How much should I pay for a website?

The age old question, finally answered.

A question that literally everyone wants to know the answer to, and its quite a simple answer.

First thing you need to ask yourself is “What is the purpose of the website?”

If you want a website that acts as a landing page for your business so when people google you, you’re in luck. That’s not an expensive website to build at all.

However if you want a website that will help pursue new leads by appearing under “Melbourne plumber” that’s when things tend to change. Similarly if you want to build a website that you plan to sell products on. The more functionality you want from your website, the more complicated it gets, and the more time your web developer is going to need to spend on it. Everybody knows that time == money.

So lets take a look at some examples to help break this down into more simple ball park figures

If you’re looking for a basic what I like to call a “I exist” website. This can be produced for you using tools like Wordpress & Webflow. Any “web developer” that intends to use Wix or Squarespace for your new website, is a developer you want to walk away from.

Your next door neighbours cat can put a website together on Squarespace or Wix using a template. Heck, if someone offers you a solution with square space or Wix - just build the website yourself. Because that’s what those tools were made for. They enable the average person to get a website up quick and easily, but they’re not going to meet your expectations if you’re going out of your way to hire a web developer.

The only downfall in using a such tool is you can’t expect it to compete with all the other businesses that have gone down the route of hiring an experienced web developer.

It’s all about ROI, if you spend little - expect little in return.

WordPress and recently Webflow, are tools that almost every web developer should master. This is because even if you start off with templates or plugins / components - a competent web developer can rewrite code and add new functionality to it to give you that custom feel. Why do we do that? Because quite often a business or an individuals budget for a website isn’t that substantial and sometimes they don’t need a ReactJS website built with a GO server ( for non technicals that’s like a Ferrari ) they just need a Volkswagen Golf. With Wordpress and WebFlow things like SEO can be easily integrated, CDNs ( content delivery networks), Ecommerce, image compression, animations, blogs and so much much more can be plugged into these websites at low cost getting you the biggest bang for your buck you can imagine.

Budget for WordPress of Webflow website from an experienced developer can range anywhere between $2,000 - $10,000. The total price really comes down to the amount of hours the developer expects to have to spend on the build and how experienced they are. Essentially, the more pages and the more things you want your website to do, the more hours its going to take them.

But wait, what about ecommerce ?

My personal opinion is if you have an online business that is selling products your best bet is Shopify. Webflow also has recently entered the Ecommerce scene but theyre super new. Shopify has a great community of developers that you can hire to help you with anything technical and there’s also an abundance of themes available. Their drag and drop builder also makes it really easy for non-technicals to edit content and do product uploads. Shopify also takes care of payment interagrations for you, which is a massive time saver.

How much should I pay for an Shopify website?

Depends on what your developer is doing! If you are just getting a theme together and they’re helping you with product upload and SEO you can expect a cheaper Ecommerce website for around the $2,500 mark. If they are manipulating an existing theme or a premium theme this can go up to well over $10,000 as shopify is a more complicated environment when it comes to development that other website tools like Wordpress and Webflow. The reason why you go for Shopify and you spend that little bit extra is because of the simplicity of the admin panel that you’ll be using and the sheer scale and support you will get from shopify. its a great company and community.

Lastly, custom shopify builds are almost like starting from scratch, they just help developers not have to worry about credit card payments and a few other components. If you want a completely custom ecommerce site and want to use shopify for the backend, be prepared to pay anywhere up to $50,000.

WordPress also has eccomerce, most notably woo commerce but I would not recommend anyone to use woocomerce if you’re not willing to spend that little bit extra more for your developer to give you documentation on how it all works. Its not as user friendly as Shopify and requires more technical support.

Webflow and Wordpress ecommerce can range anywhere up to around $15,000.

Thats all great, but I want something custom.

This is where things go beyond restrictions and you can truely receive exactly what you pay for. Custom websites typically require a higher investment but the return is always there.

If you want a social media website, a CRM, a custom blog, a custom landing page with your own editing software, an admin panel, a web app, a realestate listing website or anything else that you can possibly imagine - this is the way to go.

At this end of sophistication, any solution that isn’t custom made to your needs will fall short in one way or many others. Sometimes WordPress can get most of it done, but it falls short in key areas like user logins and accounts, instant messaging, file management ( just to name a few ) and its frustrating for the client and the developer. Both expected more but the limitations in budget lead to a limited product.

Prices for custom built websites depending on what you need to your website to do can range - vastly.

If you want users to be able to create accounts and log in - this is actually really complicated. Developers will charge a lot for this because they will want to spend a lot fo time on ensuring the website is secure. The last thing you want is a data breach and all your customers or users suing you ( or the developer ) for cutting corners.

Other things like messaging, data storage, search tools, responsive design, animation, admin tools, etc. all are added components that need to be designed and developed carefully. A good developer will take their time and measure twice and code once. Rather than rush the job to meet the deadline or the budget constraint only to have the website constantly require maintenance.