How much does a website cost? Why $30,000 is a bargain.

Posted by AMac on June 21, 2011

One of the most common questions we're asked as web developers is, "How much does a website cost?" Oddly enough, it's never this initial question that's hard to answer, it's question number two: "Why so much?"

It usually takes at least a few seconds for potential clients to wipe the shock off their face when we throw out a price tag of, say, $30,000. And then comes question number three.

"For a website?!"

Yes, at first, $30,000 seems like a lot of money for a website, but I guarantee you it's a steal. The truth is, whether you pay $10K or $75K, websites are cheap at any cost.

What it costs is not important — it's the value of a website that really means something. Here's an analogy I've come up with to help everyone grasp the value of a website.

Your website is your employee

Imagine that you have just hired a new salesman named Bill. Here's everything you need to know about Bill:

  • how-much-does-a-website-cost.pngBill works 24/7, 365 days a year. He never sleeps, never eats. His only purpose in life is to talk to your customers and promote your business.
  • Bill is the perfect salesman. He knows everything about the company like the back of his hand, and can pitch it perfectly every time.
  • Bill talks to hundreds of people every day. He can talk to them all at once and still give everybody one-on-one attention.
  • Bill travels well. He can be anywhere in the world at any time, and multiple places at once if he needs to be. Best of all, he files no expense reports.
  • Bill learns quickly. You'll only have to tell him once. For example, with just a couple of days of training he can learn to speak any language.

And now for the best part.

  • Bill is cheap. I mean, really cheap. Let's assume your company employs Bill for three years — that initial $30,000 price tag comes out to a measly salary of $10,000/year. And the longer you work together, the cheaper he gets. And he'll never quit! Bananas!

Bill would be better off working at Burger King, wouldn't he? You pay this poor man $1.14 an hour, don't you? Yet he stands under your boot and works tirelessly around the clock for just one cause: your cause.

I can see it in your eyes. You kind of feel sorry for Bill now, don't you?

That is because you're crazy! Bill has no feelings, he's not a real person. He's a website. He's your website.

Now go out and try to find an actual person that will work that perfectly for 6,000 bones a year. Or try reducing the pay of your best employee to $1.14 an hour and see if he or she hangs around. Good luck!

How much does a website cost?

From your perspective, it shouldn't matter. A $30,000 website is a steal because its value is exponentially greater than its price tag.


Get thought-provoking and actionable insights to improve how your firm makes a connection with your customers.


The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
Submitted by Jon on Wed, 08/10/2011 - 9:41pm

Great read, I just wrote a similar article on my blog. I agree that websites need to be viewed as employees or at least valuable business assets. It's sometimes hard getting clients on board with this thought process but GREAT websites can change a business in unbelievable ways.


Submitted by AMac on Thu, 08/11/2011 - 9:55am

Thanks, Jon, it's nice to know someone else out there gets it. Do you mind sharing a link to your article?

Submitted by Jon on Thu, 08/11/2011 - 10:27am

Definitely, They're a little rough around the edges as I'm just getting my feet wet in the blogging world but I split the article into a two-parter:

I think posting multiple links is triggering your spam filter, so sorry for the choppy link!

insitedesignlab [dot] com/how-much-does-a-website-cost-part-2/

Submitted by Brett Atkin on Tue, 08/23/2011 - 6:23am

I recently had a designer/developer friend tell me the cheapest employee you'll ever have is a web site. I never thought of it that way, but he is 100% correct. I'm going to use that going forward when I meet with new clients as well as your salesman analogies. Thanks!

Did JD contribute on this post?

Submitted by AMac on Tue, 08/23/2011 - 9:56am

This post started as a thought I had one night before I fell asleep and after I expanded on it a bit, I convinced myself it was a pretty good analogy. I'm glad to hear I may have convinced a few of you too!

I don't believe JD was here when I wrote this but we're happy to have him!