Ah, the age-old question whose definitive answer has eluded us for over two decades, “How much does an average website cost?”
Being from the computer programming world at the time when websites were first being created, this question has obviously come across my radar on numerous occasions. When I first started building websites, it was me asking the question. Now, after 20 years in the website business, I believe I have answered this question more times than the Army asked me my Social Security number (and that’s a lot).
It was 1996 and the popularity of the public web was growing rapidly with aol and yahoo leading the way. I worked for a small internet magazine in Oklahoma and had an idea for a website. My idea was to take a database of local businesses with websites and stick them into a searchable online website. I couldn’t find a designer that could do what I wanted to do, let alone a cost estimate. Thus began my journey to learn html, php and sql; the languages required to make my local search engine a reality.
Once I learned how to create websites, I was able to approach other businesses to offer my help in setting up a website. I knew I could help, but had no idea what to charge for a website. One of the first websites I built for money went for just $100 to a Canadian cleaning and restoration company. There were several in that range and slightly higher in the beginning.
As the demand for websites grew, it was obvious that I needed a consistent way to estimate the cost of building a website for our customers, especially since that age-old question kept popping up, “How much does an average website cost?” Well, I couldn’t answer that question because there wasn’t much research posted on the web yet. We knew what WE would charge for a website, but we thought it would be nice to know how our prices compared to other development companies around the U.S. By this time we had decided to charge for our work on a per hour basis and we had a really good idea how many hours each part of a website takes us. Therefore, as we have done so many times, we built a way to estimate the cost of building a website and called it Website Estimator.
Now, saying all that, we have seen website designers and design companies come and go over the past 20 years. We’ve paid attention to what many of them are charging and have gathered our own data. Now armed with our own findings we are once again curious, ‘What does the average website cost?’ We want to know if our prices are in line with the rest of the country. Finally, and I mean finally, I have found what I have been looking for.
A recent google search reveals that several different sources are reporting average website prices similar to what we have been charging for the past 10 years, well kinda. You see, for years the averages we found being reported were absolutely ridiculous. Prices like $1,000,000 for a website… WAIT… yes, like the ACA website that cost us all a cool $2 Billion. I would’ve built that website for $2 Million and saved us all $998 Million. So all in all we have ignored the estimates we’ve found, UNTIL NOW.
We found that multiple sources are reporting that an average business website costs $2,000 – $3,500. With custom programming, database integration and a custom CMS (Control Panel), the estimates average $9,000 – $16,000.
Our final answer is still, ‘it depends’, but at least we have several sources who are using logical variables and are coming up with logical prices. Further research has determined that the average hourly rate that most of the estimates are based on are around $100 per hour with websites taking from 20 to 100 hours or more to complete all facets of a complete website development and launch.
I hope that our research has helped you understand that age-old question that eluded us for so long. Like I said, our answer is usually, ‘from FREE to $10,000’ or ‘it depends’. If you have questions on how much a website would cost your company or project, please give me a call or drop me an email. I’d love to answer any questions you might have.