Twenty-three minutes into a call last week, the client prospect dropped the question. The big one. The one I expect and yet dread. She asked, how much does a website cost? It is a simple question. It is one that I have managed a thousand times. So if I have answered the question so many times, why does a knot form in my stomach every time it is asked? Well, because the answer is that it can cost anywhere from $35 in Snickers bars thrown down to your unemployed brother living in your basement to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is a little like asking how many drops of water are in a body of water. The answer is always that it depends. It depends on a million factors. However, that answer is never satisfying, so let’s talk about some of the questions that can help you reach answers.
Who is building the website and what do you need from them?
Wow, do a lot of different types of businesses produce websites! Want a website? The same company looking to create an identity site could hire someone on Fiverr for $95 or an NYC based full-service digital strategy firm for $35,000. What is the difference? There will be differences in the website (one would hope), but I would argue that the biggest difference will be in the process of building the website. A full-service digital firm is bringing a different level of experience, a greater level of expertise, and the ability to provide more focus on all aspects of the site as well as the needs of the organization for which it is being created. Do you arrive at your first meeting knowing what exactly needs to be on the website? Or, will you be looking to a firm to help you craft the look and feel, the functional design, and even the language?
The thing that I have learned from nearly a decade in the business of providing websites? There is room for all these types of businesses. Every business doesn’t need a custom-crafted high-end website and every business can’t get away with one created on Fiverr. The challenge is figuring out what you need. The Fiverr site could prove to be a thorn in your side if it’s too basic for your business. Likewise, stretching the budget for a high-end website could become a sunk cost if it’s not the right fit.
How customized is it?
A big difference in the cost of a website is how “theme dependent” it is. Is the provider picking a prebuilt theme and updating it to your needs, or are they starting from scratch to build you a new website exactly to your specifications? The difference in the approach will significantly impact the website’s final price.
Where is it being built?
Physically, where on planet Earth is your website being built? As with anything else, the economy of websites in the 2020s is a global one. Websites created in English-speaking countries cost a lot more than those that aren’t.
What does it need to do?
Sure, every website needs to market and promote the business for which it was built, but what else does it need to do? Does it close actual sales (e-commerce)? Does it need to collect personally identifiable information? Does it need to point people to certain content? Does it need to include a database? Will it be accessible to those with disabilities? All of these requirements impact the final cost of a website.
Ok, so now that we have gotten all of those questions out of the way, how much does a website cost?
You read all of that and thought you were getting a definitive answer?! Sucker.
The answer, of course, is it depends (on everything above). Speaking for Spring Insight, a full-service digital marketing firm based in the DC area, the fully customized WordPress websites we build start at $7,950 as of this writing in June 2020 and go up from there based on the needs of the client. That price, typically, makes us the wrong solution for companies that are just starting out, companies that don’t value their digital presence, or companies that aren’t willing to invest in getting a custom-built website.
On the other hand, we are the right company for small businesses that are ready to invest in a strategic web presence that provides a platform to promote the subject matter expertise they possess. Think that is you? Let’s discuss.