How much does a website cost?

How much does a website cost?  The reason I'm writing this post , is that in our business we deal with a wide variety of people, many of whom labor under a whole range of misconceptions. Of course, there are also some very well informed clients, but these are a minority. I hope I can hold your attention all the way to the end, and that you will comment on what I've written. This article is not  being written as a selling tool, so every reader should get something out of it.

Misconceptions of how much a Website Costs

There are many complicated factors in quoting for a website. A genuine high quality supplier will be aware of them and protect you from cost-escalation. Here are a few of the most critical factors:

Quoting for a website is an imperfect Process

When we are asked for a website quote, we never quote immediately; - we ask questions so that we can quote properly - not under, not over. It's truly surprising how many potential customers walk away without providing any of the required answers. We'll explain why we think this happens later. Here are our standard questions as recently sent to our potential clients:

Questions we ask before quoting for a website

  1. 1
    What is your business (brief description)
  2. 2
    What are your objectives for the website
  3. 3
    Do customers visit your premises (i.e. will we provide a Google map and special website structure for such a business)
  4. 4
    What stage is your business at (number of years in operation or 'startup')
  5. 5
    Do customers visit your premises (i.e. will we provide a Google map and special website structure for such a business)
  6. 6
    Do you sell products or services on site and if so: a) To where do you ship them  b) How do you charge for shipping - calculated or fixed?   c) How many products and variants do you want to list  d) Do you have all the required product photographs, product descriptions and prices?
  7. 7
    If you are a hotel or rental business, do you need an online booking and payment facility?
  8. 8
    Do you already have a social media presence (Facebook etc) for us to link?
  9. 9
    Do you already have  a Google My Business account?
  10. 10
    Do you have images and text for your site ready?  (not just product images) (We can provide stock images)
  11. 11
    Do you already have a domain? 
  12. 12
     Do you already have a logo?
  13. 13
    When do you need your website?

Why we ask these questions before we determine  how much a website costs

If you know the answer to this question, then please proceed to the next section of this article. If you are interested in our answer anyway - read on!

When we have answers to the above questions, we are able to determine what goes into our quotation. This means that you will only be paying for what you need, and that you can avoid additional charges down the line. Most importantly though, it means that your website will fulfill its function for your business.

If you pay for a website that is not properly designed for your business, then you may end up feeling like the new owner of these beautiful hiking boots!

 Let's see how we choose a website package for you that meets the real needs of your business. 

What does a website cost

How much does a website cost  for Startups and Micro Enterprises

This advice and price benchmark applies to all business categories  from A to Z, and they all have the same concerns:

1. They are swamped with offers from Hyderabad to Ontario as soon as they express an interest. Scores of people are trying to jump into their wallets, some offering perfect sites for almost nothing and others asking for ten times more - apparently for the same things.

2. They often haven't thought enough about what their business needs from a website and can't find a knowledgeable and credible person to talk to, so they are in the position of hearing information they do not understand given by many people who just want to 'sell a website' and who have (usually) very little interest in their business success.

Managing the Risk and Getting Results: Starting Small

We often advise people in this customer category that they can manage the risk by buying a small 'starter' website and then assess its value over the coming months, as well as the support they are given. So here's our first PRICE GUIDE: 

A Micro-Enterprise in any business category  on a limited budget should pay between $500 and $1000 for a business website that includes highly visible NAP structure (Name, Address, Phone), services outline, contact form, Google Map (option), testimonials and stock photos. The website  must be fast, mobile compatible and SEO designed.  As examples, you can look here.

Other questions for your website designer before buying

Try also to negotiate free hosting for a year and a decent warranty of at least 60 days. Even more importantly ask about:

  • How much to add another page if you need it
  • What happens if the website goes down
  • How much to make corrections after the warranty has expired and how long it will take to implement them
  • Is there any training on website maintenance so that you can do it yourself
  • Can the website be upgraded later and if so, how much will it cost
  • If you want to move the website to someone else, can you?
  • After the warranty has expired, does the designer keep the website software or plugins updated? This is very important. In the case of WordPress (which we use), not a week goes by without us having to update plugins on our websites and our customer website.
  • Will you install a free SSL certificate? THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.

Don't worry about writing those down - we're busy making a PDF you can download at the end of this article.

