What you’ll find in this Guide:
- Why are web design costs increasing?
- What type of website do you need for your organization
- Factors that affect web design costs
- Custom web design vs. pre-made web design
- What goes into making a website
- Should you do it yourself?
- Freelance web designer vs. web design agency: Pros and cons
- Tips for keeping web design costs under control
How much should web design cost?
“How much should web design cost?” is a common question for businesses and individuals looking to create or update their website. The cost of web design can vary widely depending on factors such as the size and complexity of the site, the level of customization required, and the expertise and experience of the designer.
According to recent surveys, the average cost of a custom website design ranges from $5,000 to $80,000, with larger and more complex sites costing even more. However, there are also lower-cost options such as DIY website builders, pre-designed templates and now AI website builders, which can range from free to a few hundred dollars. Ultimately, the cost of web design should be based on the specific needs and goals of the organization or individual, as well as their budget and timeline.
Based on the average costs and the average five-year lifespan of a website, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5.50 to $60+ a day for a website during its lifetime.
To help you understand how we got to this cost and help you navigate the process of designing a new website, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how much web design should cost.
In this post, we’ll cover the various factors that can affect web design costs, including design customization, ongoing maintenance, and website platform and hosting. We’ll also break down the costs of basic, custom, and eCommerce web design, and compare the pros and cons of hiring a freelance web designer versus a web design agency.
Additionally, we’ll discuss hidden costs to watch out for and provide tips on how to determine a fair price for web design services. By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of how much to budget for web design services and be ready to take the next steps toward building your dream website.
What will your website design cost?
- Developing your own website is the least expensive option. If you want to do the work, it will cost you anywhere from $20 to $3,000 or more.
- A well-designed and optimized website designed by an agency starts around $7,000 and can go up to $50,000 or more.
- Sites with e-commerce and more complicated functionality will cost between $40,000 to $80,000 or more.
Why you need a website
Your website is your most valuable asset when it comes to marketing and sales. It’s where your prospects go to learn about your organization before making a purchase, a donation or talking to a member of your team.
The online world is constantly changing with new technology and requirements. The search engines give preference to sites that load faster, are mobile responsive, and lead the visitor to the correct information they are looking for.
In response, organizations are updating their websites to compete in today’s fast-paced digital world. While this is great for your prospects, it also poses a challenge for marketers who need to stand out in a crowded market.
Falling behind could mean missing out on potential visitors who are searching for your products or services online. If you’re not on the first page of Google search results, you may struggle to attract the right visitors to your website or have to pay more to generate traffic.
In this competitive environment, a website redesign is inevitable for most modern organizations, but the cost can vary widely depending on the complexity and customization of the project.
Why Are Web Design Costs Increasing?
Just like many other things, website costs have seen an upward trend in the past few years. There are a number of reasons for the increases beyond inflation.
One of the primary reasons for this is simply evolving technology and evolving design trends. Expert developers must continually learn and adapt to new technologies and design principles, which require an investment of time and resources. Evolving search engine algorithms and user behaviour require web designers to learn new ways to optimize sites for improved search engine ranking and user engagement.
Today’s modern websites not only require advanced features, functionality, and integrations with other online programs, but also need to be optimized for various devices, browsers, and search engines. In addition, page speed, accessibility, and user experience have become critical factors in ensuring a website’s success.
Achieving this level of sophistication requires more expertise, time, and resources, which ultimately drives up the cost of a website redesign.
You are not only paying for the time and effort to develop the site, but you are also paying for the knowledge, expertise, and ability to turn your ideas and vision into reality. In designing your website, your web designer has to understand the needs of all your audiences and the competitive landscape you are operating in to deliver a site to help you achieve your objectives.
As organizations increasingly recognize the value of a well-designed website, there is more competition for high-quality web design services. With this increased demand, the price of top-notch web design has risen.
Your visitors also expect more from your website. For many organizations, it was enough to develop a brochure site and wait for the phone to ring. Nowadays, depending on your industry, you may be competing with other organizations around the world for customers. Even B2B websites have transformed to be more brand and customer-focused while increasing functionality to meet customer expectations.
All of these elements can impact the cost of your website project, whether you’re considering doing it yourself, hiring a freelancer, or working with an agency.
We always advise our clients to think of a website redesign as a transformational experience. As you undertake either a new website or a redesign, you are forced to think about how your brand is positioned against competitors. You must also consider how you are speaking directly to your prospects, potential new employees, investors, donors, and so many other key stakeholders.
