In this article, we will tackle a very popular topic. How much does a website cost to make? The answer is not a simple as giving someone a quote but hopefully, after you read this you'll understand the difference in varying prices from companies.
Web hosting is a term that is used to basically define your contents hard drive. Think of hosting like this, somewhere out in the world, your information has sat on a computer where when someone types in your domain name that information is served to a customer.
Web hosting refers to the company who holds your information and does a few different things.
Hosting can generally range from very cheap $2 to 50 dollars a month to extremely cheap, I had a plan once that was $35/per year (very rare).
You typically get what you pay for but let's discuss the difference between a cheap host and an expensive host and why it matters and who these hosts are for. These all play an important role in how much does a website cost to make.
Cheap hosting services aka shared
Cheap hosting also referred to as shared hosting means that a group of websites or cluster often sits on one server together. Those websites share resources in the form of CPU power and general space.
Unfortunately, this is like have a bad neighbor. It's great when you know everyone and everyone is playing fair. However, it's not uncommon for someone to screw you.
Next thing you know your website is going offline lots due to a hog of bandwidth or someone who has a spike in traffic. This is pretty common with shared hosting spaces.
Problem is when you are just starting a business, most people will not have a lot of money to spend on something that earns them nothing so it's possible that you need to cut corners.
I get it, I don't fault you. But I would highly recommend that if you aren't a startup or giant company, stay away from shared hosting. There are better options we will cover in the next section that work better for people who can afford it.
This hosting takes on a bunch of different names from Cloud, to VPS (virtual private servers) and even dedicated. You don't need to know all the different terms unless you are a mega company which most people are not.
For a majority of the people researching about hosts you are likely looking for a safe middle, the cloud is quickly becoming a popular solution with prices that don't break the bank.
The point of all these servers is that they offer better service, reliability, and quicker servers. This means happier customers, faster sales, and generally less downtime.
Prices can range from $20 a month all the way to hundreds to month. This is often only recommended for shops, e-commerce or giant companies that need to have their website up and running. Think health insurance companies, lawyers, doctors, etc.
Domain Names and why they matter
If a host is where your stuff sits on the web, a domain name is a fancy name you use to stand out. Domain names are not related to hosting and yet they are.
So many hosts give you a free domain name that it's pretty important that you understand a few things. First, this is a bad deal, I never recommend this.
There are plenty of domain name registrars out there including
Just to name a few of the many companies that allow you to buy a domain.
The reason that I often recommend you buy the domain different than your host is that the pricing for a domain after the first year is often inflated.
Take Godaddy. To get people in the door you'll often get a free or cheap domain name $.99 but after the first year, that same domain name balloons up to $25. Guess what? Google charges a flat $12 to 13 bucks for a .com or .net domain name. So why would I pay $25, simply because I have hosting with them? This is another way for them to dig their claw into you.
It's unethical and it's being done by far too many hosting companies and yet, people continue to fall for those same tricks. No thank you, I'll pay for my own domain name and own it free and clear.
There are a number of hosting companies out there with no storage of people who have complaints about every hosting company.
For someone just starting out, I can't recommend anyone better than Bluehost. Are they perfect? No. Do they do a decent job for the amount of money someone pays? Yes. Can they grow with you and offer you lots of other hosting options? Yes.
In my book for someone just starting, you'll get no better deal in terms of return on investment.
In this day and age, it can be impossible to get away from a theme. Most websites are built on WordPress and popular choice for a reason. It offers a greater flexibility than most current CMS (content management system) solutions.
If WordPress is the engine in your car then a theme is the look of a said car.
Let's dive into how a theme works and the difference between free templates and paid themes.
Free Theme Templates
When WordPress arrived on the scene to help people build the websites they had no shortage of free theme templates available. WordPress comes preinstalled with a new template for each year.
These templates themselves can be decent for someone just looking to start a blog or otherwise get some basic content on to the web.
However, these it didn't take long for people to realize that this free templates lacked any sort of depth they were looking for. They wanted more options, more controls, which lead to the birth of the paid themes which we will discuss next.
Free templates are a great resource if they are updated in a regular fashion. Sadly, most are not.
So buyer beware.
Still, if I had to choose a few free templates I would stay with the following free themes for your WordPress site, these tend to be some of the most updated themes.
Is one of the fastest and easiest themes to use, they offer a free version which is very good. You can also buy the paid to expand some of the options but for the bootstrapped person, the free can be perfect for most tasks.
OceanWP is another really incredible theme. The sheer amount of free options this theme gives you is amazing. Out of the box, you will find that both the support and options are very well done.
You wouldn't be wrong if you choose either of these two fine free themes. When learning how much does a website cost to make, you have to keep the free themes in mind.
You can always grow your business or idea into paid themes much later on if your budget does not allow much wiggle room.
When free themes started to get a bad rap for not being updated enough or simply being poorly coded the market shifted. They introduced paid themes into the mix and it was changed forever.
At first paid themes seemed like a far-out thought. But in essence, when you paid for a theme, you are buying support. Almost anyone who builds a site knows, support is important.
Not to mention paid themes made sure that they updated their content on a regular basis making it much easier for someone to stay secure and unhackable.
