How much does a website cost? That is a great question. And I bet you’re having a very difficult time getting a straight answer—that’s because any salesperson worth their salt won’t tell you how much a website costs until you’re willing to sit down and listen to their sales pitch. In this podcast we break down the cost for you by explaining the different types of websites, the common ways sites are built, and how much each of those ways cost! Want an actual online quote on how much a website would cost you? We have a Website Price Calculator Tool free to use.

Hosted By
Monica Maye Pitts
Monica Maye Pitts Chief Creative Officer

How much does a website cost? That is a great question. And I bet you’re having a very difficult time getting a straight answer—that’s because any salesperson worth their salt won’t tell you how much a website costs until you’re willing to sit down and listen to their sales pitch. In this podcast we break down the cost for you by explaining the different types of websites, the common ways sites are built, and how much each of those ways cost! Want an actual online quote on how much a website would cost you? We have a Website Price Calculator Tool free to use.



Hello friends


and welcome to Marketing with Purpose. I'm Monica Pitts and today I am going to answer a very loaded question. One that people ask all the time, how much does a website cost? And usually, when people ask me this question, I answered it with about 20 more questions. I have even broken down how much a website costs into exactly how we estimate a website. And I will save that riveting topic for another day, and just link to that blog post and video in my show notes. But your website is not going to build itself. So how much does it cost? I'm going to today break that down into the types of websites. So first, you'll know what category of site you're looking for. And then I'll go over four common ways to have your site built and how much each of those ways might cost. If you already know what kind of site you want, you can just skip all this nonsense and go to and click on our website cost calculator. We took our estimating spreadsheet that we actually use to estimate sites and we turned it into an app. So you can use it to estimate a website. And if you fill it out, you will definitely get a price of the website that you entered the data in for. Now, I'm not going to promise you that that's going to be the price that a web designer quotes you. But I will promise you that you'll have a price at least to start with. Another promise that I can't make is that Stacy won't call you because if you fit into her ideal buyer persona, she is probably going to reach out to you but I do promise that if she does call you she's not going to try to sell you anything that you didn't already want to begin with. So without further ado, let's get to business. Let's talk about the types of sites. There's three types of sites that we'll talk about today, borrowed, rented, and owned. Starting with borrowed, so a borrowed site is a web presence that you've set up on someone else's infrastructure. When I say infrastructure, I don't mean like, you get to do everything on it like not Wix that'll be rented. But this is borrowed. So things like Facebook, LinkedIn, House, Angie's List, Etsy, and eBay, these are all borrowed ways to build a website, there's little to no setup investment. And what makes them really cool is it's very easy to reach out to your buyers, because you're already on a network filled with people. For example, if you're on Etsy, you're on a network that's filled with people who are selling products like yourself, people know to go to Etsy they know to go to eBay or to Amazon to buy these things. But this setup is not super customizable. I mean, it's like living in your parent’s house, it's their house, it's their rules, they own it. Now, if something were to happen and Amazon were to go under, and that was the only resource that you had to run your business through, then you're going under with it, and you're gonna have a lot of inventory to move on eBay. 

So the second type of site is rented. Now, this infrastructure is something that also has a low setup investment, but you're probably going to pay monthly rent for. So it's more like when you moved into your first apartment, it's things like Wix, Weebly, Shopify, Squarespace, and then like the GoDaddy Website Builder. So these all offer moderate to full customization levels. Now you don't own it, you don't own this space, you're renting it right? So you can't remodel the kitchen. And you know, it's not like that. You can paint the walls, you can move around the furniture, you can make it your own using all of the different systems that they give you. But if they just don't offer the system that you need, then you're going to have to move to another system. So moving is starting over. Now there are some ways that you can suck out everything from your apartment and move it to another apartment. But it's still not like moving a house, right? You're at the mercy of your landlord. Just like with the other section with borrowed, if you rent something and your landlord decides to raise the rent, you pay that new rent. It's not up to you, right? Now the next example is owned. So examples of own sites would be things that are built on a open-source infrastructure or things that are like just custom coded by yourself. So it could be WordPress or Drupal or Joomla or even you might just use Dreamweaver could be just straight-up HTML. Now, these often have a higher setup investment, depending upon if you know what you're doing. It's not that they're not awesome, and it's not that they're not easy to use. It's just that the learning curve on them is more intense. When you get into something like if you ever went into GoDaddy is old website tonight. That thing was awful to use even as someone who builds websites, I was like, this is terrible. But they do offer a full customization so you can do all this stuff in them. Those rented systems, those things have a user interface that is really made for someone to just go in and build their own stuff. And these owned interfaces, they are much more robust. And so while they offer that full customization, you might need to know a little bit more about them to really get it to do everything you want it to do. They can move from server to server, and you can convert from one to another. Though it's not fun, I wouldn't suggest it I would pick the one that you want and really try to stick with it because it's not fun to go, having done it before. And you can custom build your own home with these things. So they do have a higher setup investment though because you're gonna have to think through all the ins and outs and get them all working exactly the way that you wanted them to. So now that we know those three different types of websites borrowed, rented, and owned? How much do each one of them cost? And to that, of course, I have another 500 questions for you. But the only one I'm really going to ask you is like, What do you want? What do you want out of that website? Of course, I have to give you a big bad price disclaimer, because people call my company, they'll be like, can you build me a website for free? Can you build me a website for $25? Well, I mean, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I mean, you have humans working for you. And most websites are built by humans, and probably not stupid humans unless you want a stupid website. So if you want a website for really, really cheap, you have to realize that you're working with somebody who's willing to work really, really cheap. It could be because they don't know what they're doing. Or maybe you're their guinea pig, or, or it could be that they're not actually giving you what they say that they're going to give you or that you're just going to have to figure it out on your own. So just be real with yourself as you go into any relationship with any business, not just a web designer. And if it's too good to be true, it is. You're going to end up with something that you weren't expecting in the end.

