How Much Does It Cost to Build a Website in 2017?
Written by Tijana Milanovic
30 January 2017
Let’s face it. It’s 2017, of course you need a website. Not just any website, but a polished, professional looking one. A website that will instill confidence in your future clients.
Every business or personal project you want to start needs a website. It is a starting point and a calling card. It is impossible to create a marketing strategy or start a marketing campaign if you don’t have a solid website or a landing page (or both).
Your marketing game can be strong as ever, but if a potential customer can’t find your website, or worse, stumbles upon an ancient looking one... Let's just say your efforts will be futile. Your visitors might think you’re hiding something or that you don’t know what you’re doing. Needless to point out, this is bad for business.
So, we agree that you need a website, but how will you create one? More importantly, how much will that cost you? We are here to answer those questions for you.
Creating a professional website can be overwhelming for any budget. How much your website will cost depends mainly on your willingness to research and explore things on your own. To put it in simple terms, the less you participate in the website creation process, the more it will cost.
In order to help you get a better grasp of the costs that go into making a website, we created a list of essential website building options you should consider when thinking about creating a professional-looking website.
Hiring a developer to build a website
the average cost of website development: $2.000 - $10.000+
If you don’t have time or don’t want to be involved in the website creation process, you will need somebody to handle this task for you. This is where a website developer can help you out.
Website developer is a person who creates a custom website based on your request. He/she can work alone (also called a full-stack web developer) or with website designers, content writers, SEO specialists, etc. (usually in a form of an agency). In both situations, your budget will have the final say on all decision-making processes.
How much the development will cost you depends on many variables, but the following two will play a key role:
- The quality of the developer’s work - web developers with no experience and low hourly rates usually produce websites of low quality;
- The actual complexity of your website - additional functionalities such as online shop or user registration alone can cost you the same amount of money as the entire website.
People usually look for someone to build their website by using freelance platforms such as UpWork, Freelance, Toptal, Crew, etc. They define their website request, set up a budget and sift through a pool of applicants to find a suitable person to handle the website creation process. The problem here is not finding a developer to create a website, the problem is finding a developer you can trust to do the job.
When you pay a developer to build a website, you should be aware of additional costs you will have such as yearly or monthly fees for domain and hosting (these are expenses you’ll need to bear, regardless of the website development deal). You should also take into consideration the expenses you will have each time you want to make a change on your website. If the website is fully coded, any additional changes usually must be done by the developer himself.
To minimize the website development costs, make sure you are explicit about your requirements within the very first moments of setting a deal. Some of the things you should discuss before you make a deal include:
Who will do the web design?
Web developers are often those who think of website functionalities not the actual website look. If we go back to “first impressions matter”, you will have to make sure that your website is as beautiful as it is functional. If your developer is not a designer, you will have to hire an additional person to do this part of the job, which will automatically increase the website building costs.
Who will write content and perform keyword optimization?
In order to rank among the first ten results when somebody searches for the product or service you are offering, you will have to be optimized for those keywords. This is exactly what an SEO specialist does.
Who will perform other necessary SEO and marketing related preparations?
And finally, who will be in charge of all future changes?
The problem with custom built websites is that they require updates to keep the system running smoothly. Even if you are not going to change a single thing on your website from the moment it is built, you will still need somebody to do the regular update check and perform it.
Of course, when you are on a tight budget and you just want “a simple website”, hiring a developer to build a website is probably something you want to avoid. In that case, you are left with two options: you can learn how to code your own website or you can build it with a website builder.
Learn to code/Enroll in a course
the average cost of web development courses: $20-$3.000+
If your business is not so demanding and you have time to learn something new, you can jump into creating a website on your own. It will take some time, but the actual cost of building a website can be way lower.
Learning how to create a website on your own can be done from the comfort of your home. You will need a good Internet connection, time you are going to spend on learning and some money to pay for initial courses. When it comes to coding courses, there are many specialized websites such as Udemy, Coursera and Lynda that will suit your needs.
