After almost 20 years of building websites, this is the one question that is asked more than anything else when it comes to web development. No two websites are alike. This is the hardest question for anyone in the industry to answer. Your website is not just an off-the-self product that you purchase and take home; it is a service that someone trying to earn an hourly wage is trying to provide for you.
The example I like to use is the automachanic. You know your car won’t start and you need to pay someone to get it working. The first thing I want to know is how much it will cost. They have parts and labor to consider, and maybe how complex this car is to work on. It’s not going to be some one size fits all answer in most cases.
Web design is the same situation. I’ve been building websites since the 90’s and every month someone brings me a website that isn’t working right. It’s 5 to 10 years old and customers aren’t finding the contact form. It needs to be fixed and in most cases this is when it’s time to consider a re-design. This is when I hear it, “how much does a new website cost”? Like the machanic, there are parts and labor to consider. There is the hosting and domain parts that usually are paid for, but sometimes the client wants new web hosting. This is just a part that has to be purchased. Sometimes depending on the platform the site is using there are themes and plugins to purchase. We aren’t even into the labor part yet.
Depending on who owns your domain name, I may spend a few hours tracking down your previous out-of-work college student who purchased your domain name under their personal name. They own your .com and this happens more than you can imagine. There is a whole series of steps I have to walk them through to unlock your domain, so I can purchase and move to domain in an account you manage. This is time I have to factor in when we price out the website as a whole.
The other part is breaking down the hours someone will physically be sitting at a computer working on the code for your site. The labor costs are the biggest piece to a new web design. Every webstie is different. Someoene might want a contact form and someone else might need a contact form that attaches images. Another person might want a way for clients to login to their individual accounts. Then you have online stores. Is it 4 products or 16,000 products?
Website cost will vary depending on the company designing them. You will get different prices from each and every web company. Shop around for the price, and look at the company’s previous website designs. Visit the live websites and meet with them. Just like you will always go back to the same machanic, you will want to be able to always go back to the same web company.