There are many opinions and offerings when it comes to the cost of getting online. If you go around and ask people, you’ll hear many different answers. This is especially true if you’re looking at hiring someone to build your website.

The aim of this article is to explain what goes on when considering costs of hiring someone to do your website.

Video: Website Costs Explained

What’s involved in the cost?

So let’s set some things clear: There are many, many ways to put websites together. And when it comes to calculating costs, there’s more to it than the number of pages or number of pixels on a screen your site occupies.

What should you factor into costs then?

  • Design.
  • Development.
  • Cross-browser testing.
  • Imagery (designing custom graphics, sourcing photos, making sure they fit your website).
  • Content writing.
  • SEO.
  • Speed optimisation.
  • Ongoing performance monitoring (to ensure you’re staying ahead of competition).
  • Ongoing maintenance and security.
  • Domain name and hosting.

See, it’s usually not enough for a website to look pretty.

Apart from working out how many words, design aesthetics and the amount of graphics you need, you should also consider how effective things need to be. Look, your website can look super nice and have high quality photos, but that’s only part of the battle. If not tested and optimised properly, slow loading times, poor messaging and confusing navigation will drive people away.

What’s involved in an online store?

Oh, and when it comes to ecommerce, there’s more to think about:

  • Getting descriptions and images for your products. (It’s a lot better if you have your own!)
  • Working out shipping options. (Will you use flat rate? Different costs for different items? Are there some places you can’t post to?)
  • Figuring out which payment processor you’ll use, and testing to see if it works.
  • Putting together Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, and other important documents.
  • Important! Make sure you test out your shopping cart experience before you allow real customers to start using the website.

When you hire someone to build a website for you, they are likely going to have ideas on the best ways to get your customer from A to B. This is especially true at higher price points.

Now let’s break down a few budget ranges for website projects. The below prices are a guideline, and the cost of getting a website will vary between freelance developers and digital agencies.

Hiring someone for $500 or less

Approaching a freelancer

At best, this budget will get you a domain name, hosting, and an off-the-shelf theme with a few tweaks. You’d be lucky to have custom design and development done at this price.

Also, at this price point, you are unlikely to get SEO, and your website may not be optimised for mobiles. Your off-the-shelf theme will not help you stand out, and it’s unlikely you’ll get any support after your website goes live. (Not sure why you need it? See my article about why your website needs ongoing maintenance.)

If that’s okay with you, then expect to do a lot of in person hustling and hanging out in online groups to drive traffic to your website.

Expect to also learn how to keep your website backed up, updated, and protected from nasty intruders. Just because you are a very small business and not well known, doesn’t mean you aren’t a target.

Approaching an agency

If you approach a digital agency with a web design budget of $500 or less then you might not get much. Your budget will likely get you as far as a website audit, or perhaps some brief maintenance work.

My recommendation if you only have $500 to spend is to look into optimising your Google My Business profile, or getting some SEO work on your existing website.

If you have $500 to $1,000 to spend…

With a freelancer

Expect to get an off-the-shelf theme with some modifications. Your web developer should do some SEO basics and submit your website to search engines. (This is so it can promptly show up when customers start searching you.)

Don’t expect a shopping cart website at this price point.

With an agency

Your agency may decide to spend your budget on making improvements to the website you already have.

$1,000 to $2,000 website budgets

With a freelancer

Expect similar to the above price point. You may also get (depending on the developer’s skill set) basic SEO, content, photo editing and some custom graphics.

Don’t expect ecommerce at this price point. Your developer may get you started, but expect to DIY some of this.

With an agency

This is similar to the above price point. But your agency may also decide to get you set up with a one-page site to help you get newsletter sign ups.

$2,000 to $4,000 website budgets

With a freelancer

At this price point you are more likely to get a custom built design, rather than one “off-the-shelf” (provided this is not a shopping cart website). Your freelancer should do all the essentials such as submitting your website to search engines, and testing it across various web browsers and devices (phone, tablet, PC, Mac).

If you’re asking for an ecommerce website at this price point, you’ll likely get an off-the-shelf theme with some modifications.

With an agency

Expect to get a really good quality, non-ecommerce website. Your agency should help you integrate with email marketing, and look at other online marketing options to leverage.

$4,000 to $7,000 website budgets

With a freelancer

This is about the upper range of what you can expect with a solo freelancer. (If you have multiple developers, a designer, and others working on your website, then expect it to cost more.) This budget range would get you a unique WordPress website.

With an agency

Same as the above price point, but the budget will allow for more pages, content and functionality.

$10,000 to $15,000 website budgets

This is about where project prices start for ecommerce websites with digital agencies. There will likely be multiple team members working on your website. You need to allow time to upload all your product information, figure out shipping fees, and many other elements that are essential to online stores.

Related post: Why Your Website Isn’t Making Sales.

I hope this article helped you learn what it costs to get someone to build a website. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!


Image credits: Cover by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels, ecommerce photo by cottonbro from Pexels