Still to this day more professionals choose paid themes rather than free theme templates. It's worth it for the extra security and control that someone gets from the theme's team.
Paid themes can range from $10 all the way up to hundreds depending on the options in theme.
What is Customized design?
Often when businesses hire web designers to complete a website they aren't sure what they are getting. Most web designers clearly spell this out in the scope of work or proposal but it's important you ask.
Most designers will customize your website through different plugins and CSS (link to what CSS is). Every job is different just as every company focuses on different strengths and weaknesses.
Our company here at BrandingPop is all about blending graphic design and web design together in a way where modern businesses can come into to the new age.
A customized design usually includes changes to the navigation, pages, and anything else the website needs to function.
Most designers will not include custom coding of plugins or anything that would require a developer. We will be writing a post shortly on the difference between a web designer and developer.
For now, just know that developers are usually people who custom code plugins that require learning additional web languages. Some designers are skilled enough to know these but expect to pay a high price for that type of skill.
Customizing a design can range from $50 to thousands of dollar depending on what is involved and how big your website is.
A plugin is a bit of code that is bundled in such a way that it works like an app on your smartphone. Each plugin has different features and a range of things it can do.
WordPress has no shortage of free and paid plugins for everything from adding code to your website to making it snow. There is no limit to the number of things a plugin can do to your site.
The best part of these plugins is some essential ones are free with paid subscriptions and others are simply paid only. As we dive into plugins and the functionality they add to a website it's important to note, a good plugin is updated weekly if not monthly.
Any plugin that has not been updating for a long period of time, can suffer from compatibility issues as well as other problems.
So in understanding how does a website cost to make, it's important that you consider monthly/yearly fees for these plugins. Some are even one time or lifetime fees.
Free plugins can be an amazing addition to any website, as long as they have been properly vetted and looked into. WordPress won't allow bad plugins to exist in their repository.
That doesn't mean, they can't or won't run into a bad egg here or there. You should always research these before simply installing them on your site.
The more plugins you have the more likely your site will suffer from extreme slow down.
Somewhere along the same lines of themes, people started realizing that people will pay for really well-maintained plugins. This isn't any different than themes.
While paid plugins will often give better results than free, you should still track and determine if a paid plugin is really needed. Most times, you will find you can get by with decent free plugins that are being updated on a monthly basis.
In the world of web design, it's not uncommon for additional expenses to happen. As a project begins to take shape often additional problems will be found.
Just like building a house, you need to sock away some money for unseen expenses. Below we are going to cover some of the most common expenses that you will likely see.
It's an important part of determining how much does a website cost to make.
We talked above about plugins, always consider free before moving to a paid plugin. Some themes will have some plugin functionality built right into the theme.
Custom plugins will cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars and are a waste of time. Unless you are doing something completely new or original, I suggest working in the restraints of already established plugins.
This will not only save you time and money but makes the job much easier and faster.
When a web designer usually sets up a website, maintenance is often not included in the package. Some designers will bundle this in but most designers are not marketers.
It's important that you understand a basic website will have the ability to be coded with SEO but this doesn't mean the designer does the research for this. SEO and marketing are completely separate things that require specialized tools and professional understanding of how they work.
Keep this in mind when you are building your website. Always remember, if you build it, they will come is bad advice.
So your website is up and running and now you are done right? Well, not really. Once a website is off the ground and running you will find no shortage of things that you likely need to call your website designer for such as:
It is really easy to forget about all these things but the fact is, you don't. You drive a car correct if the car starts knocking you likely need to go get it looked at. A website is no different, you have to maintain it. There is no website that's completely free of updates, changes or anything else.
Always ask what kind of discount or what the designer offers in terms of maintenance.
Turn around times
Sometimes you are up against a deadline and you need your web designer to just produce a decent site for you to test. In this case, I often recommend one-page sites over full-blown websites which can take time.
Each person is different but understand the faster you want a site done, the more likely it is that it will cost a little extra to have that happen.
Not every designer has an army of people at the beckon call to make someones vision a reality. Some freelance designer works only with themselves and other contractors.
Find out if this is the case before moving forward with your designer.
Experience makes a difference. Web design is no different than any other profession. It's important that you understand that big firms will charge big firm pricing due to overhead such as benefits, office space, etc.
While freelancers will often charge much cheaper for the same job but most likely have limited resources to complete that project.
You need to weigh all the options before moving forward and understand that not all companies are created equal.
So now you've looked into through the eyes of a designer an seen challenges and even some things to look out for. What does all this mean?
Sadly, I can't answer the price for every designer across every country. There is a number of varying factors that will reduce cost or increase the cost of your website.
I hope you take heed and really look through this blog post and pinpoint what needs to be done with your site. The more defined you can get, the less likely you will run into pricing issues.
The best way to handle any site is to get a free quote. Most web design companies will do this as a good faith. They may require information from you but at the end of the day it will be well worth it.
I hope that after reading this that you feel like you have a better idea of what you need before you jump into getting a website project completed. If you ever need help, we are a URL away.
Editor Note: This post was changed from its original content. The content was updated to include more information for the client and a better understanding. This post also contains affiliate links to services that we recommend and use.