We get asked this question multiple times per week “How much does a website cost?” and the answer, you would think, would be quite straight forward.
However, website production costs can vary tremendously, depending on a multitude of factors including the CMS (e.g WordPress), size and technical integrations, just to name a few.
But before we dive into the potential costs of a website, make sure you first ask yourself the question:
How can an agency know how much your website will cost without knowing anything about your company, your business objectives, your ambition or the audiences (personas) your website is for?
What we are trying to say is how can you expect an accurate website quote when the agency knows next to nothing about you.
That is why we encourage you to be cautious of those who give you a price without knowing any of the key details. Don’t be over roared if the term discover or investigate is thrown around at first, this is a strong indicator that the agency will do their due diligence and take the necessary steps to deliver the best outcome for you overall.
Ok, that’s good to know. But can you tell me how much it costs?
As a general rule, the more complex the requirements, the higher the cost. Across our 12+ years in website creation and digital marketing, we’ve found the cost of web design in Perth to generally fall into one of four categories:
- Simple marketing websites with low complexity: $5,000 to $20,000
- Medium-sized websites with some customisation and integrations: $20,000 to $30,000
- More complex websites with detailed eCommerce and custom integrations: $25,000 – $100,000
- Completely custom website applications: $40,000+
However, these price ranges are not a rule for the investment in your website. We scope each project based on seven key factors we’ve determined after producing hundreds of sites of all types:
- Page Complexity & Content Management
- DIY vs Professional
- Photography & Videography
- Branding & Brand Strategy
- Ongoing Cost
Page Complexity & Content Management
The number of unique pages required for your website (and what you want them to do) has the largest effect on the price of a website.
For example, 10 almost identical pages with a simple text and image layout should mean fewer hours in design and development, resulting in a lower price (especially if you already have the content and imagery). However, if you needed those same 10 pages to each have a unique layout with custom interactive elements such as sliders, mapping, animations, etc,, it will add to production time. It may be in your best interests to leverage design elements to create a premium feel; web design, strategy and cost will all relate to your brand positioning (Think JB Hifi vs Apple).
We won’t build anything until we’ve worked to understand your objective. If you’re aiming to concisely communicate your company online, then costs can be expected to be lower, with a focus on content and messaging. However, if you’re driven by aggressive lead generation, or require a unique digital experience using, say, video production, interactive animation or custom mapping, that will naturally add to the overall cost.
Lastly, content management also plays a large part in the cost of a website – that’s the ability for you to edit your website yourself. You may already know of some popular content management systems (CMS), including WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, Wix and Weebly. Leveraging a content management system adds to the cost, but one that is well worth the investment for the majority of websites. Smaller scope websites (1-3 pages) often don’t need one. If you choose not to utilise a CMS you will either need to know how to modify the code yourself to change content, or partner with a freelancer or agency to get the work done.
DIY vs Professional
There are two main pathways when creating a website: do it yourself or hire a professional. If your budget is low and your needs are simple, you might not face too many limitations with the pre-built template solutions found within Squarespace, Wix or Weebly.
Clients looking to an agency most often:
- Want a more professional site
- Are time poor
- Have complex requirements
- Have a marketing budget to maximise
- Are looking for a marketing or strategic partner
Choosing an agency or professional obviously increases cost, however a strong partnership with a provider can improve results as it can allow you to focus on what you do best. It’s important to remember that when partnering with an agency to do your due diligence, check their Google Reviews and ask other customers about their experience.
Copywriting for your website can be done in-house by your team, with a web-specialist freelance copywriter, or a website design agency. If you’re confident in preparing content yourself this can reduce cost. We recommend a few points to ensure your content is effective:
- Define your brand tone to make sure your content is consistent
- Outline your customer or client segments and are you writing content based on their needs
- Optimise words, phrases and call to actions to drive engagement and clicks
- Keep content concise and scannable with succinct headlines
- Research relevant keywords and use them on page to help rankings in search engines.
If you’re confident with the written word and have the time, you could reduce costs by preparing content yourself. If you need assistance, most copywriters will charge on an hourly basis or base costs on a per-page amount.
An average cost range for copywriting on a website of between 10 to 20 pages can vary, from around $1000 to $4000+.
Photography & Videography
Without a doubt, imagery is one of the most important factors in creating a successful website. Again, costs will vary depending on your videographer or photographer, whether you’ll utilise stock imagery, or use a mix of custom and stock.
Unique Photography & Video
Estimating the cost of unique photography and video requires a few elements:
- A shot list which outlines the images/story required
- A storyboard and script for any videos that may be required to be shot
- Whether any talent (actors, models), studios or permits are required
- How many days and locations will be used in shooting
On average custom photography for a mid-sized website can be between $5,000 and $10,000. Producing video content is hugely variable, so this is just a guide, but a very lean shoot could come in at $10,000 with higher complexity productions exceeding $50,000.
