The cost of creating a new website or renovating an existing one is essentially summarized by this formula:
(hours) x (hourly fee) = cost of website creation, redesign or support
The estimates below are based on setting up a website hosted with WordPress.com or a self-hosting provider such as GoDaddy, BlueHost, or DreamHost.
Personal or Business Rates
To equitably charge for website services, it’s considerate to charge less for non-income producing sites.
- Personal. Personal websites typically don’t generate revenue for the site owner. These are special interest or hobby websites. They are usually quite simple in their design. So, the hourly rate to develop such sites is slightly reduced.
- Business. Business websites generate ongoing revenue for the site owner. They offer immediate and long-term value to the site owner. They are also generally more complex to design and establish. A website for an organization or business can be paid by a broader base of people (rather than just an individual). For these reasons, it seems fair to offer these at a non-discounted price.
Website Maintenance: $100 – $120 Per Hour
For existing websites that need basic maintenance, content updates, and care, the cost is $100 per hour for personal websites or $120 per hour for professional websites. This is for meetings, phone calls, emails, research, and time spent updating a site. The cost of ongoing maintenance depends on what requests are made.
New Site Planning Phase: $100 – $1,200
Sometimes the planning phase of a new website can require more time than the actual setup of the website itself. For this reason, it’s essential to charge for time spent in meetings, on phone calls, and responding to emails.
When committees are involved, and internal politics of an organization or business result in multiple changes and rewrites of a website, this can result in additional time and cost.
Sometimes significant time can be required to investigate the details of an existing website, such as where it’s hosted, what the login details are, where the domain is registered.
Simple Website: $100 – $200
A basic static website that provides a simple online presence with a few pages can be usually be created for about $160. This is equal to about two hours of time which includes discussing the site while simultaneously creating the site. Simple instructions are offered to the site owner so they can keep the site updated. Such a site might include a basic theme and a few pages with the possibility for additional posts. At $100 per hour, a simple business website might be $100 to $200.
- The ongoing cost of such a site might be $70 a year (if it’s a new website hosted with WordPress.com).
- Any additional training or site development would be billed at $100 per hour for personal sites or $120 per hour for business sites.
If a person can sit down over a cup of coffee, and in 60 minutes describe their basic needs, and then in another 60 minutes join in the development of a website, then the a simple website could be created in about 2 hours along with some training.
Basic Website: $500 – $1,000
An enhanced website would include everything in the basic website package, but the site might include additional content such as newsletters, articles, photos, and other online pages. The additional time required to get these pages online results in a higher cost. An enhanced website might also have more intricate graphic design work which takes time to develop — or sometimes a lot of time if there are many renditions of a site with ongoing changes.
Enhanced Website: $1,000 – $2,000
A premium website would include everything that an enhanced website offers, yet more time would be included for additional advanced training and social network integration with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and others. Also, additional promotional efforts would be made to promote the site and presence on the various social network platforms.
Premium Website: $2,000 – $5,000
A deluxe website would include everything provided with a premium website, but more time would be developed in creating content. This might include photography work, video production, and other custom services and features listed below.
There are ongoing costs of maintaining a website. At a minimum, there is a cost for the registration of the website address, and there are hosting fees. Hosting fees can be $80 per year to $$300 per year for more advanced websites depending on where your site is hosted.
Content updates are typically required throughout the year as well as website software updates. The cost for ongoing site upkeep and maintenance varies depending on how much time is required. A more complex site with plenty of updates will be more costly.
If additional user support and training is needed over time, this can result in additional costs.
Managed Hosting or Self Hosting
A managed hosting service such as WordPress.com provides automatic updates and security for your website at about $80 per year. However, such sites are sometimes restrictive in the customizations permitted.
Self hosted sites are usually more costly, but can be more economical for those who need plenty of storage capacity (for photos or video). Self hosted sites are necessary for those who need advanced customization of the site.
High-end managed websites provide additional robustness, security, and the ability to serve thousands of visitors per day. These may cost $30 to $50 per month or more and are typically for larger organizations or businesses.
Additional Services and Features
These are some of the additional services that may be desirable for a certain website project.
- Ad-Free. Websites that are hosted on WordPress.com occasionally display advertising at the bottom of the page. This can be removed by paying $30 per year to WordPress.com. This isn’t an issue for self hosted sites.
- Akismet Anti-Spam Service. To configure anti-spam services, it’s necessary to setup an Akismet account. This can be done in less than an hour.*
- Email. Most organizations and businesses would like email accounts setup that reflect the website name and address, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. To setup accounts and test them can be done in less than 30 minutes per account. This includes the conversations relating to what email addresses (names) to use.
- Facebook Page. A Facebook page is an effective way to reach a larger online audience with your message. People who won’t find your website, may more likely find and more easily share your Facebook page. A nice looking Facebook page can be setup in less than an hour. A high quality header (851×315 pixels) and profile picture (500×500 pixels) is designed to make the page attractive and professional. The page is then linked to the website so that website posts are automatically announced on the Facebook page.
- JetPack Services. Enhancements in photography presentation, and social network integration are available with the JetPack Services. This takes about an hour to setup and requires a WordPress.com user account.
- Photography. With some business websites, such as restaurants for example, it’s necessary to have nice quality photographs of the venue, food offerings, and beverages.
- Video. Some websites offer services, training, or presentations that require video integration. For this purpose, it may be necessary to have a YouTube and Google account.