How much does a website cost to develop and maintain?
How much do websites cost? This metric is one of the most common tools that potential clients use in the early stages of selecting a vendor. And this is the question that is answered in every proposal you deliver.
But to answer this question we must consider many variables. This includes the size and complexity of the site, the geographic location of the client, the industry or vertical the site will operate in, and the software being used to name but a few.
The cost of a website also changes over time, and with the both the local and global economies. So we asked Watchful users what they are charging for websites in 2021 to get an idea of where the industry is after more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions.
Average cost of a website
A quick Google search for “how much does a website cost” reveals a pretty broad range of results. I would summarize these as anywhere between $500 and $20,000 USD (example).
Clearly, the range is too generic to be helpful. In contrast, our survey of Watchful users provides a real-world perspective to the broad ranges that are found online. This is because Watchful users fit a common demographic for digital agencies.
Specifically, Watchful customers tend to be individual site builders or small agencies of 3-10 people. They build sites for small-to-medium sized organizations using two of the most popular web-building softwares (WordPress and Joomla). They frequently use page builders, premium themes and a mix of plugins or extensions. On average, they manage 35 websites at a time.
With this in mind, the reported average cost for website development in 2021 is $3100. The median cost was $3000. Since we didn’t specify what the website included, this average spans both simple and more complex sites, and sites that are both small and large. But overall, $3000 is probably a good target if your agency matches the description above.
Flat rate or cost-per-page
Interestingly, a few users reported that they price website on a per-page basis. Depending on the type of page, they might charge $50 per page for basic text, $150 per page for a basic form page, and $250 per page for products in an ecommerce shop.
There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach but the average costs of a website using this pricing fits into the amount reported above. For example, a 10-page site with a contact form might cost under $1000 while an ecommerce shop with 20 products could be closer to $5000.
Another question we asked in the survey was the fee to maintain a single website for 1 month. Again, we did not specify what to include in this price. Some users undoubtedly included hosting, backups, software updates, software licensing and uptime monitoring while others were more minimal in their offering.
Together, Watchful users reported an average website maintenance cost of $83 per month with a median cost of $50.
Did COVID-19 affect your pricing?
In summary, a typical professional web developer using Watchful is charging $3000 USD to build a website and collecting about $1000 /year in fees for ongoing maintenance.
Since this is the first time we performed this survey, we are very interested to know how this compares with the rates you charged before the pandemic hit (2019 and earlier). Please feel free to share as much or as little detail as you prefer in the comments below.