First, there are 2 things you should consider when doing your research for the cost of websites.
1.) The initial purchase price of the website including both time and money.
2.) The lifetime cost of the website including monthly fees to run the website, and also any future updates required.
First let’s take a look at the initial cost of “do it yourself”, template, and custom website designs to get an idea of how much each one is going to cost.
Keep in mind that these prices can vary depending on the location that you are in.
For each type we cover: time, design, effectiveness, cost, and who it is best for.
Do It Yourself, Template, and Custom Design Comparison
Do It Yourself Websites
There are many companies out there that offer “Do It Yourself” small business websites.
Also most hosting companies offer a “Do It Yourself” website builder, included when you purchase hosting for your website from them.
Hence the name “Do It Yourself”, you log into a members area of a website, and are responsible for configuring the entire website yourself.
This type of website will take the most time, because it will require you to build everything yourself. You can usually start with a pre-made template and then you have to decide:
- What pages you want for your website – which can be limited
- What images, graphics, and colors to use
- Where everything goes and place it yourself
- Write and enter all of the text on each page and insert your own links
They can be slow to update and take a long time to upload your own images.
These types of Do It Yourself website builders usually offer basic level templates to choose from and then you have to fill them in yourself with images, graphics, and text.
The graphics provided are usually just a step above clip-art.
This is entry level design which you can probably spot when you are surfing the web yourself.
These types of websites can get you online, but they will not set you apart from your competition.
They are usually poorly coded behind the scenes, slow loading, and not mobile friendly.
These 3 factors will not help your results with search engine optimization, and it rarely pays off to send paid traffic such as Google Adwords or Facebook to these types of websites.
Most business owners that elect to use these types of websites have very little, if no website design or conversion experience…
…so they are just guessing at what works best to convert visitors to prospects and prospects to customers online.
The plus side of these types of websites is that they are fairly inexpensive.
You can usually pay a small monthly fee on average of $7 – $50 per month, and get access to these Do It Yourself type website builders.
Some will charge you a one-time upfront fee from $100 – $500 to get it started, and then the monthly fee after that.
But you also want to factor in your time spent in these types of sites as well.
When you are running a business it is very important to figure out what your hourly rate is.
This will not only tell you what activities you should not be working on, but it will also tell you how much a site like this is actually costing you.
Let’s say your hourly rate is $50 per hour.
If it takes you 40 hours total to setup the website, insert your logo, choose images, resize the images, write the text, post the text and launch your new site, that’s $2,000.
Then if you spend on average of 2 hours per week updating your site, that is another $100 per week…which is another $5,200 per year.
So at the end of your first year you are already at $7,200
Any future updates for this type of website are done by you, and are just determined by the amount of time you spend completing them.
These types of websites are best for very small entry level businesses where per client value is very low…
…or they can be good for when you are just starting out and you have more time than money.
Get started, get something online, build your business, and then as soon as you can, you should upgrade to a higher level website to better represent your brand.
Template Based Websites
A template based website is when you choose a pre-made template design to start with, and then your website designer will configure it to match your brand.
This saves the website company time by not have to design the base of the website from scratch, therefore saving you money.
This type of website takes the 2nd most time, behind the do-it-yourself way.
Here you are hiring a company to build the website for you, instead of doing it yourself.
You still will have to dedicate some time to this process because these types of packages are usually less comprehensive than custom built website packages.
They usually come with a set number of pages and images, and you still have to provide all of the text…
…but you are saving time by having someone else take care of the building process and using their expertise.
There are many website design templates that you can choose from ranging from very basic to very professional looking.
If you choose a good web design company they should be able to offer you a good selection of pre-made templates, based on your business type and main goals for the website.
You will have fewer options choosing where everything goes and what it looks like, than a custom design, but it can still look very professional.
The only drawback to this type of design is that someone else could have the same or very similar design as you.
These types of websites can be very effective at bringing in more business to your company.
Your website provider should be able to recommend a few templates that would work best for your type of business.
