Essential Web Design Costs Explained – What It Will Cost to Build Your Website
A Few Words About Essential Website Costs
Web design costs are of importance to almost every business owner and potential web design client I speak with. Frequently the first question I get in an email or conversation is “How much will my website cost?” I understand that web design costs are an important factor in the decision-making process. But answering that question is a little more involved. After all, you are not buying a gallon of milk here! So let’s take a look at some essential web design costs.
Estimating essential web design costs is always a tricky thing. As I have pointed out many times: there are simply too many factors influencing the final cost. This concerns both mobile and website development costs. The exact web design costs cannot be calculated without considering the required website functionality and business objectives.
Any conversation about essential web design costs needs to start with your actual objectives for your business website. What are your business objectives? What type of website do you need to meet those objectives? What do you expect from your website visitors? What kind of usability and user-experience is required to achieve your goals? Are there any other business web design considerations?
Different Ways of Looking at Essential Web Design Costs
There are a number of ways to determine how much your business website or e-commerce store will cost. The two most common are by the type of website you require or envision, and by the different web design stages. And there are a few additional costs involved if you need help creating content for your new site and want to make it as successful as possible after launch.
Let’s take a look at how essential web design costs are determined, and what you can do to keep costs as low as possible.
Essential Web Design Costs by Website Type
There are lots of different types of websites, from simple personal blogs and simple small business websites or simple landing pages to advanced websites such as e-commerce stores and membership sites. And business web design costs vary greatly depending on the type of website you are looking for.
It is simply not possible for me to outline all the different essential web design costs for every different type of website. For the sake of this post I limited myself to the most common websites we build for our global clients. I included the most requested types of functionality to give you a rough idea what you are looking at.
Landing Page Costs
The most basic type of website is a one-page site, commonly referred to as a landing page. This can either by a stand-alone site marketing a single product or service, or part of a larger multi-page site. Landing pages are generally fairly simple and do not contain much content or require advanced functionality.
Some landing pages simply contain a bit of text and a CTA (Call to Action.) Others can be much longer with different sections, usually with parallax functionality to break up the sections. The more sections and content a landing page has, the greater the web design costs.
For the sake of this post I am using our own average essential web design costs, roughly US$ 50.00 per hour. A very simple landing page may take 20 hours to build, while more advanced landing pages may require 50 hours or more to complete. That means you are looking at landing page design costs ranging from US$ 1,000.00 to US$ 2,500.00 or more.
Basic Business Website Costs
We are experts at designing mobile-first WordPress business websites, generally called static or brochure websites. Their basic purpose is to convey information about a business and the provided products or services. Depending on the size and complexity web design costs for this type of site are usually fairly low.
Most business owners request or require the following types of pages for a basic business website:
- About Page – Info about the business
- Services / Products Page – Info about the services or products offered
- Contact Page – Basic contact information
- Blog Page – The latest posts (optional)
- Testimonial Page – What customers say (recommended)
While this type of website is very cost effective it does not really provide the user-experience modern consumers expect and will most likely not be sufficient to support your actual business objectives. To maximize your business website engagement you should also consider including the following:
- Mobile-first design
- SSL certificate
- Contact or Request Form
- Live chat functionality
- On-site search functionality
As you can see, there are many different options for your business website, and they will all affect your web design costs to a certain degree. Smaller websites will always cost less than larger websites. Simple websites are cheaper than highly customized sites.
Another factor to consider are the actual hourly costs for a web designer or developer. Web design costs vary greatly depending on where you are located. Designers in the US tend to be more expensive than those of us working in Asia or Eastern Europe especially.
Using the same hourly cost figure of US$ 50.00 and seeing that the average business website can take anywhere from 40 to 200 hours or more you are looking at web design costs between US$ 2,000.00 to US$ 10,000.00 for your average business website. Once again, these are average web design costs, and your own business website and requirements may come at a different cost.
E-Commerce Website Costs
The next common type of website we build for our clients is an e-commerce site or online store. In 2019 many businesses simply view an online store as a logical extension of their brick-and-mortar store, while others sell exclusively online. The options for e-commerce sites and functionality are virtually endless.
Providing e-commerce solutions is one of our specialties, and we have built a variety of sites for a variety of clients. Some sites we built are full-fledged online stores offering a variety of products; others simply sell one product. Some sites focus on virtual or downloadable products exclusively.
Regardless of the type of e-commerce site you envision, or the kind of products you intend to sell, here are a few basic things every e-commerce site needs in order to be functional:
- Shop Page
- Product Pages
- Shopping Cart
- Check-out Page
- Payment Gateway Integration through WePay, Alipay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Stripe, or PayPal.
