How to Start a Website in 2021: Beginner’s Guide
20 Jul 2021
2 Jul 2021
The importance of having an online presence has been universally acknowledged by businesses. And when it comes to presenting a business in a professional light in the online world, a brand website is a must. Whether you’re looking to create a website from scratch or update your existing one, one of the first things you’ll want to know is, “How much does it cost to design a website?”
If you’re a small business, you might not have a lot of resources to spare on building a site, so making a thoughtful, well-informed decision is critical. There are several factors determining the website design cost and many pros and cons to weigh before you make a choice.
To help you make an optimal decision that will leave you with a quality website but won’t break the bank, we’ve gathered all the need-to-knows of getting a well-designed website for your business.
Below are the three main ways of designing a website for your business and a breakdown of how much each option will cost you in 2021. So without further ado, let’s get started!
Let's discuss the three main ways of getting your site designed and how much each option will cost you. To get a more in-depth understanding of how these fees are determined, read till the end of the article. Now, let’s get to the numbers!
With a template-based website builder, you take a DIY approach to designing a website. This option gives you three big advantages: ease of use, direct control, and low cost. You get the benefit of working with templates created by professional designers without having to pay hefty fees for their services. You’re allowed more control of the outcome since the site’s design is fully in your hands.
Website builders remove the necessity for communicating your needs and expectations to another party. No communication, no misunderstanding: It’s that simple. This option will also save you a significant amount of time, as you’ll be working with pre-designed materials.
You can find responsive website templates online and customize them to match the purpose of your website. Website builders usually work on a subscription basis but you might be required to pay additional fees for certain themes, domain names, and extra plugins.
The downside, however, is that you’re limited to the bounds of the templates. Your options to change things around and fit the design to your vision are limited. If you’re designing a basic website with a few pages, you’ll hardly run into any problems using website templates. In fact, they might be the most efficient solution for you.
However, if you wish to create a more advanced, highly customized website, you can go with programs like WordPress. It provides more customization opportunities with a more hands-on approach but will be more time-consuming. The platform is free, but you’ll have to pay for hosting, themes, domain names, and plugins.
The costs of the templates you use will greatly vary, ranging from free to a few hundred US dollars. Below is a breakdown of what you can expect to pay.
You pay for:
The number of web pages doesn't affect the cost of the website in most cases, as you're free to add as many pages to the template as you wish. However, depending on how far you want to go with customizing the content of the templates, the cost of your website might include extra fees for the additional services.
If you decide to go for custom-made content and visuals for your website or add additional functionalities, here are some extra fees you might be required to pay:
If you don’t want to handle the website creation process yourself and need a more customized end product, hiring a freelancer will be your best bet. As you’re not going to the one controlling how your website is built, you need to be very clear and meticulous about communicating your requirements to the freelancer.
It’ll save you a lot of trouble down the line if you identify your exact expectations before contacting a designer. When you’re unsure of what you want, you’re placing your online brand image in the hands of a freelancer who might not be well-informed about your business or your industry.
It’s crucial to find the right person to work with; ideally, it’d be someone who has already done what you want to achieve. The cost of hiring a web designer will be different based on their experience, skill level, geographical location, and scope of provided services. The standard hourly rate in Noth America is $50 – $100, but you can find lower rates in other parts of the world.
The cost of working with a designer might also include:
All the mentioned elements will likely add up to a $4,000 – $10,000+ upfront charge — possibly, with an ongoing expense of $500 – $1,000 a month. It is possible to design a website much cheaper, but always be mindful of the quality of the work if you agree to less expensive options.
Web design agencies are suited for businesses that want the best possible quality, the most customized solution, and are prepared to pay the highest fees. Instead of a single freelance designer, a whole team of professionals will be working on your project, which will be reflected in the quality of the final result.
Once you choose an agency and explain your demands, the majority of your job is done, as the agency will take care of the rest of the process. But once again, you’ll be faced with the challenge of finding the right company to partner with.
Top-tier agencies will offer not only website design but also a strategized approach, well-performing content, and search engine optimization. The biggest advantage of working with agencies is that you can entrust them to take care of all the aspects of your website.
Depending on the size of your website and the size of the team working on it, web agency fees can run between $3,000 – $75,000+.
As you can see, the cost of website design will not be the same for everyone, as there are dozens of factors influencing it. The amount that you’d pay for a simple 1-3 page website is going to be notably different from what you’d pay for a 50-page retail website that integrates complicated functionalities and apps.
In essence, the cost of a website depends on the number and complexity of web pages as well as the extent of customization. Building a website is an elaborate process that includes various elements. So let’s have a look at the main factors that decide the web design cost.
Designing a new website from scratch is generally twice as expensive as redesigning an existing layout. The reason for this is obvious — creating something from nothing takes more thought, time, and energy and will thus cost more money. However, if your current website isn’t fully functional and doesn’t match your intent or vision, you’ll be better off with a brand new web design.
