How Much is a Website Really Going to Cost?

Before you build your website, you might be wondering how much the whole thing is going to cost you. And I have a few ways to answer this. Initially, your website is probably going to cost you somewhere between $500 and $5,000. A big old website with hundreds of pages could cost a lot more, but if you’re looking for a basic 5-page website, $500 to $5,000 is a realistic estimate to get a really good outcome.

$500 is going to give you a bootstrapped real simple website, or you could hop on over to my teaching site and take my course. That’s my shameless plug, and I’ll move on from there.

As a cheap option, you could build your site by learning on your own with a drag and drop builder. You will get a website up, but it won’t really be “dangerous” in terms of its ability to get people coming to your site, and you’re not going to necessarily know how to implement analytics, and also you’re not going to have just the enhanced value of what a developer could show you in terms of your site’s capability (best practices, optimization, things you can do that you might not know about, etc). I’m not going to speak to any given specific niche here, but when you hire the right developer, they often times give great recommendations on how to grow your site beyond what they’ve given you.

So, what does that mean exactly? When you hire a developer, you should really pay attention to their work history. Now, what does that mean? This means that if you have a developer at $15 an hour and a developer at $30 an hour, there may potentially be no difference in their skills, and they might be marketing differently. $15/hr developers might actually just double the hours that they say they work and bill the same amount as the $30 an hour web developer. At the same time, a $30/hr developer might be just as good as a $50/hr developer and you might find great value in their services.

Personally, I come in at a super premium rate, so my high rates tend to be something that weed out people that aren’t serious about their websites, but I’m also much more efficient. So, you get some semi-expert developers that take a lot longer to do a project than I do. I have done quite a few really great projects with overnight turnaround times. And I love taking on challenges, which is why my rate is set where it is. Having this rate also allows me to pick and choose what kind of projects I want. It’s really fun. But for your project, you need to have a very realistic expectation on what you’re willing to spend and what you’re actually going to spend because a willingness to spend, let’s say $5,000, means you should budget your project at about $4000 because if you’re trying to get a great outcome, expect the unexpected and be ready to spend a little bit more.

Here are some of the things you’re going to spend on your own site beyond working with a developer (which you need to know for budget purposes). It is likely you will need logo creation, purchasing of your own media, making sure that you have your own branded emails, analytics tool (Google Analytics is Free, but sites like Lucky Orange enhance your ability to get key learnings), and all sorts of things, which will blend into the outbound way for people to see you. Your outbound strategy could include business cards and print media, but more likely, it’s going to be digital advertising, SEO efforts, and a few other things that could get people to visit your site. I know a company that does radio advertising because that’s what their demographic calls for. Find where your vertical converts and gets customers and invest in that.

Calculate Ad Spend in Your Overall Budget Before Building the Site

Invest early in paid search, learn the kind of visitors that are gonna come to your site, keep the budget low until you get a good idea of the value of the clicks that the users come in. They call a cost per click CPC. You want to monitor that CPC to make sure that your cost per acquisition or CPA is low but reasonable. If you can turn a profit, you can invest more money and get more customers and then make more money to invest more, and grow your business all through paid search.

What About SEO?

You don’t even need SEO. At this point, the competition for page one is so difficult it will likely cost thousands upon thousands of dollars to get to the top. That being said, a deep website with good quality content is always better than a shallow website that doesn’t offer much. So, I highly recommend investing in a little bit of A, the paid search, and B, the SEO, but just do what you can do consistently with SEO. Meaning if that’s committing to one blog post a week or every two weeks, or you talk about your work, you talk about a reflection on a project that you worked on, perhaps you’re talking in-depth about the benefits of the product you’re offering or the service you’re offering. If you can commit to either improving an article or creating a new article every week, that would be ideal. Every two weeks is okay too. If you can only do one a month, that’s what I do, it’s not a bad deal either. Just commit to consistency because, at the end of the day, if you aren’t consistent, then your visitors aren’t really gonna feel like you have your head in the game.

Summing Up

A website could cost you as little as $500, but that is a $500 digital paperweight. It’s not gonna do much on an island. Connecting it to the rest of the world and getting it to your customers is where your big investment is going to lie. This could be thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. But the good news is, that money is gonna come back if invested wisely. If you invest your money the right way, your investment is going to grow, and that is why when you look at the cost of a website, always look at the benefit potential as well. So, that, in a nutshell, is the cost of your website. Again, it might start with $500 or $5,000 with what you need to purchase and get to make your website look great, but it doesn’t end there.

Websites require consistent investment, and not to mention that hosting, domains, emails, and all those things typically are subscription-based, so you might end up investing a lot more. The key is to know your numbers and make sure that that website is making you money as well.

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