A guide to Pricing a Website

  One of the most frequently asked questions by both clients and people who make websites is how much does a website cost? In short, it depends. In this post I’ll list some of the many factors to consider when determining the price of a website. The factors to consider are split into two main groups, the costs and the benefits.  

The Technical Costs

Below is a list of infrastructure and resources that a website needs for it to run. This is more for the person building the site but is also useful for clients to know:  
  • Domain: the address that your site uses on the internet, like the address www.calmlock.co.zw. This can cost from $10 going upwards
  • Hosting: the computer from which a website is run so that it’s always available on the internet. Hosting can cost as little as $3 monthly for a brochure website, to hundreds, even thousands of dollars for high traffic sites.
  • Content Management System (CMS): the software which is used to manage and display your website. At Calmlock we use WordPress which is a free and open source CMS. That means we don’t have any expenses in terms of improving the software that manages your site. WordPress is also the most widely used content management system, powering about 30% of websites, while the closest runner-up powers only 5%.
  • Themes: An add-on to the CMS which controls the appearance of the website. Themes can be free, or they could cost hundreds of dollars.
  • Plugins: Plugins are other add-ons that improve the functionality of the website. For things like visitor tracking, e-commerce, or site memberships different plugins are available. Some plugins are free of charge, while others may charge a one time or monthly cost. Along with that, plugins also require varying amounts of skill and time to set up which should also be considered.
  • Third Party services – Services that are not directly installed on a website but improve the performance or functionality of the website in some way. Some examples include adverts linking to the site, social media pages, mail management, and content delivery networks.

Developer Business Costs

The web designer also needs to consider the expenses they incur as a business.
  • Internet: You can’t make a website without internet, duh.
  • Rent and utilities: Office space, electricity and amenities bills.
  • Salaries: Whether you’re a web studio or a solo web designer everyone needs to get paid. Solo web designers often forget (or choose not) to separate their funds from the business funds, making it difficult to account for how much they earn, and whether it’s feasible.
  • Hardware: Technology is continually advancing; web developers need to keep up with efficient tools.
  • Software: Specialist software tools that web designers require. These software costs may overlap with the costs in the technical costs list above, for example, some WordPress themes charge a fixed cost to use on an unlimited number of websites.

Developer Personal Costs

This is mainly for web designers who work alone. The personal costs should be used by the developer to determine what salary they should give themselves. Pay yourself after you’ve covered all your business expenses. If you’re getting a stable income from your work then make sure your lifestyle expenses don’t go beyond your income. After you’ve calculated your salary you can factor that into your charges. A good way to do it is to calculate all your monthly expenses then divide them by the number of hours or days you work per month. With experience, you’ll know how many hours of work a project will take and charge for the amount of time the project takes.  

Know Your Customer

Every customer comes with their unique set of characteristics that can affect the price of a web design project.
  • How difficult are they to work with? Some clients give you full control of the web design project and allow you to finish in as little time as possible, while others want to micro-manage every aspect of the project. Charge difficult customers more for the extra time spent. It’s tricky to determine whether a first time client will be challenging but if they return, be ready to charge them accordingly.
  • What do they stand to gain from the website? If a website will greatly increase a client’s income then it’s ok to charge more than you would for another customer. For example, an international musician hoping to sell music on their website stands to gain a lot more than say, a local music store; even though both websites may have similar requirements.
  • If your customer is someone who has supported you for an extended period consider giving them discounts for the faithful client.

Know the Market

Price your self competitively. Don’t price yourself beyond reach of the market, but at the same time, don’t undercut competitors’ prices so much that your business becomes unsustainable.  


The above was just a list of examples of things to consider when deciding how much to charge for a website. How much you charge, or pay, will vary according to the stated factors and many more. The main goal is that if you’re making a website you do a good job and both you and your client are happy with your work at the end of it.  Posted in Create a website, General, Web Design

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