What Does It Really Cost to Build a Small Business Website?

Date: November 04, 2013 Last Edit: February 29, 2016

We outline four approaches to creating your online presence, including price-points for each style.

How much does a website cost? Well, how much does a car cost, or a new suit? Exactly.

From a do-it-yourself tool to a custom-designed product, the price of a website will vary widely. How will the site be used? Who will likely visit? Will it be a membership-based site? Can the operator perform optimization and maintenance, or will a vendor need to get paid for those functions? And so on.

Still, it’s possible to give a sense of the landscape by looking at it from enough different perspectives. With that in mind, here are some of the ways small business owners tackle the question: How much does a website cost?

1) The Marketing Expert: Follow The Rule of Four

John Schneble, president, steelteal Marketing, says that there are four general price ranges for websites:

  • Less than $1,000
  • $1,000-$2,500
  • $2,500-$5,000
  • $5,000 +

Under $1,000: These websites will typically have one person designing and developing. They come with very little, if any, custom design and no real strategic input.

$1,000-$2,500: For this price, you should expect strategic insight, as well as some input on information architecture and social media marketing.

$2,500-$5,000: This is really the sweet spot for most small businesses. You’ll get comprehensive and thoughtful input on the design of the website. Also, the design and functionality will truly support your business goals and critical social media integration.

$5,000+: Generally, this price range is dictated by larger websites (100+ pages) and/or e-commerce functionality, both of which require a larger time investment from both a design and development perspective.

2) The Hands-On Small Business Owner: D.I.Y.

Patrick Crosby, owner/operator of Patrick's Pest Control, puts his money on Intuit’s website services: “I have been using Intuit’s website services since I started my business in October 2010. I never designed or knew how to make a website until then.

The cost is very low, about $6 a month, and I can even process credit cards. The website looks amazing because I can insert photos and have four pages. I have used analytics to track customer views, what pages they look at and how long they stay on pages.

I have a #3 ranking on Google’s first page due in part to good reviews, and to Intuit’s hosting at about $15 a month. The payoff is worth the cost.”

3) The Tech Exec: By the Numbers

Scott Darden, president of Devizan Inc., shares some general pricing guidelines from his perspective:

  • Domain name registration, $10-$15/year
  • SSL certificate—more expensive certificates add higher levels of trustworthiness, $70-$300/year
  • Hosting, $40-$200/year
  • Content Delivery Network, $50-$250/year
  • Development Tools/Templates, $100-$200
  • Design, including page layouts and graphic design, $400-$1,600
  • Development, including coding the markup and scripting, $600-$2,000
  • Maintenance (depends largely on how well-designed the site is), $400-$1,800/year
  • Payment processing (a higher percentage on sales means a lower monthly fixed charge), $0-$250/year

Bottom Line: $1,100-$3,800 up front with $600-$2,800/year upkeep.

4) The Web Designer: Pay As You Go

Micahlynn Rivera, lead designer at Dominical Design & Development, works with small businesses on their websites and says, “We try to help small businesses that are tight on funds, so we offer monthly payment programs for our website-design services. Monthly payments are based on 24-month contract.”

  • Basic website, $65/month ($1,300 if paid upfront)
  • Expanded website, $120/month ($2,425 if paid upfront)
  • Hosting,$13 - $19/month
  • Large/custom websites, $4,500+
  • Hosting, $40+/month
  • Website maintenance, average three hours/month for ongoing maintenance, $195/month
  • Domain name averages, $12/year
  • Ongoing Search Engine Optimization, average one hour/week to optimize new website content (blog, new page, etc.) and push out to hubs (reddit, digg, etc.), $260/month.

READ NEXT: Is Using Facebook in Place of a Website the Right Move for Your Business?

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