To meet the expectations of your mobile consumers you should also consider adding the following:
- Favorites or Wishlist
- Variable product options
- Related products
- Recently viewed products
- Store locator
- Flexible push notifications
- Opportunity to leave reviews and rate products
- Product search functionality
You also want to consider the backend of your e-commerce site. It needs to be simple enough to use that you or your employees can easily add and update products, but also robust enough to handle the needs or a growing e-commerce presence. And to meet mobile user-expectations your e-commerce site needs to load fast and provide a great mobile user-experience. And of course, you want your online store to be indexed by search engines and found by eager consumers.
E-commerce design is a complicated field and building any kind of e-commerce website is a much more involved project than a simple business website. It not only requires considerable investment in design and development, but you also need to focus on marketing your e-commerce site after launch.
Using the same hourly cost figure of US$ 50.00 and seeing that the average e-commerce site can take anywhere from 150 to 1,500 hours or more you are looking at web design costs from US$ 7,500.00 for a very basic e-commerce site to US$ 75,000.00 or more for a larger and more sophisticated online store.
Essential Web Design Costs by Phase
Another way to look at web design costs is by the different phases it takes to design and develop a fully functional website and launch it. Our teams follow a proven web design process that leads to better results in less time, and at a lower cost.
Let’s take a look at the different steps required, and how they add to your overall website costs.
This the absolutely essential first phase of any successful web design project. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post web design costs cannot be estimated without knowing as much as possible about your specific business and website objectives. A discovery phase gives both the client and the design team the opportunity to determine requirements, expectations and timelines.
The discovery phase can add anywhere from US$ 500.00 to US$ 5,000.00 to your website costs depending on the project scope.
Next comes the design of the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). Especially in the mobile age this is another essential step. The overall visual appeal is very important for attracting your target audience. It also involves determining how to add the required functionality to your website or e-commerce store.
This phase usually includes prototyping and even wireframing the basic design; personally, I prefer a web-based UI/UX approach as that makes it easier for clients to review the actual functionality across multiple devices. This is also the time to nail down your information architecture.
The UI/UX design phase can add anywhere from US$ 1,000.00 to US$ 4,000.00 to your website costs depending on the project scope.
This phase involves building the part of your website that your website visitors will see. In many cases it starts during the UI/UX design phase. During this phase the design team will build and add all required functionality and test it for usability and compatibility with mobile devices. Depending on the type and size of your website this phase can have a significant impact on your web design costs.
The front-end development phase can add anywhere from US$ 1,000.00 to US$ 10,000.00 or more to your essential website costs depending on the project scope.
This part of your web design project involves all the technical aspects that make your website work. From making sure your contact or request forms are processed properly to ensuring website buttons work across all devices, back-end or server-side development is what makes your website work.
Depending on the type of website you require this phase can involve adding and fine-tuning third party functionality, working with remote audio and video files, compressing files to optimize page speed, and creating media queries for a range of different devices and screen sizes. Estimating this part of your website costs can be difficult as you may need to anticipate unforeseen difficulties and conflicts that must be resolved.
The back-end development phase can add anywhere from US$ 2,500.00 to US$ 10,000.00 or more to your website costs depending on the project scope.
CMS Development Costs
It is essential for most business owners to be able to add and update website content, including text, images, video, etc. This where a content management system (CMS) comes in. For the most part we recommend using WordPress as your CMS. It is robust enough to handle the requirements of even large, complex business websites and e-commerce stores.
But there may be instances when you may require a custom built CMS or want to explore other CMS options. In that case you can expect additional web design costs.
The back-end development phase can add anywhere from US$ 1,000.00 to US$ 10,000.00 or more to your website costs depending on the project scope.
Additional Website Costs
In addition to the web design costs I outlined above there are several other website costs you will have to take into account.
In order to launch your website, you will need a domain name. Think of it as the street address of your website on the Internet. You don’t actually own your domain name; instead you lease it for periods ranging from one (1) to ten (10) years from a domain registrar. The registration fee is a necessary website cost you need to pay.
Registering a domain can run anywhere from US$ 2.00 to US$ 20.00 or more per year. It all depends on the type of domain and the length of time you register. If you have your eye on a specific domain name you may be able to purchase it, but that will cost you a lot more.
I recommend using a trusted domain registrar, including:
The next thing you will need is fast and secure hosting for your website. This is definitely a case where going for the cheapest option will work against you. Instead you need a trusted and reliable service provider that can help you keep your site up and running and help you in case something goes wrong. Even better if your service provider has a website maintenance plan, including regular backups.
