How much will you pay for a custom website design: A realistic cost calculator

Having a well-designed and high-performing website is a foundation for every successful business today. However, it is often tricky for business owners to get a grasp on all the technical terms and concepts that define a website’s cost. Also, the total value of a website design is often more than just the cost of production. That’s why our web design agency in Chicago has put together the website design cost calculator. Throughout this article, we’ll talk about all the elements that combine to create a successful website and outline the price range for each of those elements. Let’s check them out.

web design calculator cost

The scope of your website project

Before we start dealing with the numbers, we need to develop a rough sketch of your website regarding stuff like the size, complexity, and functionality, among other things. For starters, we should figure out who the website is for and what it aims to accomplish. That often includes multiple people, as websites tend to serve multiple audiences.

The easiest example would be a company website that is talking to customers and looking to attract new employees. Add some investors as stakeholders to the mix, and now you are solving multiple business challenges simultaneously.

There are various degrees and levels to website projects out there. Of course, a single landing page design won’t be as expensive as an eCommerce website that contains hundreds of product pages and, at the minimum 20-page layouts. Just like every business has its own unique demands, so does every business website.

We have a detailed process that we named “Seeking Alpha” when we are learning what the best way to define a logo is. Here are some of the topics we think about when we are starting the “Seeking Alpha” process of the website design:

  • What is your future website’s primary goal?
  • Why do you need a website?
  • In which way will your customers use the website?
  • What would your clients expect to find on your website?
  • Which functionalities would your website require?

Answering these questions will help both you and an agency you contact for web design services to better understand your website’s scope. Moving on with our website design cost calculator, let’s explore the main factors that influence web design costs.

Website size and the level of design

Your individual business needs will determine the degree to which you plan to emphasize streamlining the user experience. Although premium websites provide a higher level of interactivity and, therefore, a more engaging user experience, a more simplistic approach can sometimes also do the trick. That’s why the level of design is one of the deciding factors in our website design cost calculator.

As you may have expected, smaller websites that don’t contain anything other than basic functionalities require less time and effort to create and therefore take less to fund. The costs increase along with the number of pages, the diversity of design templates, and the amount of content, including copy and media. You’ll find those elements included in every website design cost calculator.

A basic website design may satisfy small to mid-sized companies requiring a refined online presentation. That usually includes:

  • Homepage design
  • Products or services page
  • About page
  • Contact page
  • Blog pages
  • Landing pages

The estimated price of such a basic website design can go anywhere from $1,0000 and more, depending on website requirements and the number of web pages you need. It usually revolves around $2,0000 to $3,0000.

Large companies with more budget to allocate to website creation usually request a more comprehensive and customized design. The cost of a standard website design that offers a more streamlined user experience usually ranges from $10,000 to $50,000.

The premium website design that sets you apart from your competitors costs between $5,000 and $10,000, while for a world-class, one-of-a-kind website, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000.

Website platform

One of the most significant factors that tailor the price of your website is the underlying platform. There are various platforms to choose from, so your choice largely depends on your needs and your budget, of course. Each platform is different in terms of functionality and price.

Smaller businesses tend to opt for templates and basic do-it-yourself builders such as Wix or Squarespace. Plans on Squarespace cost between $12 and $40 per month, while Wix charges between $13 and $39 per month, depending on the plan you sign up for.

While Wix also offers a free plan, it requires you to use their subdomain, which is a good deal for personal websites, but we wouldn’t recommend it for a company website.

You may also choose to purchase a template or theme-based website built on open-source content management systems. These offer pre-existing layouts and not more than basic functionalities. Some are free, while others cost around $20 to as much as $100. However, you would still need a developer to make edits.

WordPress, along with themes such as the Sage WordPress theme, is the most popular website creation platform. Depending on your business needs, the costs of websites built on WordPress widely vary, ranging between $3,000 and over $50,000.

If you plan to run an eCommerce store, you’ll need to choose a platform that supports such functionality. There are multiple eCommerce platforms out there, with the most popular being:

  • WooCommerce (from $4 to $5,000 per month)
  • Shopify (from $81.50 to $2041.25 per month)
  • Magento ( from free to $22,000 per month)

The amount of content and the number of web pages

Another element of our website design cost calculator is the amount of content and the number of pages you wish to feature on your website.

Websites with a number of pages between 1 and 10 will cost you anywhere from $1,000 on the low end to $2,000 on the high end.

The amount of content you wish to include also adds to the price. You can expect to pay approximately $10 per stock image and an additional $150 per text page.

