Web design and development are a hot commodity these days, everyone “claims” to be the best as well as an expert — unfortunately, all web development service providers are not cut from the same cloth.
I would recommend firmly evaluating your requirements the best you can first, depending on what your project goals are.
You Are A Total Newbie
If you are completely new to the web development process, use Google to search for a few medium-sized companies that specialize in web design/development specific to your niche to feel out and compare their approach, advice, and process. This will better prepare you to choose the right service provider without getting burned on cost.
If your project is serious or for an actual business, I would personally stay clear from independents or freelancers without a business model as well as very low-cost offers and services found on places like Fiverr, Upwork, etc.
Another angle that you could take is to try and foresee the future requirements of your website and services you might need, then lead with that when scouting for companies.
For example, in my company we specialize in monthly website maintenance and management and primarily offer service to folks in the US, however, we provide new website development services at much more obtainable rates to our existing monthly customers.
So with this angle, if you feel you will be requiring ongoing help and support for your website — you might also look at website management and maintenance companies which may help lower initial costs as well as help you build a relationship with your development service provider.
How Long Should My Website Take To Build?
Generally speaking for a medium complexity-based business website being built on a self-hosted platform — if done by a service or company will average around 1 business week assuming that you have your content ready to go.
Of course, the build process can vary, based on customization and what your requirements are, however, based on my experience I would assume a standard business website requiring between 8 to 12 hours for completion.
You need to take into consideration, your web hosting setup, site setup/design, page structuring, and configuration across the board. All these pieces typically take time, more so factor in the communication time between you (the customer) and the developer.
Let’s Talk About Money
For a standard business or personal site (with purpose), if developed properly by a professional or web development service provider — you should expect to have a budget between $2k and $5k.
Regarding monthly costs, you will require hosting which for a standard website is usually $6 to $20 per month and there is also optional website maintenance and support which can vary quite a bit based on what you are after.
For example, my company provides website maintenance plans at a flat rate of $99 per month which essentially incorporates up to 2 service hours for development and/or support resources to be used as needed. There are some much cheaper companies and some that are very expensive.
It’s always your call when it comes to website maintenance and management, as well as the direction you want to go for hosting for that matter.
My rule of thumb is you pay for what you get in most cases and time requirements are no exception.