How Much Does it Really Cost to Build a Website? – All Your Options Explained

In one sense, asking “how much does a website cost?” is much like asking “how much does building a home cost?”

For the latter, the answer depends on a number of factors such as type of home, location (e.g. city vs suburb or rural), lot size? How many bedrooms? What style? You get it…

And same goes for the website – it depends on your website goals, features, the outcomes you need, and more.

Just like how you do some research to learn about all your options for buying or building a home before making the big decision – it’s also important that you take the time to learn about your options for building a website.

To make it easier for you, we’ve put together this blog post that will give you all the information you need to know so you can make an informed decision on how much it costs to build a website and what option is best for you.

Firstly decide, why do you need a website?

Before you start looking for a solution or hire someone to develop a website, you need to identify what you want to achieve from your website. You should be really clear about the purpose of your website, rather than just making it another online business card.

Here are a few ideas for your own website purpose:

  • Collect leads online
  • Increase the number of calls
  • Showcase your work
  • Increase number of donations
  • Promote your event
  • Sell your products online
  • Share your knowledge and expertise (as courses)
  • Build an email list
  • and much more.

Your website may have multiple purposes, but it’s important to know them upfront before you start building the website.

Good vs Bad Websites

By good and bad, we don’t only mean by the design and looks of the website.

There are many key aspects that differentiate between the two:

Bad websites:

  • Not built around your business goals
  • Hard to navigate
  • Takes too long to load
  • Content is poorly written
  • Key information hard to find
  • Design is cluttered and outdated (from the 90s)
  • Not compatible with mobile devices
  • Unclear message and offer
  • and the list goes on…

Good websites:

  • Designed to help you achieve your business goals
  • Clear navigation
  • Loads quickly
  • Content is customer-centric
  • The key information is easily accessible on finger-tips
  • Well crafted design and layout
  • Works perfectly on mobiles
  • Clear message and offer with visible Call-to-Actions
  • and the list goes on…

“Cheap” websites may seem appealing at first, but then later, you’ll realize that they don’t do anything other than just being a plain brochure.

Later you’ll have to waste more time and spend more bucks getting your website redesigned.

So what’re your options to build a website?

1) Self-build DIY services like WIX, Squarespace, Godaddy, Weebly, etc.

Approximate price: Free to $20 per mo

Building your own website using Do-It-Yourself builders like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly might be an attractive solution for many business owners, because these are usually free or very low cost per month.

Limitations with Self Builders:

Limited design options:

These builders come with some pre-defined templates that you can choose from. So you’re always working within their particular design you choose. Some software only allows you to change colors and styles.

Fewer features and limited customization: 

You can’t really customize your website to be anything other than what the company has allowed. They might not allow you to do much customization, such as adding unique features or extra components that are necessary for running your business.

Not friendly with search engines:

Search engine optimization is an important factor for how your website ranks in search results. Self-builders often don’t have many SEO options, so you can’t optimize your website for search engines.

When to invest in this option:

This option may be the right choice for new or smaller businesses with no money to invest in their online presence and marketing and they just need a basic website without any goals for their website.

But if you’re looking for a website that will attract your customers and really grow your business, you’ll need to invest more and hire a professional to build a custom website that’s well suited for your business.

2) Freelancer Web Designer

Approximate price: $90 to $1000

There are thousands (even a million I’d say) of freelancers available on websites like and Upwork who offer website designs in this price range. Unlike the first option, freelancers are suitable for people who don’t have the time and skills to build their own websites.

Limitations with Freelancer Web Designers:

They take orders, not offer advice:

Most freelancers work with a “YES Sir…” mindset where they just take orders and instructions from clients and build what they want, even if it means taking shortcuts and doing things that are not the best solution for clients’ business.

Less to none marketing knowledge:

Many web design freelancers are not marketers themselves and if you hire one of them, you may end up with a website that doesn’t get you any results. By results, I mean – leads, inquiries, and sales.

Limited support:

As I said, freelancers take orders and they may have many projects to work on at the same time. This means, in case of emergency they may not have the time to respond back immediately or even for a few days or weeks.

