How much does a website cost?
This post focuses mostly on the costs of building a website in the South Jersey/Philadelphia market, but is applicable in most of the Northeast.
There are analogs to this question in virtually every industry, but in this post, I’m going to compare the process of getting a website done to that of buying a suit. Just as your choice of suit says something about you in a job interview, your website says something about you in the “micro job interviews” that your potential clients put you through. The choices that you make in the colors, layout, and copy on your site will impact the impression that your potential clients have of you in the same way that the cut, fabric, and color of your suit does. And just as there are tons of options as far as suits are concerned—tailored, designer, off-the-rack, etc.—there are tons of options when building a website.
When you’re putting up a website, there really are three general options:
- A custom website “made from scratch”
- A website made from a template that was customized to your needs
- A DIY solution such as Wix.
Each of these three options have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here I’m going to quickly break them down for you.
Custom Websites: Typically $10k for a basic site, $25k-$50k for more involved sites such as ecommerce
Custom websites are built from scratch to fit your exact needs. If your site has some special requirements that are unavailable in a template, this is what you will need. This is the equivalent of going to a tailor to have a custom suit made; you pick a fabric, get measured quite thoroughly, and come back a couple times for fittings and adjustments. You can also expect to spend significantly more than you will for an off-the-rack suit from Ralph Lauren.
Having a custom website made is a similar experience. It takes much longer that using a template, it costs a lot more, and if you didn’t have any special requirements, there is a chance that you’ll end up with exactly the same result as you would have otherwise ended up with.
There are three conditions that should be filled when deciding to have a custom site made:
- You have a budget of at least $5k-$10k
- You have very specific requirements that cannot be properly implemented by a template
- You can wait several months to a year to deploy the site
We do not build these kinds of websites at 12hkz, but we do have some partners that do. We would be happy to put you in touch with an agency that you can trust to deliver a top-notch site that meets your exact needs.
Websites built with a template: $750-$2000 for a typical small business website, $5k+ for involved ecommerce sites
The couture equivalent of a site built with a template is an off-the-rack suit. If you are built like the majority of Americans, you can walk into a Macy’s and find a Calvin Klein or Tommy Hilfiger suit that looks great on you. Most of the small businesses that work with us in the South Jersey and Philadelphia region are your “majority of Americans” whose website needs can be met by a website with a customized template.
Many of today’s templates come with pagebuilders that allow the web designer to make significant customizations to the site, allowing you to get something that is pretty close to a custom website. Most agencies have vetted the templates that they work with, so you should rest assured that the site will load quickly and be up to snuff technically. The costs are usually dictated by the amount of content that needs to be created for the website.
A website built with a template should work given the following conditions:
- You have a budget of roughly $1000-$3000
- You need a site up in a questions of weeks, not months
- You don’t need the site to do anything particularly out of the ordinary
DIY solutions like Wix: free to a few hundred dollars
These solutions are created for people that need to get a website on the internet, but really don’t have the budget to pay a professional. They can be customized to be attractive, but in order to do so, a discerning eye is needed. The technical knowledge required to get a site up is minimal, but the results can be very good.
This solution is optimal given the following conditions:
- You have a very limited budget
- You aren’t concerned with standing out from competitors
- You are somewhat technically-inclined and have an eye for design
A word of warning
This pyramid is one of the most fundamental truths in business. You can only get two aspects of it at any time. If someone is offering you all three, odds are that they won’t deliver on at least one.