In todays market - there are many ways to get a great website, with a wide range of prices - from $5 - $50,000+.
What's the reason for the difference in cost? Why is it so dramatic? What do you get for the money?
Well let's talk about that;
There are generally a few classes of websites - each of these classes has particular traits which affect their prices, though within those classes there are sub sections which also has influencing traits, but we'll just be taking a top level look at these.
Let's get the basics out of the way first though:
WebServer Purchase & Setup
Web Hosting & Platform Setup
-- All these things need to be done before the website building process can even be thought of. With those aside you can now think of starting to design your website.
When designing your website - depending on your approach you will have to:
Do market research about what website designs are effective in your field
Create an intuitive design - or choose a pre-made template.
Integrate that template into your website.
Perform SEO Optimisations on the template for your purposes (if your platform does not automatically do this)
DNS Record Management.
Monitoring and Security Updates - blocking stopping spam bots and undesired traffic sources. Guarding against hacks.
When you higher a financial planner, go to the doctor or any other field specialist - you generally have to pay a lot of money - even if it didn't take much time - this is because you're paying not just for the time, but for the expertise in their area - the training and hard work it took to get to the level where you can feel ensured and confident that they will deliver on what you are paying for.
So too is the same with Website Development.
These are all the steps you will have to take if you decide to go the route of building a website yourself. - not the mention setting up SSL Certificates, File Hosting and Email Hosting.
So it's a lot easier - and 99% of the time, cheaper and more beneficial to those who want websites - to outsource instead of doing it themselves.
Onto the design of the website - which will be the focus of this post
There are a few options:
Starting your website on a popular platform like Wordpress -
With this you'll get a pre-made template of your choosing and then you can make a few minor customisations, maybe change the colour or add/remove some menu options. These can be either free or paid and should generally be easy to apply.
Buying A Third Party Website Theme -
There are markets which sell website designs for various platforms, these offer a potentially wider range of choices for your website's design. The drawback is that it may take a little tech savviness to install these themes and get your website up and running. Also there may be problems with the theme which you didn't foresee - but you can't just switch it, you've already paid for it and gone through the trouble of installing it.
Buying A Semi-Custom Website Template -
A custom website template is designed from a template or website that already exists and uses it as a base to build your website. Making tweaks and changes to the design so that it fits your purposes. The benefits of this is that you get a template more specifically tuned to your purpose and you'll also have someone who can update your websites design fairly easily due to that they have an understanding of how it works.
Buying A Fully Custom Website Template -
This is a website design which is made completely from scratch for the purposes of your venture. The research is done to determine what is the best way to go. Design Mock Ups and Samples are made and proposed. A frontend web developer then builds the design in code for the site and implements the optimisations necessary for a good site.
The Developer ensures the load times are low, the navigation is easy, that the site is mobile responsive and so on.
This is the most expensive method - however it carries the most weight as the design in completely fit for your purposes - not adapted. You will have a developer with complete understanding of the template and as such can make changes more easily and thus in less time (which often amounts to lesser costs). You will have a website that is optimised to the maximum in order to pull traffic and amplify your contents appeal.
Other factors to consider:
Mobile First - Whether your design in primarily targeted to mobile users or not, this is usually best as increasingly, more users are browsing on mobile.
Mobile Responsive - This determines how well your websites reacts to various screen sizes particularly smaller ones which can be found on mobile, and also how the User Experience is affected by the changes.
Accessibility - This has to do with the adherence to the guidelines of accessibility which allow users with disabilities or impaired abilities to still navigate your site well.
Progressive - Do you want your website to be styled like an application or be able to be used as an application on a mobile device (or soon even a desktop). This is another consideration that one must take when decided on what their websites design should be like.