Why does building a website cost so much?

People often ask “why does building a website can cost so much?”

I used to be one of those people.

I remember when I started my first business (Personally Trained) I was hunting around for someone to develop a site for me and I really had no idea. I thought it cant be that expensive. This was back in the day before Web builders like Wix, Shopify, Divi or Elementor. These were the times where it was mostly HTML coding and sites built from scratch were exceptionally expensive.

I was looking for a pretty simple website with not many pages and something that would last me a number of years. I was quoted anything between $5-10K. As a start up small business this was way above what I had budgeted for and quite frankly out of reach given where I was at with my business.

I ended up talking to a mate who was building sites on this thing called WordPress. He charged $2.5k and my site was built in 2 weeks and was exactly what I needed. When he finished my site my friend encouraged me to look into web design as he knew I had tech knowledge and thought it could be a good side hustle for my other business. So I looked into it and started thinking this was something I could do.

When I built the second site for my business I built this myself. What an experience that was, I had not taken into account all the bits and pieces I had to bring together  for example how I wanted the site to look and function, how many pages, all the content for the pages including images, proof reading the content and ensuring basic seo was completed, testing the pages, optimizing and resizing images, finding and installing all the necessary plug ins, and the list goes on.

After going through this process I had a better understanding of how much time is involved in building a site and whilst I know I was just beginning it started to dawn on me that the cost of the sites that I had been quoted on with the functionality and requirements I wanted weren’t too far off. Sure there is always going to be a cheap developer that can do it for next to nothing but as you would know with a lot of things you get what you pay for!

So lets look at the numbers a basic website could take 5-10 hours to build – according to some Salary websites and employed web designer gets approx. $50 hr in salary, then you’ve got to add on costs for this like super, workers comp, technology costs etc. So lets say this now takes it closer to $70 hr, A site that takes 10 hours to build is now costing upwards of $700 and this is inside an agency – for a freelancer whos costs are much higher – this could go towards $1000.

When you add in more complexity and scale into a site and they start to creep into 20 – 40 hour you can start to see why sites start to creep up in price. 20 hour work load starts to cost $1400 +, a 40 hour site now costs in excess of $2800. Factor on top of this the profit that a business needs to make to survive and lets face it we are in business to make money – suddenly a $3000 + site isnt out of the reasonable pricing.

Now Im not saying that web design should be a bottomless pit of money but also don’t forget to consider too that youre also paying for the persons intellectual property to design, build and finesse your site. Its not like going to the supermarket and just buying a generic brand of website and hoping that it will do what you want it too. I spend a lot of time with my clients ensuring that their needs are met within reason (budget and time) plus that the client is ecstatic with the outcome.

Most of my clients have been with me for a long time, our relationship has gone beyond the design and build of the website. It often will go into other facets of their digital marketing and more often than not returns back to where it starts with a brand new website when it comes to refresh their existing site.