What does a website cost in 2018. Your individual circumstances will determine the cost of your website however, there are roughly four tiers that we can categorize the cost of a website into:
1. Do it yourself R 200 – R 1,500
2. Freelancer R 3,000 – R 8,000
3. Digital Agency R 8,000 – R 20,000
4. Agency R20,000 – R300,000
It’s difficult to judge the cost of a website by just looking at the design. It’s the same as asking how much should a car cost? You have to be more specific.
What type of car do you want? – How much can you spend? – What will you use it for?
It’s quite a complicated question when you start to break down
1. What does a website cost when you build it yourself. [Tier 1 DIY]
[Total cost: R200 – R1,500] When it comes to building, managing, and operating your website, there are 5 main phases you need to go through in every website project:
- Website setup
- Learn how to use a website builder
- Designing the layout
- Content creation
- Ongoing maintenance and hosting
For each phase, you have to determine if you have the time, technical or design skills to accomplish each one of them.
You can build a website in a few ways:
- [Intermediate] CMS – Use a Content Management System Software like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Umbraco
- [Super Easy] DaD – Use online Drag & Drop Website Builder
cost changes depending on which type of builder you use.
Coding your website from scratch [Difficult and time consuming]
- Setup costs (This is absolutely free, you can start coding your website with a simple code editor like Brackets)
- Learning how to code (This is the tricky part, it will take you many hours of self training to build a fully responsive website. You can learn for free from amazing resources like W3schools or you can take paid courses from places like Skillshare)
- Design costs (If you don’t want to learn to code, you can grab free HTML templates online and start editing them from there or even better you can buy cheap HTML templates from Themeforest templates start from R150 up)
- Maintenance costs (Hosting an HTML website can cost R9 – R50 per month and a domain name will cost you R80 – R200 a year)
Using a Content Management System (CMS) as a website builder [Intermediate and time consuming]
- Setup Costs (expect to pay R60 – R 300 a month for hosting depending on the size and traffic to your website, initial setup on your hosting provider could be free if you do it yourself, if hiring a pro expect to pay R600 – R 2500 once off for the setup)
- Learning how to use a CMS (only if you are going to do stuff yourself, it will take you a few hours to learn the very basics and weeks to months to learn a CMS, you can get free tutorials or pay up around R600 a month for premium tutorials)
- Design Costs (basic templates will cost R400 – R700, premium templates R1000 – R3000, template alterations free if you do it yourself note there is a massive learning curve, to hire a pro or agency expect R 4000 – R 20 000)
- Building Costs (this is putting the right pages in the right places, adding modules, plugins, contact forms, populating content etc again free diy massive learning curve, R250 – R1000 per hour hiring a pro and expect to pay anywhere R6500 – R 50,000 plus depending how much content and pages)
- Maintenance Costs (hiring a developer would cost you about R1000 – R2500 per hour, expect to budget for R6500 – R12,000 annually)
To do it yourself using a CMS could cost you as little as R 1500 to get started but, learning to do it yourself would take months and a lot of aggravation.
Using a drag and drop web builder [Easy and fast]
- Setup Costs (automated setup free, domain registration would still cost you a minimum of R60 annually)
- Website Builder Software Learning Costs (learn in a few minutes or hours)
- Design Costs (templates are free some have upgraded premium templates)
- Building Costs (you can put everything together yourself or a pro would cost you R250 – R800 an hour, content creation and population would cost you R 6000 – R20 000 plus depending on the scope of the project)
- Maintenance Costs (each platform charge you a monthly fee starting R60 a month scaled up with packages to R600 a month)
You might say “why not just go for a website builder it’s much cheaper”. Choosing the right option really comes down to your goals for the website. Each option has pros and cons. Choosing the cheapest option does not mean it’s the right option for your business.
Doing the job yourself is by far the cheapest upfront way to getting your website up and running however, in the long run choosing this option might hurt your business and cost you a lot of lost revenue in the future. Check out my article that explains how a cheap website can negatively impact your business.
As a business owner you really want to spend your time building your business, if you waste time learning to make your own website you are simply losing valuable time working on your product or service. That’s where hiring a freelancer, digital agency or agency comes in.
2. What does a website cost when you hire a freelancer. [Tier 2 Freelancer]
If making your own website is too much of a hassle or if you decide leaving it to a professional is better, your next cheapest option is to hire a freelancer.
There are a lot of very professional freelancers that will be able to create a stunning website for your business at an affordable price. Freelancers don’t have employees to pay. They work from home and minimize a whole bunch of costs which makes them cheap to hire.
How do you find a freelance web designer?
You can use services like Freelancer.com, Upwork.com or Fiverr.com to find a freelancer for your project. There are also many Facebook groups where you can simply post a project and hundreds of freelancers will send you proposals.
All freelancers work on an hourly basis, you pay for the amount of hours they have. This is where a problem starts to arise. One person can only do so much in a day. Freelancers take up a few projects at a time to make a better living for theme selves. This spreads their time thin and could leave your project dragging on for longer than you anticipated.
Pros and cons of using a freelancer.
As an immediate upside, freelancers are much cheaper than agencies however, there are far more downsides hiring freelancers than there are upsides. Read this article for more details.
