The age we are living in revolves around the internet. It’s where we get our information, make purchases, reservations, and get our entertainment from. It’s no wonder that every business owner wants to put their business out there and promote it online.

But they are often met with a surprise – websites aren’t cheap. Especially not good websites.

It’s true, anyone who puts their mind to it can learn how to build websites, but web development cannot be learned overnight. It requires hundreds of hours, and the work is never fully done, as the internet evolves by the day and new trends frequently appear in the world of web design.

Building a website is no simple feat, and if you are curious about what makes a website expensive, keep on reading.

1. Number of pages

Websites cost differently depending on their size.

A website that has only 3 pages will naturally cost more than a website that has 20 because it will require less coding and content.

Additionally, websites are usually separated into 2 categories – single-page websites and multi-page websites.

As the names suggest, the single-page ones consist of one page only, and all the information and links are contained in it.

Multi-page websites, on the other hand, can have dozens of pages and links.

website with numerous pages - large website
Here’s a website with a number of pages | Source

While multi-page websites are more versatile and suited for every kind of business, single-page websites are much cheaper, as the work the developer has to do is not as extensive.

Because they are so limited, single-page websites aren’t used a lot, and multi-page websites remain superior.

If you’re in conflict whether you should go for a multi or single-page website, multi-page ones are a safe bet. They will provide you with enough space to showcase your products and tell people about your company, but be aware, they don’t come cheap if they’re well made.

2. Good performance and speed

When people hire beginners and people who don’t charge much to build their websites, the results often end up more than disappointing.

A cheap website will almost always perform badly and be slow to load because the person who made it didn’t know enough about how to improve its speed or didn’t want to bother with it because they don’t charge much.  

This results in two different, but equally bad things: your website’s rank in search pages suffers, and people become quick to leave your website without even seeing your content because your page took too long to load.  

website speed
Website speed greatly affects how long people stay on your website | Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

Therefore, good performance and speed are other characteristics of expensive websites.

Web developers have these two things in mind the whole time they’re working on a website, and once they’re done, they benchmark the website and its pages.

This way, they’re checking the website’s speed and making sure that the website can load.

If the speed isn’t up to standard, they polish the code even more and make necessary changes to the website. This can go on for quite a while, and because of the process, it’s another reason why good websites are so expensive.

3. Security

Cybercrime is more present than ever, resulting in people losing their information, websites and along with it, their income.

A day doesn’t go by that we don’t hear about a huge breach on a website, where thousands of people’s private information got stolen.

If your website gets hacked, you could lose all your customers, as well as their trust.

And not only that but when websites get hacked, it results in Google hiding them from the search pages, in an attempt to protect their users.

And when a website doesn’t appear in the search pages, it cannot get visitors and make money until the problem is resolved and all the malicious content is removed.

So, if your website gets hacked, it can result in a huge halt and cause a ton of problems.

cybercrime - expensive websites are well protected
Make sure your website is protected from cybercrime | Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

On top of this, you will have to pay someone to remove all the malware for you and make sure that your website isn’t vulnerable to attacks anymore, which presents an additional cost.

Because of that, website security is absolutely essential.

It protects your website from hackers and aims to locate and fix vulnerabilities on your website that cybercriminals could take advantage of.

There’s no such a thing as websites that are too small to be hacked, cybercriminals target websites of all sizes and popularity, so make sure your website is protected before you start getting visitors, customers and forming a subscriber list.

4. Good optimization

Good optimization is another factor that makes a website expensive.   

seo elements
SEO and its elements | Source

SEO, or search engine optimization consists of a number of techniques that aim to increase the rank of a website in the search pages. Because of this, SEO is an important part of every website.

SEO involves good keyword and URL use, internal and external linking, proper use of meta titles and descriptions, as well as headings, but also page speed and content.

As you can see, it’s a lot of work, and a beginner web developer might not be the most skilled in search engine optimization, which can result in your website looking good, but not doing well in the search pages.

If you want your website completely and correctly optimized, we recommend you hire either a highly skilled SEO expert or a digital agency.

5. Responsive design

Having a website is great, but it doesn’t mean a lot if only desktop users can access it.

People browse the internet on their phones today more than ever, which means that your website will have to be suited to be opened on devices other than desktop.

accessing a website on tablet - website on a tablet
A person accessing a website on a tablet | Photo by Taras Shypka on Unsplash

When Google noticed the increase in people using their mobile devices to browse, they rolled out the Mobile Update, back in 2015.

