How much does a custom website cost? (Jan. 2018)

With ultra-affordable website building tools like Squarespace and Wix becoming increasingly popular and easier than ever to use, small business owners are opting for these “do-it-yourself” solutions at a higher rate than ever. It also makes the cost of a custom website seem excessively expensive.

And to be honest, I completely understand why… for $216/yr, you can build a pretty decent website on Squarespace. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t acutely aware of how these services are drastically changing the digital marketing industry.

How much does going custom really cost?

As a digital marketing agency, we have essentially two services that we offer: custom web design/development, and digital marketing.

Our website design services generally range from $4,000 – $18,000 and can take anywhere from 4 to 16 weeks. We take a number of factors into account when quoting a custom website project, like: the purpose of the website, content structure, integration with third-party services, etc.

Our digital marketing services can range from $299/mo to $4,150/mo and are completely optional. We have 4 marketing plans that we modify on a per-client basis. These marketing plans exist so we can drive customers to your website once we finish building it.

Do you have sticker shock yet?

Yeah, I’ve gotten that reaction a few times… It’s understandable too, especially after seeing $18/mo advertised. I’m not here to bash tools like Squarespace or Wix – in fact, I think they’re great for certain situations.

I’m a small business owner… I know how challenging running your own business can be – so I’m not going to let someone spend $6,000 on a custom website if I don’t truly believe it’s going to help them. Maybe that’s just the Midwesterner in me speaking, but it’s the truth.

Let’s talk about that $216/yr website…

You’re going to have to do everything… And I mean EVERYTHING. Photos, content, layout… you name it.

Unless you make websites for a living, you’re going to miss out on crucial website content that you need to have to stay competitive on search engines.

When you pay an agency a few grand for a website, you’re not just buying a website, you’re buying a professionally made website. You’re paying for years of experience, the latest digital marketing knowledge, the best techniques for keeping your website competitive on Google… you get the idea.

Just because my iPhone has a great camera, doesn’t mean I think I’m a photographer now. I can take decent pictures with it, but I’m still going to hire a professional when I need to…

The same goes for your website… You can throw something decent together on Squarespace or Wix, but a professional agency can build something that is truly game changing for your business online.

Should you go custom or DIY?

It all depends on the purpose of your website. If you’re looking for your website to generate more business for you, then you should at least talk with a digital marketing agency. However, if you just want basically a “digital business card” online, then go the DIY route.

Here are a few things to think about when determining what the best route is for your business:

  • Digital marketing agencies don’t just build websites, we come up with a marketing strategy, help you determine a goal/purpose for your website, and know how to design a website to influence your visitors to perform a certain action once they land on your website.
  • You might not realize the potential impact your website can have on your business until you start working with a digital marketing agency.
  • Knowledge is priceless. Working with a digital marketing agency means you have a resource for any question that needs to be answered, or a problem that needs a solution.

What about ecommerce websites?

If you’re selling products online, this makes working with a digital marketing agency even more beneficial. Are you squeezing the best conversion rates out of your online store? It’s one thing to put a Shopify site up with products, but it’s another thing to have a website that can actually sell these products for you.

Now we’re talking about capturing sales from abandoned carts, remarketing campaigns, etc. These aspects of running an ecommerce site can be managed full-time by a digital marketing agency.