How much should a website cost?
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website-cost

What is the real cost of website?

Are you paying too much, or too little for your website? Determine how much you should invest in your website project is the first step toward a successful project with high Return on Investment. In this article we will take a completely different approach at calculating the cost of your next website project.
nilead-author-vu-nguyen
by Vu nguyen
April 15, 2019

Customers often coming to us asking for the cost of a website or an eCommerce store. If you want an oversimplified and vague answer: the cost for a business website is 3500 USD and up, e-commerce is 5000 USD and up.


The real answer is really complicated, however.


What do you want to solve with your website and how much value do you give to such a solution?

Let me make it clearer


Most people don't need a website for no reason, they need a tool to solve a certain problem. The strange thing about website design is the way how it works:
  1. Clients usually come to the agencies telling exactly what they think they need.
  2. The agencies then just quote for what being asked without asking why.

If you find out you are sick, and you can swear you get all the symptoms of lung cancer. What do you do? Do you come to the doctor telling him to give you some lung cancer medicine? What do you think he will do? Do you expect that he will give you exactly what you want and be done with it?

Many people and Digital Agencies forget that Agencies are supposed to be practitioners. I blame the Agencies for this. Most Agencies do not care nor possess the business knowledge to help Clients.

Website designers are practitioners


Great Digital Agencies should be website experts, doctors of websites. Before giving any solution, these doctors need to diagnose. They should listen to your stories and take note, but they keep in mind that self-diagnosis is not always correct. Once the diagnosis is done, the real issues are discovered, then the solutions can be proposed.

There is often more than one solution available. Which solution to take depends on many factors, one of which is the value you can give to a solution. It may sound strange, why do we need to to know the budget? Let me explain.

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Clients can choose fittest solution


You may want a quick 1-month treatment which may cost 10x, or you are fine with a 2-year treatment that may cost way less. I admit that I don't know much about medicine but you get my point.

Another example is housing. You look for a place to live for a family of 4. You can choose a luxury apartment near the city center, a house in the city outskirt or perhaps some other options.

Back to our website cost, if you have a budget of 2000 USD for eCommerce then I can recommend something such as Shopify or BigCommerce. If you have around 5000 USD then you can set up a WooCommerce or Instacart store. If you have above 25000 USD in your budget then we can look at Magento option. If there is at least 50000 USD then we can start looking into a custom e-commerce store built from scratch. You can go a long way with 50000 USD, you can have some customized option with integrated CRM, marketing automation, a/b testing, etc.

I'm not saying that you cannot do all this with a lower budget, it's just going to be more difficult and with certain restrictions in place.

In addition, the lower budget may hint that you are not yet at the stage that you need these very complicated features.

Despite all the web builders, all the low cost template options out there, each business has a different set of goals for its website. The job of a Digital Agency is to help the business to diagnose the symptoms, suggest the treatment plans, and let the business decide which one works best for their purpose. With this approach, there should be little to no buyer's and seller's remorse:


  1. The Client knows exactly what they have to pay, what problems should be solved by the deliverable.
  2. The Provider knows exactly what the Client expect to be solved and is committed to delivering the right solution.
  3. Both parties can avoid being distracted by other issues that do not contribute to the end goals.
Let me know what you think. Am I making any sense here or perhaps it's completely wrong in your opinion?

about the author


nilead-author-vu-nguyen
Vu Nguyen
Vu Nguyen is an entrepreneur, a developer, and a founder of nilead.com. While his love is in the backend website development work, his experience covers eCommerce (being both a real online store owner and a developer), Search Engine Optimization, UX Design and Content Strategy.

Since 2005, Vu Nguyen has led and directed UX design, full-stack development teams on projects large and small for corporations, start-ups, individuals and more. He was involved in every task of each project, from idea to concept and vision, prototype, detailed design, build and deployment.

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