How much does a new website cost to build? this is a common question I’ve noted lately so I thought I would pen some thoughts and insights based on my own personal experience and findings.

Many articles I have seen on this topic go into incredible detail on various aspects, so for the purpose of this article, I am going to focus on a very specific business case that I see cropping up most regularly.

  • You need a website that effectively communicates what your business does.
  • You need all the basics setting up (i.e., a domain, hosting, and website).
  • You need it to be responsive (i.e., works seamlessly on mobile).
  • You don’t need eCommerce functionality.

Whether via an agency or freelancer, the price of a website build will typically be calculated based on the number of hours required to complete the project. Rate cards (the cost you pay per hour or day) will differ significantly as of course will the quality of the final product.

For the purpose of giving an early indication of the kind of price you could theoretically look for, below is a view of a 10-page website that needs everything set-up from scratch.

*All prices are shown as in Singapore Dollars!

Line Item Price Model Cost
Domain Name [optional] Fixed – Annual $20
Website Hosting Fixed – Monthly or Annual $250 – $500
CMS System Fixed – Free $0
Base Theme Fixed – One Off $80
Theme Customisation Fixed – One Off $1,200
Copy Writing/Content Fixed – One Off $3,000
Photography [optional] Fixed – One Off $1,500
Total $4,530 – $6,300

So, how does this all break down and what things do I need to consider?

Domain Name

Many businesses I have worked with have a pre-existing domain name (i.e., merlin.com.sg), but in the rare circumstances where this is still a requirement, it will be one of the cheapest aspects of any new website project. The only occasion where the price of a domain should exceed $20 is if you’re purchasing a domain that belongs to another individual or company and they are unwilling to let it go cheaply OR you’re purchasing a specific TLD that comes at a higher price point.

Often you can also remove this cost entirely when setting up a new web hosting package as many of them will include a free domain on account creation.

Cost = $10 – $20 per year

Website Hosting

Your hosting provider is simply the location where you will create your website and enable access to your prospective customers. There is a huge array of different hosting options available, but finding a good one is very important as it will impact many things, including:

  1. Server response and therefore page load time.
  2. Quality and availability of technical support.
  3. The uptime performance of your website – i.e., a bad hosting provider might have regular outages, which brings your website down as well.
  4. The ability for you to customise important aspects that impact your ability to deploy the website you want.
  5. The ease at which you can migrate or scale up your hosting package depending on the volume of visitors over time.

The best hosting provider I have come across for WordPress driven websites is Kinsta, and I wrote a more detailed opinion piece in my article titled ‘Best WordPress Hosting in Singapore‘. Their technical support is beyond excellent and the quality of hosting and ancillary services provided is all you need. It is premium pricing compared to other options, but well worth the investment for such a foundational necessity.

Cost = $250 – $500 per year

Web Platform / Content Management System

Your web platform or content management system is what enables you or your employees to create and edit information on your website without needing a developer (most of the time).

There are many CMS systems available to choose from, but the most widely used is WordPress. Aside from being an extremely powerful CMS, the actual platform itself will cost nothing to use and its constant development and a wide array of plugins will ensure this platform remains competitive as time goes by.

Cost = $0

Website Theme

One of the best things about using WordPress as your CMS system is the selection of pre-created themes, which can be purchased for less than $100 and offer a head start in getting your website up and running. In certain cases it is possible to utilise the pre-existing themes in their entirety, switching out only the text content, but in most cases, you will need to customise it to your specific needs. The utilisation of a pre-existing theme will significantly reduce the cost and time to market.

Below is a couple of examples that I have used in the recent past, but more and more I am leveraging DIVI or building things using ACF Pro.

Jupiter WordPress Theme

Avada WordPress Theme

Cost = $70 – $100

Theme Customization

After installing a base WordPress theme such as Jupiter for example, you will most likely want to customize it to your specific brand and needs. The cost of this will vary greatly depending on your requirements and who you choose to complete the work (i.e., freelancer vs. agency).

Customization of a base theme like Jupiter, Avada, or DIVI is not a challenging task, but you will need someone with decent CSS and JavaScript skills as a minimum. You’ll also need someone capable of being able to give them the right direction to ensure the final output is what you want.

The cost can range massively depending on the level of customization, the skills/experience you have in-house and the route you take to produce the work.

For example, on a personal level if I was to do a website for someone then I have the skills and experience that enables me to do a lot of this kind of stuff myself, but I also have connections in markets like the Ukraine that enables me to outsource elements at far cheaper rates, which brings down the cost for the client. Most of these connections were built up over time, but I identified the majority via Upwork.com.

Cost = $1,000 – $50,000+ per year

Copy Writing / Content Creation

The total cost of this element will come down to the number of pages your website has and the extent to which you need someone externally to create the content vs. leveraging existing content and repurposing it into a new website.

Generally speaking the more pages you have, the more copywriting required, and thus the cost will increase. In my experience most small to medium-sized businesses require content to be created from scratch either because they have little to no existing content or the quality is so poor that it requires a complete re-write.

In my experience, doing a solid job of content creation and implementation into the WordPress theme will usually take between 4-6 hours per page.

Cost = $400 – $1,000 per page

Photography

This is an often forgotten necessity of any good company website. It’s relatively straightforward to create text and image-based content, but that won’t give your website much personality or brand connection with prospective clients.

In my humble opinion, one of the few elements that can really make the difference to your website is solid photography of key employees and ‘operations’ that show the personality and scale of your business.

I’d recommend you hire a professional photographer for the best results.

Cost = $800 – $1,500

And there we have it! the cost of a new website needn’t break the bank and if you have the ability and interest you can reduce the cost significantly by doing a lot of the stuff yourself.

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