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How Much Does it Really Cost to Build a Website?

Website design can be priced differently by different web design companies. Freelancers offer cheaper services but the quality of your website (just like wine) will be on par with the pay.

Web Design Cost Calculator Web Design Cost Calculator

Start by making decision to save money and create a site yourself using a free website template builder page, hire a cheaper freelancer (an independent website designer), or hire a more expensive web design company. Companies usually charge more but they do deliver the site faster and produce better results.

First and Foremost: Free Websites - Do They Exist?

If you've come to this page you may not know that you can get a basic website up and running quickly by using a free template generator - knowledge of web design or HTML code is not required. You will thus avoid expenses associated with web design services. Creating a website quick is important when you need to get an online presense for the business you have just started. It doesn't need to be fancy - remember that it's natural for websites to be improved over a longer period of time.

Free Website Template Generator

Click to change parts of your website, type in new text, and generate HTML code to upload to your host. Computer savvy people can make their own website using this tool. It's absolutely free as long as the part of the footer containing a link back to the template generator page is left unchanged.

Point and Click Website Template Generator Free Web-based Website Maker

Website Costs Calculator

Looking to hire a professional website designer? This web design cost calculator can help you get an idea of how many hours of work you can expect to buy based on the maximum amount of money you can spend. Adjust cost per hour slider to dynamically recalculate results.

Web Design Cost Calculator Web Design Cost Calculator

If you are in the process of, or had just started a brand new business, you are likely to want to build a website for it to represent it on the Internet, get more sales, or simply look more professional by being able to post your website on business cards and by forwarding potential customers to a place where they can quickly learn more about your business.

Website Design Costs Depend on the Type of Website You Want to Build

Down below this article, I list some of the most common categories generally used to determine how much a website should cost. Please keep in mind that these are general and not definitive prices. But first, consider the general elusiveness of website designers and how they come up with their prices. For the most part anyone can make them up. Be careful not to spend more money than a specific type of website design actually costs. The costs of a website will always depend on the difficulty of work. A dynamic website (vs a simple static website), requires custom software programming (writing computer code). Expect to pay more for websites that contain custom functionality such as log in accounts, categorized product listings, ability to purchase items using PayPal or credit cards, etc.

Every web designer charges at different rates based on his knowledge, skills and perhaps even talent. Before rushing to spend a fair amount of money on developing your website, please make sure to check out free website cost calculator offered on this website. You can then proceed further to find the answers of website design costs. This article will also outline the common mistakes people make when they decide to make a website for no other reason other than "Just because my business needs a website".

You would be surprised to know that most websites, once designed, never receive a substantial amount of traffic because they never become popular. People who have little experience and who are building their first website end up spending too much money on a website thinking that once it is created, people will visit it. That's not true, and without any type of marketing or even basic search engine optimization (SEO for short) it will be difficult to receive more than 1-5 daily visitors, if that.

Without traffic, your website will not fulfill its role in aiding to educate visitors with great content, make more sales or promote products and services in the most efficient way. But you are in luck, I have written another article at Website Homework (this website) that will allow you to Learn How to Build Website Traffic. Mostly it's to do with applying the long-term mindset to your work and avoiding to rush and make a sloppy job with your site.

There are very specific reasons as to why you should not rush to create as many pages for your site as possible to generate web traffic, which may seem counter-productive at first. Remember that the less pages you have, the less money you have to give to your web designer, at least in the beginning stages of your site.

Making websites is not like changing car engine oil, there is simply no holy grail for determining the website construction costs. However, by using the Website Design Cost Calculator located on this website, it is possible to get an insight on general pricing of websites. Keep in mind that depending on the level of experience and the business model, the website designer of your choice will be able to quote your project individually. Some designers will charge 30% to 50% of the total price upfront. Others will not ask for a payment until you are satisfied with what they have built. Some website design companies will even provide you with financing options!

1.1 Simple 5 page website: between $100 and $300

If you are starting a website with a mission to show a small presentation of your skills (e.g. real estate broker, restaurant catering services, an art gallery, and so forth), your website falls into the category of simple websites that can be built relatively quick. Let's say you want to showcase your art gallery or the ideas behind your business and explain why people should contact you. A website like this could contain just 3 to 5 pages with a few images and a contact us form. Websites that cost just a few hundred dollars are usually followed by maintenance fees because you will eventually want to change things like text or pictures.

1.2 Average-size 25 page website: $500 to $1,000

If you are looking to create a website containing 10, 25 or 50 pages, consider the possibility of spending a decent amount of money. The site content is the information about your business, articles or details on the subjects chosen by you. This content must be prepared and presented by you to the person or the company who will design your website. Some common ways to identify the price of a website is by how many pages it contains. In which case, your website designer will tell you how much he or she charges per page in addition to the basic development costs.

