them something that doesn’t work. And they’ve ended up paying more just to get a basic working website.

That is anyone’s worst nightmare when it comes to websites. That is what everyone wants to avoid and it’s worse than paying extra for a website that actually works right out of the box (or as close to that as possible).

And that’s what you get with a quality, slightly-higher cost developer. Everything from taking the time to care for what you want and actually build that to the experience the developer has to create it, it leads to this: a working website.

If you look for a developer and like what they’ve done in the past, but are concerned that their price is a little too high for what you think, don’t worry about it. That extra cost will pay for itself in a working website and maybe a relationship with that agency or developer that’s going to help your business grow.

You get what you pay for. That’s extremely true for any website.

But there is good news about how much will this website cost

As I mentioned before, not every project is going to be the same. And when you’re building a website, you have some options.

Obviously, the first option is a completely custom website, and that’s going to be the most expensive option with the custom design and development phases.

But there is a cheaper option that can still give you a quality website without having to do the heavy lifting yourself. If you’re willing to use WordPress (and I definitely recommend it), some web design shops, like myself, can offer up using a pre-built WordPress theme, skin it to match your branding and colors, through up the logo and all of your content and then release it to the world.

This results in a project that takes much less time and much less effort and as a result, costs you much less than a custom website. For me, I charge significantly less for one of these projects. And it allows small businesses to get a website that will look great and help their business grow online in half the time and over half the cost. That’s a win-win for everyone.

So when you see that price for a website, either from a quote you get or from someone you know, take a few deep breaths and try to relax.

In all likelihood, that price is worth it because you should come out with a high-quality website that will help your business grow. And that makes all of it worth it.

And if you don’t quite have the funds for that type of website, there are options where you can still get a top-notch design without breaking the bank or getting your hands too digitally dirty.

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