The first question most have when considering a new website is “How much does it cost?” If you’re going the premade template route, pricing is a little more straightforward. Custom websites, on the other hand, will vary depending on your needs and the complexity of the site being built. Here we’ve broken down the main costs associated with having a custom website built from scratch.
Build it yourself
The table below should give you a rough estimate of the total costs associated with building a custom website yourself. As mentioned previously, these costs will vary depending on your needs. For instance, if you’re a professional graphic designer, you wouldn’t need to pay for stock. We’ve also included a “DIY Difficulty” column to give you an idea on whether you might be up for the task of doing a portion of it yourself. The cost column assumes you’ll be hiring an expert to take care of that particular item.
Each of these will be explained in more detail, so keep reading for a better idea of your costs!
|Domain registration||~ $10 annually||n/a|
|Web hosting||~ $15 monthly||10|
|Graphics/images||~ $50 (one time)||6|
|Web design||$150-$3,000 (one time)||8|
|Plugins & addons||~ $150 annually||9|
|Theme development||$300-4,000 (one time)||10|
Using an Agency
As you can probably tell from the list above, sourcing the cost of each of these parts of a custom website can be overwhelming. Between all the companies and subscriptions you might sign up with, it can get expensive and hard for your small business to keep track of. There are companies, however, that can handle most of these things for you. These companies (usually called agencies or studios) can help streamline your project. This often results in a website that’s expertly crafted, much more cohesive, and offers a better ROI for your business.
Check out an example of your costs using a company like Pixelfly:
|Domain registration||~ $10 annually|
|Theme design & development||~ $350-3,500 (one time)|
|Website maintenance||~ $49 monthly|
So, while you’ll still need to register your own domain, your 6+ invoices can be reduced to just three, with only one monthly bill to manage. Website maintenance plans are a good choice for custom websites. If your maintenance is performed by the company that built the site, even better. Updates, troubleshooting, and revisions will go much smoother when performed by the website builder.
Custom Website Costs
In order to better understand your final costs of building a custom website, you have to understand its components. You’ll need this info whether you’ll be outsourcing individual items or having an agency handle it for you. Knowledge is power when determining the lowest custom website cost that offers the best value.
Approximate cost: $12 per year
Many web hosts will allow you to use a subdomain or folder on their domain. This will give your website the structure of domain.com/yoursite or yoursite.domain.com. However, most companies will want their own domain name. Most importantly, it looks more professional and trustworthy to have your own TLD (top-level domain). Without your own domain, customers may have trouble finding you if you ever decide to move hosts. The investment is well worth it – you usually won’t pay more than $15/year.
Where should I register my domain name?
When registering your domain, be sure to check promotions. Some registrars offer .com registrations for as little as $0.99… for the first year. If you’re paying less than $10 per year, you can assume that the renewal fee will be higher the following year.
Approximate cost: $15 per month
(Included in most Website Maintenance Plans)
Your website’s files need to be hosted on a server for it to be public. Your domain will then point visitors to these files. There are plenty of options to choose, and there are even companies offer free web hosting. Low-budget web hosts are great for personal websites as long as no secure or private information is stored there. If you have a business website, you’ll want to ensure your webhost is secure, reliable, and fast.
The type of tech used to develop your website relies on the proper server configuration. If you’re unsure, you should ask your developer for the specifications. In some instances, you may need to upgrade your PHP version, provide FTP credentials, or change certain file permissions.
TIP: If you’re not server-savvy, the company or person who built your site may offer continued support and hosting through their own server space. This usually means they can pass on a lower cost overall for your custom website. You’ll also avoid the headache of dealing with server configuration, security, and backups.
Approximate cost: $75
The amount you’ll spend on graphics and images (stock) for your custom website also varies. Sometimes, you can provide photos and videos you take yourself, which can save money on a photographer. Other media, like illustrations and design elements, may need to be purchased from a graphic designer. You can purchase from a stock website like GettyImages, or you can hire a designer directly to design custom graphics for you. Occasionally, a website designer may wrap these fees into the total cost of the custom website, but not always.
Cost of website stock
For an average 5 page website, you’ll be looking at approximately $75 if you purchase premade stock images. Any less than this and the website may look boring or empty. Hiring a designer for custom work depends on the complexity of the job, usually at about $50-200 per hour of their time. If you can edit your own photos/illustrations, however, you can bring the actual cost to $0 plus your time.
Approximate cost: $150 – $3,000 (one time)
Many people looking to build a new website often underestimate the value of good design. That old adage applies here: “You get what you pay for!” Bad design can lead to a wasted investment. A small business’ website should be designed to produce conversions or help customers. A designer experienced in UX (user experience) will give you the best chance of a high ROI.
Hiring a designer vs. purchasing a web design
There is a significant difference in cost between a custom website design and a premade design. By hiring a designer, you ensure you website will be built specifically for your business. Though more costly, it’s still the most popular route for businesses looking to establish a recognizable image. Spending money on a premade template may seem like a value now, but it may not pay off in the long run. Templates are usually built with no goal or brand voice in mind. If your budget absolutely won’t allow for an investment in design, try to focus on content instead to help your brand stand out.
Approximate cost: $300 – $4,000 (one time)
Once you have your design finalized, it’s time to actually build the website. But where do you start? There’s a few avenues you can take to code out your website design:
- Build it yourself with a page builder
- Code it yourself from scratch
- Hire a developer
If you’re reading this article, you are probably like most people in that your web development skills are limited. Even using a page builder can be tricky if you’re not familiar with SEO strategy and CSS. Trusting an expert usually guarantees a much less stressful experience, and usually results in a more effective end product as well.
If you’re not ready to go all-in with a developer, that’s okay! Just keep in mind that most developers prefer to work from a clean slate than try to decipher and fix an unfinished website. If you hit a roadblock on your DIY path, a developer may even charge more to fix it than to start over.
Plugins & addons
Approximate cost: $150 yearly (varies)
Even if you’re building a website from scratch, there are certain features that don’t make sense to reinvent. Some examples are contact forms, security features, backup tools, and many interactive components. There are many popular and trusted plugins, addons and scripts available for all types of websites and platforms. Some are so popular that they’re considered must-haves for website developers. Some of these tools are packed into plugins or addons for easy install.
The more robust and trusted of website addons often come with a small price tag. This fee covers the time and expense that developers spend on creating these tools to share. Most do offer a limited free version if you want to see it in action before getting out your wallet.
Must-have WordPress Plugins
- WPRocket (from $49/year)
Optimize and speed up your website. Practically necessary for sites running builders like Elementor and Divi!
- YoastSEO ($99/year)
Makes SEO optimization easy and effective. Helps boost your search engine rankings.
- ACF Pro (from $49/year)
Allows developers to add customizable areas to themes. Clients can easily update their websites with no coding.
- NinjaForms (from $49/year)
Create web forms that are as simple or complex as you need. Create multi-page forms and surveys, customize confirmation messages and more. Many integrations available.
Even if (or especially if) you’re not running on WordPress, there may still be some premium website software you want to consider. Depending on your type of business, you may need a Support center, appointment booking system, or a live chat feature. Not all websites need all features, so it’s best to consult with a professional to determine what’s worth your investment.
Adding up the final cost of a custom website
Hopefully this information has given you a broader idea of website costs. Most importantly, you’ll need to determine which costs are necessary for your website and which aren’t. By having a better understanding of what goes into a website, you can make a more informed decision. A website is an important investment into your digital marketing strategy. If you have any questions, Pixelfly is here to answer them!