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Website Design Cost: Understanding the Numbers

How much does website design cost? It depends. Still, here are some figures & a look behind the numbers to help you understand how much you should pay.

Web design
June 5, 2023
8
min
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How much does website design cost? Why is it important to understand website design cost, and how much you should be paying? We’re here to answer all your questions.

In today's digital world, having a website is crucial for any business. In 2023 72% of business have a professional site, and and in the US close to one third (28%) of business is done online.

But having a website is not enough. Before we dive into the cost of website design, let’s discuss why having a good website is so important.

Importance of good website design

It’s safe to say that most small businesses nowadays have a website. But have you considered just how important the design of your small business website really is? Here are some eye-opening stats.

  • It takes 0.05 seconds for users to form an opinion about your website. You can put a lot of effort into your SEO-optimized content. Still, if users land on your website and see poor design, your bounce rate will skyrocket.
  • Poor functionality causes 42% of people to leave your site. Confusing menus and navbars, slow loading time, and glitches are just some of the things you can avoid by hiring a professional web designer.
  • A staggering 75% of users will judge a company’s credibility based on website design. Have you ever decided against an online purchase because the website looked “dodgy”? You probably need little convincing about this one.
  • If a website looks unattractive, over a third of users will stop engaging. Functionality often trumps aesthetics, but looks definitely matter in web design.
why web design matters

As you might suspect the answer is a pretty broad range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Not all that helpful?

Now that we have you convinced that you need high-quality design, there’s an important question to address? How much does it cost to hire a website designer?

Don’t worry. We’ll present several different pricing options and explain what each is suitable for. But before we dive into that, let’s see why it’s important to understand website design cost, and what it entails exactly.

Why website design costs matter

So, why are we even talking about website design cost? Well, aside from the obvious “you’re spending your money”, there’s another key consideration here. It’s possible to get website design for free (or virtually free).

Unfortunately, this is still a route many small business owners and startups take to save money. However, doing your own website design, if you haven’t got any clue about UI/UX design is dangerous for a number of reasons. Here are some of them:

  • Bad websites harm your business. We’ve already discussed how vital websites are for any business. Marketing, sales, brand discovery and recognition, customer trust are just the way in which a website design has a direct impact on the success of your business.
  • It takes up a lot of time. Have you ever tried fixing something, only to give up after hours of work and decide to call a professional instead? This is a common occurrence with DIY web design. Even with the easiest drag-and-drop website builders, you’ll spend hours creating a professional website. Just think about all the different design elements, such as fonts, CTA buttons, illustrations, photos and more. You’ll have to create or source all of these, before you can even start putting the design together.
  • You might end up spending a lot more. Say you decided to take the DIY website design route “just for the time being”. As soon as you want to level up your business operations, it’s likely that you’ll need to redesign your website. This means you’ll need to upgrade the website quality, but also keep it close to your previous site, so as not to alienate existing customers. So, creating a business website from scratch can often be easier and yield better results.

It’s important to think about custom website design cost as an investment rather than a one-off expense.

Factors that affect website design pricing

When it comes to determining website design costs for your business's online presence, several factors come into play. So, while we will try to give you a rough breakdown of the cost of website design, here are some of the factors that you should consider along with those ballpark figures.

  • The complexity and level of customization
  • Number of pages
  • Location of the freelance designer/web design agency
  • Additional graphic design services (e.g. illustration and motion graphic design)

What’s not included in the cost of website design

Before we can answer the question “how much does website design cost”, we need to briefly address a few additional costs that aren’t usually included in web design services.

- Website development: Most design agencies include web development in their website design service, but this is still a completely separate task that you should factor into your budget. The average cost of website development is between $2,000 and $35,000, and the price is most dependent on the number of pages. The average hourly rate of freelance web developers is around $25.

  • Website hosting: While the cost of hosting a website with some companies may be quite low, you should weigh the cost versus the value of premium hosting services. These options can provide better website performance and improved security features such as SSL certificates and automatic backups. With higher-end providers like Wix or WordPress offering custom templates and plugins that can improve search engine optimization (SEO), investing in quality hosting is worth the long-term investment.
  • SSL certificate: Cyber threats pose a significant risk to all websites. To secure your website from these threats, it's crucial to invest in an SSL certificate. It helps protect sensitive information such as login credentials and financial transactions from being compromised by hackers. By encrypting data exchanged between visitors and your site with HTTPS encryption, you make sure that the transmitted information is secure. There are various types of SSL certificates available in the market with varying levels of protection for securing websites.

