How much should a new website cost? That's a question we are asked all the time! All brands and websites start somewhere. Websites are working 24/7 to drive people to your business. A bad website is already costing you more missed opportunities than you may believe. If your organization does something well, has the best price, or that special something that sets you apart, both your in-person and online experience must reflect that and guide your customers.
When you outgrow, feel outdated or become frustrated with your website, it’s normal to have the tendency to assume the cost for a new website will be similar to your previous investment or what a friend is paying. The reality today is that websites are never done, and do not perform well when they are left static. If you want a website to work, you must continuously work on it or hire a talented team that understands all the ins and outs of managing a website.
A brand new website (i.e. if you are a newer organization or building your first website) will often be cheaper than replacing an existing website, due to the extra migration and URL clean up work that is required. What you spend on a new website should be largely influenced by your company’s size, revenue, funding and goals for the website. The technology and hosting required for running your website will increase in price as your website grows.
The average business spends 1% to 7% of their overall revenue on a marketing budget, and today’s websites are often considered a marketing investment.
Ongoing Website Technology Costs Heading into 2020
Must Have Website Technology
Average speed websites and lower-cost hosting plans are setup on servers clustered with hundreds and thousands of other sites and throttling based on how much online activity and site visitors there are on these sites at any given time of the day (bandwidth). These sites will typically take 5 to 15 or more seconds to fully load, no matter how much you optimize them for speed.*
GoDaddy is a great, moderately priced option on any of the higher level hosting packages with SSL included and there are options for your website hosting to come with a built-in Content Management System (WordPress).
A Secured Socket Layer (SSL) is when a website begins with https:// instead of http:// and a security lock or “connection is secure” message to the upper left of your website URL bar will appear. This will often add anywhere from $40.00 to $140.00 to your annual hosting costs. An SSL is absolutely necessary for any sites that will be collecting people’s payment information, online job applications or highly personal information. Plus, SSL can act as a tiebreaker when it comes to where your site comes up overall in search engine rankings.
We recommend an SSL and secure sharing of logins for almost all business websites today due to continuous increases in hacking and cybercrime activity. It’s much less expensive to prevent this potential disaster from happening to your website than it is to fix it after someone does hack, delete, override or lock you out of your site. Sites that are left static are much more likely to be hacked due to outdated technology and plugins.
High-speed websites and higher cost hosting plans are set up in a similar way, except for you have your own dedicated space that is not sharing bandwidth with many other sites. You get prioritized to load faster. WPEngine is a great option.
If you have more than one website you need to host and build, multi-site hosting packages are available, hence the wide range listed on hosting costs above.
*In addition to hosting, how fast your website loads is also heavily factored and controlled by the framework, whether your technology is kept up to date and the files, plugins and third-party tools being put on your website — that's a topic for another time!
If an agency, instead of you, is covering the technology components of your website, anticipate paying a 200% to 500% markup on all of the listed technology costs. Agencies often use their preferred technology partners as a place to get kickbacks and commissions (not with our firm - you own your own hosting contract)!
Some agencies will require they host your website in order to create it. Others will make a hosting recommendation and set you up to host your own website, reducing the ongoing technology costs you will pay significantly.
Website Design and Development Costs to Expect in 2020
These costs are based on the average prices to expect from competitive research on over 20 web development, digital and inbound marketing agencies in the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio area in 2019.
Low Budget Websites: Technology Costs Above Plus $500 to $5,000
Local Non-Profit Website Showcase: Kennedy Heights Development Corporation
Built with GoDaddy Hosting and the WordPress Content Management System (CMS)
Mid-Budget Websites: Technology Costs Above Plus $5,000 to $25,000
Local Custom Home Builder Website Showcase: Hensley Custom Building Group
Built with 1&1 Hosting on the WordPress Content Management System (CMS)
Also - check out Hensley on Facebook or Instagram
Premium Websites: Technology Costs Above Plus $25,000 to $100,000
Includes all that a mid-budget website does plus...
Local Tech Website Showcase: Intrust IT
Hosted on WPEngine and built on the WordPress Content Management System (CMS)
Also - read the Outsource Your Worry Blog
What about DIY websites? How much do they cost?
One of the things I repeatedly told myself in my starting years as a website designer is that just because “I did it” or like it to “look a certain way” doesn’t mean it’s right for achieving the goals and appealing to the target audience of the brand. As fun as it can be, my youthful, flashy, colorful, neon, glitchy, electronic tastes and desire to incorporate more animals does not belong with most professional brands.
If you build a website yourself, or via a friend, family member, or on a low budget, be open to other ideas, initial reactions and feedback. Test the website on your computer and your phone. Pay attention to the details, like images used, the size of the files, fonts, colors, spacing and try to be consistent. Click and make sure all of your links work. Start understanding analytics, benchmarks and measuring performance as soon as you can.
Just because “I did it” doesn’t mean it’s right for achieving the goals and appealing to the target audience of the brand.
The only cost of a DIY website is the website technology listed at the beginning, plus your time, willingness to learn, organization, decisiveness and follow through. No matter why you DIY your website, whether it’s because you don’t have money, don’t value the trade, you want to save money, learn new skills or don’t trust someone else can get it right, you will most likely be on your own to solve problems and reach milestones.
Website pros will be less knowledgeable of your unique, self-taught, non-traditional approach to design and development to support your DIY efforts. Many people are therefore less likely to help you or provide an accurate estimate in the event you’re stuck, not growing, optimized or need new functionality. So if you’re frustrated, spending too much time or you’ve set aside a budget to invest, it could be time for a new website, a higher level of expertise and support.
In time, many DIY, friend, or family member made websites will graduate to a mid-budget or even premium website due to their size, the broken branding, user experience, and URL structure with an inexperienced resource at the helm. A DIY website to a low budget website is not always much of an upgrade, if any, in terms of the user experience, performance and reaching your goals.
There are many great brands that provide free education and a community for those building, managing and growing websites and aim to make it easier for you. If you build a website the DIY route, check out platforms that offer an all-in-one website domain, hosting, security and a content management system like Weebly and Squarespace. These platforms will ensure your website technology and security stay up to date if you do not have a background in web development. You can also find great website design and marketing best practices from HubSpot.
Other Website Costs to Anticipate After You Launch
*The prices for implementation and training in these above categories vary too much to clearly list a cost. Website and ongoing marketing packages we offer typically range from $1,500 to $5,000 per month for a minimum of three months, depending on the needs. Ad-hoc needs are billed at $65 per hour, with a project minimum of 10 hours. There will be more information forthcoming on our pricing in 2020!
An independent and outside creative resource can often provide more strategy, creativity, value and a higher volume of production. It often works out to be much less than hiring a full-time resource plus the solutions and vendors they will prefer.
Finding the Right Website Resource
It doesn’t have to be difficult to build a website that will help your brand grow. Schedule a 30 minute website consultation call. We’re happy to hear your website needs, challenges and make a no-obligation recommendation.
This post originally appeared on Squeeze the Day with BigOrange.Marketing. See it here.