Whether you’re starting from zero or rebuilding on your old website, make sure that the new web structure is scalable, so you can add updates and content later on without having to worry about deforming the entire design.
One of the biggest factors determining a website’s cost is page count. Single-page websites (also called one-pagers) that aim to present a business or pitch an idea typically don’t require a complex design. But if you need an extensive e-commerce website with separate pages for each product line and integrated e-commerce tools, be prepared to pay more.
eBay’s website is the perfect example of a complex retail site:
Here are some rough estimations of what your website cost will be based on the number of pages:
We can’t mention page count without mentioning the complexity of those pages. Not all pages are created equal, as some might require a highly customized design with multiple plug-ins while others might need nothing more than a simple template.
Most web designers nowadays use ready-made themes and templates to save time and work more efficiently. Those themes can be altered as much or as little as you need, and the more you alter, the more you pay.
So before setting your expectations on what you should be paying for your desired website, take into account the number and complexity of the web pages your site will need.
As mentioned earlier, your website should have a determined purpose, and chances are, you’re not going to be able to achieve your goal with just design alone. Here’s where website content steps in to ensure your site is meaningful, authoritative, unique, and optimized for search engines.
The overall design of a website plays a big part in forming a user’s first impression, but what’s going to keep them on your web page and ultimately persuade them to take the desired action is the content. Copy that’s helpful, easy to understand, and aligned with the mission and design of the website tends to work best.
If you’re using an online website builder, most templates come with written content that you can modify to match your needs. But if you want to take the extra step and hire professionals to create written content for your site, there will be an additional cost of $500 – $3,000.
Whichever option you choose, remember that the design of your website should be based on its content and not the other way around. It’s recommended to choose a content-first approach to end up with a website that is true to your brand and communicates a clear message.
Besides written content, most web designs also include imagery and footage that add to the cost of the website. Graphics are an important extension of the whole design and can easily make or break it depending on how they’re used.
Of course, cheap or even free stock images are always an option, but they won’t guarantee a one-of-a-kind look. A more individual approach would be to use custom-made graphics created specifically for your brand. If you plan to sell products on your website, you’ll also need high-quality product photography.
Hiring a graphic designer or a photographer can reflect strongly on your budget. If you’re not prepared for the extra fees of hiring more people, a great alternative is to use mockups and graphic templates that can be easily found and edited online.
Make sure your website design matches your brand logo and displays it in a prominent place. If you don’t have a logo yet, it’s highly recommended you create one. It will give your site added credibility and will clearly indicate that the site belongs to your business.
You might also choose to embed videos on your website to make the latter more lively and dynamic. For a business website, an explainer video on the home page will be a great addition. Collaborate with a filmmaker to create your video or use online video templates to save time and money.
The average cost of custom multimedia will be $250 – $10,000, but if you choose to use graphic or video templates, you can reduce the cost to the monthly subscription fee for the builder you're using.
Whether you intend to sell products through your website or not, you might need to install e-commerce features to handle financial transactions. This is a must-have for e-commerce stores, financial businesses, and brands that plan to sell merchandise.
Some of the most useful e-commerce features are a shopping cart, on-site payment system, content management capabilities, discount code tools, email marketing features, and other integrations. Be strategic about the tools you choose and consider what your website might need in the future as well.
Mostly, e-commerce features will be included in specialized e-commerce tools such as Shopify or BigCommerce. Depending on the special functionalities you choose to include on your website, you might expect to pay $2,000 - $25,000.
Last but not least, your web design cost will increase with any additional feature you choose to incorporate. One popular integration for websites is a forum. It’s an excellent user engagement catalyst and helps to build a community around a topic of mutual interest between you and your web visitors.
Other widgets and tools you might need are live chats, chatbots, comment sections, surveys, polls, and similar additions to engage with your audience.
Keep in mind that aside from the upfront cost of designing a website, there’s going to be a cost for hosting and maintaining it. There can be additional fees for advanced plugins, a domain name, SSL certificate, security updates, and other measures to ensure your site stays safely running. You can get website maintenance plans to handle these fees.
The amount you’ll be required to pay for website maintenance depends on the size of your site. Simple websites, portfolios, and blogs will cost $5 – $30 per month for maintenance. For large-scale e-commerce sites, the price range is between $150 and $1,500+ per month. The benefit of working with an online website builder is that the costs for themes, hosting, and security are mostly included in your subscription fees.
Website design has many elements, all of which can end up influencing the final website cost. As a general rule, the more complex and broad a site is, the higher its cost will be. But building a website requires an individual approach tailored to the needs and requirements of your business.
Determine whether you want to work with a ready-made website template, a freelance website designer, or a specialized agency. The more people you have working on your site, the more you should expect to pay.
As a small business with a tight budget, you might not be prepared for high web design costs. Luckily, you can get a professional-looking and fully functional website with pre-designed templates. Click the button below to try them out!
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