You need to expect monthly costs ranging from US$ 15.00 to US350.00 or more depending on your requirements, and the services provided by your service provider as part of your hosting and maintenance package.
Here are a few hosting providers we have tried and recommend:
Another website cost many business owners fail to consider is regular website maintenance. Keeping your website updated and performing regular backups is absolutely essential for your website health, and enables you to quickly restore your website if it is compromised. I always recommend that clients include your first year website hosting maintenance as part of your initial web design costs.
The average cost to maintain a website can range from US$ 500.00 to US$ 4,200.00 yearly.
Page Speed Optimization
Optimizing your website for page speed is critical if you want to meet the user expectations of ever more demanding mobile consumers. But achieving page load times of three seconds or less can be a demanding task in and by itself. Basic page speed optimization best practices should be included in your initial web design costs. More advanced optimization services require both time and skill and are usually a recommended add-on to your project.
That depends on the size of your website, number of images and videos, and a number of other factors. I recommend you budget between US$ 1,000.00 and US$ 5,000.00 or more.
Post Launch Website Costs
Once you launch your new website you will want to get it indexed by search engines so it can be found by online searchers looking for just your product or service. But when you first launch your site not many people may know about it. Therefore, I always recommend that you include at least some of the following in your initial web design costs.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is the most effective way to tell your target audience about you and convert visitors into buyers. One of our strategists refers to it as directing a firehose towards your website. Google AdWords is a good option for both PPC professionals as well as business owners who want to manage their own PPC campaign.
A significant advantage of a PPC campaign is that you can turn it on and off as you need more website traffic. A major disadvantage of pay-per-click advertising is that the cost depends on your industry.
That depends entirely on the competitiveness of your industry and target keywords.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website for search engines like Google or Bing. With the help of SEO, your target audience will be able to find your website on search engines by typing key phrases into the search box. The higher your website is ranked in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) for a certain search phrase, the better your search optimization is. The cost of SEO fully depends on the amount of work you want to be done.
Depends on the competitiveness of your industry and keywords, but usually SEO costs range from US$ 500.00 to US$ 1,800.00 monthly on average.
Another ongoing website cost is content creation. Search engines require fresh and relevant content on an on going basis. This is a key reason why you should consider blogging for your business.
If you are unable or unwilling to create your own content, professional copywriters and bloggers can create great page content and blog posts and optimize them with relevant keywords for your business. A well-developed content strategy is essential for getting more website leads, engagement and conversions.
Page content usually ranges from US$ 150.00 to US$ 500.00 per page. Blog posts can range from US$ 50.00 to US$ 500.00 or more.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social Media Marketing is the process of promoting your brand on social networks. While the overall effectiveness of SMM on major social platforms like Facebook has declined in recent years brands can still achieve good results on niche networks. SMM is a great promotional strategy for both small companies and larger established businesses.
Once again this depends entirely on the social networks or platforms you want to target, and the results you want to achieve. I recommend you budget between US$ 500.00 and US$ 5,000.00 to start and adjust as needed.
How Much Will Your Website Cost?
Web design costs can range anywhere from US$ 1,000.00 for a simple landing page to US$ 75,000.00 and more for a large business or e-commerce site. Beyond that you may need to include additional website costs, such as content creation and post-launch support and marketing.
Once again, I can’t give you an exact web design cost estimate without actually starting a conversation about your needs and vision with you. But I can tell you that unless you consider your business website design and development as a major business investment, and treat it as such, you will never get the online presence you need to support your actual business objectives.
Looking for a Partner to Build Your Website?
Our innovative mobile-first web design team can help you develop just about any type of website. We are experts at carefully crafting custom mobile-friendly websites to meet (almost) any budget. From designing new WordPress websites, redesigning or updating an existing website, building a responsive e-Commerce websites to creating a multilingual online presence for your business we work directly with the client to prepare them for the ever more demanding mobile consumer. Why not get started by requesting your FREE web design estimate?
And if you are still not sure how you can keep your web design costs low enough to fit your budget and still get the online presence you need to thrive and survive, don’t worry! Simply reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine the best way to implement mobile-first business web design strategies on your website. It is one of our specialties, after all!
How Did You Determine Your Web Design Costs?
Did you determine the web design costs for your new site? Did you fail to anticipate some of the website costs I outlined? Did you have other problems with your website designer or website cost estimate? Please feel free to let us know so our audience can benefit as well and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And feel free to share our post with your audience!
Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!