A new website design is a significant investment for any business. Your website is often the first impression you make on potential customers, so having a professional, modern design that reflects your brand is essential. But how much should you expect to budget for a brand-new site?
The costs can vary widely depending on the size and complexity of the site, the types of features needed, whether you work with a freelancer or agency, location, and other factors. In this article, we’ll break down the typical costs for common website projects so you can set realistic expectations. We’ll also provide tips for getting the best return on investment for your new site.
Several key factors impact the overall price tag for a custom website design project:
Size of the website - The number of pages and amount of content. More pages equal more time and resources required.
Design complexity - Simple brochure sites are cheaper than intricate e-commerce stores. Custom designs and animations also add more development and QA testing time.
Functionality needs - Basic informational sites need fewer features while web apps may require extensive backend programming.
Quality of copy - If you provide all the written content, it saves on professional copywriting services.
Visual assets - Original custom photography and icons are more expensive than stock visuals.
Geographic location - Designers in regions with higher costs of living often charge higher rates.
Use of freelancers vs agencies - Agencies tend to be more expensive but provide more services.
Now let’s explore typical costs for common types of website projects.
For a small business with a typical 5 to 10-page informational site, the design costs often range from $3,000 to $7,500. This covers the core pages essential for promoting the business, outlining services, opportunities to contact, etc.
The specifics of the price in this range depend on factors like:
Whether original visual assets are needed
If copywriting is included or you provide all text
How custom or complex the branding and overall design is
Expect this caliber of site to take 1 to 3 months from start to launch. Ongoing costs go towards hosting fees, maintenance, and periodically updating content.
For e-commerce websites that allow visitors to purchase products online, both the upfront and ongoing costs are higher. The bare minimum for a very simple 10-product e-commerce site would be around $5,000. However, most legit online stores require far more product categories, custom features, and branding.
A professionally designed store with solid functionality for an average-sized inventory may cost between $15,000 - $30,000 or more. Some aspects that increase costs include:
of product categories, variables, and overall inventory size
Multiple payment integration needs
Features like reviews, wishlists, custom search, etc.
Graphic design for categories, product images, icons, etc.
Because of the specialized functionality and database needs, e-commerce sites also require strong technical expertise from developers who charge higher rates.
For businesses offering memberships, online courses, coaching programs, etc. - the website needs are similar in some ways to e-commerce. However, it focuses less on direct purchase transactions and more on access control, content protection, facilitating discussion, and communication tools.
If you don’t need a fully customized community platform and mainly use integrated third-party software, you may be able to get the front-end website built for $10,000 to $20,000. This assumes around 10 main pages with the core visual design, content sections, and integration key software like membership plugins, payment systems, email services, etc.
For large-scale online learning portals, custom community platforms built from the ground up, or mobile app development - you’re likely looking at a $50,000+ investment. Ongoing developer resources are also recommended for evolving community-driven websites over time rather than remaining static.
If you already have an existing website but know it needs a complete makeover, the costs are typically 30%-50% less than building a fully custom site from scratch. Reasons you may want to consider a redesign include:
Your brand has changed substantially
The site architecture needs optimization for clarity/conversions
You want to update the visual design for a more modern appeal
Since the basic framework may not change drastically, the time savings apply to both the planning and production phases when redesigning a site. Expect price quotes for full redesigns to start around $1,500 and up based on the level of changes needed.
Once you’ve set your budget and goals for a new website, finding the right partner to bring your vision to life is key. Here are some tips for evaluating and selecting a web design firm or freelancer:
Ask about their experience with projects similar to yours and visit live case study examples to assess their design capabilities and technical skills. Ideally, they have proven expertise specifically in your industry.
Inquire about their typical workflow for building sites, such as their project management system, testing protocols, launch process, and how they handle revisions. You want an organized, iterative approach focused on quality and conversions.
Don’t overlook the level of ongoing support they provide after launch, including response times for issues, maintenance, backups, and continuing website enhancements.
Vet their reputation thoroughly by requesting client references and reading online reviews. It provides added confidence to hear directly from past customers about their experience.
Beyond just aesthetics, it’s crucial for both visitor experience and search engine visibility that your new website loads quickly and functions properly. Here are key performance factors to address:
From image compression to reduced server response times, ensure your pages load in under 2-3 seconds. Google prioritizes faster sites in rankings now.
With the majority of traffic on mobiles, your site must reflow seamlessly on any device size without choking layouts or features.
