This website cost online pricing guide is designed to help you navigate the oft-confusing ins and outs of what it really costs to purchase a website. If we’ve missed the mark, and you end up with more confusion than clarity, you need only contact us.
Fair Prices Can Be Harder To Identify than a Yellow-Bellied Marmot
A Wyoming teen once perked up with excitement when tourists with a guidebook pointed out the presence of a yellow-bellied marmot. He scanned the scenery for the exotic creature, only to slump in disappointment when he saw the creature for what it really was… an ordinary rock chuck.
Let’s just say it how it is. Website prices vary widely. Knowing whether the price you have been quoted is a fair one takes more than intuition. You need a guidebook. Otherwise, how will you ever know whether the website pricing you’ve been quoted is really just fancy-schmancy yellow-bellied marmot packaging with a plain old, ordinary rock chuck hidden inside?
Today, we are going to lay it all out there on the table. We’ll let you know what we charge and why, talk about how much is too much to pay, and how much is not enough. (One of the biggest red flags in the SEO and website industry is companies who promise the world for $100. Never trust those guys.)
You Get What You Pay For
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to spend the money for a quality website, I’m here to tell you that it is.
In fact, a good quality website can be one of your company’s greatest assets. It can showcase your company, be a resource for customers, sell your products, and most importantly, bring in new business.
Sure you can build an inexpensive website using an inexpensive platform. And it will never work as well or look as good as a custom WordPress website. Which is why custom WordPress websites are all we do.
Cheap websites, like cheap electronics, are an exercise in frustration. They can be difficult to use, difficult to customize, and difficult to optimize. They break easily and become outdated quickly. They may tell you that you can customize them, but there is a big difference between choosing from 4 different layouts or 20 different color schemes, and true customization.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase a custom designed website, these inexpensive builders can be a great place to start until you can afford something better, but remember, they are not a good substitute for a well-made, high quality custom WordPress website.
What Do You Need?
The first question we will ask you when you are purchasing a website is what you are looking for. What kind of look? What kind of functionality? What needs to be included? What needs to be absent? The answers to these questions will determine the price of your website. Large companies or brands will need more complicated websites, while a simpler site will be perfect for a local contractor or other small company.
We recommend you think about these questions carefully. We ask all new clients to fill out a pretty extensive questionnaire before we begin building their website.
This questionnaire is quite specific, and asks questions about what mood you would like portrayed, whether you have images you want included, who your target market is, what products or services you provide, and what sets you apart from your competition. We ask you to give us examples of websites you like and dislike, so we can build something that will work well, look good, and function the way you want.
So let’s break it down.
Included With Every Website
Some parts of website development are just part of the package, and included with all our websites. We do our homework before we build your site, so you can be sure you’re getting the best possible product. Any website that comes out-of-the-box is not likely to perform as well as one that is built just for you.
Our website design expertise means that we know a few things up front. We know how to design and organize beautiful sites that are user-friendly and work. We know how to make websites responsive, meaning that they will adjust to any screen size, be it desktop, tablet, or phone. We know how to write and organize the content, and design the images for maximum impact. We can recommend features that would work well for your business needs.
We do our homework to be sure we understand your business. We identify important keywords. We analyze your market and competition. We study and integrate your social accounts. We help you develop a brand identity and can even have our in-house designers create logos and custom cover art for you.
The Good Old Basic, Not-Too-Fancy Website
If this website were a car, it would be the really basic one. The one without automatic windows. There may not be any bells or whistles, but this site looks great and works great, and won’t break the bank.
We can’t really speak to the specifics of what other companies charge, so we’ll be using our own pricing as a guidepost. And, for a basic website with no customization, we charge about $3000.
This price includes
• Design and development of your site, including transitioning slider images, and your company colors and logo (we can create the logo if needed)
• Responsive formatting, so your site looks good on any size desktop screen, tablet, or mobile device
• Unlimited pages (content sold separately)
• A contact form
• Social media buttons
• A favicon
• 3rd party newsletter code
• SEO optimization of all pages
• A map of your location (if appropriate)
When you are shopping for a basic website, be sure to ask the company which features are included and which are not, what their time frame is for completion, and whether you will own your site.
Some SEO companies give you a website, but they retain access to it. If you sever ties with them, you lose your website. When you purchase a site from Be Locally SEO, it belongs to you, and you can always have access to it.
Reputable companies will charge similar prices. You can get a decent brochure-style basic website for $2000, but you shouldn’t need to pay more than about $5000. If a company is asking for $6000 or more, expect some extra functionality, otherwise you may be paying too much.
Conversely, you may sometimes see sites advertised for $500 – $1500, but at a price point this low, be wary. Considering the time and resources that go into developing a website, these prices are nowhere near enough to create a product of good quality.
The E-Commerce Big Boy Website
Ecommerce websites (sites that sell products) are more expensive than basic service websites. Sometimes quite a bit more expensive.
