I’m sure to ruffle the feathers of a ton of designers, developers, and agencies at the mention of discussing price out in the open. I’m sure to stir the pot of opinions that could very well be their own version of truth. Ultimately I’m certain to shock the Clarks off of the business owner looking to “re-do” their website.

All this friction and emotion for the sake of attempting to add clarity to a very commonly asked question:

How much should a website cost?

The answer is simple: A lot.

I could end at that… but come on, who are we kidding? You found this link in the hopes of seeing some sort of breakdown with actual real life prices.

So let’s do this…

Before a price-tag can be pinned to a product, consideration needs to be given to the production value. With website creation this is best served up in the increment of time.

Hours = Dollars

This is the golden rule web designers and developers live by.

Sure, there are turn-key solutions and ready to purchase themes that can be literally picked from the shelf, slapped on your domain, dressed up with a custom color scheme, and branded with your company logo all for the one time cost of $29.99. This path is the right route to take for some.

For others who need a more customizable approach to their on-line presence, the path ahead is mapped out. Proceed with enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

As mentioned above, the cost of a website is directly correlated to the number of hours it takes to create it. The downside to this approach, no two projects are exactly the same, making it a little tricky on the initial estimate. For the sake of arriving to a base price model I have listed the basic production stages of most website projects:

Research and Planning (3 hours +)

Design (14 hours)

Front-end development (11 hours)

Back-end development (5 hours)

Content entry with 4 sub pages (5 hours)

Site Testing (2 hours)

Go-live (2 hours)

Hours for a basic site = 42 hours

Project Management Time = additional 20% of total time (8.4)

TOTAL HOURS = 50.4

As you can see, a very basic website, 4–5 pages, takes at the minimum 50 hours to complete. This leads us to the question of value. How much is that web design & development hour worth?

A lot of factors can attribute to an hourly rate, but the wisdom grounded in getting what you pay for often holds the most weight.

A designer or agency of great quality and high demand is going to expect to be paid what they are worth. A freelance designer just starting out may tread lightly until he or she feels worthy of charging a more standard rate.

Either way you can expect to see hourly rates as low as $50 an hour to as high as $150 an hour.

Based on our above tally of a 50 hour site that translates to paying anywhere between:

$2520 to as high as $7560 for a basic website.

Do your research, ask good questions, and set your expectations in line with your budget.

If you cut corners on price, rest assured that corners are being cut on your website.

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