Your website is a powerful marketing tool. It functions as a virtual business card and helps communicate the identity of your business. Your website encourages connection with prospects, it identifies your brand, it shows authority and lends credibility to your proficiency in the products and services that you offer.

Considering all that your website does for you and your business — how much should it cost to build a website?

Determining how much a website should cost is one of the most frequently asked but rarely answered questions in the web design world. Even now, with millions of websites online, there is no magic formula for calculating either the cost of a new website or the cost of a redesign.

When it comes to determining website cost, it comes down to the fact that you get what you pay for. Typically, a cheaper website ($500 – $5000) will have fewer pages, features, functionality and built in marketing elements.  While a more expensive site ($7500 – $20k) will have lots of additional design features, be better organized, include more functionality and ultimately convert more clicks into clients.

Another primary factor in determining the cost of designing and building a new website is who’s doing the designing and building. Generally speaking, you have 3 options:

1. DIY websites from companies like Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix are popular choices.   Website builders have a lot of pros. They offer some attractive designs, they offer lots of options and features, and the barrier of entry cost-wise is low as compared with hiring a professional.  The truth is, website builders are great for some people. You simply have to decide if you are one of those people. Chances are good, though, that you’re not.

2. Offshore designer/developers from places like India and Pakistan offer cheap rates, but deliver websites that are notoriously of very, very low quality, and likely will do little to help your business succeed.

3. US based professional web design & development firms are typically going to be the highest priced, but will offer more options and customization, the highest level of creativity, and ultimately deliver the best overall website and experience.

It may be stating the obvious as the profession is, after all, called web designer, but it requires a certain amount of know-how to put together a professional website. It’s not simply about making the website attractive. It’s about knowing the best practices for web design. It’s about understanding that mood music will irritate, that long loading times will test visitors’ patience, and what design elements have long since been relegated to the museum of extinct websites from the early 2000’s.