How much does responsive web design cost: Here’s what to expect

Brian Bojan Dordevic
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Running a business often means making compromises. But when it comes to making your website responsive, there is no room for such. Optimizing your website for use on any device might sound like an unnecessary investment, but on the contrary, that is actually one of the most important investments you should make for your website. So how much does responsive web design cost? In this article, our web development company in Chicago will explain everything that affects the cost of a responsive website design and give you a picture of what to expect.

Table of Contents

Why having a responsive website is not negotiable

Opting for a desktop-only web design doesn’t only limit the range of devices on which your website can be accessed but also the time and place at which potential customers can access it. People might sometimes take their laptops to a coffee shop or park, but have you ever seen somebody use their laptop in public transportation or while waiting in a queue? It’s very unlikely. On the other hand, mobile devices and tablets seem never to leave people’s hands. The convenience of their use enables people to access the web at any time and place. 

responsive web design cost

If your website doesn’t look just as good on all screens of varying shapes and sizes, it will cause more dissatisfaction amongst users than actual benefits. And that exactly is what it means to be responsive. Your website should respond to any screen size so that users can have an equally good experience accessing your website regardless of the device they are using. There is no need to scroll horizontally to see all the text on mobile devices or to pinch and zoom; the website itself adjusts to the device to make its content fully visible. Keep in mind how essential a good user experience is for a successful online business today. It is not just about making things look good but also making them work well. That’s why optimizing your website for mobile and other devices is not negotiable.

So it’s clear why a responsive design is a doubtlessly better option than a desktop-only web design. But how about dual-version websites? Some companies still use them. That means that you have two separate versions of your website – the main one and a mobile one, indicated by the ”m.” prefix. While this may be a better option than just having a desktop one, there are many drawbacks compared to a responsive design. So let’s go through the arguments in favor of a responsive design:

  • Designing a single, responsive version takes less time and investment than two separate versions.
  • You have to update just a single website.
  • You have to conduct SEO for just a single website.
  • You spare your mobile users the extensively long loading times of mobile websites.
  • Any type of device is covered, and every page of your website is available all the time.

So it’s not a hard choice if you have to pick between the two options. The m-prefixed websites can’t keep up with the market’s needs anymore, so soon enough, we will remember them as nothing more than relics of the past. 

Whom should you hire to build your responsive website?

Before we get into a deeper analysis of all the features that impact the answer to the question of how much does responsive web design costs, let’s first answer one particular dilemma that you may have on your mind: web design agency or freelancer – whom should you entrust with this task? 

agency vs freelancer comparison


You may decide to opt for a freelance web designer due to lower rates, which can sometimes be far below the market average. Reduced website cost factor frequently leads small companies to choose a freelancer to design it for them. However, unlike a web design agency, you can never know a freelancer’s level of expertise with certainty until you start working with them. While some may have a rich experience in the field of responsive design, others may have only basic knowledge. You also have no guarantee that they will indeed meet the standards they promised, primarily since they usually work on several projects at once. On the other hand, freelancers are not constrained by work protocols set by agencies and generally offer a lot of flexibility in their work.

But how much does responsive web design cost when you entrust it to freelancers?

If you choose a freelancer to build a responsive website, you can expect to pay anywhere between $500 and $5,000.

Web design agency

Our web design agency in Chicago advises you to opt for a professional agency. Your responsive website is the key to your successful online presence; such a task shouldn’t be left to chance. Building a responsive design is a complex process, and if you hire an agency, you may count on the following benefits:

Expertise – Web design agencies have whole teams of experts that will work on your website. Therefore, you can rest assured that it will be built with the utmost knowledge and professionality. In addition, web design agencies use a website quality assurance checklist to ensure your website lives up to the latest quality standards and is ready to support advanced digital marketing strategies you may want to start implementing.

Less investment in the long run – Although web design agencies generally charge more than freelancers who build websites, they offer long term commitment sparing you any additional website costs for updates and maintenance.

Less time to get the job done – A team of professionals will build your responsive design much faster than a single freelancer, and it’s not only due to the number of people that tackle the task but also due to their knowledge and experience.

Customization – You may have general ideas as to what you’d like your website to be like. Professional agencies have immense experience and through a custom web design development process, they will always be able to find the best solution for your ideas. Also, if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want, they can advise you and recommend what could suit your business best.

And how much does responsive web design cost when done by a company?

Professionals from a web design agency consider many factors when they build websites, so the price range is extensive. You may expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $50,000.

Determine the scope of your responsive website

The type of business you do determines many things about your website, such as the total number of pages you need and the number of product pages. There is much more to a website than just web design and development; factors such as a website’s complexity, functionality, and size can significantly move the price across the wide price range. These factors determine how much time it will take for your website to be built, which significantly influences how much does responsive web design costs. Other key considerations include choosing the right search engine optimization strategies, ensuring the site is mobile friendly, and selecting appropriate responsive web design services. Also crucial are the choice of website builders, the expertise of a content manager, the reliability of a hosting company, and the overall quality of website hosting.

main things to affect website cost


Complexity is another factor you need to consider to better understand the average website cost of business web design services.