Besides the initial content creation prices, you’ll need to dedicate a portion of your budget to regular website updates. Content management systems (CMS) allow companies and individuals to update their content without technical programming knowledge. However, the type of content management system you opt for adds to the total price. A standard CMS will set you back around $2,000 to $4,000, while a full CMS development price ranges between $10,000 and $25,000.

The cost and benefit of a website strategy

Before starting a website, you need to define its strategy and the usability tree. You will need to document all the personas that will 

Website features

When using a website design cost calculator, the type of features you want your website to support is another thing to account for. Features like analytics and live chat usually cost around $100 each

On the other hand, things like lead generation forms, image galleries, video galleries, event schedules, or social media integrations each add around $250 to the final price, while adding a blog usually requires an additional $500.

An estimate for integrating search tools into your website is around $1,500. For functionality such as profiles and member logins, you can expect to pay up to $2,000.

Including SEO features in your website will provide a better ranking in search engines. However, this also comes with a price tag. On-page SEO for 30 keywords will cost you around $2,000 to $4,000. If you wish to optimize your website for 150 keywords, the price ranges from $6,000 up to as high as $10,000.

With 60% of website traffic coming from mobile platforms, not making your website mobile-friendly will have a significant negative impact on your ROI. Therefore, mobile-first web design is a must for every business website, and it adds an extra $3,000 to the price.

Information-heavy sites usually include database integration features providing both customers and company employees access to data about relevant topics. This feature also allows websites to store user data, crucial for planning future UX designs. 

The price for basic database integration is usually between $2,000 and $4,000. That includes a standard username and password storage and can be useful for small quantities of downloadable files, directories, and various simple data. Even these basic functionalities will make your website more user-friendly and trustworthy.

Advanced database integration offers a range of options such as storing more info, adding secure pages with multiple levels of access, tracking eCommerce shopping carts, housing a CMS, etc. The price for this level of integration is anywhere between $4,000 and $10,000.

Full development database integration, ranging between $10,000 and $25,000, is most often featured on websites of large companies aiming to grow further. These databases are entirely connected with high-level and high-speed functionality and allow businesses to access and secure vast amounts of data.

Prices based on choosing who designs your website

Choosing a web designer or a team of web designers also largely impacts the final price of your website. While it will cost you more to hire a web design agency, opting for a freelancer at suspiciously low rates might not provide the results you were expecting.

Since your budget most likely limits you, your best chance is to shop around and weigh your options. However, bear in mind that having a low budget doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll end up with a low-quality web design, just as hiring the most luxurious web design company won’t always provide the website you are satisfied with.

With that in mind, let’s explore your options.

Freelancer

The benefits bundled with lower prices gravitate startups and small companies toward individual freelancers. Freelancers are generally self-made web designers whose level of expertise is hard to assess until you actually work with them. Although they are generally creative and not limited by company restraints, they’ll only stick with you until your contract expires. Time commitment varies drastically from one freelancer to another, and some of them may even fail to meet the standards they promised. Also, since they often work on multiple projects at once, you can’t expect them to maintain your website. Once they deliver the product, they’ll move to the next project.

The hourly rate for freelancers is usually between $10 and $100.

Specialized web design agencies

Web design agencies usually charge more per hour than the previous two options. The main reason for this is that they provide an entire team of professionals that takes care of everything from web design and development to copywriting, marketing, and SEO. Also, agencies like ours follow a design QA checklist to ensure that everything is in perfect order before your website goes live.

The price varies based on the team size, the level of the agency, the extent of services, and other factors. The most significant benefit here is the specialized experience and professional outcome that web design agencies deliver. All you need to do is provide the initial guidance about your website needs and expectations and let the agency take it from there. There is almost no risk of failure since professional agencies will leave no stone unturned to provide a customized individual approach and top-tier product.

Web design agencies charge between $1,000 and $150,000, depending on the size of the project.

Website maintenance

The work doesn’t stop once your website is live. There are ongoing fees for maintenance, security, software updates, backups, and more. Maintenance for basic websites such as portfolios, small-company websites, or blogs costs between $5 and $10 per month. Larger websites like eCommerce websites will cost you anywhere from $100 to over $500 per month to maintain.

Final thoughts

The website design cost is not clear cut but rather a sum of various small charges. The scope of your website and the team you hire are the main variables that determine the final cost. Always keep in mind that your website is one of the most valuable business assets you own. The portion of the budget you allocate for web design is not simply money spent. It is an investment that grows to yield so much more if placed in the right hands. Ensure that you get informed about what and how much you should pay with the help of our website design cost calculator.

Brian Djordjevic
About The Author

Brian Dordevic

Brian is Marketing Strategic Planner with a passion for all things digital. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or schedule a consultation call with him.

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