In most cases, you will have to decide between:
learning to code a website from scratch and
learning to create a website with a CMS such as Joomla or WordPress
If you decide to create your own website from scratch, you will have to spend some time learning the programming language you are going to use (e.g. PHP). You should bear in mind that mastering the basics can take up to a few months. Real website creation will happen later - that is, when you are ready to dig deeper into advanced courses.
On the other hand, you can build a website with special platforms such as WordPress. Although WordPress costs are very low (it is an open-source platform, which means you can use it for free), the template you want to use can cost you up to $89. If the included documentation is good, this is the part that will save you money. If not, we are back to hiring someone to help you out.
Another thing that you may not know about Wordpress: For a simple website, this may seem like the easiest platform to choose, which can be true at first. What you discover later is that having a top-notch Wordpress website and updating it regularly isn’t something you can learn in two months.
Additionally, depending on a template you choose, the support can be slow and finding answers can become a very tiresome process. Moreover, if you don’t really know what you’re doing, plugin compatibility and overall security of your website can become an issue too. Not to mention that you’ll need to learn how to set up your hosting account.
In either case, you shouldn’t worry about the initial question of “How much will it cost to build a website?”, but focus on a new one: “How long does it take to create a website?”
If you are a complete newbie in this field, we are afraid the answer is not going to be good for your business.
And, if we go back to the things you should think of, you still need to decide:
- Who will do the web design - a completely different thing from coding your own website, which can be solved by purchasing a separate template for your website
- Who will write content and perform keyword optimization
- Who will perform other necessary SEO and marketing related preparations
Use a website builder
the average cost of website creation: $4 – $25 monthly
When business owners lack time to learn new skills or have an unpleasant experience with expensive web developers, they look for other options that will help them create their own website.
Website builders are tools that allow users to create a professional website without using a single line of code. Their specially designed interfaces come with a variety of blocks creators can simply drag and drop into a place they want to add them. Those elements range from the simplest one such as text, image and form to more complex ones (e-shops and various additional integrations). From the very beginning to all the future changes, the web creator is now in charge of what happens with his website.
Unlike the previous two options, a website builder takes care of the hosting for you. Hosting and domain can rank up additional costs from $60 to $200+ per year. On the other hand, a website builder will make all this its problem and you won’t need to worry about it. You can connect your domain if you want to, and if you don’t, you’ll be able to choose one free of charge.
Regular updates are another thing you can cross off your list. Here is where web builders show their strength - all necessary updates are performed by skilled people behind the whole system. This means you won't be involved in the process and you don’t have to learn any additional skills.
Web builders may seem easy and that is exactly what they are - easy to use. It is not a secret that you will have to understand the basics of drag & drop systems, but the time invested in this activity can be measured in hours. To start your website adventure, you do not need to have any previous knowledge in website building. However, once you understand how to build a website using a web builder, it will be easier for you to understand the whole science behind creating a custom website.
So, how do you create a website using a web builder? First, you have to sign up for an account and set up your business name, which will serve as a domain name (if you do not want the free one, you can change it later). After that, you are ready to choose the template you like and start customizing it to your business needs. If you feel like you are stuck, customer support is always there to help you overcome the website creation problem.
The best part of web builders is that they can be used for various purposes. If you have a product idea and you are ready to test its performance, you can create a simple landing page. Once you have enough data, you can upgrade your landing page to a comprehensive website and launch it. Or if you are an artist, why should you spend time on anything other than your art? With web builders, you can create your own portfolio to show it off.
If we talk about overall costs, web builders will save you time and money on:
Web design - pre-made templates are included in the price; in addition, you can use tools such as Designer Tools
Web development - an easy-to-use drag and drop system will help you create a professional website by yourself
Future website changes - once you are comfortable with using web builders, any changes you want to make to your business website can be performed in no time
This leaves us with the real costs all business owners should worry about - marketing and promotion.
To conclude, hiring a developer will require a lot of both initial and any future investments, and it cannot be done quickly. Learning how to build your own website will cut you some costs, but the time required to learn how to build a website is usually around 6 months (for a basic website), and that’s not suitable for business owners who don’t have time to do it. And finally, taking into account both lack of time and investment, website builders can help business owners have a fully professional website for an affordable monthly fee.
Still not convinced? Take a look at the work of some of our favorite business artists: