How Much Does it Cost to Build a Business Website?

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  • Date Published
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A lot of different things go into the cost of building a website. Take a look and see where your web design budget ends up!

Business Website Cost Factors You Need to Consider

How much does a business website cost? Our standard answer is: “One Million dollars. If you can provide additional details of your requirements the cost usually goes way down!” There is no one-size-fits-all business website, so there is no standard cost, no matter how many times you cal us and ask! Instead you need to consider a number of business website cost factors to determine what works for you.

The cost of a business website depends on a number of factors, including the features and functionality you expect to have, the content management system (CMS) you choose, how many pages and how much content you need, and if you require additional services such as web hosting, domain purchase and registration, and search engine optimization.

It would be impossible to list every possible available option for a business website. Even our highlycaffeinated team keeps discovering new ones! Looking back over the years we have determined a number of common business website cost factors that play a role in almost every project we have handled. Let’s take a look at what you need to consider.

The Most Common Business Website Cost Factors

Where Does Your Website Budget Go?

For the sake of this post we will use a basic 25 page business website with the most often requested features and functionality, a choice of different content management systems, and some common additional requirements many of our clients have. While your own specific requirements for your business website may be a little different this will still give you a good idea how common business website cost factors affect the overall cost of creating your business website. Let’s take a look at how much it costs to build a business website.

Features

Our first set of business website cost factors deal with the features you want for your new website. A plain, static website is just not going to cut it in 2017, so here are a few common website features our clients ask for.

Website Analytics

Tracking your website visitors using Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, or Bing Webmaster Tools is a great way to track visitor behavior and improve conversions, but it requires a number of steps to install and verify each.

Integrated Blog

Blogging is a great content marketing strategy, and we recommend you keep an active blog on your business website instead of an external blog. And while creating a blog, defining categories, and perhaps even writing the first post or two is not a major challenge it does add to the cost.

Portfolio / Gallery

Showcasing your work or projects is a great way to encourage visitors to explore your site, and we encourage you to do so, if applicable. Setting up a portfolio with sortable categories and creating the individual portfolio items can be time-consuming, and therefore one of the more significant business website cost factors.

Social Media Integration

You will want to link your business website to your social profiles, and allow your website visitors to quickly share your content across their social channels. This can be a multi-step process for each social channel, and therefore a contributing factor.

Functionality

The next set of our common business website cost factors are all related to website functionality. Of course you will want your business website to have at least some sort of functionality. Here is what many of our clients include.

E-Commerce

Many of our clients want to sell a product or service on their business website, but few realize this is one of the biggest contributing business website cost factors. Setting up e-commerce functionality can take a lot of tweaking to make everything work perfect, and that’s before all the products get added!

Payment Gateway

If you have an e-commerce site you will want a way to get your money (unless we are missing something here?), and there are a number of options, including PayPal and Stripe. But setting up secure account connections and creating a user-friendly checkout and payment process can take time, and it is one of our business website cost factors.

Custom Forms

A standard contact form is usually included in the design of a business website. But creating custom contact, intake or estimate forms can be very time-consuming, and businesses should definitely consider the business website cost factors involved.

Email Opt-In

If you are using email marketing as part of your digital marketing campaign you will need an email opt-in form. Usually a simple name and email, they are normally available from your email service provider. Integrating them into your website is usually not a major cost factor.

Design

The next part of our business website cost factors centers around the design of the site. What do you want your business website look and feel like? Here are some common things clients are asking us about these days.

Mobile-Friendly / Responsive Design

A requirement since the Google Mobile Update of April 2015, having a mobile-friendly site is pretty standard these days. It does take longer to configure just right, especially for more complex and larger sites. And it can take a while to optimize images to work just right across multiple devices.

Parallax Design

This is a very cool feature that works very well on smaller business websites. But even setting up a simple parallax website can be very complex and time-consuming. Generally we recommend that business owners consider if the additional business website cost factors outweigh the functionality.

Flat Design

A very bold and modern look based on the tiles in Windows 8 this design is very suited to modern business websites. It does take a little longer to create a custom look and feel across a whole site, which adds to the overall business website cost factors.

Retina Support

Retina or hi-res support generally refers to websites that look great even at very high resolutions. It does not affect the overall functionality very much, but it can take a while to create images that are both suitable and large enough, and that load quickly.

Content Management System

Content Management Systems (CMS) can play a big part in determining business website cost factors. Here are some common options our clients select.

WordPress

The most common CMS powers over 60% of all CMS websites! It is an excellent choice for everything from simple business websites to advanced e-commerce sites. Overall the best cost vs. value choice for most small to mid-size businesses. Check out our blog post regarding the benefits of having a WordPress business website, or learn more about WordPress.

Drupal

An enterprise level content management system that is best suited for extremely large sites. It is very complex to implement, and difficult for most clients to operate. Learn more about Drupal.

Shopify

If business website cost factors are a major concern, but you still want to sell products or services on your site, this is a great alternative to WordPress for many small business owners. Learn more about Shopify.

SquareSpace

An extremely cost-effective alternative for many small businesses, this would be pretty much the only DIY we would even recommend to a client. But you may face some customization and other limits. Learn more about SquareSpace.

Wix

For those of you looking for an innovative hosted website solution that will let you play with artificial intelligence, you may want to consider this platform. Wix provides a number of cool features, all without you having to worry about the technology behind it. Learn more about Wix.

Other CMS

There are other CMS out there, but considering all involved business website cost factors we generally do not recommend them to clients. If you would like to find out more please feel free to contact us.

Other Requirements

Depending on if this is your first business website or a re-design of an existing one, you may have additional requirements. Here is what our clients frequently request in addition to the actual design and development of their business website.

Content Creation

A definite contributor to business website cost factors is content creation. Unless you feel comfortable writing your own content you better have a professional do it for you. Engaging, grammatically correct, and keyword optimized text is a must, as are high quality images and video.

Keyword Research

It is competitive out there, so you will want every advantage you can get. Keyword research will help you determine the best words and terms to use to outrank your competitors in search. It is a skilled field, and can be one of the deciding business website cost factors for many business owners.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is pretty much required these days. With millions of websites competing against yours you want to make sure search engines regard you highly. Especially on bigger, or e-commerce sites with lots of products, this can be a very time-consuming task that requires a high skill level. And that makes good SEO one of the most significant business website cost factors.

Domain Purchase + Registration

You will need to purchase and register a domain name if you do not have already one. For e-commerce sites we highly recommend a secure socket layer (SSL) certificate. Depending on the length of the domain registration, and the type of SSL certificate you will need these can be fairly significant business website cost factors.

Website Hosting

And finally, your new business website needs a place to live. You will need a website host, at the very least. You should also look for security and performance, so a content delivery network (CDN) may be required. If your website host provides regular backups and updates you don’t have to worry about them, but you will pay more. Website hosting is definitely one of the business website cost factors especially small business owners need to consider. Check out this blog post regarding the different business website hosting options.

Anything Else?

Of course! The above are simply the most common things our clients request. But there are tons of others. We have done everything from a store locator to live chat support, and there are options for everything from membership sites to online and affiliate advertising. Pretty much the only limit is the business website cost factors they add to a project.

Controlling Business Website Cost Factors, or Where Does Your Web Design Budget Go?

Now that you know the different business website cost factors you can decide which ones you really need, and which ones can be implemented later, if at all. Keep in mind that if your website visitors only come because of that cool widget on your home page you have bigger problems.

There is a basic rule of thumb to follow when it comes to business website cost factors; you get what you pay for. Don’t expect the whole enchilada unless you are willing to pay. Here is what you usually get. Pick a range you feel comfortable with, and see what you get for that.

Less than $ 1,000.00

You get a very basic website with very little, if any, custom design, no strategic input, and no support or related services. Better than having no business website, but only barely.

$ 2,000.00 – $ 4,000.00

You can now expect some strategic insight, as well as input on information architecture and content strategy. At the higher end you can expect a more custom design.

$ 5,000.00 – $ 8,000.00

This is the spot most small business owners need to aim for. You receive comprehensive input on the design and functionality of your business website. This means your site will actually support your business goals and social integration.

$ 9,000.00 – $ 12,000.00

This includes e-commerce functionality, payment gateway integration, custom forms, extensive strategy and content consultation, and custom design features.

$ 12,000.00 +

You can definitely expect a lot at that range. This covers content strategy, photography and image sourcing, keyword research and on-page, on-site, and local SEO, and full social media integration.

A Few Thoughts on DIY

The first thought, don’t! The second thought, don’t, really! Unless you are a pro you will get stuck at some point, perhaps very early on. You will get frustrated, push ahead, get nowhere, and be even more frustrated. At some point, you give up and hire someone to finish the job, or start over. Wouldn’t it make more sense to do that before you waste all that time getting frustrated?

We are talking about your business here. No matter what you do or sell, it is important enough that you decided to just go ahead and start your own business. We know a lot of businesses and business owners just like you. And almost every one of them consulted with lawyers and bankers before getting started. Isn’t your business website important enough to ask a professional for some advice, at least?

Still Unclear About Business Website Cost Factors?

Don’t feel bad; so are we! No kidding, we can’t tell you how much your website will cost until we find out more. No self-respecting web designer or agency can. Sure, there are firms that will provide you with a package deal. But that may not really be a good fit for your business, or your budget.

There I always recommend to our clients that they start their project with a discovery phase. Answering a few basic questions your web designer or agency has before you get started is a great way to keep your business website design project on track, and on budget!

Here at ESPRESSO.digital, we offer a full range of innovative web design services, including website design, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, and website support services. Reach out to us to learn more about our innovative web design solutions, and how our team can help you keep common business website cost factors down.

Any Thoughts?

How much did you spend on your business website? Did you stay within your web design budget? Are there things you wish you would have known before you started, or done differently? Feel free to contact us and let us know, and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And help your audience control their business website costs by sharing these business website cost factors with them!

By Gregor Schmidt Co-Founder / Creative Technologist @gregorspeaks