In this blog post, we break down the different options:
- Custom Website Design vs Premade DIY website
- The cost of hiring a freelancer for your website
- The cost of hiring a website design agency
If you are wondering what goes into making a website and what it costs to maintain it once launched, we cover all those questions. We also include lots of tips on how to manage your costs. Read on to learn more about, how much does a website cost?
What type of website do you need for your organization?
Before we dive into the cost, let’s review the different types of websites. The functionality, style, and size of your website are all major factors in the overall cost of your website design.
A brochure-style website is a type of website designed to present information in a format similar to a printed brochure. The website typically consists of a few key pages – homepage, about, products or services, and contact us. The copy and images are usually taken from existing marketing materials.
Brochure-style websites with a simple design and limited functionality are ideal for organizations to showcase their offerings in a clear and concise manner. They are also a great option for small businesses, startups, or individuals who want to establish an online presence quickly and affordably.
The cost of a brochure-style website can vary depending on the complexity of the design and the features included. A simple brochure-style website with about 10 pages and basic functionality can cost as little as $2,500 to $5,000. However, a more complex brochure-style website with custom design elements and additional features such as contact forms, social media integration, and multimedia content can cost upwards of $5,000 or more.
Typically these websites are built on a hosting platform or using WordPress as the CMS.
Hybrid Custom Website
A hybrid custom website uses a pre-designed template or theme with custom elements and additional functionality. This option is the most popular with our clients because it saves them time and money while still producing a unique website design customized to reflect their brand.
When choosing to build a hybrid custom website, organizations have many pre-designed templates to choose from, many are purposefully developed for their industry. Once the theme is chosen the site features, style, functionality, and integrations can be customized.
The majority of these sites are built using a content management system(CMS) such as WordPress, our preferred CMS. It is a very flexible platform for those who need a little more flexibility and function from their websites. These sites can also include some eCommerce functionality.
The cost of a hybrid custom website can range from $7,000 to $50,000 depending on the complexity of the design and the custom features added.
Custom Web Design
Custom web design projects involve creating a unique, fully customized design tailored to your brand and business needs. These projects typically require more time and resources than hybrid custom web design projects and are ideal for organizations that want to stand out with a unique online presence.
Cost: $15,000 – $50,000+
eCommerce Web Design
eCommerce web design projects involve creating an online store with a range of eCommerce features, such as product listings, shopping carts, and payment processing. These projects are more complex than basic or custom web design projects and require expertise in eCommerce website design and development.
These sites usually require the use of an ecommerce website platform such as WooCommerce, Magento, Cs-Cart, and Shopify.
Cost: $10,000 – $100,000+
Keep in mind that these are general ranges and costs can vary depending on the complexity of the project, the experience of the team, and other factors we discussed in the previous section.
Just like building a home and choosing the finishes, customizing a website will depend on what you need for your business and what you are willing to invest to get what you need. It’s important to think through what you want in your website before you start building it.
|Type of Website||Web Design Costs||Annual Maintenance|
|$0 to $5000||$600-$1000|
(up to 10 pages)
|$2,500 to $5,000+||$2,100|
|$7,000 to $50,000||$2,100- $5,000|
|Custom Web Design
|$15,000 to $100,00||$2,100 to $10,000|
|ecommerce website||$10,000 to $100,000||$3,000 to $10,000|
Factors that Affect Web Design Costs
Before we dive into specific costs, it’s important to understand the various factors that can affect web design costs. Here are some of the key factors to consider:
The more customized you want your website design to be, the more it will cost. A basic template-based design will be less expensive than a fully customized design that incorporates unique features, graphics, and layouts.
Once your website is built, you’ll need to maintain it to ensure it runs smoothly and stays up to date with the latest technology and security measures. Ongoing maintenance can include tasks like software updates, security checks, and content updates. The more maintenance you require, the more it will add to your overall web design costs.
Website Platform and Hosting
The platform you choose to build your website on and the hosting service you use can also impact your web design costs. Some website platforms, like WordPress, are free to use, while others, like Squarespace or Shopify, require a monthly subscription fee. Similarly, hosting services can range from basic shared hosting to more expensive dedicated hosting options.
Other factors that can impact web design costs include the size of your website, the number of pages you need, and the level of functionality you require (e.g. eCommerce features, contact forms, etc.).
By considering these factors, you’ll have a better understanding of why web design costs can vary so much and what you can do to control them. In the next section, we’ll break down the costs of different types of web design projects.