So every website has costs that you should probably budget for every single year. Now, remember that the lifespan of your website is someplace between three and six years. during that timeframe, that three to six-year timeframe, your budget per year will vary, but some things will always stay the same. So for example, you're always going to budget for a domain name and that should be around $25 or less a year, and you're probably going to pay for hosting. Now if you have a rented service that's probably tied into your monthly rent. If you have an own service then you will likely have hosting that you pay for every single month. And that would be between eight and $25. You'll also have maintenance. So I would budget around an hour a month, like around $300 a year for maintenance. And by maintenance, I mean, keeping your software up to date and your plugins up to date, making sure that all the functionality in your website is locked down and safe. And you know, unhackable. Well, what's unhackable really? But making it as safe as you possibly can. And if you give yourself 15 minutes a week to go in and update those things, then you should be okay in the long run. But you do need to realize that that has to happen, especially if you chose an owned option. Now, updates to your website are going to happen, whether you're going to do them yourself, or you're going to pay someone else to do them. I mean, they all depend on your expectations of what you want to do with your site. So I always tell people what to budget between five and 10% of the site setup cost to pay for those updates every single year, you will cost you more money if you're going to blog all the time or if you're making videos for it, those are all things that you would add to your website. But in general, there's just things that happen out online that Google pushes for that means that you have to change stuff on your website. You know, like right now you need to add a privacy policy if you don't already have one. And you need to also have a cookie pop up if you're using Google Analytics to track visitor behavior. So that happens, and you have to put it in and it takes time to do that, whether it's your time or you're paying for someone else's time, it costs money. And then around that three-year mark, you're going to allocate more funds to beef up that website. So it might be that you want to add more functionality because now you have more need as a company to use your website to help you run your business. Or it could be that you need to update the way that it Looks because all of your competitors have websites that are really, really awesome. And now you want to look more awesome like them. So these are all the things that you would budget for every single year. 

Now let's talk about setting it up, to begin with. One option that you can do to set up your website is DIY. Now, those are all your rented spaces, right? Wi, Weebly, Shopify, Squarespace, not .org but .com, GoDaddy, Website Builder. You're going to put it on Etsy, eBay, Amazon, all those are all like DIY options, and they're all rented spaces, right? So make sure if you're choosing a rented space that you pick the right landlord, you don't want some slumlord, who's not going to take care of you. And you also need to make sure that you have the right level of functionality available to you from the very, very beginning. If you think that you're going to sell stuff online, then it makes sense to sell stuff online. Like, right, you can't just put your website into a service that doesn't natively allow you to sell stuff. It does not fulfill your goal. So make your list of requirements and then go through that list. As you're picking which DIY system or rented space you want to use. You need to ask yourself, like, Is it really cost-effective? Is it getting you where you want to go? And then factor in the cost of your software and your ongoing costs. Be very realistic with yourself about your comfort level with the internet and computers. Like, don't start an Amazon business. If you hate the internet, it doesn't work. You have to use it. I helped a client manage their Amazon business for I remember like a year and I was like whoa, this is intense. This is a whole like an entity of itself. I thought it was gonna be a lot more search engine optimization when I took on the project. But then when we got into it, I was like, No, no, this thing is like a Google. Like, it's like Google, it's this whole other