The more features your website has, the more hours it will take to get them all right. And what does the complexity of features depend on? It all comes down to the nature of your business and the best way to present it online. Here’s what you should consider when calculating a website cost:

  • How complex does the navigation have to be
  • What are the marketing requirements (user personas, company branding, product branding)
  • Which visual features should be included (videos, illustrations, graphics)
  • How complex do page layouts and user interfaces have to be
  • Will you integrate your website with third-party programs


Another essential factor that impacts the cost of responsive design is the extent of functions your website will perform. That is again determined mainly by the nature of your business, as eCommerce and customer accounts are the most extensive in this regard. Here’s what you should consider:

  • How many products are you presenting
  • How diverse are your products, and how complex is the categorization
  • How much detail do you provide for each product
  • Will you offer the option of customer portals and member accounts
  • Will you offer booking and scheduling services via your website
  • What type of content will you include on your website (blogs about industry-related topics and case studies of how your products benefit specific customers are the most common)


This is pure quantity. How much of which specific feature? The more extensive your website is in this regard, the more work hours will be put into building the responsive design, thus raising the price. Here’s what you should consider when analyzing the cost of building a website:

  • How many pages will your website have overall
  • How many different page templates will be used (product page, resource page, gallery page, etc.)
  • How much original content and copywriting do you need
  • How much original media do you need
  • How much automation will you allow (page content generated from product data, for example)

Building a responsive website requires much more technical heavy toil than creative work. A significant amount of working hours is spent in that part, which significantly impacts how much responsive web design costs. So the general rule is that the more customized you want your website design to be, and the more content you want your website to feature, the more you will have to invest. However, opt for quality instead of quantity if your budget is strictly limited. A lesser number of high-quality features will leave a better impression than a high number of poorly designed ones. So, overly the prices you can expect to pay to build websites of each type are the following:

A small business websiteFor small businesses, the average cost of website design is between $2.000 and $10.000 to design your responsive website. In addition, you can expect maintenance costs that are between $400 and $1.200 annually.

A corporate website – The business done by a corporation is naturally much more complex and extensive than that of a small business, which is reflected in the size and complexity of the website design. So how much does responsive web design cost for large businesses? Usually, agencies that build websites charge between $10.000 and $30.000 for the design. As for the maintenance, you can expect anything between $2.000 and $15.000 annually.

An eCommerce website – ECommerce websites can frequently be massive in terms of the number of pages as they feature numerous product pages and a lot of added functionality. However, that depends on the specific business, of course. Website costs for online stores usually range from $5.000 to $50.000 for the web design and between $15.000 and $30.000 annually for the maintenance.

A database-driven website – If you need a database-driven website, remember that those are among the most complicated ones to build. The average cost of website design can range from $6.000 to $75.000 for the web design, while maintenance can cost no less than $30.000 to $60.000 annually.

How much do you need to invest for content and images?

website content mockup on phone tablet and website

Besides the above-mentioned technical foundations of your website, you should also pay attention to the more refined components of responsive design, which are the content and images. Their role is to inform the visitor about the products or services you offer and create an atmosphere around your website that should reflect the ideas and values of your brand. Well-written content and a good choice of images can have a significant impact on the perception of your website by your audience and thus on your conversion rates as well. So how to adequately use them, and how much to invest in them?


The power of content, if written well, is immense. That’s why you should opt for a professional content writer to provide content for your website. It should be composed of small, informative paragraphs which are easy to read and understand. That’s especially important for users visiting your website on mobile devices.

The price of professionally written content stands at approximately $50 to $100 per website page. The amount of desired content significantly impacts the average cost of web design services.


Most of the time, images are the first thing visitors see when they come to a website. Images greet visitors, set the tone and atmosphere of the website, and present your brand. If used well, they can capture the essence of what your brand stands for and what you offer. 

Stock photos are the easiest and cheapest options for your responsive web design if you need to get some photos right away. However, they have many drawbacks. They can present you only in terms of generalities, and there is always a possibility that your visitors have already seen those photos somewhere. Generally, stock photos tend to be looked down upon due to their overuse, so they may even turn out to be counterproductive for your website.

Stock photo prices range from $0.5 to $25 per image.

Hiring a professional photographer to take high-quality photos of your products is a much better option. That will not only provide your visitors with authentic presentations of your products but also give a sense of reality and trustworthiness to your responsive website. 

However, it will increase your website cost. Depending on their expertise and reputation, professional photographers charge between $100 and $250 per hour for a photoshoot.

How much do custom features for responsive web design cost?

Custom features are an excellent way to refresh your website in terms of both aesthetics and functionality. They encourage visitor engagement and provide a satisfying user experience as they enable users to find what they came looking for easily. If you are hiring a professional web design agency to build your responsive website, they can advise you on the best custom features for your specific type of business to create the optimal responsive design for your website. So what are the most commonly used custom features, and what are their approximate prices?

responsive web design features price ranges

Product catalog – An excellent feature if you offer a large number of products. Users can easily navigate through the catalog and find what they are looking for while also having an insight into the whole extent of your products, possibly making mental bookmarks for future purchases. The average price for this feature ranges from $300 to $500.

Advanced product filter – Another great feature that enables users to navigate through a wide array of products easily. An advanced product filter includes many more factors and categories than basic filters that can be found on most websites, providing users with just the right options for them. Depending on its complexity, to implement this feature web design development service providers usually charge between $250 and $350.

Automatic translation plugin – This feature enables visitors speaking various languages to use your website easily. To build websites with this feature, agencies usually charge an additional $100.

Related product feature – Visitors come to your website looking for a specific product, but you might have something even more appropriate for their needs. That’s why a related product feature can greatly benefit your users. Its price ranges from $200 to $300.

Social media feed – This feature encourages visitors to share your website and content on social media, thus increasing your website’s overall visibility. This feature usually increases website costs between $200 and $300.

Final thoughts

In this article, we have presented the key factors that impact the cost of responsive website design. Due to an ever-increasing prevalence of mobile devices for browsing the internet, making your website equally responsible and good-looking on any device has become beyond negotiable. Without that, you would lose not only new customers but also additional traffic amongst your already existing customers. So if you’d like to find out more details about how much does responsive web design costs and precisely how much your custom website would cost, schedule a call with our agency and discuss your ideas with us.


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