Summing up the cons, freelancers often specialise in only one thing. You will be able to find a freelancer to create you a beautiful website but, that website will not come with a marketing strategy, it won’t be SEO optimised and it won’t be conversion optimised. Your goals might be different, if you are a photographer who needs to showcase your work and you don’t need traffic to your website or you don’t need visitors taking action like; buying products, opting in for newsletters, contacting you for services or finding you through search engines, then choosing a freelancer for your project will be the best way to save money, time and frustration.
This is where agencies come in, for when you need a website that actually gives you a return on your investment and makes your business money.
3. What does a website cost when you use a virtual digital agency. [Tier 3 Digital Agency]
If you want to take your business seriously and create a website that is purposely designed to make you money, you want to hire an agency.
Uhuru perfectly defines digital marketing agencies as:
“A digital marketing agency is different from your traditional marketing agency in that they are typically focused on results-based marketing in the digital world. Measurable marketing and ROI is the name of the game.
A legitimate digital marketing agency doesn’t practice “spray and pray” marketing. Gone are the radio or TV spots and magazine ads. In their place come a team of strategists, consultants, creatives, and developers that work together from the ground up to deliver quantifiable results. A digital marketing agency is a brand-development and lead-generating engine.”
What makes a virtual agency different from non-virtual agencies?
Virtual agencies are talented teams that work from home. An agency like Kreonovo offers everything a full-scale-agency offers with the difference of overhead cost. Virtual agencies don’t have office rent to pay which dramatically reduces the overhead and ultimately the hourly cost of employees. Virtual agencies still employee highly skilled veteran creatives and strategists. The only difference is teams collaborate in an online environment. This means teams can work from anywhere, this makes for happier workers and translates to better quality service for clients.
Virtual agency vs freelancer
Earlier in this post I talked about freelancers. A freelancer is one person and usually only specialises in one thing. Virtual or even non-virtual agencies offer a very different service. Both types of agencies have an arsenal of highly skilled professionals across multiple fields, all of which contributes to the creation of a client website.
A freelancer and an agency approaches a web design project very differently. Freelance web designers might put a lot of focus on the visual design and UX of a website where an agency will consider if the project will generate an ROI. Agencies look at understanding a client’s business, how businesses interact with their clients, what the long and short term goals are, looking at competitors, doing unimaginably amounts of pre-project research and coming up with a strategy whereas on the other hand, freelancers might only look to understand the client’s design goals.
More often than not, small businesses are unaware of exactly how lucrative a website can be if it was purposefully built to generate an ROI. Have a look at a client case study of ours where we helped a local business increase their sales by 700% in a year, just to show you the power of strategy and teams working on a project.
Am I digital agency biased?
No. I would simply like to illustrate that the work a freelancer offers is very different to what an agency offers. We get hundreds of proposal requests a month from small businesses in South Africa. A common objection is the difference in cost with our quotes and freelancers’ quotes.
We have been in business for a long time and an occurring theme is clients who we quoted years ago come back to us after going through a handful of freelancers. By that time, they have spent way more capital than they would of just investing in their website properly the first time around.
Again it really depends on your business goals.
4. Cost of a website if you hire a digital marketing agency. [Tier 4 Agency]
Generally agencies of this nature have a high minimum entry project cost. This is simply because of the overheads and amount of resources they will dedicate to your project. Full-scale agencies don’t stop at just a web design but will usually also include a range of services built into the project.
It’s not enough to only have a website, you need to market that website. In the same way as with virtual agencies, full-scale digital marketing agencies have teams of professionals working on different aspects of the project. If you are a a large corporation you would want a full-scale agency on your side, that would go to your company’s marketing department and work very closely in person to ensure corporate guidelines are met throughout the life of the project.
It’s very difficult for a virtual agency to pull off the same level service without physically being with the marketing teams of your business. Even though modern technology can bring teams together on a global level, there is just no way virtual agencies can offer that level of personal service and immediate reaction often required with large complex projects.
Conclusion – Which option is right for me?
It’s difficult to pin the cost of a website to an exact science. There are just too many variables involved to include accurate estimates without completely understanding your goals. I will try my best to give you a rough idea:
1. Do it yourself R 200 – R 1,500
Go for this option if you want a website to showcase a side project, for personal use, a portfolio of some kind or you just need information to be reached online temporarily eg. a wedding or event. I would chose a drag and drop builder because of the ease of use and endless predesigned templates available.
2. Freelancer R 3,000 – R 8,000
Choose a freelancer for the same reasons you would for 1. DIY but, when you need something more specific or customised that’s outside of your skill set or time, or when you already have a website and you need alterations or additional functionality. Don’t use freelancers to create business websites.
3. Digital Agency R 8,000 – R 20,000
Your best choice for business websites, or for selling something online – eCommerce, complex and large projects, highly customised work or when you need your website to generate income for you or your business.
4. Agency R20,000 – R300,000
Chose an agency for the same reasons as with 3. Virtual agency but, you need a dedicated project manager that would regularly make personal appearances at your office, or a project manager goes to the agency to meet with the teams working on the project.
Affordable web design agency
If you are looking for a reliable digital agency that would make a website based around a carefully planned strategy that generates a positive ROI for your business, feel free to contact us today to find the best solution for your business >
We understand a website is a big investment for any business, which is why we offer a simple payment plan making a website affordable for any size business. See our web design packages here.