1.3 Flash-based website: about $1,500 and up

If you are looking to build something more advanced than the average website, for example: a website that uses Flash graphics, picture galleries, animations, fade-in and fade-out effects applied to pictures to create pretty slideshows, be prepared to spend more money. But keep in mind that Flash design is often less expensive than many Website Development jobs that require writing code in a programming language. Although it is not uncommon for flash-based websites pricing to start around $2,000, it is sometimes possible to negotiate the price with the designer. Of course, the more experience a Flash designer has, the more money they will want to charge for their labor.

Flash-based websites come in at least two flavors. You can have the entire website designed using Flash technologies. But it is also not at all uncommon to have only certain parts of the website contain flash "windows" (usually in a form of a rectangle of a specigic width and height) or areas that are capable of greater graphical sophistication than the rest of the website. If blended with creative precision, it is possible to create fun interactive websites by only using these specialized areas for Flash-based design elements.

With the recent advances (this article was written in 2009) in web technologies it is now possible to create Flash-like websites without using Flash. Other code libraries such as jQuery or Prototype could be used to create sophisticated effects and user interfaces. Fade in, fade out and image sliding effects can also be achieved by using Dynamic HTML in cojunction with jQuery or the Javascript language. If you ever wonder if an element of a website you like is done using flash or DHTML, right click on the area of interest and see if the pop-up menu says anything about Flash Player. If it doesn't, then the area you just clicked with your mouse was not created using Flash.

1.4 Small business website: $1,000 up to $5,000

If your business has a small office and you are seeking help building an affordable website, you are looking at budget of one and up to five thousand dollars. If this is out of your budget, in many cases you can still have someone build a website that will cost less, but this will dependion what exactly you are looking to build. It is probably not worth spending a thousand dollars on a small website that merely outlines your business ideas and services in a simple 10-page format. On the other hand, e-commerce websites usually require more work. If you are not selling any products and your website doesn't have a lot of content, then my advice is to seek solutions from web designers who don't charge an arm and a leg.

If you understand your competition, you will obviously want the best website on the subject of the niche that your small business focuses on. More than often website designers are not aware of the idiosyncrasies that your business entails. As a general rule, if the money being spent is of seriously considerate amount, let your website designer know about the similar websites you had seen on the Internet to avoid having made something you didn't want. After that, ask your website designers to provide you with a few rough sketches of their work before they start to work on the 5-star version of the website. Sometimes delays during the development time are inevitable. But if you give the website designer as many details about your business as possible, if you tell them about the most important information that you want to express with your business, you can definitely avoid the hassle of unnecessary delays in the future.

1.5 Professional Website: Thousands of Dollars

First, let's draw a line between the different types of what is considered a professional website. There are at least two types and it depends on how different people think about websites. Some people consider a professional website to be something like an upgrade to what is called a "small-business website". Other people think that the term Professional Website pertains to the fact that they are serious about the business they own. Established companies such as Nike or Adidas also consider websites that promote their products as professional websites and sometimes require developers well-versed in programming languages such as Java, PHP and Actionscript. The costs of such websites are assumed to be in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 dollars and more.

Professional websites such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube are difficult to make because they require not only to be continuously updated with new content but also to be maintained. Unfortunatelly, a website of the same scope such as these giants require an entire team of programmers and often at least one enterpreneur to start. Companies who embark on a mission to create a competitive website are usually refered to as start-up companies, or simply start-ups. The websites they create are usually funded by large-pocketed investors with initial round investment sums such as $1,000.000 (one million dollars!) Social Networking is the new industry trend and everyone wants to make their websites interactive, contain features such as user-profiles, comments, personal photo galleries, messaging and email services.

It is certainly not a great idea to build a website like that by yourself without help of others if you have never created a website before. However, I personally don't consider it completely impossible. If you have enough time on your hands, you can certainly learn how to make a website like Twitter, for example. Many people sometimes think that making another YouTube is a piece of cake and they can simply go to Craig's list to find someone who can make a website like that for them... for $500 dollars! This fantastical thinking is doomed to fail. Dynamically generated pages, advanced scripts like comments, rating systems and photo galleries with tagging capabilities are usually developed by a team of professional software engineers who are paid at least five thousand dollars a month.

2. Is There a Way to Build a Website For Free?

Yes. But again, this depends on the type of a website you are looking to build and whether you are comfortable with ads displayed on your website. Some free hosting companies require placing advertisements on your website to help pay for the free server maintenance and bandwidth.

