Perhaps one of the most common mistakes business executives make when searching for website estimates is in viewing this incredible marketing tool as a necessary evil or a mere means to an end. Before you start shopping for quotes from web developers, it’s important to remember that your website should be used as a vehicle to drum up leads, differentiate yourself from your competition, and become an authority in your field.

“If you’re starting from a point of ‘how much does this cost?’ you’re looking at it completely wrong,” notes Nate Wheeler, co-owner, marketing director, and SEO specialist for weCreate, a full-service website and SEO company. “Consider a website as an opportunity to generate new profit.”

Does a Website Really Improve Business?

According to Think with Google, there are a staggering 100 billion searches conducted on Google each month. Yet, according to a recent survey conducted by GoDaddy and Redshift Research, a whopping 60% of “very” small businesses (five workers or less) are not online. What’s even more disconcerting is the reasons the respondents gave for not having an online presence:

  • 35% said they are simply too small
  • 24% said they didn’t think it would help their business
  • 21% said they lacked the technical expertise
  • 20% said it’s too expensive

“Some people just don’t have the budget to do a full blown website design, and that’s fine,” says Wheeler. “But even someone like that is missing the opportunity. It’s like trying to open a car dealership without any inventory. You need to make the investment to get to a place of profitability.”

Why Are Websites So “Expensive?”

The number of hours — not “work hours,” but head-down, hands-on-the keys, development hours that go into a website is astounding. WPShout found that a full-featured WordPress site on a premium theme generally takes around 100 hours to build. While we pride ourselves on working as efficiently as possible, we’re inclined to agree.

But it doesn’t stop there. Once you start talking content and SEO, those man-hours can double. Remember, each page on a well-performing website needs to be search optimized for a specific set of keywords. Moreover, a single, authoritative, thought-provoking blog post can easily take 10 hours of writing.

“Here’s the deal,” says Wheeler, “You can spend $2,500 and an agency can throw your information into a template and not put any thought into the marketing, SEO, or how the user experience is going to convert your visitors into customers. Or, you can spend the money and receive long-term residual value from your site.”

Wheeler is right. In fact, Google found that a mind blowing 50% of consumers who search for a local store or business on a mobile device visited the establishment within one day!

If you’re looking for a website that pulls in high-quality traffic, you’re looking at a bare minimum of $5,000. However, the “average cost” will be a good deal more.

How Is The Cost of a Website Estimated?

building a website from the ground up

More often than not, agencies will either quote out websites as a service (WaaS) or as a project/product. “We don’t treat the website buildout as a service,” discloses Wheeler. “A lot of companies will build a website and you’ll make payments for forever on that website. We treat a website as a project. When it’s done and paid for, you own it.”

Another common misconception in the market is that websites will be quoted by the page. However, this really isn’t the case for design and development. What is charged by the page is content. “Customers often want to save money by writing content themselves—and that’s fine if you want to do that,” says Wheeler. “However, you should have a professional writer who can make it rank in google and make it read well for customers.”

After all, properly optimized content is really the crux of both a high-quality user experience and the ability to perform well in search engines. Depending on the amount of copy needed on your site, businesses should expect to pay around $200-$300 per page.

If you’re interested in a search optimized site with custom content, you’re looking at a minimum of $8,000. This figure assumes we are writing multiple pages of content plus the custom site build.

Are There Any “Hidden Costs” of Building a Website?

“When we quote a project we do it from a standpoint of knowing exactly what that customer needs,” asserts Wheeler. “When we give you a quote for the website, that’s what the website is going to cost.”

With that said, there are times when customers decide to add content, design, or functionality to the website that were not originally included in the estimate. In this case, the original quotes will increase. “There are times when the customer wants to add something, but they’re asking for this with the understanding that this is going to cost extra money,” says Wheeler. “It isn’t us surprising them with that bill after the fact.”

It should be noted that there are some small monthly costs associated with a website past the design, content, and development. “The only ongoing costs that you absolutely have to have are hosting and domain name registration,” tells Wheeler. Both of which are simply par for the course.

weCreate offers flexible hosting packages for any sized website. Wheeler notes that the average business will pay somewhere around $30 a month for hosting and $10 to $20 for domain name registration. While hosting giants like GoDaddy, Bluehost, and HostGator also offer hosting, weCreate adds all of their customers to a virtual private server as opposed to a shared hosting environment.

“What we found when you go with a shared hosting environment is it opens up a lot of security issues and can slow sites down,” shares Wheeler. For example, back in 2012 GoDaddy, the internet’s largest domain registrar, was hacked by a member of the Anonymous group and thousands of sites went down. Beyond these large scale events, shared hosting simple demonstrates significantly more “down time”.