thing that you have to learn exactly how it works, and how to pitch your products, and how to get them just the right way so that way they show up. And not to mention like your product itself has to be super competitive, and something that people want. I mean, it is for real sales out there, guys. So be realistic with yourself before you just dive into that one. Know that there's a mid to low level of customization, you can't do things that are outside their limits. And you're gonna allow yourself about four to six months to build one of these things because it's going to take you time you're doing it on your own. Now, as I went through and I looked at the pricing for every single one of those things that I just listed, some of them start at zero dollars a month, others of them Are $300 a month. So, those basic websites though, they're gonna run you, sometimes somewhere between 25 and $30 a month, which is like covering your hosting costs plus a little bit more for using their system. So that's not bad. And I'm not saying that you should not do this. If you're a startup business, you need a website. And if what you can have right now is something that you build yourself, then go out and build it yourself and use your own pictures and your own words and represent yourself as exactly who you are. That is okay. Someday you may grow up into this crazy robust website and that will come in time. There is nothing wrong with using new services, especially if this is where your budget is, but you do need a website and there you go. You can have one for $25 to $30 a month or for as little as zero dollars. So the next way that you might choose to build your website is the gypsy way I call it and this is a freelancer right. So before you choose to work with a freelancer, you're going to double-check their experience level, their availability, and what process they use to take you through building a site. You don't want this to be their first rodeo unless you are willing to be their guinea pig. Like, if you've got the patience for that, then go for it. And if you don't, then you need to find someone else who has more experience to take you through the process. Experience means money experience means that you will pay someone more for your site. But you do need to ask yourself, how much money is this going to cost me in my own time and my own frustration if I'm working with somebody who doesn't have the experience? Now, I'm not lobbying for you to not use a freelancer, there are freelancers out there who are amazing they can do the craziest things and they're super amazing. Very reliable, awesome. I'm in awe of them. They're so smart. And if you can find one of those, by all means, work with them. However, if you're working with somebody who's like, super young, and doesn't know what they're doing, definitely give yourself a gut check before you move forward. If it's too good to be true, it probably is. Now, Stacy and I just recently did a podcast about how to break up with your web designer. I would listen to that, before you hire a freelancer, not because you're planning to break up with them. But because in that episode, we talked through all the things that you need to understand and to have access to, if you're going to fire your web designer, or if your web designer just leaves. That is one of the challenges with a freelancer is they decide, hey, the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, and they go take a job someplace. So then they’re gone, and you can't get to your stuff anymore. And in that case, you need to know where all your stuff is. That episode will help you with that, if you're going to work with a freelancer definitely go with a common software don't do anything proprietary because you want to have something that you can find support for online and that you could move to another developer to work on if you needed to. These types of websites have limited the high customization, it just depends on how good your Freelancer is. And I probably gave yourself three to six months to get this stuff done. I plan on paying freelancers, someplace between $10 and $50 an hour, sometimes more, it all depends on their experience level. So a six-page website might cost you between 350 and $2,000 with a freelancer. So the next type of website builder, you might choose as a spec builder. So this would be like a sideline web service. They use templates that are used to build spec websites. They are not custom homes. Now I see a lot of these types of services targeting specific industries like lawyers, dentists, veterinarians, it may come as a perk of a software or it could just be a standalone service. Either way,

