So you’re ready to build or rebuild a website for your business? Congrats! That’s a critical step to legitimize your digital presence AND strengthen your marketing as a whole. Getting to this stage also means you probably have the same question as many health and wellness, women-owned, and other business owners: how much does it cost to build a website for my small business? Your answer: as much as your budget allows and your needs require—starting at as little as $1,500 to tens of thousands of dollars.
The Average Cost of a Website in 2021
Depending on the size of your business, the complexity of your site, and whether or not it’s e-commerce, websites cost anywhere from $1,500 to $150,000. I know, that doesn’t narrow it down much. Let me elaborate…
The Cost of a Small Business Website
If your website has under two dozen pages (not including individual blog articles), your website falls into the small business website category. Expect to spend anywhere from $2,000 for a very simple site or redesign using a template. For a more complex templated website, you might spend upwards of $10,000 for custom design elements, search engine optimized website copy, and strategic functionality or user experience upgrades. Informational websites with no online shop will be less expensive. Ecommerce websites will always be more expensive, as they require more functionality and optimization.
Additionally, you should budget $100–$200 per month for proper website maintenance (updating plug-ins etc.). Doing so will ensure your investment lasts for years and evolves to maintain functionality over time.
The Cost of a Mid-Size Business Website
If your website has closer to 75 pages, your redesign or new build will be priced for a medium-sized business. That usually starts at $15,000 and can top out at closer to $40K. Cost is determined by the complexity of your pages, the amount of copy required, and how much custom functionality you’ll need to meet your needs. We recommend medium-sized businesses opt for a custom site, as opposed to a customized template, so critical features won’t break with CMS updates. (More on custom versus customized template sites below).
The Cost of a Large Business Website
Websites with 100 or more pages will cost the most to redesign or build because these sites take hundreds of hours to create. Budget anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 to achieve your website design and UX goals. Sometimes more. You’ll get a ton of bang for your buck with a custom-coded website for a large business—including multi-media elements, blog/CMS integration, full website design, and more bells and whistles.
The Cost of E-commerce Websites
If you only do business online, then you absolutely need a modern and mobile responsive website. Depending on the size of your website and complexity, this can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $75,000. Small businesses with fewer pages and simpler functionality will stay on the more modest end of the spectrum while larger e-commerce sites will be more expensive to build.
Ecommerce businesses also need to pay close attention to Search Engine Optimization, including optimized product descriptions. You want your business to rank highly in Google, and for customers to find your products organically when they are motivated to make a purchase. Plan to invest in at least one SEO Audit a year to refresh your keywords and make sure you are targeting your desired audience. This typically costs between $1,500 and $3,000, depending on the size of your site and how in-depth of a report you require.
What’s Included in a Website Redesign?
All agencies are different and may offer à la carte services for every aspect of your website redesign. At Charm School, we like to set our clients up for success by ensuring content strategy, website design, website functionality, UX, and SEO are all on point from the get-go. Here’s how your website development budget may be divvied up (at least with us).
|Strategy (website hierarchy, site structure, UX, etc.)||15% of budget|
|Copy/Content Creation (the copy for all your pages)||15% of budget|
|Website Design||20% of budget|
|SEO Audit and Implementation (organic SEO keywords on the front and backend so you show up in search)||10% of budget|
|Website Development (coding, customization, technical website dev)||30% of budget|
|Quality Assurance (making sure your website functions properly on all browsers and devices)||5% of
|Training (teaching your internal team how to use the CMS and site)||5% of
Upfront Costs for Building a Website
Your website developer or website design agency will charge for the services listed above. However, there are a few other things you’ll need to budget for and purchase before beginning a website redesign, new build, or reskin.
If you start a website from scratch, you need to purchase a domain name. You can do so from a number of companies like GoDaddy. Domain names cost anywhere from $15 per year to thousands of dollars depending on whether they’re unique, low competition, or up for sale. Ensure your domain name auto-renews so you don’t suffer the headache of losing your URL and breaking hard-earned links in the process!
Once you have your domain name, you need to decide where to host your website. You can choose shared hosting if bandwidth isn’t a concern and budget is. Shared hosting is cheaper (typically costs $5–$30 per month) because you split the costs and server space with other websites. Don’t worry. Shared hosting is totally secure and only potentially impacts your site speed.
On the flip side, you can opt for dedicated server hosting if your site has lots of traffic and you want a server to yourself. This is much pricier, normally starting at $100 to thousands of dollars per month. However, it gives you the flexibility to custom code a website however you wish.
