WHAT DOES A PROFESSIONAL SITE COST?
Here is what you can expect to pay to have a new, unique website developed in 2023.
Small Business Website
This is for a basic informational website with very little customization needed. Usually less than 20 pages, with a couple of stock photos, and no unique functionality. Upfront rates: $3,500 to $9,997.
Medium-Sized Business Website
Mostly for commercial websites with no more than 75 "pages", content management system (CMS) enabled, custom design layouts and imagery, and some unique functionality set up by developers. Upfront rates: $10,000 to $25,000.
A website where customers can browse and purchase products; integration of a single payment gateway is necessary, as is imagery, copy-writing, a CMS, and beta testing. Upfront cost: $15,000 to $150,000 (determined by the amount of products featured, and their intricacy, number of payment gateways, etc).
Large Business Website
A large scale website with several hundred pages, custom design layouts and imagery, a content management system, unique functionality, and supplementary features (such as personalized development, blog integration, multimedia creation, brand continuity across all social media platforms and more). Sites of this scale are typically priced based on the annual marketing budgets of the applicant. Typical upfront costs: 7% to 12% of annual revenue.
Now that you understand the concept of costs to develop a website for your business, let’s look at the monthly or annual fees you can expect to pay, and what those costs cover.
Several costs that come with running a website are necessary. Here are some of the unavoidable expenses you can expect to pay when having a new website developed.
Why you need it: The URL (a.k.a. domain name), is what people type in their browser to get to your website. Without one, the only way to visit your site would be to type in its IP address.
What you'll pay: Usually between $10 and $20. For a customized domain extension (such as .restaurant, .online, etc.), you can expect to pay premium rates as high as $200 and $300 per year, depending on your choices.
How often you’ll pay: Annually, unless you prepay for multiple years in advance for a discount.
Why you need it: SSL (secure socket layer) certificates encrypt sensitive data like credit card numbers and personal information. An SSL certificate is a must if you run an eCommerce website as it secures and protects your customers sensitive data and personal information from being intercepted.
What you'll pay: SSL certificates are issued by certification authorities (CA’s) and range from $10 a month to as high as $1000 a month.
How often you’ll pay: Annually, unless you prepay for multiple years in advance.
Why you need it: Purchasing a domain name is likened to acquiring land: you’ll have an address, but you’ll need something there to contain all your stuff. In this example, web hosting is your land, and web content is your “stuff”.
What you'll pay: Most web hosting companies offer shared hosting plans that range from around $37 a month to as high as $5000 a month for managed dedicated (your own private server) hosting. The more traffic your website gets, and the more features you add to your site, the higher your price will be. We recommend Squaresite, Wix and GoDaddy as hosts for their reliability and customer service.
How often you’ll pay: Many web hosts offer monthly and annual plans. The cheaper rate is obtained by paying for a yearly, or more, hosting plan. Top ISP's like Wix.com and GoDaddy.com offer huge discounts when you pay 3 years at a time.
Content Management System
Why you need it: A CMS, or content management system, is what you use to display text, pictures, videos, articles, etc., on your website. While a CMS isn’t mandatory, having one will save you time, and make your website much more efficient.
What you'll pay: Depending on the CMS you choose, you could be looking at thousands of dollars for a customized one, or pay nothing using popular ones like WordPress. Just be warned the FREE CMS platforms require a lot of maintenance so they're not actually "free."
How often you’ll pay: Enterprise CMS systems that charge fees are usually billed annually. WordPress is free of charge but you get what you pay for as WordPress requires constant plug-in updates (which are billed hourly by most companies including us).
Web Design & Photography
To make your website aesthetically pleasing, you’ll need to have it designed professionally. Most design shops will charge between $1500 to $17500 for the design ALONE.
Full Redesign or New Design
Why you need it: If you’re launching a new website, or your existing one needs a makeover, you’ll need to spend some money to have it designed (or redesigned) and tested.
What you'll pay: The costs to redesign a site range from approximately $12,000 to $120,000, depending on what kind of website you’re running, what CMS you’re using, and how much customization is desired.
How often you should pay: To keep things fresh and modern, all websites should get a significant refreshment every 2 years or so.
Why you need it: Some content management systems, especially WordPress, provide themes that allow you to change the look and format of your website instantaneously. This may be very convenient, but it also makes our layout similar to others who are using the same theme.
What it’ll cost: Most public themes are free. Premium WordPress themes can cost between $10 and $100, depending on its features. You’ll get varied rates to have an exclusive license to the theme, or to have it personally customized.
How often you’ll pay: Your theme should be changed every few years or so. If you’re using a free theme, you needn’t worry about such costs.
Responsive Web Design (RWD)
Why you need it: In 2015, Google began favoring websites that were mobile friendly by ranking them higher than websites that weren’t designed responsively. Responsive websites can detect which platform the website is being used on, and can tailor the layout for screen size purposes.
What much you'll pay: Most websites designed today are already responsive. Upgrading an older theme or website, however, could cost you as much as $3,000 to do.