The update gave an advantage to websites that were suited for mobile, and the websites that weren’t experienced a drop in ranks. This is why responsiveness is an important characteristic of websites today – search engines prefer websites that are mobile-friendly.    

Depending on the size of the website and how many pages it has, making it responsive can be quite a bit of work, but it is a necessity for modern websites.

When was the last time you couldn’t open a website on your phone? I myself cannot remember, they’re always highly optimized for phones and don’t lack anything when compared to their desktop equivalents. Make sure your website is one of them, so you don’t miss out on customers and visits.

6. Quality photography

Compared to the other elements, quality photography doesn’t cost as much, but it still contributes to the overall cost of the website. Especially if you want your business and products to look amazing.

website with great photography
Here’s a website with amazing photography

While anyone with a phone can take a few pictures of a company and call it a day, there is a huge difference between amateur photography and professional photography. It especially shows when it comes to product showcasing because professional photographers know their way around light and can present your product in the best possible way.

We always recommend the use of professionally taken photos when it comes to websites. And not only because the work of professional photographers is vastly superior when compared to amateur work, but also because the photos they take can be used outside of the website.

7. Plugins

Plugins are additional elements of websites that perform different actions.

There are plugins used for giveaways, analytics, chat, maintenance, building of different forms, and hundreds of other purposes.  

wordpress plugins - wp plugins
WordPress plugins

The most popular plugins are WordPress plugins, suited for this open-source content management system.

Some are free, but for some you have to pay and work on installing them and making them work with the website and other plugins. This can be very difficult if you have no web development experience, so it is best to have the developer you hired to do it for you.

Unfortunately, this can sometimes take quite a lot of time, lengthening the website building process, and thus, the cost of the website.

Additionally, plugins also add to the cost if you want custom made ones.

8. Additional design elements

While some websites look generic and simple, some have more unique appearances because they use specific elements. These elements aren’t as widely used in the world of web design because they are often hard to get right and only experienced web designers can make them work. Because of this, websites usually go for the same formula and a really generic appearance, but if you want your website to stand out, it can cost you more.

web design - unique website design - unique web design
Click here to take a look at this unique website

One of these elements is using a video as a background. It will give your website an immediate unique appearance, but it takes quite a bit of work to implement. Firstly, the video needs to be filmed, then edited, and then optimized, in order for your page to still load quickly.

unique website example
Here’s another simple yet unique website

Another element like this is also parallax scrolling, which gives the web page depth and a unique 3d effect. As the user scrolls, the background moves slower compared to text and images, which gives the page a unique appearance.

There are also custom animations, icons and graphics. They can take web designers a lot of time to create and because of that, they don’t come cheap. But in the long run, they are absolutely worth it, because they will distinguish your website from your competition.

artistic website design
Check out this artistic and interesting website (warning for sound)

9. Domain name

If you already have a domain, you’re very lucky. Because of the popularity of the internet and almost every business in the world having a website, it can be hard to get a good domain name.

Domains usually go for $10 – $13, depending on which top-level domain you choose, as well as the company and the length of your contract.  If the domain you want is already owned by someone, it might be for the best to look for a different one, because these can be very expensive. They will often sell for thousands of dollars, because their owners bought them years ago as investments.

Here are some of the most expensive domains of all time, taken from the GoDaddy website:

expensive domain names
Some of the most expensive domain names | Source

Wrapping up

If you’ve just started a business or have owned one for a while but have just decided to get a website for it, it is good to know that a well-built website with an attractive and unique design doesn’t come cheap.

In fact, websites are quite expensive because they are large projects that take weeks to create, not to mention all the planning and drafting that comes before the creation process starts.

There are many things that make a website expensive, the first one being the number of pages – the bigger your website, the more time it will take the developer to code it. There are also good performance and speed, which contribute to the length of the website building process and therefore, the cost.

Website security is expensive, but essential if you want your website not to suffer any security breaches and all your customer information to stay safe. Good optimization is another characteristic that makes a website expensive, and it revolves around giving your website a good rank in the search pages.

Responsive design is an important feature of modern websites, and it enables people to access your websites from all kinds of devices. Quality photography gives your website a professional appearance and helps you present your products in the best possible light.

There are also plugins, which sometimes can take some time to be implemented correctly, not to mention custom plugins and how expensive they can be. And last but not least, there’s also the domain name, which can cost you less or more, depending on what domain name you want.

Hopefully, the article has given you some insight into what makes an expensive website and thank you for reading!

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