How Much Should a Website Cost in South Africa?


Working for a digital marketing agency has its pros and cons. For one, you get to help people grow their business in ways they didn’t think would be possible. However, a major con is seeing how much people pay for websites. Don’t get me wrong, web development is a highly complex skill and requires many man-hours to achieve a degree of adequacy. However, technology is now making it easier for anyone to get into the game. This means that the market is becoming more competitive, and therefore, costs should be going down. Right? Wrong. I still see people paying R30k+ for a simple site. So then, how much should your website cost in South Africa in 2020? This article will break down all you need to know.

What is a website?

What is a website?

Yes, I did put that as a heading. A simple question, but it does come with a few layers of complexity. Many might think it’s a glorified business card. Others might think it’s the place to put every piece of information about their business. In reality, it’s a bit of both. See, a website can play a very important role in your business – if it’s used correctly. I see many people creating a website just for the sake of having one. I then get disappointed when I see it hasn’t been updated in 10 years and is receiving zero visits.

A website is a place for people to see you as a thought leader – as in – a place to display your authority, trustworthiness and expertise in your chosen field or industry.

Does this mean you should have vivid images of what you do? Yes, if your industry involves visually appealing topics, like different photos of food if your business involves cooking. Does it mean including case studies and use cases? Yes, if you’re in the engineering or science industry. It DOES NOT mean including each and every detail about your business. It’s not a thesis. It’s the main course, not the whole buffet. You want to include information relevant to your business without going overboard.

Here’s a common list of what to include in your website:

  • Headline and Sub-headline – probably the most important part of your site as it helps determine what your site consists of.
  • Primary Calls-to-Action – Calls-to-Action (or CTAs) are all those “Sign up today/Try for free now/etc.” headlines or popups you see on most new sites as they help drive leads and sales.
  • Supporting Imagery – images help draw attention and trigger emotion and just help your site look less boring.
  • Benefits / Features – the whole “why choose us” part of the site. It helps visitors see what makes you stand out from your competitors.
  • Social Proof and Success Indicators – remember in the beginning I mentioned that your site is meant to create trustworthiness? Well testimonials, ratings, previous clients and case studies are perfect for this.
  • Content Offers / Resources – I also mentioned authoritativeness and expertise. What better way to do than by adding content such as informative blog posts, whitepapers, guides, useful videos and more.

How much should a website cost in South Africa?

How much to pay for website in South Africa

Now that you understand what all is included in a website, we can now look at what you’d expect to pay (on average) for a website in SA. Keep in mind, I’m referring to small businesses, not your Woolies or Nando’s websites.

An average website should cost from R1,000 to R50,000 depending on the scope of work for small-medium sized businesses. For an eCommerce site, you can expect the pricing to range from R 10,000 to R100,000 depending on the size of the business.

Now some web developers are going to laugh at these figures. R1,000 for a website? You can’t even create a blank screen for that price. Remember I said small-to-medium sized businesses. Basic websites with maybe a store with limited goods. A good one-pager should not be costing more than R10,000 – and that’s with extensive SEO and extra bells and whistles.

How to know if you’re paying too much for a website?

Paying too much for a website tips

This is a tricky one, but I’ll do my best here. First, you need to determine if you even need a website. Quite often we get requests from clients wanting a large and extravagant website – for their backdoor bakery business. So make sure you really need a website – there might be better alternatives out there.

Great – so you’re ready for your first website and have a few grand saved up. I’d now recommend asking at least 3 companies for quotes. Typing “best website companies in South Africa” is a good start. However, picking the cheapest one or the one with slick animations might result in you paying too much (or too little), and with you ending up with no increase in business growth.

Carefully look at what the business provides, too. Don’t think that more options equal a better website.

I see a few sites that have 10-30 services under a website. However, many of these come as standard (or at least, they should). An extra R500 for anti-virus or enhanced web security? Are you having a laugh? R1,000 for an extra 5 email addresses? Shut the front door. What many of these web design agencies don’t tell you is that these either come as standard or take a second to include in your website. Yes, there are some exceptions, especially when it comes to larger companies that require really intense and complex coding. But for a small business, minimum development and maintenance is required.

Here are some tips to prevent paying too much for a website:

  • Check out your options – as mentioned above, there are loads of other agencies out there (and I’m sure quite a few in your area). Choose one that best fits your budget as well as their reliability (via testimonials or their portfolio).
  • Pay for what you need – a website is like health insurance – tons of options to cater for your exact situation. Don’t be like everyone and just get the Discovery plan because everyone else is doing it. You might only require a hospital plan for your little baking business.
  • Be careful of ongoing costs – web design agencies love making easy money. And the easiest way of doing this is by charging ongoing fees for things you might never even use. Hosting your site will be an annual cost, but that’s about it. Make sure you get that sweet domain name to help save money as well as improve your site’s visibility in South Africa.
  • Make sure you know how to make changes yourself – I don’t mean becoming the next Bill Gates once your site is finished, but the basic of changing your site will end up saving you thousands in the long term. If you’re running a blog (you should), then learn how to add content yourself. Same goes for new content you’d like to add to your site in general. Once your site is complete, web developers can charge thousands for even the smallest of edits. So, also make sure you included everything in your original quote too before you get started.

And that is pretty much all you need to know when it comes to web design in South Africa. If you don’t agree with me, leave a comment below. I’m just tired of seeing friends and family paying through their noses for the most basic of websites and going about their day like this is the norm. For the most part, you will be fine with the majority of web design agencies in South Africa. However, there are some simply trying to milk innocent people for everything they have.

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