Test on all major browsers and mobile platforms during development to catch rendering issues. Don’t lose visitors due to site crashes or bugs.
On-page elements like metadata, URLs, headings, and page speed influence how search engines index and rank your pages.
Understanding visitor behavior from clicks to conversions helps refine your site’s calls-to-action, layouts, content, and overall user experience for better results.
With attention to these areas, you’ll have assurance that website performance aligns with your digital growth objectives beyond just an attractive design.
Rather than viewing your website as a static brochure, envision it as a dynamic component that continually moves your business strategy forward. Treat it as a long-term business investment, not just a one-time expenditure. The sites with the greatest impact focus on serving users’ needs first with a conversion-driven design and solid infrastructure that allows for flexibility as you scale.
Approach your website as a partnership between objectives and audience, with ongoing optimizations as needs emerge over time. And select a web design partner ready to turn this vision into reality, not just deliver a product. With the right mindset driving your plans, your new website will become an invaluable asset propelling your brand into the future.
The investment in a custom-designed website pays off exponentially over time as it becomes a revenue-generating asset for your business instead of just an expense. An outdated site actually loses money in missed opportunities over the long run.
Hopefully this overview gives you a better idea of realistic budgets for your project type. Just remember that the cheapest option isn’t necessarily best either if it comes at the expense of delivering a site that represents your brand’s full potential. Set your expectations wisely and find an experienced web design partner ready to turn your vision into reality.
What is included in a basic website design package?
A basic custom website design package typically includes discovery calls, information architecture layouts, homepage design mockup, responsive interior page templates to reuse, content entry guidance, stock images, QA testing, and launch support. Any specialized functionality, custom visual assets, or copywriting are usually added on or outsourced separately.
How can I reduce the costs of a new website?
Some ways to reduce costs for your new site include providing all copy/content yourself, using free stock images only, keeping branding and graphics simplified, limiting custom features, choosing a freelancer vs agency, and using WordPress templates for certain sections you can customize yourself later on. Just be careful not to sacrifice too much quality in the process.
What ongoing costs are involved with a website?
Besides periodically changing content and keeping software updated, the main ongoing costs are web hosting fees (~$10+ per month), domain registration renewals ($10-$30 per year), site maintenance and backups by a developer/agency if needed, email services and additional integrations like analytics or marketing software. Plan approximately 10%-25% of the initial build cost per year.
How long will it take to design my new website?
Most custom website design projects take 1 to 3 months from start to finish. Very basic sites could potentially get built in 2 to 4 weeks, while complex web platforms often take 4 to 6 months with additional rounds of testing and revisions after launch. Give yourself ample run room, especially if coordinating with other vendors.
How often should I redesign my website?
There isn’t a set rule for how frequently to redesign a website, but every 3 to 5 years is fairly common to keep the experience feeling fresh. Some brands with very visual identities choose to refresh site themes yearly. Prioritize redesigns around new product/service offerings, major brand shifts, outdated functionality issues, or dramatic evolutions in website best practices.
How do I accept payments on my website?
Some popular options for accepting payments on a website include: merchant accounts by banks or Paypal, Stripe integration, utilizing an e-commerce platform like Shopify or WooCommerce, using a dedicated payment service like Paystack or Square, or hiring a developer to customize payment functionality from scratch. Ensure PCI compliance and security is set up properly.
Can website costs be deducted as a business expense?
If you are operating as a registered business, investments into your company website can be written off as deductible operating expenses, including the initial build costs and ongoing hosting/maintenance fees. Keep detailed records of invoices and bank/credit statements highlighting relevant website payments. Consult your accountant on the best way to document.
How can I manage updates to my site internally?
For small text changes and uploading new images, utilize a mainstream Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress to empower non-technical team members handling marketing and site content. For bigger revisions, form changes, new integrations etc - you’ll likely still want to utilize your web development agency unless your team has gained sufficient internal technical expertise.
What is the difference between freelance developers vs agencies?
Freelance website developers are self-employed individuals who often charge lower hourly rates but may lack some infrastructure larger agencies provide. Development agencies have a full team covering strategy, design, project management, QA, support etc. under one roof for streamlined service - reflected by their higher fees.
How do I determine the ROI on a new website?
Calculate your return on investment by tracking meaningful metrics pre and post-launch like impressions, conversions into sales/signups, and the average value per conversion. Consider opportunity costs from losing potential customers due to an outdated site. Weigh the numbers against your total development costs and ongoing expenses relative to the new revenue/customers gained over the baseline.