The Age-Old Question
Over my 20+ years of experience in the agency world, “how much does a website cost?” is probably the most commonly asked question I’ve heard. It is asked consistently month after month and year after year. It’s a fair question. I get it. Most likely the person asking this question has either never been through the process of getting a site built, or they just want to know how much we charge to see if it’s in line with another estimate they received. Or maybe, they are curious to know if it aligns with what they think a website should cost. Regardless, looking back, my answer to this question is the same today as it was in the early 2000s.
Drumroll…..there is no set answer. Sorry, but it’s simply not a “one-size-fits-all” kind of question. I think it boils down to the fact that a website is not really a product, it’s a result of service, expertise, and a process to get there. And did I mention there are a gazillion technical variables involved? So, while it’s easy and tempting to say anywhere from $X to $X, that answer can really shortcut the process and not cover what it will take to build a website that will actually work for you.
So Many Variables
A great analogy is “How much does a house cost?” Well, do you want a tiny house or a mansion? What style? Fixtures and finishes? Where is the house? How soon do you need to move in? …You get the picture.
Websites come in all shapes and sizes, so how can you possibly answer the question without spending time learning more about the goals and figuring out your approach? Sure, some agencies might have published minimums or even offer package options with set pricing. But most often the best website for your company will be strategically tailored to your needs in an effort to accomplish your unique goals.
Unfortunately, that’s still not quite the entire story. To make matters just a little more complicated, you could end up losing money over lost opportunities by cutting corners, making mistakes, or going in the wrong direction. The classic “you don’t know what you don’t know” pitfall scenario is real. Especially in the world of websites, because they are so multifaceted.
On several occasions, we’ve had people reach out to us in a panic after losing all their rankings immediately after their best friend’s cousin’s uncle built their site. This is a common issue but avoidable. Others have come for help because they lost their website due to hacks, improper hosting or no backups. If you make mistakes anywhere during the website creation process, you can end up feeling the pain and financial loss long after you pay for your site. Whether you factor these types of issues and setbacks into the total cost of your website or not, it’s something to consider.
So, How Much Does It Cost Already?
But anyway, let’s get back to the question and try to land this plane. If you ask the internet, you will quickly find prices are all over the place. Based on my research, many sources report the cost of an average small business website to be somewhere between $3,000 and $15,000 plus ongoing hosting and maintenance costs, licenses and subscriptions to plugins, etc. It’s a wide range, but generally speaking, I think that is reasonable and Needlestack would generally fall somewhere in this range for a small, well-built business site.
There is one more observation that stood out to me as I was reading articles from other websites. It was obvious there was a massive range in pricing, which is to be expected. I found examples from a couple of hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. But what makes this confusing is that many of the articles make it seem like the ranges are for the same deliverable. Like every site is created equal. So in other words, they imply that you could get the same level of service and end result from anybody that knows how to build a site and you might pay $200 or $20,000 for the same website. But I assure you, there are no apple-to-apple comparisons between website estimates or the people doing the work. In fact, it’s even a stretch to say you get what you pay for. Sometimes you might not. Inevitably, it boils down to what you want, what you need, and who you work with. It’s a lot like the question “how much does a house cost?”
We base our estimates on 3 major factors: Size (how many pages?), functionality (how complex?), and design (is this a branding exercise, or are we following your established brand standards?). There are many other considerations that can influence the cost but those are the main areas driving the cost to build a site.
In summary, each of our clients is 100% unique, but they all have one thing in common: they trust us to deliver smart, strategic, and beautiful work at a fair price. So, if you want to know how much a website costs, please contact us so we can collectively figure out how much it costs to build YOUR website.