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True Cost for Website Creation (November 2021)

How much should a good website cost? What is the true cost of building a website? Which price is right for me? All of those questions answered so you can grow your business.

Noah Shreve

Noah Shreve is a creative problem solver with a passion for helping businesses get to the next level.

By now, you probably know that your business needs a website to be competitive.

But how much should a good website cost? Should I hire a designer or use a tool like Wix or Squarespace? Is there really any difference? Which one is right for me?

Today, we will tackle these questions and more as we take a look at the true cost of building a website.

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The Website Pricing Tiers

Within the website design and development world, there are four distinct pricing tiers that offer their own individual and unique pros and cons. Prices can go from free, all the way up to six-digit numbers. These four pricing tiers are:


  1. The DIY for free ($0)
  2. The DIY using a paid tool (around $25 a month)
  3. Hiring a low-cost designer/developer ($1,000-$5,000)
  4. Hiring a high-end designer/developer ($5,000+)


As mentioned above, each of these pricing tiers have their own pros and cons. Below we will look at what each website pricing tier can get you, what to expect, and which one might be right for you.


The DIY for Free Website ($0)

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There are a few ways of building your own website for free or for a very low cost. Some ways you could go about this would be by utilizing a free template based service like Wordpress or Google Websites. The nice thing about these services is all in the price; they are free. Outside of that, I don’t see any major benefits to using one of these services. Because of limitations within Wordpress and similar services, customization is very limited, meaning your site will look like everyone else's. That is the last thing you want with a website. Your website is the perfect place to stand out and attract new people, not to blend in. Along with this, most of these templates are not designed to work well on a phone, which is where the majority of people are browsing the web these days.

Another downside is that these services are really confusing if you don’t know what you are doing. Wordpress’ back end is built to handle a million different things, when in reality you will only need access to a few features. Having so much wasted bloat in the backend of the website is bound to cause headaches, frustration, and make you wish that you had gone for a paid service from the beginning.


The DIY Using a Paid Tool (around $25 a month)

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This next tier is a massive step up from the free services we discussed. In this category, the main tool you would want to use is Squarespace. I was a Squarespace user in the past and wouldn’t recommend anything else in this price range. The nice thing about Squarespace is that you get access to plenty of high quality templates, compared to the often miserable templates found in the free tools. This makes it easy to get something that looks good pretty quickly, and Squarespace offers some good customization.

The main problem with something like Squarespace is that you are still using templates. Using templates will, once again, make you look like other websites you are trying to differentiate from. You also get limited access to the types of things that will really separate you from the rest – animations, custom scripts, interactions, and more. If you have a super tight budget and don't have the resources to invest in a website that can really help you grow, this is a good place to start.


Hiring a Low-Cost Designer/Developer ($1,000-$5,000)

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Design by tubikstudio.com

This price range is where we start to move away from generic, cookie-cutter sites, and into something that can really separate your business from the rest and help you grow like never before. The price jump here is without a doubt hefty compared to the previous options, but the return on investment can be much higher. At this price, you are going to get something fully unique to you and you alone. While you might not get more advanced website features like custom interactions, membership logins, and other advanced functionalities, you can get a great marketing website that will get you high conversion rates, be easy to build on for the future, and will look like nobody else’s website. Here, some developers may still use tools like Squarespace, but they have the knowledge of good design and custom code to alter the templates in ways that you wouldn’t normally be able to do. You may also get some people who fully custom code the site or use platforms like Webflow to build your website. This website design cost, I believe, will be the best investment for most businesses. Here you can get something you will truly be happy with, and you can trust an expert to give you what they know will work best for you. Use this price-point if you are serious about growing your business.


Hiring a High-End Designer/Developer ($5,000+)

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Design by halo-lab.com

Finally, we have the high-end website cost. This pricing tier is for the business that really wants to stand out and go all out on creating a unique and memorable website experience that will outshine its competitors. In this price point, you can get custom animations, advanced website interactions, fully custom code, a killer design, and all you could ever want from a website. Anything you can dream is possible. Obviously, this price point has no ceiling. You can see websites that go for well into the six-digit range. Most websites won’t cost that much, but it isn’t out of the equation. Regardless, if you decide to invest – and remember, it is an investment – over $5,000, you can expect to get a website that everyone will remember. If that knowledge doesn’t help you see the ROI you could get, I don’t know what will.


So, that is the true cost of the design and development of a website.

As you can see, there are plenty of different price points and ways you can go about getting your business on the web. The question you need to ask yourself is: how much do I want to get out of my website? That should help you determine which price point is right for you.

Contributing Authors
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