Template or Theme
Depending on whether you want to go the custom code or customized template route, you may select a WordPress theme before you bring on a website developer or digital marketing agency. If you do, then you’ll find out these premade website templates cost anywhere from $30 per month to $300 for a lifetime of use and ownership.
When choosing a website template or theme, opt for one with active customer support, lots of current positive reviews, and diverse functionality. Otherwise, you may go to the trouble of building a website and then having your site break because your template becomes outdated and unsupported. No Bueno.
Your CMS or content management system is where you collaborate to publish content on your website. For instance, while some companies use WPengine or BlueHost to host their sites, they may use Squarespace or WordPress as their CMS. Depending on the size of your company, your CMS may be free. However, a free CMS might reduce your ability to integrate some plugins and custom code. Your CMS also dictates which themes and design templates you can use as well as how easy it will be to scale your website in the future. So do not make this decision lightly!
Branding, Photos, and Videos
Your website represents your dentistry, medical practice, health and wellness brand, or whatever small business you own. Make sure this is reflected in the strategic branding, photos, and videos you put on your website! Budget for branding too before you kick off your website project.
Before you begin a website redesign or new website project, you should develop or refresh brand guidelines including your logo, brand colors, and fonts, as well as the overall voice and tone of your business. A photoshoot might also be necessary to capture videos and imagery for your site. Expect to pay $2,000–$7,500 for a strategic branding package and $500–$1,000 for a professional photo shoot. These are one-time costs that go a long way to set your website up for success.
The Choice is Yours: Expensive to Budget Websites
You know how I mentioned a massive range in website development pricing? That’s because the sky is the limit when it comes to website design. You can make it as complex and expensive or simplistic and budget-friendly as you want. Here are the two types of website builds ranging from high to low in price.
Custom Website (Most Expensive Option)
Custom websites are vastly more expensive than those made from templates. That’s because website developers build these from scratch, writing code to match your exact specifications.
Many businesses opt for custom websites versus customized website templates because they don’t break when CMS platforms, like WordPress, release routine updates. Plus, you can aesthetically create any design you wish and include custom functionality. If you have an e-commerce business, this comes in handy. Likewise, it might also be helpful for doctors to build their physician websites in custom code to include patient portals and other important patient databases.
Customized Website Template (Least Expensive Option)
We recommend customized website templates for companies that need functional, modern websites without blowing the budget. There are thousands of web design templates you can purchase for as little as $30 to create functional and aesthetically pleasing websites. While cost savings is a major benefit, you will have to stay on your toes with website maintenance to ensure features and plug-ins don’t break with CMS or hosting updates. Monthly maintenance is required to make sure your site remains functional and optimized.
How to Build a Website Inexpensively
The word “inexpensive” is relative. As I mentioned above, you still need to budget at least $1,500 to give an existing website an aesthetically pleasing facelift. However, you can redesign a website without spending tens of thousands by following these tips. DO NOT, we repeat, DO NOT, hire a freelance website developer because they have a low price tag. This almost always ends in disaster. Take our clients’ words for it.
Take a Web Dev Course and Create a DIY Website
If you have the time and web dev/design chops, you can learn how to code a website or customize an existing template. To do so, absolutely ensure you know how to properly stage a website so you don’t make changes to a live site (and run the risk of breaking something and losing business or damaging your reputation)! If you get into hot water, you can always give us a call and we’ll help you sort it out.
Use a WordPress Theme to Customize a Website
Like I mentioned above, WordPress themes are pretty user-friendly AND inexpensive. If you have basic knowledge of website development and design, you may be able to customize a WordPress theme and create your own website for the cost of the template itself.
Hire the Right Boutique Marketing Agency or Website Developer
Unfortunately, we’ve had many clients come to us after losing tens of thousands of dollars to unreliable, crooked, or inept website developers and agencies. The best way to save money on your website is to get it off on the right foot to start with!
When you look for a website design agency or website developer, ALWAYS make sure you own the logins and accounts to your web hosting provider, CMS (like WordPress), and domain name. All too often, website developers go AWOL with this information and leave their clients high and dry without the ability to access their websites. Even worse, sometimes they hold these sites hostage and it’s almost always impossible to get them back—resulting in you having to start fresh with a new domain name and website.
At Charm School, we have an experienced team of website designers, developers, and content strategists to build the website you want and need. Plus, we’re 100% women-owned website development agency, so working with us doesn’t include any bro culture you may have come to expect from web dev shops.
Ultimately at the end of the day, the question, “how much does it cost to build a website?” depends on you! Take a look at our past work and please email us if you’d like to chat more. We’re always happy to come up with a custom quote for your budget and requirements.