When using a high quality template to build your website, it should have a good quality design layout, be coded properly on the back end, and feature a mobile responsive layout.
If you are using a free, or poor quality template, than the effectiveness can drop significantly.
With these types of website you can save time and money by not having to design and code a custom website from scratch.
The designing portion is what the website looks like, and the coding portion is making that design clickable.
A template based website will usually run on average anywhere from $500 – $2,500, based on the quality of the template that you are using and the experience of the website design company.
Generally the only monthly fee associated with this type of website package is for hosting of the website.
Hosting is basically just the storage of your website files so that it can be viewed on the internet.
This can run anywhere from $10 – $150 per month depending on the features of the hosting package, the size of your website, and how much traffic it gets.
After the completion of the initial project, any future updates for this type of website are generally billed at an hourly rate that can run from $50 to $125 per hour.
This type of website is best for a small business owner just getting started.
You can save money by not having a custom design built, and you can also save time by getting it online quicker.
Maybe you are just starting out, building a 2nd business, or just want to test out an idea before sinking a lot of money into it.
Templates are a great way to get things off the ground and started without a large investment up front.
Once you start profiting more in your business than you can decide if you want to upgrade to a custom website.
Custom Design Websites
A custom designed website is when you hire a website company to build your website from scratch, therefore having a one-of-a-kind design.
You have the most control and creative freedom with how this website will look when completed.
This type of website takes the least amount of time for you to build.
You are hiring a professional website design company to do everything for you.
Most of your time will usually be spent up front, by filling out a questionnaire online and/or speaking to a representative answering questions about what you need and want.
This will give the website designer all of the information they need to get the initial mockup of your design as close to what you are looking for as possible.
This will save you time by requiring less back and forth revisions of the look of the website.
A custom website design is a one-off design completely unique to you and your company.
You will have the most choices for how the website will look when completed.
Your website design company will usually provide you with a mockup design first, this is basically just a picture of what the website will look like (you just can’t click on any part of it).
Then after you have this visual of what the website will look like, you can make any changes that you like.
This process will go back and forth until you are completely happy with the design and ready for it to be coded (made into a live website that you can click on).
This will help you the most in professionally representing and building your brand.
When built properly, these types of website are the most effective at generating prospects and converting them into paying customers for you business, resulting in higher profits.
They also set your brand apart by being professional and unique.
You also don’t have to worry about anyone else having the same design as you.
A lot of the effectiveness of this type of web design lies on the company that you choose to build it for you.
You want to make sure that they have experience in optimizing small business websites for conversion.
Conversion is just having your website visitors take whatever action you want them to take.
That could be calling a phone number, filling out an online form, downloading a white paper in exchange for an email address, etc…
So if 100 people visit your website and 10 people call you to do business, that is considered a 10% conversion rate.
These types of websites are the most expensive out of the 3.
This is because they are the most labor intensive for the builder of the website.
A custom website can vary in price anywhere from $3,500 up to six figures.
This article is geared towards small business owners so usually the higher number is around $20,000 – $40,000.
Monthly hosting for these type of websites are similar to template based websites and can average anywhere from $20 – $250 per month (the higher end being for sites getting a very large volume of visitors per month).
This is based on the type of hosting, features, size of your website, and amount of traffic your website receives.
Any future updates after your website has been completed for this type of project, are generally billed at an hourly rate that can run anywhere from $60 to $200 per hour.
These types of websites are best for the business owner who wants to hit the ground running fast, or has an established business that is already profitable.
If you are struggling to pay your bills, it is better to start with one of the lower options, increase your profits, and then upgrade to a custom built site.
A custom build website can be a marketing machine for your business that works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Every website company will offer different options and have different ways of doing business.
A lot of times they will offer add-ons to the website packages for things like custom logos and having your text written for you.
Whatever type of website you decide to go with, make sure you choose a website design company that has experience in small business design and conversion optimization.
This can be the difference between a profitable and non-profitable website for your business.