How often you’ll pay: Getting your website to be responsive is a one-time task.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the costs to run a basic website, let’s analyze some of the features that are worth paying extra for. We’ll only focus on add-ons that can turn visitors into customers, increase your online traffic, and raise your ranking on search engines like Google.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Why you need it: SEO is no longer optional. In fact, it is mandatory, especially if you’re running a commercial website. SEO is a series of tasks that ultimately determine where your website ranks on search engines for a particular keyword. The idea is that your website should be the one people see high above others if a search for your specialty is queried.
How much you’ll pay: SEO costs vary per agency, but it is one of the more pricier expenses of anything related running a website. You can expect to pay an upfront cost (likely between $3,000 and $9,000), in addition to a monthly maintenance fee (approximately $200 to $500 per month, on average). The bigger your company, the higher you can expect costs to be.
How often you’ll pay: SEO is an ongoing battle, it’s never a one-time thing. You should set aside a budget to pay for a company that knows what they’re doing, with a proven track record. The more credible they are, they more they charge. It’s better to pay a competent but expensive company for their optimization skills than to pay a cheaper but ineffective business making empty promises.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
Why you should use it: You’ll find PPC ads on the sidebar of Google search engine result pages, the bottom of YouTube videos, and on banners and footers on many websites. They are found everywhere, as publishers obtain a commission anytime an ad is clicked. Because they are so widespread, and paid ads are targeted to specific groups, they are effective in helping businesses get increased traffic. Whether that traffic converts to sales is up to you. Pay-per-click ads are an effective and fast solution to get traffic non-organically.
How much you’ll pay: You pay for every ad clicked. The costs per click depend on how many people are bidding on the same keyword you are trying to be seen for. If you want your ad to be seen when someone does a search for “dog walkers” in the Chicago area, but there are 3-4 other dog walkers competing for that same ad placement in your region, the bidder who is willing to pay the highest cost-per-click will rank higher than the rest. The costs depend on how much competition you have in the area you are targeting. Prices can range from $100 per month to $1,000 per month, and higher.
How often you’ll pay: You can pay for PPC ads for as long as you want to.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Why you should try it: Conversion rate optimization can increase website conversions with call-to-action (CTA) tactics like landing pages, newsletters, sign-up sheets, buttons, and other options. One method may work better than others, so it’s best to test which CRO is the most effective with proper A/B testing.
How much you’ll pay: A single A/B test package for CRO generally ranges from $300 to $600.
How often you’ll pay: You might want to pay for a complete package to test out various CRO methods, or pay for each test individually. Cheaper costs come with packages.
Why you need it: Well written copy is the single most important thing you can have on your website. Content to be written for web pages requires adept copywriting. Strong copywriting is a call to action into itself, as it encourages potential clients to see you as a leader in your field. Poor copywriting involves duplicate content from your own site or from someone else’s.
How much you’ll pay: If you outsource copywriting services on an individual basis, freelancers generally charge per word. Some freelancers and agencies offer packages that provide you with all the content you require at a cheaper rate. They may charge extra to update those pages, and charge for additional copywriting upon request. Costs can range from $5 per 500 words to $500for multiple pages of original written work.
How often you’ll pay: Search engines favor websites that produce updated content on a consistent basis, especially those with minimal errors and a substantial amount of text. As such, copywriting expenses should be budgeted monthly, and should be spent on a competent writer.
Why you should create content: Customers tend to favor businesses that produce memorable content. Customer trust is established with information that people can depend on. Such content can be delivered through blogs, videos, social media imagery, charts, demonstrations, infographics, white pages, podcasts and other forms of multimedia.
How much you’ll pay: Every form of content marketing differs, but none of it is cheap. Info-graphics can cost at least $500 to produce a single graphic, while video production can reach rates of $3,000 to $15,000. Writers tend to charge by the word, while podcasts require the use of audio equipment and a studio to broadcast from.
How often you’ll pay: Depends on what form of content marketing you choose, and how often you publish. Content should be produced on a regular basis, so whatever form you choose, set aside a monthly budget for it.
Social Media Marketing
Why you need it: Social media is a great platform for you to creatively promote your business, without selling to anyone. You can showcase what you have to offer in fun and creative ways, perhaps through humorous memes, video footage, statistical info-graphics or even a simple message. Sometimes, a business will promote an upcoming sale exclusively on one form of social media in order to make it worth following. Running contests on social media has also been proven to increase followers and engagement. Additionally, social media is a platform where customers can voice their concerns directly and publicly to a business.
How much you’ll pay: There are many forms of social media, and you might be charged to have each one maintained and updated. The content on social media should not be identical on all networks, so taking the time to customize content will cost you. Monthly maintenance and updates could cost between $1350 per month to $3,500, depending on the agency you use and how many platforms you want managed.
How often you’ll pay: Social media marketing is an ongoing project, so a monthly fee should be budgeted for it. If you choose to run contests on social media, prize expenses should also be factored in. We 12, 24 and 36 month Social Media marketing for our clients starting at $1600/mo for one social media network and going up to $3500/mo depending on how many networks you want managed. Check out some of our best selling packages here.