they're out there you can you can find one and definitely buy one this way. So if you do choose to use a spec builder, definitely ask if they're buying a template, because some of these people say that they're not spec builders, but they actually are. They're telling you that they're going to custom build a website for you, but what they're really going out and doing is taking a template, it could be a free one or a purchased one. And they put your information in it and they charge you the same price that you would pay for a custom website. Lame. Oh, that is totally junk. I had a client that came to me that sent me a link to her website, and another company's website. And she said, Monica, this is totally insane. Look at this, these two websites are exactly the same and they were and when I looked in the code, it's because they were a template that this company had charged her custom prices for. But it wasn't a custom template. It was just a template. And there are many other websites out online that have it. And I even found the place that sells it and center link to it. And I'm like, I'm so sorry, you totally got scammed. So don't let that be you. Double-check. Now beware of proprietary software. This is one of those things where if it's built-in this company's proprietary software, you don't own it. You can't just pull out the stuff in it and move it someplace else. You can't just switch developers you're with these people. And that is it and you could copy and paste all your information out of your website. But that's kind of where it stops. Ask if it's American made if that's important to you because some companies outsource everything to India. And if that's not what you're all about, then make sure. The challenge with working in that situation is that we're on totally different time zones and it's difficult to get things done quickly and communicate effectively back and forth between our countries. There will be limited to moderate customization options here. Some of them may have more, others don't have any. So, look into that. Remember, you're gonna make a list of everything that you want, and then you can check it against your options. But generally, this has a pretty fast turnaround on it. And you could be working with people that really speak your language. And this might be awesome. It might integrate with your, you know, client management system or your billing software, your scheduling system, this could be the best way for your company, even if it's not super customizable. If it makes your life easier. This might be the way to go. So I really don't have a freaking clue what these costs, I had to leave them in because there is just so much. There are a lot of them out there. Now the cost could be a fixed bid, or it could be anywhere. Like, I have clients who told me that they pay $100 a month for this type of service. I've had other clients that told me that they pay 1500 dollars or more a month for this type of service. So make sure that you know what you're getting before you start signing a check for 1500 dollars a month because that's enough. Yeah. To make me blink at least. Alright, so the last one that I'm going to go over with you about how to design your website is a design-build process. I like this process because this is what I use that does not make it right for everyone. This website, it could be a rented website. It could be that someone is taking you through this process and doing it on an interface like Wix or Squarespace. It could be the It's an owned option where if somebody is building you something on, or Joomla, or Drupal, when you're going to work with this type of company, you need to read the fine print and understand if you own the product at the end, they may write all of your content for you, they may take all of your photos and in their contract, it might say that they own all of it. They may even own your domain name. Be careful, you don't want that to happen. You're paying for these things, you should own them at the end. Also, be aware of proprietary software. Because once again, if you want to fire your web designer, you've got to be able to take yourself with you. And if it's built on something that only they can administer and use, then that is not going to work. Ask if it's American made again, make sure that they're not outsourcing it. If what you want to do is work with the people that you chose to work with and not just have them manage your project from abroad.

You got to ask. You will have more consulting and planning time wrapped up in this type of a website, which is great, it usually makes the process go way faster. I say way faster, it doesn't make it go faster, it makes it go easier, it makes it smoother. It does, however, cost more money because you're spending more time with someone, you have the opportunity to have a more ongoing relationship with some of these companies, though, you can do the same thing with your freelancers or your spec companies as well. These types of companies offer a moderate to high customization. For websites  they can do as much as they can. So if you need something that does backflips, you're gonna need to go design-build versus something that you know does forward rolls, you might be able to rent something. Okay, so this lower turnaround on these is probably two to six months, sometimes longer depending upon how robust you're making something and if you're like doing something completely original. A six-page website from a design-build company that's like a mid-Missouri design-build firm would probably cost you someplace between 3,500- $6,000. Now I emphasize mid-Missouri because in mid-Missouri, the cost of living is very low. If you go out to the coasts, that website is going to cost far more, because those people have a much higher cost of living. Therefore their hourly rate is going to be higher and the cost of the website will be more. For some people, it's super important that they can look somebody in the face to hire them to build their website. And for other people, they don't mind working virtually with a company because it gets them a great product at a lower price. And that is one of the things that I feel like makes MayeCreate an OK solution to go with is that because we live in this area where the cost of living is so low. We can produce a great product at a price that's reasonable to people in an area that the cost of living is so high. Once again, though, depending upon how much experience this company has, they could be charging higher prices. There's firms in St. Louis that have been around for a really long time doing marketing, not just, you know, web design, and they're gonna charge $120 an hour instead of, you know, the $96 that we charge. So, it's all different. Okay, so there you go. That was a loaded question, wasn't it? So how much does a website cost? Somewhere between zero and multiple thousands of dollars. Today, we went over the types of sites, the borrowed ones, rented sites, and owned websites, and then we talked about ways to build your rented or your own site and the cost expectations for each. We talked about DIY options. Gypsy spec and also design-build options. Okay, so now that you know more, you might be ready to jump on over to and click on our website cost calculator. And remember that we took our estimating spreadsheet that we actually use to estimate sites and we turned it into an app so you can estimate your website. And I mean, I gotta tell you again, if you fill it out, I cannot promise that Stacy won't call you I can promise that she's super nice and that she's not going to sell you something that you didn't already want. Now at You can find the transcription of this episode, and a link to a nicely formatted blog post over the topic with visuals and links to all of the resources that I mentioned in the episode. So thank you so much for going over this humdinger of a topic with me today. I know you got other things to do. So get out of here and go forth and market with purpose.


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