Are One Page Websites Any Use and How Much Do they Cost?

If you are just starting out, a one-page website will provide everything you need - contact details, reputation indicators, service descriptions and so forth. But the website must be expandable and that means a good Content management System - or you might lose your whole investment later on. How people find your website is a much more important question when you start off than SEO performance is because ranking with SEO takes time whereas you probably need business NOW. More of that later. A professional  ONE PAGE WEBSITE should cost around $400 to $800 depending on the skill of the designer, the content and the support offered. 

How Much Does a Website Cost for Medium to Large Established Businesses?

A medium to large business needs to seriously think not only about professional appearance online but also about organic ranking through on-site SEO including blog articles that display real expertise and experience. Larger businesses also tend to need multiple pages to introduce skills, products and services and often, multi-region representation for search engines. The analysis required to build these sites is significant. but without the analysis and the vetting and correction of articles for SEO, significant benefits can be lost.  We've broken down this category as follows:

Professional and trade Business- No Ecommerce / Online Selling B2C (Business to Customer, / Public)

In this category we have a host of businesses such as 

  • Established electricians, plumbers, auto repair shops and more
  • Established Hairdressers and personal grooming specialists
  • Established and larger cleaning companies
  • Established lawyers, accountants and general financial companies
  • Restaurants and cafes

These companies need to think of spending between $2000 and $5000 on their business website. Why the wide spread? Because some of them require very specialized booking facilities and advanced website search facilities as well as advanced multiple galleries. social media integration, Google Maps integration, multiple location SEO facilities, and keyword management of existing articles and posts and industry focused keyword research. 

Key Reasons for Differences in how much a website costs larger companies compared to micro enterprises and startups

It's not always easy to see how effective websites in this category differ from cheaper implementations. Here are the key differences:

a) Effective back-end SEO that will mean the site is ready to rank. This includes the multi-region aspect for ranking in Google local searches.

b) Advanced galleries, menus

c) Higher grade tuning for speed including image optimization, advanced cache and gzip

d) Top grade back-end SEO software such as Yoast

e) Additional pages with customer content as appropriate to the business.

f) Special upload facilities and forms for customers

g) Superior security software

h) Google pixel and Facebook Pixels

i) Possibly a unique IP - we are currently reviewing this as Google seems to have changed its approach.

How Much does a Website Cost for eCommerce?

The cost of a website for eCommerce is wide, because of the variety and relative complexity. We will cover the main types.

eCommerce Websites for Selling Products

Basically, if you want to sell products online, you need a specialized website that offers:

  • A Shop with categories and then products and their variants
  • Photo galleries for products
  • SEO for products
  • A shipping calculator where needed
  • Credit card payment facilities along with other gateways such as PayPal, Stripe etc
  • Smooth use experience from browse to pay
  • Options for single page checkouts, related products display, bulk discounts, product comments, Sale prices, 'out of stock' option, customer CRM, membership system options, newsletter options, abandoned cart facilities, customer reminder messages, pop up messages, subscriptions and more. 

The most basic eCommerce store with ten products should cost you $2,500 including a year of hosting, a blog and contact page. With all the facilities about and for up to 100 products loaded for you, you can expect to pay up to $15,000.0 from a good supplier.

eCommerce Websites for Hotels and Lease Businesses

Depending on the range of facilities, rooms and galleries needed, these websites cost between $3,500 and $15,000.0

Additional Costs You can Expect for a Professional Business Website

You may have the world's most beautiful website, but unless it turns up when someone is searching for the goods and services it offers, it will remain a secret oasis that no one ever visits. Onsite SEO and great content gets your website ready to rank, and that's not enough by itself. You should plan for significant expenditure promoting your website and business using the following:

  • Off-site SEO
  • Google My Business presence (Local Business)
  • Social Media presence and management
  • Reputation management
  • Regular blog updates

What this costs you depends very much on how fast you want to move. Always speak with at least three 'experts' before you spend your money and make sure the agency you choose is there for a long term relationship and mutual success.

Further reading on how much  website costs


This article is a draft as of 23 January 2020. I've had no time to review and update yet, so do drop in occasionally and see what's happening.


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About the author 

Rowley Keith MBA BSc (Hons)

A qualified business manager and design engineer with many years of real-world business experience.

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