What should you expect to pay for a website?

The cost of a website project will vary, depending on what you want your website to do and whether you are managing the project yourself or engaging web professionals to manage and complete the project.

For more information on how to approach the creation of your website, see ‘DIY vs. outsourcing’.

*The cost estimates provided on this website are indicative only and were made in July 2012. You should also make your own inquiries into the cost of website creation and make any decisions based on your individual needs.

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Return on investment

When you create a website, one of the most important things to keep in mind is ROI (return on investment). After a year, ask yourself questions like:

  • Has my website saved me as much money as I set out to save?
  • Has my website generated as much money as I set out to make?
  • Have I received positive feedback from online visitors?

 

You may want to review any goals defined when you were preparing to go online.

Personally managed projects

If you want maximum control over your website (short of creating everything yourself), you can personally manage the project. If you do not want to hire any web professionals to create the site itself, then managing your project yourself may also be the cheapest option.

If you personally manage the project, it is your responsibility to choose where to buy your  domain name and web hosting services. Once you have budgeted for this, you can then budget for the website itself.

 

Web address registration

You can use the following table as a guide for budgeting to register a web address*:

The costs of domain name registration*

Domain type Minimum cost Registration period
Australian commercial domains (.com.au) $24 2 years
Australian network domains (.net.au) $16 2 years
International domains (.com) $13.95 2 years
Australian organisation domains (.org.au) $24 2 years
Web hosting

You can use the following table as a guide for budgeting to host your website*:

The costs of website hosting*

Website type Annual hosting cost
Business card websites, brochure websites and folio websites $200 to $300
Small-to-medium e-commerce websites $200 to $300
Medium-to-large e-commerce websites $450 to $600
Template-based sites

Some business owners are happy for their website’s appearance to be based on a pre-determined template. The clear benefit of templates or ‘themes’ is that you can find them online for free or for a small charge.

For more information, see ‘Template sites vs. custom sites in Building your website’.

Web professional services (optional)

If you have specific requirements for how you want your website to look and feel, you can hire web professionals to create it. When you are prioritising where to spend money on a web professional, identify those things that you are least comfortable doing yourself, and hire an expert to do them.

For more information on deciding whether or not you need the help of web professionals, see ‘DIY vs. outsourcing’.

You can use the following table as a guide for budgeting the hire of web professionals*.

The costs of hiring different types of web professional*.

Web professional Local freelancer International freelancer
Web designer $35–$120+ per hour $15–$50+ per hour
Web developer $35–$120+ per hour $15–$50+ per hour
Copywriter $35–$120+ per hour $35–$120+ per hour
For an indication of how many hours of web professional time different website projects might require, see ‘Website building timeframes’.
Licensing of stock photography (optional)

Using photos and other images on your website can make it more visually appealing. If you want to use professional photographs, in many cases it is cheaper to buy a licence to use stock photography than it is to hire a photographer.

Some stock photography websites use a credit system. For example, iStockphoto may charge you $210 to buy 120 credits. In turn, 75 of these credits could be used to purchase the rights to one large (2562 × 1919 pixels) image*.

Using a different payment model, Australian Stock Photos might charge $150 for a five-year licence to use a single image online*.

Maintenance
In order to keep producing new content for your website, you may need to retain the services of the professionals that you hired to create it.

Externally-managed projects

If you are happy to let the project management role lie with someone else, then you can engage the services of a website creation company to complete the entire project.

For our purposes, we will divide website creation companies into two types:

  • Companies that create template-based sites.
  • Companies that create websites fully customised to your specifications.

You can use the following table as a guide to setting a budget for different types of website, including blogs, depending on whether you want a template-based or a custom site*. Be aware that there will be extra ongoing hosting and domain rental costs.

The costs of different types of template-based and custom built website*.

Website type Template-based site Custom site
Business card website $400–$600 $1,000–$2,000
Folio website $1,000–$2,000 $5,000–$20,000
Brochure website $1,000–$2,000 $5,000–$20,000
e-Commerce website $1,800–$4,000 $10,000–$80,000
Blogs $400–$600 $1,000 to $2,000

 

Online community engagement

 

Template-based forum software and social networking accounts can be acquired for free or for a small price, while a custom forum or social networking platform can be created for $10 000 to $80 000.

While it costs nothing to register a Twitter account or an organisation page on Facebook, there could be one-off or ongoing costs for additional work associated with setting up or maintaining your account. For example, you might consider hiring a graphic designer to provide customised artwork or a community manager to moderate user comments.

You get what you pay for

You cannot necessarily assume that the most expensive freelancer will provide the best work on the market, or that cheapest freelancer won’t provide good work. You need to consider what value you are getting for your investment