2.1 Using Free Site Builders

There are several websites that offer free website builders, also known as site creators, that become useful tools in hands of people who are willing to press a few buttons to make a simple website.

2.2 Starting a Blog is Usually Free

Blogs are usually created free of charge, they are provided by the numerous free blog-hosting websites. Some of the most popular ones are Blogger or LiveJournal. Blogs are often associated with expressing personal opinions and recording life's events and experiences. Unfortunatelly, they are also traditionally associated with lack of depth in published content, misinformation or simply useless space-wasters. Plenty-a-men have used blogs to create "free" website only to clutter them with mindless posts on random subjects in hopes of monetizing them with affiliate programs such as Google AdSense. Although it is possible to host a blog on a separate domain name, most of the blogs on the Internet are hosted using subdomain-level names such as thisismyblog.blogger.com. These types of names are hard to remember and are obviously not as effective at building memorable identity as actual domain names.

2.3 Asking Someone Else For Free Hosting

If you have a great website ideas, some people who have access to hosting servers that they own can allow you to host your website using their resources free of charge. The truth is, many hosting accounts never take full advantage of the allocated bandwidth and storage resources because some websites never become popular, and people who have a spare hosting account that was paid for will be willing to help you out. This is not a very common or wide-spread way to get a free hosting account, but it is certainly possible. Keep in mind that you can still use your own domain name. Hosting companies and the domain registration services are often not run by the same companies. You can switch hosting companies while keeping your domain name the same!

3. Final Thoughts on the Cost of Making a Website

The costs associated with website design are dependent on the amount of work involved in making a website that matches your vision. The value of website design can be easily determined by looking at the type of a website you are looking to construct. On the general scale, a simple website can cost anywhere from $100 to a few thousand dollars. The quality of the graphic design will play a role in determining additional website design costs. It is possible to find a website designer who will build a simple website for you containing simple images and some text across 3 or 5 separate web pages. If that's what you are looking for, then this type of job can easily be done in a matter of a few days for just a few hundred dollars. One of the favorite ballpark numbers that website designers ask for a website of that kind are in the range of $300 to $500 or slight variations. Because no website designer is the same, different people will offer various price tags for essentially making the same thing.

Don't forget to ask your website designer for an online portfolio. If they don't have one, that means they haven't been in the business for a long time enough to bother creating a portfolio of their best work. Although it is always a great idea to get a feeling of what a website designer is capable of, don't make this a defining factor in deciding whether you want to choose them to construct your website. There are very many talented web designers who are not very good at personal presentation or simply don't feel the need to make online portfolios because they are confident that they can create any kind of website.

4. Additional Tips on Hiring a Freelance Website Designer or a Web Design Company

Like so many things in life, the cost of websites depends on so many different things. It is interesting to note that one of the important factors that plays a role in defining the price of your website is how much you are willing to pay for it. This is because there is no holy grail for figuring out the value of a website in all possible circumstances. What level of experience does the web designer you've hired has? Do they have experience exactly with the type of website you'd like to be developed? If you are looking to develop a website that needs shopping cart functionality, it is best to hire someone who has experience with it and doesn't just offer to use the free Zen Cart website (shopping cart software that is well-known among website deverlopers for being free, but also known for not being very intuitive or user-friendly). Different developers charge different amounts of money for the same type of websites. However, don't be alarmed! This article sheds some light on identifying realistic costs and what's involved.

Deciding how much you are willing to pay for your website development needs is sometimes a negotiation with the person or the website design company you would like to hire. It is true that some companies and individuals underprice, or overprice the amount of money they are willing to work for. This is done in order to accommodate for the living situation of the person who will be working on your project. It is also done in order to accommodate for the costs it takes to produce a website of desired quality and functionality. But what are these costs exactly? When we go out to buy a car, the price of the car we want is pasted to the windshield of the advertised cars in the dealership's parking lot. This is of course just the starting point. Car dealers are tricky beasts, and therefore we will negotiate with them and bring the price a couple of grand down. When we go to a website designer we need to negotiate the price in the same way. The only difficulty is, that there are no visible price tags pasted onto the foreheads of website designers.

Another interesting idea to consider is the mindset duality of people who decide to make a website. There are those who know exactly what they want their website to be, and ones who believe that the website designer should be completely responsible for the vision of the website. Considering that, allow yourself to think this question over. Do you want to be engaged in the creative process of making suggestions to the website developers you are hiring or let them do the job using their own gray matter/ If the latter is your answer, in choosing the right web designer please be aware that website designers will sometimes work for less money once they begin to understand that your website will need updates in the future. Of course they will not tell you this, but once you ask them about what it would costs to change this background color, or that web link color, the "maintenance" fees start to emerge. Keep in mind that maintenance fees are usually charged after the website is complete and the client (you) is satisfied with the website, but later realizes that new changes need to be done. Believe me, after a period of time, you will want to change that logo or rephrase your product or company statement. Even Google changed their logo several times.