Custom Web Design vs Pre-made Web Design
To build a website, there are three main approaches: do it yourself, partner with a professional or a hybrid approach. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. As web design and development experts, we have spent decades working with organizations to build their online presence, and we can help you decide which approach is best for you.
If you want to do it yourself, there are a few options available to you. One of the most popular options is to use a website builder such as Squarespace or Wix. This is a great choice for those who need a simple website and are looking for a cost-friendly option. With a website builder, you pay a monthly fee to use the builder and for hosting your site. However, when you decide to stop paying, your website disappears.
Website builders are suited for those with minimal experience building websites and provide an easy-to-use drag-and-drop builder. If you are looking for additional features, plug-ins, and apps are usually available.
Another option for DIY website building is to use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress. Almost 40% of the web is built on WordPress, so you are in good company. You can choose one of their cost-effective plans and build a site you truly love.
Building your website using a CMS like WordPress does require some technical knowledge like basic HTML or CSS. Like a website builder, there are plug-ins available to increase the functionality of the website, which sometimes can require a paid license. Unlike a website builder, additional costs do start to show up, such as purchasing your domain and hosting.
Partnering with a professional web designer or web design agency is the best option for those who want a high-quality, custom website that is tailored to their specific needs. This approach is more expensive, but you get what you pay for. A professional web designer can help you create a website that reflects your brand, values, and unique selling proposition. The cost of hiring a web designer or agency can vary depending on their experience, location, and the complexity of your website.
In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at each of the different options to help you understand how to determine the best way to build a website for your small business or charity.
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What goes into making a website?
You will also need a few other important essentials to get online.
Website Domain Name
$10 – $50
yourname.ca or any other variation with new .variants are available for you to register for about $10 to $20 a year, some of the new TLDs are more expensive.
Unless you are using a website builder with hosting included, you will need to host your site on a server. Your web host will ensure your website is accessible and has no downtime. Look for a host with excellent speed and service, the speed of your host can impact your website. We offer reasonable hosting starting at $20 a month. An SSL certificate is included with our hosting to ensure your site is secured.
A website theme is a blueprint for your website. You can spend hours reviewing themes with thousands of options available. We recommend you spend a little money and also read the reviews to ensure the theme is updated and to understand the challenges others may be having with the theme. You can find themes on Envato.
$5 to $200
The magic of WordPress websites is the gallery of available plugins to help you accomplish almost anything with your site. Some of the more popular plugins include Yoast for SEO, or Duplicator to create backups. You can use free plugins and paid plugins, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. Once again look for the reviews, the last time it was updated to ensure it is compatible with your version of WordPress.
Photography and Images
A picture is worth a thousand words especially today with our decreasing attention spans. The imagery on your site can really enhance the look and feel of your site. If you have access to quality photos or photography, use them on your site. If not, there are loads of royalty-free photo galleries to choose from. You pay once for the photo and can use it multiple times. Check out AppSumo (affiliate link), they often have discounted deals for access to photos.
Never just google images to copy and paste into your site. The majority of the owners of these images will find you, send you exorbitant invoices and terms. Just don’t do it. Pay a few dollars to buy images or hire a photographer to help you.
Colour and Logo
$100 to $1000
You may already have a logo and a colour scheme for your organization. If not, you can choose to find help from a local graphic designer or logo maker near you. To choose the right colour scheme for your site, head over to Coolors.co and use your logo colours to generate a colour scheme.
30 -100 hours or more
Depending on your site and the technology you choose to build it with, this could turn out to be lots of time or very little time. If this is your first time, expect to double or trip the time required. Time flies when you are moving stuff around online trying to get it to work on desktop, tablet and mobile.
The amount of time it takes to develop content for a website can vary depending on several factors. One of the primary factors is the size and complexity of the website. A small website with only a few pages of content may only take a few weeks to develop, while a larger website with hundreds of pages and more complex features could take several months or even a year to complete. Additionally, the amount of research and planning required to create effective and engaging content can also impact the timeline. It’s important to allocate enough time for the content development process to ensure that the website is launched with high-quality and engaging content that effectively represents the organization’s brand and message.
Website Strategy and Planning
Website planning is a crucial step in developing a successful website. It involves identifying the purpose of the website, its target audience, and the goals that need to be achieved through the website. This step also helps in identifying the features and functionalities that are required to make the website effective.
