One question stands out as the most frequently asked of me: How much does it cost to build a website?

Website Cost, No Easy Answer

I can hear you rolling your eyes. Whenever you ask about the cost of something and someone says “Well, there’s no easy answer,” it’s natural to brace yourself for a load of “bull”. But hear me out.

Website design costs depend on the type and size of the website you want to build. For example, consider the website needs of two small businesses: 1) A Massage Therapist, and 2) A Pottery Artist.

The Massage Therapist wants to build a website that is essentially a fancy online business card. She needs basically 3 pages. She needs a home page that describes her approach to massage, the different types of massages available and the prices, and maybe a few pictures of her and her massage room. She also needs a contact page that has her contact information and hours of business. And then she needs maybe one more page with a map of her location with easy directions.

The Pottery Artist also wants pages similar to the Massage Therapist, but he wants more. He plans to sell his items online. This involves more pages, more photographs with a gallery page, and an e-commerce solution for managing orders and credit card billing. This adds significantly to the expertise and time involved.

In these simple examples, The Massage Therapist may pay between $100 and $300 for her simple website, and the Pottery Artist may pay over $1,000 for his website.

The Cost Of A Small Business Website

Small businesses come in all sizes. The previous examples are one type of small business. But then there is the small business that has an office with several employees, an international presence, a much larger operating budget, and the aspiration to become a big business. The cost for a website for this type of small business can be much more.

Once your website needs go beyond 10 pages or so, the costs move into a second tier. The amount of content and graphic elements increases, and the maintenance and management costs go up. A small business owner can expect to pay in the $1,000 to $5,000 range for this level of website design.

To a small business owner just starting out, $5,000 may seem like a lot of money. But this is a drop in the bucket when compared to the cost of larger, professional websites. If you are looking for a large website with some advanced functionality and broad exposure, the costs jump into the $50,000 range. And, if you are wanting a large, multi-functional, custom-built website with advanced SEO (Search Engine Optimization), then the cost will easily get into the $100,000+ range.

The Real Cost Of A Website

It’s important to remember that the real cost of a website is not just what is cost to build the website. The website must also be managed and maintained, and this costs money and time.

One of the most common mistakes made by new website owners is to underestimate how much time and effort goes into maintaining and managing a business website after it’s been built. If you’ve hired a website designer to build your website, there are a few important questions to keep in mind:

  1. Will your website designer maintain the website?
  2. Will you pay the website designer for each change or addition to the website?
  3. Has the website been designed and built for you to manage on your own?
  4. Has the website been designed and built to scale with the growth of your business?

The Cost Of Building Your Own Website

Building your own website can reduce costs significantly. However, you must take into account the amount of time needed to learn to build a website.

One of the major advantages of building your own website with WordPress is it’s ease of use. There are a number of great resources for the do-it-yourself person wanting to build a WordPress website. My ebook The Small Business Guide to Building & Managing a Website: The Power of WordPress is designed for the small business owner who wants to know how to build and manage a business website created on the WordPress platform. This guide is also a great resource for the business owner who hires a web designer to build the WordPress website, and then plans to manage the website without the designer’s involvement.

With the economy currently in a down trend, money is tight and business owners are trying to find ways to do business on a budget. Building and managing your website on WordPress is a very effective way to control costs and maintain a professional-looking web presence.

The cost to build a website is now within the range of most small businesses around the world. And, the importance of having an effective web presence is now more important than ever. I recommend that every small business wanting to build or redesign a website take a close, careful look at the WordPress advantage.