So if you’re looking for expert guidance and support throughout and after the project, hiring a freelancer might not be the best option for you.

When to invest in this option:

This is one of the cheapest options for businesses with no marketing budget and you’re just getting started in a new business.

However, if you want a professional-looking website that really helps in marketing and growing your business, investing more money into hiring a web consultant or an agency is a far better option.

3) Web Consultant or Small Web Agency

Approximate price: $2000 to $6000

If you want your website to actually attract your customers and do the selling for you, then investing in a web consultant or small agency might be the ideal choice.

Because they are experienced professionals who have the expertise in what it takes to build a successful web presence that can market your business the right way and give you the best return on your investment.

Have a look at one of our other articles where we outline the differences between a web designer and a web consultant and who would be best to hire for your business – Web Designer vs Web Consultant.

Pros with Small Web Agency:

Helps achieve your business goals:

A web agency’s goal is the same as your own – to help you achieve your business goals. You’ll get more value out of hiring an expert who can further use their experience in online marketing, rather than wasting money on DIY tools or freelancers that can’t make that website work for your business.

A website is an investment in your company’s online success, so why not make sure it pays off for the long term?

They are process-driven:

A web consultant or small agency is more likely to have a set of processes that they follow. As a result, you will know exactly what to expect and how much time it will take for your project to launch.

They ask a lot of questions:

A web consultant will ask you a lot of questions about your website goals, project needs, and what the budget is. They take time to understand these factors before they suggest you the best possible solution with an estimate for how much it might cost.

A personalized website with consistent branding:

Since they are process-driven and they take the time to understand your business and project goals, the website they build is more likely to be successful for your business, not just one that’s been designed by a freelancer taking a ready-made template off the shelf and just plugging in your content.

Easy-to-use CMS to manage:

It’s important to have a CMS (Content Management System) that you or your team can use with ease after your website is completed.

A web consultant will build your website in the most popular and easy-to-use CMS like WordPress, which allows you to make small website edits like content updates, replacing images, or adding a new blog post or a page.

When to invest in this option:

If you want to use your website as a marketing tool that can generate more leads and sales, rather than just being a brochure, it’s best to hire a web consultant or a small web agency.

Obviously, this option can be costly, but it is worth the investment if you are serious about getting results.

4) Large Web Agency

Approximate price: $6000 to $10,000+

If you’re looking for a huge and completely bespoke platform for your business, you’ll need to hire a large web agency.

This is the ultimate option for companies and organizations that have a decent budget, very specific needs they want to be fulfilled in their website design, and require an exhaustive amount of customization.

In most cases, a large web agency will provide the same services as a small web agency, but on a much larger scale and it involves a big investment because they are large corporations with big offices and many staff members to pay and other overhead expenses to cover.

A few times, these websites may sometimes be way more technical and complex, so they might need a large amount of functionality (that 90% of businesses don’t actually need), hence the price tag is also way larger.

Pros with Large Agency:

Complex and bespoke projects:

They can deliver complex and bespoke projects with many features like live chatbots, online stores with a huge inventory, etc, without any delays or glitches in performance.

An enormous amount of customization:

They are not limited by their company size and have a huge team of developers and designers at their disposal to produce a solution with lots of customization involved.

When to invest in this option:

You should go with a large web agency if you’ve got a large budget and your idea is complicated which involves many moving parts and functionalities that you think can’t be handled by a small web agency.

But again, ninety percent of the time you can get the same quality from a small web agency and save yourself some money in the process, as their prices are less because they don’t have much overhead like large office space and a lot of employees.

What type do we belong to?

Now you must be thinking about what type we belong to out of the above four.

We’re a small web agency that builds websites for service-based businesses, home builders, coaches, and so on… so we belong to the third one. And here is our complete process of how we design websites.

I hope this article helps you to understand what are all your options to build a website and how much it costs.

If you want to have a quick chat about your website project, let’s schedule a 15-minute call with me. I’d love to know about your business and website goals.

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