“We aren’t going to say you’re never going to have a problem if you use our hosting, but what we will say is that you know who to call if something happens. You won’t have to go through two hours of automated phone prompts and then wait a couple weeks for your site to come back up,” says Wheeler. “No, you’ll have my cell phone number and you say, ‘Hey Nate, Brian, Zach, my site is down. What’s going on?’ We’ll immediately look in to it and we’ll get it fixed.”

Look, things happen, sites get hacked, it happens all the time. However, having a direct point of contact can be worth every penny. Case in point, GoDaddy handled their snafu with a mere tweet: “So many messages, can’t get to you all…Sorry to hear all your frustration. We’re working feverishly to resolve as soon as possible.”

How Do I Figure Out What I Need On My Website?

searching on a website
“We’ll walk you through the planning process,” says Wheeler. “Usually, for a quote, we’ll sit down with a client and get an idea of all the things they’re going to need. We’re going to make recommendations, we’re going to ask you questions about what marketing assets you currently have, and if you have content ready.”

In that initial conversation, premier web developers will outline your needs into different components so you clearly understand where costs are coming from, where you can save, and what’s ultimately going to be best for your business. “We’ll walk clients through some different ways to save money if it’s a huge consideration,” notes Wheeler. “We don’t necessarily recommend cutting corners, as it won’t give you the best end-product, but we always try our best to work with businesses of all sizes.”

Usually websites projects are broken down into several components. In general, these components include:

  • Design
  • Content
  • Development

“Your design is going to come from a marketing conversation,” tells Wheeler. “It comes from someone sitting down with you and understanding what your business is all about, who your target market is, and what you’re trying to communicate to them.”

Using that information, graphic designers get to work on the visuals and content writers start the copy. As the mockup for your site is created and you agree with both the aesthetic and copy, development then occurs as those two components transition into a functional website.

“You could buy a template that would take some of the development and design out of the cost,” contends Wheeler. “But you’re not able to fully incorporate all the elements of your marketing plan or the user experience you wanted for your customers.”

Why Does weCreate Use WordPress?

wordpress love

WordPress is undeniably the most widely used content management system (CMS) across the web. In fact, W3Techs found that an incredible 30.5% of all websites are built on WordPress. WordPress’s closest competition is Joomla, which only supports 3.1% of all websites.

“It’s an open source content management system (CMS), which means that there are thousands of people around the world contributing functionality to WordPress. So we have the ability to take a piece of functionality that you want in your website, download it, and add it to your website for very little cost,” shares Wheeler. “If we were custom-designing the content management system and every piece of functionality, you’d be paying thousands of dollars every time you want to add something simple.”

In conjunction with the huge savings that customers receive by going with a web development company that uses WordPress, they’re also going to find the CMS to be incredibly user friendly. “We really want to empower our clients to be able to make edits to their website so they add content.” In fact, weCreate will actually walk customers through the backend of their websites and train them to add pages, blogs, pictures, and products.

What Services Should I Add On When the Website Is Complete?

“One of the most popular services we provide for our customers is search engine optimization (SEO),” shares Wheeler. The idea of SEO in essence, is to improve the search authority of a site, and thus, increase the site’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) to gain more impressions, clicks, and, of course, conversions.

While it’s obvious why you would want to appear on the first page of Google, it’s important to realize just how critical SEO really is. To illuminate how quickly click through rate (CTR) plummets as searchers venture down Google’s results, we drew up a table with the help of data from Advanced Web Ranking:

Position & PageDesktop CTRMobile CTR
Position 1 Page 126.920.52
Position 5 Page 14.153.95
Position 1 Page 21.07.7

As you can see, there is a 95% decrease in desktop CTR from the top of page one to the top of page two. Likewise, there is a 97% decrease in mobile CTR for the same variance.

We’re Here to Help

We know building a website is a big step, which is precisely why we felt it necessary to answer some of the frequently asked questions about price, process, and added services. If you’re ready to give your business the boost of a professional grade WordPress website, click the button below to contact us today or call us at (814) 314-9323.

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Nate

Nate helped found weCreate with fellow Co-Owners Brian and Zach. He spent four years serving honorably in the United States Marine Corps, where he gained valuable leadership skills as an infantry advisor to the Iraqi Army and as a Non Commissioned Officer leading other marines. After his service in the Marine Corps, Nate participated extensively in international stock and currency trading. He went on to earn his Master’s Degree in International Business and Marketing, and became heavily involved in helping build international internet startups.