On Stock Imagery
Utilising stock imagery is highly affordable with images costing as little as $10. Stock photos should be utilised carefully, cheesy cliches can turn away customers and make your business appear inauthentic.
In general when considering stock photography, your brand and brand message needs to come into play. Does the image match other marketing collateral? Or was it the first result when searching for “Happy staff in office”?
Branding & Brand Strategy
When we have discussions with potential clients about pricing a website, one crucial question is “Do you have a brand strategy?”, by which we mean:
- Your business’ mission, vision and values
- Your key points of difference and strengths
- Your goals for the next 6-months, year or five years
- How you’re going to get there (a website is only part of it)
- A deep understanding of your customers and their needs
- Supporting brand elements and guidelines
- Key messaging and tone of voice
All of these things are required for the content, imagery and design to be appropriate as the website is an extension of your business. If your messaging is not clear, your customers won’t understand you.
An estimate on preparing a brand strategy will land between $10,000 and $20,000 with all collateral (logo, email signature etc) produced beyond that costed on a per-item basis.
A key factor in the cost of a website is how many integrations with other systems you need and whether they require customisation. On the low-cost end: adding a newsletter subscription box and connecting that to Mailchimp. Or, on the more complex side, data syncing from the website to internal accounting systems or integrating a login or membership system.
Pre-built integrations can help keep costs down for a website. Custom integration costs are based on the hours required to build them. It’s a ‘how long is a piece of string’ situation. To determine the cost for custom integrations your agency or freelancer will need to talk with you to get a full understanding of what’s required.
Beyond the design and development of the website itself, some ongoing costs need to be factored into your budget.
Hosting is where your website lives. This generally has either a monthly or annual cost associated with it. The main variable is whether you require dedicated or shared hosting.
Dedicated hosting puts your website on its own server or environment which gives it much larger bandwidth to use as your site is not competing with others on the server. More bandwidth makes your site a lot faster and is generally suitable for larger companies with complex requirements. The Steel Blue website, for example, is hosted with us on a dedicated server.
Costs for dedicated hosting can range between $500 per month to $3,000+.
Shared hosting environments are much cheaper. They’re suitable for most small to medium-sized businesses, who may be one of hundreds sharing the same server. When choosing shared hosting it’s important to consider the security of the provider so that if one site on the server is compromised, yours won’t be.
Costs for shared hosting can range from $200 to $300 per year up to $1,000 per year depending on the level of bandwidth and support you may require.
Your website domain is your internet address. These are highly affordable, usually $20 to $40 per year. It may be worthwhile purchasing more domains which relate to your business operation and have them redirect to your primary domain.
Plugins & Fonts
When using a content management system, you can utilise plugins to achieve more complex functionality. Plugins are either free, have a one off-cost or an annual one. However, the annual fees for certain plugins are not large and your chosen provider will be able to give you a breakdown of this.
Premium fonts can sometimes attract annual license fees. It’s not too common, but some large type foundries (font makers) like Hoefler charge an annual fee to use their fonts. Again your chosen agency will be able to inform you of these costs if there are any.
Ongoing support after the launch of your website is worth considering. In our experience there are two approaches to this kind of support: proactive and reactive. Proactive support sees your provider constantly updating and improving the website by:
- Reviewing and improving page speed
- Monitoring and improving security
- Updating any plugins to stop the site from going out of date
- Reviewing the website in new browsers and devices to improve compatibility
Reactive support means that when you notice an issue or need an update, you’ll be able to talk to someone who springs into action to address it. Costs on this can vary whether this support is via email or phone.
Both support options generally will come with either a monthly cost, or an ad hoc cost as needed. It will differ from provider to provider based on the amount of work required to maintain your website, but expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars per month.
Search Engine Optimisation
The last ongoing item which can affect the cost of a website is whether you require continuous search engine optimisation (SEO) of your website. SEO helps improve organic search rankings within popular search engines such as Google and Bing.
Your website should be considered a key channel in your marketing funnel. Utilising search engine optimisation can have a dramatic impact on the number of visits to your site, increasing the volume and quality of your leads.
Whilst you can optimise a website before launch, an ongoing approach is definitely required to see constant results.
SEO costs will vary per provider and you should be weary of providers which are not transparent in their offering. However you can expect to pay anywhere between $500 and $10,000 per month for SEO.
Any more questions?
We’re happy to chat to give you any more information you might need in determining the cost of your website. If you’re interested, why not contact us?