Overall a website can cost anything from a couple of hundred dollars up to thousands and even million dollars. So why is there such a big difference?
Building a website is similar to building a house or customizing a car. The more features, the more time it will take designers and developers to put the site together.
Building a new website may involve the expertise of multiple individuals:
Website designer - designs the overall website theme and the way the website will look. The designer may also convert the website into simple HTML. You'll find most good designers will not develop or code your website. Their expertise is making your website look good, easy to use, and ensuring every aspect of your website has good visual appeal.
Developer - The developer works on the coding element of your website; building contact forms, or working on a pop up feature when user come to the website, or on the checkout stages of an ecommerce site. The Developer may also code a backend admin control panel from where the website can be managed. The developer and the designer work hand in hand, as the designer gives the developer the files that have been designed.
Flash Designer: If you want Flash animations on your website a flash designer will be involved. At times the website designer may be able to do certain aspects of Flash, but to really put together a Flash animation using Flash script usually requires a Flash designer and developer.
Graphics Designer: Makes the graphical banners or a custom made logo. The website designer could assist you but ideally you want an expert graphic designer who specializes in graphical work.
So back to the question, how much should a website cost? The website costs can vary depending on what you are looking to achieve. You may be satisfied with a simple HTML website which the designer has designed for you and put together ready to be uploaded onto your server. It may take between 10 " 30 hours to put together and can cost anywhere between $100 - $500 USD.
On the other hand if you are looking to build a custom ecommerce site with a unique design, developed according to your specifications the design aspect alone could take anywhere from 10 to 50 hours. A developer would code it all together or implement your designed layout into an open source shopping cart; another 80 to 150 hours, at least. Professional web designers and web developers can cost between $50 and $150 per hour.