The main reasons for the added expense are that more pages are included (often many, many more) and more functionality and navigation options. They are time-consuming to develop. They are also time-consuming to optimize, since each product AND each category page requires optimization.
For e-commerce sites, we include all the same items as in the basic sites, and we also include a shopping cart, setup of taxes and shipping costs, integration with your merchant services or PayPal, and the design of all your product pages.
Our basic ecommerce sites start at about $5000, but prices can increase quite drastically. Consider the following:
• How many products will be on the site? If your store carries more than about 2000 products, the price will increase.
• Who will be uploading, titling, and categorizing all the products? This work is not difficult, but it is time consuming. We charge $2.50 for each product we add. You can save a little money by doing this part yourself. We charge $50 for a tutorial, and let you handle the rest.
• Will each product include multiple images? If so, we’ll have to give the website the ability to show more than one image, and switch between them. We’ll also need to upload many more images than products.
E-commerce sites can occasionally be drastically expensive. The tricky part is, sometimes those prices are legitimate, and other times they are just really high. 3D product images, custom calculators, or other proprietary design elements can be very expensive to create. If your site does not include any complicated design or functionality, and doesn’t include more than around 2000 products, you should be able to get a good quality website for $5000 – $10,000.
Add-Ons Help You Shine
It’s the little extras make your website stand out. They also add a little extra to the bottom line, so consider which are most important to you as you plan your website budget.
• Content for pages: Our professional content writers can create high quality pages to describe individual services or anything else that is appropriate for your business. These pages are keyword optimized, around 450 words, and cost about $75 each.
• Live chat feature: Our $150 price includes a third party fee.
• Embedded Google calendar: Keep your customers informed about upcoming events with an embedded calendar. $100
• Custom Forms: Besides a contact form, you may want other customized forms. These could be for customer information, estimated pricing, or anything you can imagine. We generally charge $100 per form.
• Blog page with social sharing: We can set up a blog page for your site, complete with social sharing buttons, for $250. Our professional writers can also write blog posts for you on an ongoing basis. Check out our content packages for pricing.
• Custom images and infographics: If you prefer to avoid stock photos, our staff designer can create customized images for your business. If it’s appropriate, we can also provide custom info-graphics that help explain your products or services. The price of these varies based on your needs.
• Third Party Applications: Some websites have integration with third party applications such as appointment scheduling services or online payment systems. These take some special development to make them work well, and the price for that varies based on the difficulty of the integration.
• Videos: Video production: Depending on your needs and the length of your videos, we can generally produce professional videos for $1000 – $3000 each. Animated videos are about half the price.
• Basically anything custom: Like this custom calculator. And this video library page. Custom add-ons are priced according to the time required to develop them.
A Word About Hosting
Hosting is one of those sneaky little issues you need to pay attention to. It’s also one that many people have a hard time understanding.
Your website will need to be hosted somewhere. Hosting companies own banks of servers which they use to store the data on your website. There are lots of hosting companies out there, and you can easily pay a lot for hosting.
The main factor in determining hosting costs is traffic. If you are expecting large amounts of traffic to your site, you’ll need a hosting package that can handle it. Most small local companies will do fine with an inexpensive hosting plan. We use Go Daddy for hosting, because they are reliable, inexpensive, and they have great customer service.
Separate from hosting, you will also need to pay for your domain name. This domain name is purchased from the hosting company, and requires annual renewal. Domain names are usually very inexpensive, only costing about $10 – $20 a year.
Email can also be run through your website hosting, though we recommend using Google for domain name email hosting. You can have unlimited numbers of email addresses with your company name after the @ sign.
Our premium packages include setup of your hosting, domain name, and email. If you already have your website hosted elsewhere, we can transfer these to Go Daddy for you. Hosting transfers require some expertise, and are not easily done on your own. We charge $250 to transfer your site to a new hosting company, $50 to transfer the domain, and $75 + $5 per address to transfer email.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
Any good website design company will be willing to help you maintain your website. WordPress and the plugins we use require periodic updates. Sometimes problems happen and someone needs to fix them. If changes to your business require some changes to your website, you’ll be glad someone is around to help with the maintenance.
At Be Locally SEO, we offer a maintenance package to help keep your website in working order. If your site has larger problems, some hourly charges might be necessary. If we did not build the site, we may still be able to help you.
The REAL Value, the Part That’s Hard To Put a Price On
There’s a classic story about a plumber who is called to a home with a broken water heater. The plumber takes a quick look, flips a switch, and the water heater starts working immediately. He then presents the homeowner with a bill for $200. The homeowner is incensed at the price. After all, the plumber performed very little work.
“That’s $5 for flipping the switch,” the plumber explained. “And $195 for knowing what to do.”
Website and SEO knowledge are hard to quantify. It’s tough to put a price on experience and expertise. Be sure you can trust the website design company you work with to know what to do! For a quote on a professionally designed, high-quality website, contact Be Locally SEO today.
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