You’re a small business owner or solopreneur, you know you need to launch or update your website, and you’ve heard WordPress is the way to go. The first question you ask: What does it cost to develop a WordPress website for your business?

The short answer: it depends. I’m not dodging the question. Instead, I’m going to explain why you might get wildly different estimates from different people –
designers, developers, do-it-yourselfers, agencies, friends. It’s not that easy to put a single price tag on the varying types of websites and design. The cost of a website depends not only on the size and complexity of the site design but also its functions, original design elements, and maintenance activities.

So, is the cost of developing a WordPress-based website $250, $2000, $4500, $12000, or $32000? Or -in some cases- $100,000?

The longer, more useful answers can be found in the chart below. It shows the different price ranges, on average, and what you can expect to get within each:

Cost of Website Design

For professional website designers and developers like me, we want to ensure your website is an integrated part of your overall marketing and branding strategy. Thus, the services we offer are not just about hosting and design, it’s also about:

  • Your business, your story, your goals, and your aspirations.
  • Your comparative positioning in the market you operate in, your competition, and your branding.
  • The technology platform your website is based on, website management, and good housekeeping.
  • The exact set of requirements expected from your website, in terms of business investment and the expected ROI.
  • Whether or not training on WordPress is required? Whether you’d manage the website after it goes live?
  • Who fixes bugs? What happens when (and if) the site goes down?
  • Despite everything, websites can fail. Hosting can break down. Malware attacks, hacking, and malicious files will often find their way into your server. How do you solve that?
  • The sum total value by grouping value accrued from how well your website is optimized to generate leads, position your brand, and about how it turns casual visitors into lifelong customers.

Put all of that together and what you spend on website design becomes a relevant investment, which much be considered within the framework of your overall marketing budget and activities. While your website lives, it has the most value to you when it is positioned and used to be a marketing-centric, sales machine. Additionally questions we help you solve: So, how do you market the website? Digital marketing has technology fused with the actual marketing itself. Who manages that?

However, for a technically-challenged, busy entrepreneur, the pricing aspect of a website is mired in multiple takes, different proposals, and thick competition. While undercutting prices and cheap website deals are always available, I believe it pays to invest in a strategic marketing partner when you select your website team.

Put another way, the saying goes you get monkeys when you pay peanuts. Monkeys (in terms of website design), by the way, cost you more than you expect and give you nothing in return. You may very well end up paying more in terms of money, sweat, and aggravation for a website that does not support your marketing goals nor deliver value to your business.


Different types of pricing strategies

There are 5 different kinds of pricing, as Brent Weaver of ugurus.com points out:

  • Hours/time
  • Market Value and Demand
  • Scope & complexity
  • Relationship with the clients (that’s you)
  • Value & ROI

Most designers and developers price their work based on hours/time, although some sell packages and more are moving to value-based pricing. A note about how we work at LPS Web Design. We customize our website and strategic solutions for each client, rather than offer a standard package. We work with our clients to ascertain scope and complexity and propose either an hours-based or fixed price set of services based on different aspects of the client requirements. We tailor a competitive proposal within fair-market ranges and recommendations to meet client needs.

Here’s a rundown of what goes in, even before the proposal comes out:

The Platform

For regular websites usually built for businesses, there’s HTML5 & CSS3. Plus, a choice between WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and perhaps even a custom content management systems (CMS). For ecommerce (i.e., selling things via your website), there’s a full spectrum of choices between platforms such as Shopify, Magento, OSCommerce, and many others.

Picking the first one your neighbor suggested is a recipe for disaster. The choice of platform, if done wrong, can set you back thousands of dollars, time, and opportunity cost when you decide to move.

This consideration, hence, is a carefully grafted one. You’ve been warned.

Hosting

For WordPress, there are popular hosting platforms available. Some of them are ridiculously cheap, such as shared hosting. These hosting platforms allow your website to share server space with thousands of other websites. This can leave your website vulnerable to malicious software, hacking attempts, and imminent server crashes. Many of these have generic or lousy support services. Some offer premium backup, security or support packages that often add up.

You also have carefully managed, WordPress specific hosting solutions that come at a premium. They are expensive because your website loads fast. You’d never have to worry about hacking and taking regular backups. All this is done for you.

Which you choose depends on the mission-critical nature of your site. Can you afford your site to be down for a few days? How disastrous is it if your site gets hacked? We can help you navigate the complexity of hosting choices and make recommendations that make sense for your business.

Design

You are in business to chase your entrepreneurial dream. You are in this to make a difference to your customers and “have fun scratching out a living”, as Kevin O’Leary — owner of O’Leary Investments and Shark Tank Celebrity — likes to quip.

How your website is designed has a long way to go with your entrepreneurial dream, with the success of your business or projects.

Design isn’t just about the visual appeal, though. Nor is it about cranking out a ready-made template. It’s about the fusion of what customers absolutely love to see (appeal, aesthetics, looks), to what they can relate to (colors, the mood, typography), to how well the website itself does the job (copy, form elements, social media buttons).

Design without purpose isn’t design; it’s doodling.

Marketing

After you build it, they won’t come. Most entrepreneurs and many clients are usually shocked after they spend a good 6 weeks to 6 months (or even a year) — after getting websites designed — only to realize that no one’s showing up at the door after all this effort, money, resources spent.

Your website is virtually unknown. That happens when the focus is purely on website development or design, and not on marketing.

What’s the point of building a high-converting, beautiful, modern, responsive, and incredibly well-positioned website if no one is showing up?

Good website designers make it a point to set up the website to ensure that it’s marketing ready. They should ensure fast loading times, optimize the website for search (technical or on-page SEO), integrate social media bridges, put up opt-in forms for marketing, and even help clients with connecting the website with Google Analytics or remarketing tags, or Google AdWords conversion tags.

Responsible, experienced, and pro-client website designers or developers make sure that their client websites are ready for business.

We do just that.

Special Considerations

Looking to build a 100-page, niche portal? Are you looking for a website like trulia.com or booking.com?

Would you like an ecommerce-enabled website? Do you have something in mind that requires custom web application, building a SaaS application, or building the next Facebook.com?

These requirements are highly-complex and are usually tended to on a case-by-case basis. Ecommerce websites, for instance, also requirement integrations with payment gateways, connecting merchant accounts, etc.

Complex website projects involve APIs (with other third-party solutions), coding from scratch, UX/UI custom interfaces, and a lot more.

How many hours would you think it takes for all this? How much of a value does the website now have?

What are you prepared to pay for websites designed or developed the right way?

If a website is built in such a way that it’s not only “built” on the right platform, with the best design it could probably have, stands by to promote your brand very well, and geared to generate leads, what could it be worth to you, in numbers?