Not surprisingly, it’s a question we’re asked a lot as a digital agency! The short answer is that it’ll depend on a whole heap of variables that’ll be defined by what you want your website to achieve for your business (we’ll write a separate blog on that bit later, because it’s really important).
In the meantime, let’s focus on the big dollar question. Here’s a couple of example budget scenarios to consider (these should be treated as a general guide, rather than definitive).
The 3-figure website.
This is DIY territory. If, say, $500 (or thereabouts) is your budget limit, your best bet is to build the site yourself using software like Squarespace or a simple WordPress template. You can then put your budget towards getting some awesome product or team shots done to give your site that professional edge, or to pay a writer to weave their SEO magic across your website copy.
What you won’t get for $500 is anything customised or particularly fancy in terms of functionality. Found a WordPress template you like but want a few things tweaked? You’ll need to pay a developer to help you out here (and it may in fact end up being cheaper for them to build something from scratch). Need complex e-commerce functionality factored in? This isn’t the option for you - you’ll need to invest in something far more robust if you plan to sell products or services online, as there’s the whole sales funnel side of this to consider as well.
What’s important with a DIY site is to weigh up the opportunity cost. Is your time best spent building a website (you might have to cut a few corners to do so), or doing other things like selling your wares or running your business? Put a dollar amount on your time then ask yourself the question. If the answer is no, your best bet is to treat your website as an investment in your business and set aside budget to get it done by a professional.
The 4-figure website.
This is where costs can vary dramatically based on a whole lot of factors. As a start, just a few of these factors include:
Functionality. This is the big variable, and once again will be determined by what you need your website to achieve for your business. Does your website need little more than a few pages and a contact form, or something more complex like e-commerce functionality or integration with your point-of-sale system? Do users need to be able to filter what they see on your website based on preferences, or search for something specific? These are the things that will most definitely impact budget, perhaps even pushing your website into 5-figure territory to get the right result (more on that below).
Content. Like a house isn’t much without furniture, your website isn’t really useful to anyone without words and pictures. But will you be creating these yourself? You may feel you’re up to the challenge, however if you want to tap into the skills of a professional photographer or copywriter who knows SEO and metadata, this cost needs to be factored in as part of your website investment (don’t assume your quote from a sole-trader developer includes this - it’s usually outside of their remit unless otherwise indicated). Again, depending on requirements, your final budget may edge into five-figures to get the necessary outcome.
Project Team. Website providers come in many different shapes and sizes. Depending on who you pick, you may have a skilled sole-trader working on your website, or a whole agency of talent. Sole-traders can be wonderfully nimble and cost effective, while agencies can tap into different skillsets within their team to make your website happen, as well as provide infrastructure for ongoing support. Good things to think about when planning your budget and deciding on priorities.
The 5+ figure website.
Websites that edge into five figures and beyond are usually custom-built by a digital agency based on a set of very specific business requirements.
If you’re paying upwards of $10,000 for your site, it’s likely this is covering a team to write a requirements document and create wireframes to plan out and demonstrate the functionality your site needs and importantly, ensure it can scale with your business as it grows. If you’re a business that relies on your website to drive direct income, this bit is crucial.
It’s likely this 5+ figure budget covers an experienced digital designer to bring your website to life visually so it works seamlessly on mobile, tablet and desktop, a skilled developer (or developer team) to build the code and a producer to coordinate all aspects of the project from start to finish. In some cases this budget may also cover copy development throughout the site as well as illustration and photography if needed.
Assuming you’ve selected a reputable digital agency, your 5+ figure budget should buy you peace of mind in the form of a robust, well-designed website that’s been built to help you grow your business, and can scale in future as necessary.
If you’re trying to work out a budget for your new website, these examples should help to demonstrate why costs can vary so much. If you’d like to chat to us about your upcoming website project, we’d love to hear from you - drop us a note here.