Webstudio Meako; Website, Web Design - Web Cost

What to pay for??

There are a number of things you need to know when trying to budget web design costs. The list of things, that can cost you money, include (but not limited): whether this site is a new site or for a redesign; or you are using a template; do you need a blog or content management functionality; do you have graphics already created for the site; do you need custom images to be created; how much content do you have and how much you need to be created, who is going to maintain the site?

Below there are more details about all these things and a general idea of how much you should budget for them. Note the prices may be higher or lower in your area and thus it will be good idea to shop around and request proposals from any designer or firm you’re thinking of hiring.

 » New Sites Often Cost More Than Redesigns

The advantage of starting from scratch is that you can work to get the exact site that you want (for your budget). But you should be aware that you’re going to pay more than if you were redesigning an existing website. One of the biggest costs associated with creating a new website is the design. The design process itself can take weeks or months.

For your budget, you should start with at least $900 as a base cost for building a site from scratch, and $450 if you’re looking at a redesign.

 » Blogs and Content Management Tools

If you’re already running a WordPress site then you have the advantage of already having some type of content management on your site, but these tools (including WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal) have their own challenges. Creating a site using these tools takes more time than building a site from scratch using HTML and CSS because you have to integrate the designs into the CMS systems.

And don’t assume that if you already have a WordPress theme it should be cheaper. Many themes are sold as-is and designers are not licensed to change them. Often, the cost of purchasing a theme that can be modified is as expensive as just building a new theme from scratch.

Your budget should include at least another $300 if you want a blog or CMS. Include this in your budget even if you already have the system running. If you don’t have it running, you should plan to include another $300 to get it installed and running.

 » Graphics

Graphics are tricky because they can be difficult to create and stock images are expensive.
If you supply all of the images, you will still need to budget some funds to get those images integrated into the new design (budget at least $250). If you’ve already got a template you want to use, don’t assume that you won’t need any images re-done. Customizing templates can take time, and you have to be sure that the designer has the rights to customize the images in the template. If this is a way you go, you should budget $500. And if you’re looking for the designer to create an entirely new design and images for you, either in a template or not, you should budget at least $1300.

But that’s not all there is regarding images. You will probably also need icons and buttons created to go with your design. Budget $350 for them. And any other custom images you need you should budget another $450. The more images that you need, the more money you should budget.

 » Mobile Designs

Mobile devices are getting more and more common. The best designs are responsive to the device viewing the page, but creating that type of design is difficult and will cost more than a simple site for a desktop web browser. The best sites are designed to handle at least three different device sizes: smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. You should budget $750 to get a responsive design, and expect to add on $150 per device size (such as tablet in landscape and portrait) beyond the basic three.

 » Multimedia

Multimedia like Flash and video can be difficult to integrate with a website. And if you’re having the design firm create the multimedia devices the you should be prepared to pay more. You should budget $750 to get some basic Flash or video on the site and another $750 or more to create the multimedia.

 » Content Creation and Addtion

The cheapest way to go is to create all the content yourself and add it into the site yourself. Most designers have no problem delivering a design template that you populate for no additional cost. But if you want the design firm to add the content you’ve already got into the site, you should budget around $150 per page of typed content (more if they have to type it in) and $300 per page if you want them to create the content for you as well.

 » Special Features Always Cost Extra

With the above elements, you will have a website that most people would agree is sufficient, but there are a lot of extra features that many designers can provide that will up the price, but can also improve your business:

  • »  Site membership and registration $750
  • »  Forums or chat rooms $350
  • »  News feeds of both your content (outgoing) and adding content to the site (incoming) $400
  • »  Contact forms and surveys $350
  • »  Email addresses for the domain and auto-responders $300
  • »  Newsletters $500
  • »  Advertising integration (such as with AdSense) $250
  • »  Photo gallery $250
  • »  Ecommerce: shopping carts, catalogs, payment processing $1500–$5000 or more
  • »  Metrics: custom reports, Google analytics, etc. $500–$2000
  • »  SEO: page optimization, submission to search engines, etc. $500–$5000
  • »  Social media: Twitter, FaceBook, etc. $500–$3000

 » And Don’t Forget Maintenance

Websites don’t just build themselves, and the best are changing all the time. Maintenance is something that most businesses forget to budget. Or if they remember, they think that they’ll just do it themselves. But the first time you delete your entire home page by mistake and lose eight hours of sales trying to get it back up and running, you’ll wish you’d spent the extra money on a maintenance contract.

Maintenance contracts vary greatly depending upon what you expect from the firm. You should budget a minimum of $100 per month to have a designer on call if you have a problem that you can’t fix. And if you expect them to do additional work such as creating new images, adding new content, maintaining social media or newsletters, etc. expect the price to go up. Many designers dislike doing site maintenance, so it can sometimes be hard to find a firm that will do it for you.

 » Adding in addtional features increases the price.

Features Basic Site Some Extras Full Site
Mobile $750 $900 (one extra size) $1050 (two extra sizes)
Multimedia $750 $750 $1500
Content $300 (2 extra pages) $750 (5 extra pages) $1500 (creating 5 pages including content)
Extras $250 (photo gallery) $500 (photo gallery and ads) $5000 (or more)
Maintenance $100 per month $250 per month $500 per month
Total: $2050 + $100 per month $2900 + $250 per month $9500 + $500 per month


So, for a minimal site you can spend as little as $1250 or as much as $20,000 or more. You budget should be based on what your business needs. Remember that all these prices are estimates, especially on the low end. You should treat these numbers as a starting point in your negotiations with your web designer.

Web design prices fluxuate all the time. You may spend more or less depending upon the size and scope of the design firm you hire or if you decide to outsource or offshore the development and design work.