Personal preference of both the clients and web developers is one thing. But another important aspect that will define the cost of creating your website is the difficulty level of your vision. What kind of technical sophistication is required for your new website idea? Will the freelancer you've hired be able to pull this of and do it right? Below we will consider a few very common types of websites and the costs associated with them.

4.1 Is it Necessary to Have the Website Designer Register your Domain Name?

It's not very difficult and you absolutely can and should do i yourself. Sometimes website designers rely on the fact that you may not know of the costs of a domain name and monthly hosting fees, and charge more than what it's worth. This practice is best avoided by making a decision to register your own domain name with one of the hosting companies. You see, usually hosting companies provide domain registration services together with your hosting account. I have written reviews of some of these hosting companies and they are listed right here on this website under the web hosting company reviews section. Once on the front page of a hosting company, all you need to do is fill out a form with registration details and choose a payment plan. Once your payment is processed, the company will provide you with your domain name account details, more specifically your username and password which you can use to login to your account. This information is usually sent to you by email.

4.2 How much does a website domain name cost

Domain name pricing is surprisingly cheap and range between as little as $2.99 to $7.99 per year! One of the web hosting companies that I really like is GoDaddy for their responsive customer support - these guys really go all out to serve their customers and answer technical questions. Simply follow instructions on their front page where you can get a domain name now, and consequently sign up for a hosting plan. When you get a domain name and hosting, it belongs to you. Web design companies, for example Titanic Web Design will be able to build your website right on top of your domain name, without you having to give up the ownership of it. Simply provide your web design company your GoDaddy login information, and they will be able to install your website on your domain. All website design companies are aware of this and know how to do it, and often you will see hosting login information fields in a web design contract or proposal that would be sent to you.

4.3 How much does hosting cost

Web hosting will cost you less if you Buy Web Hosting in advance and save money, which means that if you buy hosting services forward for several months, you will end up saving money in the long run. Godaddy Web Hosting Services start with as little as just 1.99 per month.

4.4 How much does it cost to run and maintain a website

Every web design company will charge you differently. Website maintenance is a service often offered by freelance web designers and small web design companies that will work with your budget. Be prepared to spend as much as $300 to $500 per month on website maintenance. An alternative to website maintenance fees is asking the web design company to develop the website in such way that it would be easy for you to edit. This is called CMS, or Content Management System functionality. Simply ask a favorite web design company to include CMS, and they will do it for extra fees. Having content management control panel at your disposal will save you ongoing maintenance fees. Your website maintenance will be pretty much free of charge, but CMS systems usually cost up to a thousand dollars, or even more expensive.

Wordpress is a blog-like website that allows you to post new articles using a simple control panel for publishing new content. Wordpress websites take much less effort to develop. In fact, they are simply integrated into your domain name from existing, pre-programmed computer code. They are inexpensive solutions to self-maintenance, if you are a "do it yourself" kind of person. However, Wordpress also have limitations. The layout of a Wordpress-based website is limited to blog-like designs, but talented website designers can help you advance your web page's layout if they have enough experience. So, it is a popular solution if you are looking to avoid maintenance fees.

5. Making a Website Yourself

Another option to save a lot of money is to learn how to make a website yourself. Imagine how much money you could save by learning to make your own websites, not just one, but as many as you wish.

5.1 Why Make a Website Yourself?

If you are looking to design your own website by yourself, your design costs will be significantly reduced. Of course, the amount of time it takes to learn to build a website from scratch requires an enormous amount of patience. But so do many other things. This website is here to help you. The Getting Started series are designed to teach you the basic skills. There you will find website tutorials, and tips for choosing a domain name and hosting companies. Some general uses of common web technologies are also to be found there.

5.2 The Myths About the Difficulty of Making Your Own Website

Many people don't consider the possibility of making a website themeslves because they believe it is a difficult job, and that only people who understand computers can create a website with ease. People begin to learn of the proverbial web languages such as HTML and Javscript. That alone is enough to make many people run in fear and consider hiring a web designer to make the website for them. However, these technologies are pretty simple to learn and understand for just about anyone after spending just a few days studying them. This website offers dozens of articles covering all kinds of different aspects of creating / making websites yourself. Most of the information on this site is for beginners, it is designed to teach the very basics of website design (visual representation) and development (writing computer code).

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