Are you thinking of redesigning your company’s website? Maybe you don’t have one yet because you feel overwhelmed by all the options, leaving you unsure of how much it should cost and which direction to take. Since prices range anywhere from a few hundred dollars for a DIY site to tens of thousands for the most complex and comprehensive websites, I’ve decided to break down the complete cost of website design, simplify the process, and help you understand what to expect.
A Few Website FAQs
The dramatic price range of websites often leaves businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs with a multitude of questions: How do I know what I’m paying for? Am I overpaying? Will the end result be worth it? How do website costs translate to ROI for the future of my business? How many extra services should I be paying for?
These are some of the most frequently asked questions about website development and design. To better answer these and other queries, let’s first dive deeper into how web designers and developers price their products and services, and what’s included. From designing and hosting to UX/UI, security, maintenance, hourly rates, and project-based pricing, here is everything you need to know about website design prices and services.
Website Design vs. Website Development
Understanding the cost breakdown of web design first entails understanding of what exactly you are paying for. There are two main steps to building a website (in reality, there are many, many steps to building a site, but these two are key)— website development and website design.
Both processes involve knowledge of various coding languages, and both work together to create a working, functional website. In some cases, web designers are also developers and can carry out both aspects of building a site. In other cases, developers and designers specialize in one skill over the other, and team-up to create your website.
It is the front-end design, however, that we are focusing on today. Web designers bring the creative side of your site to life, perfectly placing buttons, content, color, images, videos, and menus to ensure your web users can easily and successfully navigate your site. Without professional web design, websites fail to clearly grab the user’s attention or guide customers through the sales process.
Website Design Products and Services
Web designers are responsible for the elements of your website that users and customers experience —also known as UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) design. They understand the intricacies of digital marketing and utilize design techniques with marketing trends to create websites that provide quality experiences for your customers, as well as driving sales.
As you consider how to move forward with your business’s website, these are the key products and services that you should expect to receive in your web design package.
If you don’t already have a brand or logo and before you get started on your site, your web designer will work with you on branding customization and logo design. Without a brand, it is impossible to choose a color scheme, look, and feel for the website itself.
Quality logo design packages for small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) will typically range anywhere from $300 to $1500, or several thousand dollars to brand or re-brand a large company. A typical logo design will come with a branding style guide, which includes the colors, typography, and logo variations of your new brand. If you choose a web designer who does not also offer branding customization, you will want to complete that step first, and then provide your web designer with the branding style guide.
Color Scheme and Typography
Web designers then utilize your branding style guide to help inform the color scheme and typography for your website. They use color theory to create a palette for your site that promotes your brand and serves to encourage users to easily navigate your site. The color scheme plays an important role in the appearance of your call to actions (CTAs), the overall feel of the site, and a user’s ability to identify key areas of the website. The typography plays an equally important role in how your users interact with your site. Finding the right font requires time, research, and a keen eye for design.
Layout and Site Navigation
Another key service your professional web designer should include is customized site layout and navigation. While it may feel like a simple piece of your website puzzle, the layout and site navigation determine the usability of your site. The web designer must research how customers in your industry think: what they expect from a site, how they navigate other sites, what hinders them in the sales process, what information they most need. Your designer then uses that research to develop a layout and navigation that gives users the key information first, then walks them carefully through the process of choosing your product or service.
Content and SEO
Part of designing your website is working out the right words for each page. Web designers often create wireframes—the visual layout and design of your site—and then work with copywriters to develop expert copy for each element of your site. Copywriters focus on the right lingo for your CTAs, menu, banners, and more. An experienced web designer will have a working knowledge of quality web copy and be able to guide the creation of content to optimize your website for searchability and SEO value.
Web Hosting Costs and Options – From $3 to 300+
Many web designers also offer hosting for your website. The cost of hosting ranges from $3 to $300+ per month, depending on your needs. Most businesses will opt for shared hosting, which is the most affordable hosting service. Others will pay more, around $30+ per month, for a virtual private server (VPS). Still others will invest in dedicated hosting, which is the most expensive monthly option, usually $100 or more. If you are looking for a hosting web server provider, your web designer will walk you through each option and help you determine the best hosting service for your website.
Web Maintenance & Security Costs and Options – From $35+
The final service that you can expect when working with a web designer is monthly web maintenance. Many designers, especially those who offer hosting, will also include a certain level of maintenance. The average cost of monthly web maintenance is anywhere from $35 to several thousand dollars, depending on the complexity of your site.
