How much should you pay for your website?

If you're a small business owner, you've probably heard the phrase "build it and they will come" more than once. It's easy to get caught up in the idea that if you build it, people will magically come to your website and buy stuff.

But it doesn't really work that way. Building a website is just one part of the puzzle—you also need to make sure your marketing is on point, create an engaging content strategy, and do everything else you can think of to make sure that when people do come to your site, they see what they need to see and have their questions answered so they can buy what they want (or at least find out more about it). It also pays to know what your customers are doing on your pages, where they actually click compared to where you want them to click so that you can pivot accordingly. Simply put, you get what you pay for.

Ok, so how much will a website cost me?

So now that we've covered what goes into making a website, you'll understand a bit better when I say "it depends". With a website, you get what you pay for in every sense of the word. Rather than telling you how much you should pay, (i.e. give you my pricing for a website and ignore every one of my competitors), I'm just going to give you a breakdown of what you could expect in a variety of different price points, the pros and cons of each one, as well as who each price point is geared towards in the long-run.

Let's define some price points for your website

A website can cost you anything from the spare change in your pocket to upwards of $10,000. There could be monthly hosting fees, hourly rates for revisions and updates, and the like.

For this reason, I'll elect to separate this infinite range of possibilities into a few pricing categories, as well as what I've observed after collecting a bit of data on the web design agencies here in Northern California. Keep in mind, these costs are just for the website and its "out of the box" features plus whatever you'll pay over the course of the next year while your website is in its infancy.

Also of note, the explanations are more general rules of thumb for these price ranges, and by no means are they 100% accurate 100% of the time.


Cheap Website ($100)

The sad truth is, this price point is not going to get you much out of the box these days—especially in the world of web design. The good news? You can still get a great site that performs decently in this range! But it's only going to happen if you're willing to put in some work yourself, as well as have a little luck on your side with finding a good developer who will communicate regularly with you.

Here's what you get out of the box at this price point:

  • A website with between 1 - 5 pages built from a template
  • Generic copywriting (maybe) and some stock images

Benefits from this price point

  • Easy to get your business online if you're in the early stages
  • Cheap way to inform your customers on your services
  • Typically includes a functional contact form that will allow you to gather email leads
  • Typically built using common website builders, so it'll be easy finding someone to accept the job, as well as other developers to assist you in the future should you need help

Disadvantages of this price point

  • Hardly any keyword optimization, if done at all
  • No user experience optimization
  • A site that loads up to 20x slower than those built on a larger budget
  • Very few revisions on the design, if at all (what you see is what you get, basically)
  • Communication with developers in this range can be a bit tough, as they are typically located overseas. You may deal with language barriers as well if this is the case.
  • Almost zero chance you can integrate online payments and a professional email domain. Even then you may have security issues or site performance issues you might have to deal with later down the road, which costs you money.

What you need to do to be successful at this price point

In this range, you're going to have to put forth some significant effort in order to see some ROI on your site. This involves focusing HEAVILY on social media marketing and getting people to come to your site.

Since your site will typically not be optimized for Google searches, you most likely won't generate any traffic from search results to your site in the first year or two, unless they search for your business name specifically. Because of this, the burden falls on you to get people to find your business, and that means letting anyone and everyone know your business has a website.

To do this, a good strategy is to dedicate time every day to make a small social media post so that customers will constantly be made aware that your business and your website exist.

You may also have to do some of the heavy lifting in terms of writing captivating copy so your visitors can learn more about your business, and that includes keyword optimization as well if you eventually want to rank on Google.

Lastly, EDUCATE yourself. It pays to be an educated consumer so you know what needs to be done, why, and when. Spend some of your downtime reading about how Google rankings work, what you can do to improve your SEO, and developing your digital marketing strategies accordingly.

Final thoughts on this price point

This is a great plan for those just getting started on a side hustle. If you don't mind rocking the Gmail domain on your email address and you're up for taking a DIY approach to content writing and keyword optimization, then you definitely could make a dollar out of 15 cents with this plan.

Go with this range if you're on a tight budget and already have a proven marketing strategy in place for your business.

Standard Website ($1,000 )

While $1,000 won't get you the best, highest performing site in the world, it will definitely get you on a good start. This range will get you a website built to generate a decent amount of local search traffic over the long haul, and out of the box will include things like keyword optimization and a decent user-flow/user experience that will ultimately lead to more sales.