Before starting the website design process, it is important to have a clear understanding of the website’s content structure, navigation, and layout. Website planning involves creating a site map that outlines the main sections and pages of the website, as well as wireframes that provide a visual representation of the website’s layout and content organization.
Proper website planning ensures that the website meets the needs of both the organization and the end-users. It also helps in saving time and money during the website development process by minimizing changes that may need to be made later on.
The designer makes your site look good. The designer works on the user experience or UX. They design the layout, usability, and visual appearance of a website taking into consideration your branding, style and tone to ensure the website is an accurate representation of your organization, product or service. Even if you use a theme for your website, the designer must adapt the theme to reflect your brand and your visitor journey on the site.
Think of the developer as the architect of a home. Their function is to build and maintain the core structure of the website which includes coding the site or adding more complex integrations.
Should You Do It Yourself?
Even if you don’t have a basic understanding of web technology, there are plenty of helpful resources online and drag-and-drop website builders available that can help you create a site.
However, keep in mind that building a modern, well-engineered website is more time-consuming than most people realize. It can take anywhere from 30 to 100+ hours or more to design, write content, gather images and graphics, develop the content, and bring it all together.
Despite the time commitment, the DIY approach can be a viable option if you have more time than money right now and don’t get overwhelmed by web technology. It’s important to consider that every minute spent on website development is a minute taken away from growing your organization and building customer or donor relationships.
It all depends on what you can afford, either financially or in time spent.
Despite all the advances in web development, building a modern, well-engineered website is way more time-consuming than most people realize. But if you have more time than money right now and you don’t get overwhelmed by web technology, the DIY approach is a perfectly viable option.
Keep in mind, any time away from working on your organization is time spent away from sales, growth, and deepening relationships with your customers and/or donors.
Freelance Web Designer vs. Web Design Agency: Pros and Cons
When it comes to hiring a web designer for your project, you have two main options: a freelance web designer or a web design agency. Here are the pros and cons of each option:
Freelance Web Designer
- Typically more affordable than web design agencies.
- Can offer a more personalized approach and one-on-one attention.
- Often have more flexible schedules and can work on your project more quickly.
- May have limited resources and expertise compared to a web design agency.
- May not have a formal project management process in place.
- May have less accountability and communication compared to a web design agency.
Web Design Agency
- Typically have a larger team and more resources, allowing for more complex projects.
- Often have a formal project management process in place for a more organized and efficient workflow.
- Can offer a wide range of services, including web development, branding, and digital marketing.
- Generally more expensive than freelance web designers.
- May have less personalized attention and communication compared to a freelance web designer.
- May have a longer turnaround time for projects due to their larger team and more formal process.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to hire a freelance web designer or a web design agency will depend on your specific needs, budget, and timeline. It’s important to do your research and ask for references and portfolios before making a decision.
In the next section, we’ll discuss some tips for keeping web design costs under control.
Tips for Keeping Web Design Costs Under Control
While web design is an important investment for your organization, it’s understandable that you want to keep costs under control. Here are some tips for managing your web design costs:
Define Your Goals and Budget Upfront
Before you start your web design project, it’s important to define your goals and budget upfront. This will help you stay focused on what’s most important for your business and avoid unnecessary expenses.
Be Clear and Specific About Your Requirements
To avoid scope creep and additional costs, be clear and specific about your requirements from the beginning. This includes your website’s features, functionality, design, and content. If your web designer is not working with you to plan your website out before even thinking about design, you should look elsewhere.
Leverage Templates or Open-Source Platforms
If you’re on a tight budget, consider using website templates or open-source platforms like WordPress or Shopify. This can help you save on design and development costs while still achieving a professional-looking website.
Avoid Unnecessary Customizations
While customizations can make your website unique, they can also add up quickly in terms of cost. Consider whether each customization is necessary to achieve your organization’s goals and budget.
Work With an Experienced Web Designer
Working with an experienced web designer can help you avoid costly mistakes and achieve a more efficient workflow. Look for a web designer with a strong portfolio and positive reviews from past clients.
By following these tips, you can manage your web design costs while still achieving a high-quality website that meets your needs.
The cost of web design varies depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of the website, the experience and expertise of the designer, and the features and functionality you require. While it may seem like a significant investment, a high-quality website can provide significant returns in terms of increased traffic, leads, and sales. A well-developed website can also help you attract your best employees and that can make the difference between success and failure.
Contact Us Today
Don’t let a lack of understanding hold you back from creating a successful website. Contact us today to learn more about our website design and development services and how we can help you achieve your online goals.