Website security is also imperative and will add to the monthly cost. There is some measure of security built into website maintenance, however, extra security should be added to the level of your business needs. If you’re working in an industry that captures private information and identities, you should plan on having an external IT security company add their security programs to the website, which can range from $100-$400 per month. Often, designers will offer to keep an eye on it for you for any update alerts or issues.
Pricing: Hourly vs. Web Design Packages
Web designers usually offer their services in two ways: hourly rates or package rates. While some designers offer both options depending on the needs of the project, it helps to understand the comparison between hourly vs. package pricing.
Hourly Web Design – From $75+
An hourly web designer will charge an average of $75 per hour. Some will charge far less, while others will charge much, much more. When working with designers that use an hourly rate, it is helpful to determine an up-front estimate of how long the project will take. Experienced web designers will know their abilities and limitations, and have a solid idea of time to complete the web design you are wanting. The hourly rate of a web designer will vary based on experience, services rendered, and the complexity of your project.
Working with hourly rates, however, is often better when a project only requires certain elements of the above-listed services and options. If you are paying hourly for web design, remember that you also need to pay for web development. Hourly web developers will charge, on average, anywhere from $100 to $180 an hour. On top of that, add in hourly copywriting services, and your website project can add up quickly.
Web Design Packages – From a Few Hundred to Thousands of Dollars
Web designers typically offer package pricing to better serve your overall website needs. Web design packages often include web development, copywriting, and all the services discussed earlier. By combining the pricing of branding customization, color schemes, typography, content, SEO, hosting, maintenance, and development, you not only get a better deal on your website, but you get a more streamlined process that includes every possible design and development element of yours site.
Web design packages vary widely in cost, anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Large agencies will even charge upwards of $100,000 to complete the design and development of more complex sites.
With the right website design package, you should get expert web design, customized development, and a finished website that you love, and more importantly, a website your customers love!
Adding Up the Complete Costs of a Website
Because of the customized nature of a website, the costs vary widely according to your company’s needs. To get a better snapshot of what a website might cost, here is a list of all the potential costs you could incur (please note that these are average costs according to current rates).
- Branding and Logo Design: $300 to $1500
- Web Design (package pricing): $1500 to $5000
- Shared Hosting: $3 to $10+/month
- VPS Hosting: $20 to $100+/month
- Website Maintenance: $35 to $150+/month
- Domain Name: $10 to $15 annually, although some are far more expensive.
- Site Security: Website security can sometimes come packaged with monthly web maintenance, or as à-la-carte services, which can range from $100 to $400/month.
- Managed IT (outsourcing all digital systems/maintenance): Flat-rate monthly fees vary, but you can expect to pay between $75 and $300 per user, per month.
Your website is an essential part of your company’s marketing and brand identity. In many ways, it is the most important sales rep and effective marketing tool, therefore it requires regular maintenance and content management. Investing in a quality website requires both one-time and monthly costs to keep your site secure, up-to-date, and running smoothly. The costs, however, should be far outweighed by the sales and traffic your website provides your company.
The Cost of Bad Web Design
If you already have a website and you’re considering a redesign, as yourself what do you have to lose by keeping your current site the way it is?
The most obvious answer is revenue. A popular study revealed that if the page-load speed for Amazon.com were just one second slower, it could lose close to $1.6 billion in sales each year. That was eight years ago. A lot has changed since, including Amazon’s annual revenue.
There are other factors besides page-load speed that can inhibit your company’s growth and your customer’s online experience. A study from Stanford shows that at least 75% of website users admit that they judge a company’s credibility based on their web design.
If your site is outdated, slow, too busy, or too sparse, it sends a message that your company is the same and you will lose potential customers. Fewer conversions, repeat sales, and referrals can add up to a staggering amount of lost revenue, fast.
The good news is, there is a lot to be gained from a redesign. Bing is a great example. The specific choice of blue on its site resulted in an additional $80 million in revenue annually.
Not Sure if You Need a New Website?
If your website is costing money, then it is not doing its job. Your digital presence is critical to the selling environment, as the majority of people (85% in 2019 according to Oberlo) do online research before ever engaging with a company. Is your website performing the best it should?
At Atomic Revenue, our team of web designers and developers and content and SEO specialists create functional, attractive, revenue-generating websites that take our clients’ customers through the seven stages of buying to customer advocacy while building your company’s digital presence. For a web design consultation or to learn more about the most effective, revenue-generating digital operations options specific to your company, contact Atomic Revenue today for free Revenue Operations Assessment.
Hanna owns Hanna Landis Designs in Tacoma, Washington. She works with a variety of local and global companies in many industries to establish a web presence that builds revenue, creates trust and credibility, and increases traffic. She understands the importance of industry knowledge when it comes to creating a digital presence that serves clients in the best way possible.