Here's what you get out of the box at this price point:

  • Basic keyword optimization for your industry
  • Properly implemented calls-to-action throughout your site
  • Around 5 - 8 pages of content (basic copywriting may be included with professional copywriting by an SEO pro being billed as a separate cost)

Benefits of this price point:

  • Affordable for most small businesses just starting out
  • Developers at this price point may give you the option to add a blog to your site, though you will need to write the articles. This helps tremendously with search optimization
  • Multiple layouts for different screen sizes (helps with search ranking)
  • Email integration with custom email domain
  • Typically 2-3 revisions on the design, sometimes more (you have some say over the design)
  • Typically easier to communicate with (more money = better service)

Disadvantages of this price point:

  • Sites in this range are still typically built with website building platforms, which are notoriously slow (though they may be using a higher-performance template)
  • No continued SEO efforts (you'll just have to wait for 6months to a year and see if the developer's work pays off)
  • Updates to your site will cost extra (developers in this range could charge anywhere from $50/hr - $200/hr for update services)

What you need to do to be successful at this price point

Running a successful website at this price point is a bit easier that it is with $100. Much easier, in fact. However, the steps to being successful are pretty much the same. Market heavily on social media to build customer awareness, ensure any additional content you add to your site is optimized for keywords and common search queries. It may also pay to have your site regularly audited by an SEO expert every few months to identify any opportunities you may be missing out on.

Final thoughts on this price point:

This is an excellent price point if you have a little extra cash to spare and don't mind putting heads together with your developer. While this price point still would require you to pay a developer regularly in the future to improve your site's performance, it's quite an economical way to get online quickly without breaking the budget and pulling your hair out.

Go for this price point if you're entering a medium to highly competitive industry, but only if you're up for doing some routine leg work on social media and researching how to improve your site's performance, if only to relay this information to your developer. Again, it pays to be an educated consumer!

Professional Website ($10,000 and beyond)

This price point is the highest one we recommend. You should go for this price point if you're entering a highly competitive industry and want to make sure that your site stands out as professional and well-designed. If you have a lot of money to spend on your website, then definitely invest in this package! It may be tempting to go for the cheapest option, but keep in mind that you'll likely have to pay more in the long run if your site isn't well coded or performing well.

The advantages and disadvantages are pretty straightforward in this case. The advantage is that you basically get everything you ask for. The disadvantage is that you pay for everything. It's as cut and dry as that. Well, it may take a bit longer to develop your site as well, but I'm sure you've already anticipated that if you're considering spending this much.

With this price point, you can expect high performance SEO, excellent long-term ROI, and a website that will be several levels above your competitors that went a cheaper route and didn't put the necessary work in to close the gap. You won't have to worry about much either, because your developers, designers, and SEO pros will take care of everything for you.

What we do

As you can see, there's a lot that goes into creating a successful website. You have to be sure it's going to perform well, look good, and rank on the first page of Google for your keywords. These things take time, effort, and a good deal of industry knowledge to implement correctly.

Instead of charging thousands up front, we and 209 Web Design price our work as a monthly service, with the goal of providing as much of the professional website development experience into the budgets of small business in the Stockton, Manteca, Lathrop, Tracy, and surrounding locations in the Central Valley and Bay Area California.

At 209 Web Design, we work with you for the first week FOR FREE and help you develop a site that will attract visitors, generate email lists and online leads, and represent all of the positive aspects of your business EXACTLY how you want.

We do this by building and iterating over your site each month, improving it incrementally over time so you can compete with larger competitors without spending thousands, or even tens-of-thousands up front.

Our plans include the following services:

  • Adding new features each month to provide a better experience for your users
  • Providing professionally-written SEO content with keyword optimization
  • Continuously improving the design each month to keep up with modern user experience and design trends.
  • Unlimited updates with 24/7 customer support.

-Site speed on par or better than enterprise-level sites, built using our unique development strategy combining the latest in web-performance technology and a minimalistic approach to website design.

Our plans start at $77/month, which includes all of the above features out of the box. And again, we charge NO MONEY DOWN to have your site built by a professional developer with experience crafting and editing enterprise-level websites.

From the get go, the burden is on us to perform in order for us to get paid. We love this because it forces our team to work hard to satisfy your small-business's needs at every step of your growth. We love seeing clients grow from a small family business to one that creates new jobs for our community and builds positive connections with other small businesses.

Our vision is to take some of the power away from the mighty dollar and focus on building positive relationships with both aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs, so that our surrounding communities can flourish with small businesses and new jobs.

If you're in need of a professionally-developed website with a robust set of features at a low cost, contact 209 Web Design today!