Website design cost breakdown according to website complexity

The cost of website design isn’t determined only by the type of service provider and experience of the web designer. The first level in which web designer cost varies is the complexity and type of website design project.

LA23.40 - Design brief-01.png

A simple, brochure-style website will usually cost a couple thousand dollars. Many designers will adapt existing web design templates, so in this case it’s usually not a 100% custom option that you’re looking for. However, for a small business (especially brick-and-mortar businesses, such as coffee shops) this is a reasonable amount to spend on a professional website.

More complex, corporate websites with several pages will cost between $3,000 and $5,000. The costs usually vary widely on the number of pages.

Finally, completely custom website design cost comes in a much higher range. Starting at around $10,000 this usually involves additional services such as illustration or motion design. These rates are also common with web design agencies that also provide in-depth market research and branding design services. They’ll also provide technical services, such as SEO optimization and even eCommerce setup.

Website design cost breakdown according to type of service

Now that you know how project complexity plays a part, let’s talk about the cost of hiring a website designer. The salary of a full-time UX/Ui designer is close to $80k per year.

On the other hand, outsourcing website design is much more cost-effective, since most small businesses only need website design on a one-off basis. Here are 3 options to choose from.

LA23.40 - Design brief-02.png

Freelance web designers have an average hourly rate of $25. However, in this case it’s best to agree on the cost of the entire web design project upfront, as these often require numerous revisions, which some freelance designers might charge extra.

Finding a reputable web design company is a terrific option if you can afford it. These web design experts charge tens of thousands of dollars for a single project, but services normally include SEO optimization, web development and extensive market research.

Finally, a third and definitely most affordable option for website design are unlimited design services. These work on a subscription basis, meaning you pay a flat monthly fee and get all your design projects. Expect to pay between $400 and $1,4000 per month. However, this fee covers as many tweaks to your website design as you like without additional costs.

Understanding website design

As we’ve mentioned at the beginning, small business owners often opt for a template-based design or choose a DIY route to build a website.

However, there are more costs to consider then what you initially pay for a website. In the long term, you should consider factors like search engine optimization (SEO) and website maintenance cost in the long run

Let’s take a closer look at some of these aspects.

WordPress vs. other CMS platforms

For those looking for a user-friendly CMS platform with customization options, WordPress is the best way to go. Although other content management systems like Drupal and Joomla offer advanced features, they require more technical expertise. WordPress is cost-effective and ideal for small businesses seeking to establish an online presence.

Larger enterprises may require more advanced CMS platforms. The choice of platform should be based on your specific needs and budget for design and development.

Designing a blog with SEO in mind

Designing a blog with SEO in mind requires considering various factors like website speed, user interface, and responsive design. To achieve better results with Google rankings, it is essential to have simple yet elegant designs that enhance website speed while making them SEO friendly

It is also advisable to have a mobile-responsive website. Providing an excellent user experience has become the need of the hour to keep up with today's fast-paced digital world.

Redesign an existing website

We’ve only briefly discussed it, but what happens if you have an existing website that needs redesigning?

Working with an experienced web designer can be beneficial to ensure that the new site reflects your brand identity. Some web designers charge less if they don’t have to create a website from scratch, although this is not a strict rule. If the designer is also required to redesign your branding, the custom website design cost is going to be higher than the figures listed above.

Integrating e-commerce into your website design

Integrating e-commerce functionality into your website design is an excellent way to boost your online business's sales and customer engagement. However, it does come at a cost that should be considered before making a decision.

For instance, adding a shopping cart, payment gateway and secure checkout system for an online store can increase website costs substantially. Therefore, it’s essential to keep in mind that more complex e-commerce systems with a higher number of products will be more expensive than basic ones.

The pros and cons of freelancers vs. agencies

When deciding between hiring a freelancer or an agency for your website design needs, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons.

Freelancers tend to provide more personalized attention at a lower hourly rate than agencies. On the other hand, agencies boast larger teams with diverse skill sets and offer additional website design and development services.

If you have it in your budget, hiring an agency is the stress-free option. On the other hand, don’t forget that modern websites can’t perform without regular updating. Whether this is a blog that will boost your content marketing efforts, or regular checks and tweaks, website design is something you will need to come back to eventually.

Unlimited design: the best of both worlds

Is there a way to get the reliability of a web design agency at the affordable rates freelancers charge?

Absolutely!

With our unlimited website design services, you can get your website designed for as little as $549! With a flat monthly rate, you can make sure that your web design is 100% to your liking, without any unexpected fees and charges!

Discover some of our work here or sign up now!

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.

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