How Much Does a Website Cost?

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What Do You Need to Build a Website?

This one question just about determines how expensive your web design needs are. Generally speaking, the more features, functionality, and design nuances you require, the more expensive it will be.

That being said, it's often difficult to know exactly what you do need in a website. We've compiled a basic rundown detailing the different areas of web design that our calculator takes into account. This way, you can move forward with the web design process knowing you're fully informed.

Website Depth Cost Breakdown

Business Size Pages + Content Estimate Price Range Estimate
Small 1 - 50 $1,000 - $2,000
Medium 50 - 100 $2,000 - $3,000
Large 150 - 250 $6,500 - $10,000
Corporate 250+ $10,000+

How Many Pages Do I Need on My Site?

This is one of the most basic measures of how complex a website is, and typically depends on the size of the business in question. Many small businesses are happy with establishing any kind of web presence at all, and need nothing more than a handful of pages for their websites. Larger businesses might want a website geared for growth, with hundreds or even thousands of pages.

How Much CopyWriting Should I Have?

Do you want content written to kick off your website’s launch? The desired amount can vary greatly, depending on the industry. For example, how much new information comes out weekly in an established industry like plumbing or HVAC? Best practices, pricing, and parameters are well-established and fairly static for these industries, and there's often no need for more than a few pages of content with periodic updates.

Other industries may need more. These areas tend to be more dynamic in nature, with fluctuating price points, best practices, and so on. The marketing industry itself is a good example of this, along with medical practices and other businesses that have a wealth of information ready to publish online. The number of content pages required for these sites can go up to and beyond 250, into the territory of adding pages on a consistent basis.

Pros and Cons of Website Design Levels

Level of Design What Does it Get Me? Price Range Estimate
Basic Bare essentials $2,000 - $3,000
Standard Industry-standard website $3,000 - $5,000
Excellent Industry frontrunner website $5,000 - $10,000
World Class Premier, trend-setting website $10,000 - $15,000

Which Site Design Level is Right for Me?

The style or level of design that goes into a website refers mainly to its usability and purpose. The more you splurge on design, the more competitive your website will be within your industry. A basic level of design will provide you with everything necessary to establish an online presence for your business, but may not come with all the bells and whistles necessary to compete well with others in the same vertical.

What is Responsive Design?

Responsive design allows your website to be viewed flawlessly across a number of devices. It involves the automatic resizing of content, so everything remains formatted properly regardless of the user’s screen size.

Responsive design is more important than ever in today’s world. Google places great emphasis on a site’s level of mobile compatibility. Properly implemented responsive design is never a bad idea for your website, no matter the size or purpose.

SEO for a New Website

Do you want to hit the ground running with your SEO efforts? Many web design agencies do offer this as an option. You can typically pick the number of keywords you’d like to rank for, and your site will be designed and populated with content accordingly.

Quality SEO work does take time and a certain finesse, so expect to see pricing commensurate with the number of keywords you want to rank for.

While SEO efforts can be content-centric, a truly optimized site is built on a foundation of technical best practices as well. Specifying that you want an SEO-ready website ensures you’ll be poised for growth in the future, without hitting the many roadblocks that are typical of retroactively implementing SEO.

Functionality and Database Integration Cost Breakdown

Level of functionality What Does it Get Me? Price Range Estimate
Simple Newsletter sign-up capability $2,000 - $4,000
Advanced User accounts $4,000 - $10,000
Enterprise All-in-one browsing experience $10,000 - $25,000

What can your website do? How does your website do it? These are functionality and database integration respectively, and they refer to anything that makes a user’s experience more useful, simpler, and more streamlined.

Site Functionality

At a very basic level, this can include something like signing up for a company newsletter. At a higher level, you’ll see functionality like user-created accounts that retain preferences, or e-commerce capabilities like scrolling through a product catalogue.

The absolute highest level of website functionality means bringing an industry-leading website to the table. Your website will be the one-stop-shop for content, products, and a great user experience. Investing in the highest level of website functionality is a great way of “future-proofing” your website as much as possible. Your website will be the standard against which other are compared.

While enterprise-level website functionality is great, even the lowest tier of functionality is more than enough to establish an online presence and begin building your website up.

Site Dataebase Integration

Databases allow for the functionality of your website. Returning to the example of user-created accounts, all of the data involved in such a process requires the use of a database.

Using databases allows you to provide everything the user needs on-site, from personalized data to “smart” shopping carts and beyond. Databases are also necessary to house content management systems, which we’ll go into shortly.

Database integration and security go hand-in-hand as well. Higher levels of integration give you the peace of mind that your (and your users’!) data is well-protected. This type of security is absolutely necessary for e-commerce operations, and simply best-practice in any situation that involves sensitive or personal data.

Investing in a higher level of database integration will result in a more cohesive user experience along with built-in room for rapid growth.

Content Management Systems (CMS) Cost Breakdown

Level of CMS What Does it Get Me? Price Range Estimate
Basic Basic editing capabilites $2,000 - $4,000
Advanced Better interface, more features $4,000 - $10,000
Full Fully replaces back-end coding $10,000 - $25,000

A content management system (CMS) is usually a graphical user interface that lets you update your website without worrying about the coding and other technical know-how that happens behind the scenes.

The more you invest in a CMS the easier it will be to update your website, and to keep your content organized and properly stored. Many advanced CMSs will include other bonuses, ranging from built-in A/B split testing functionality to plugin support that allows for the automation or simplification of nearly any task.

While an advanced CMS does initially cost more, you will see large returns on that investment. An advanced CMS means minimizing the time and money spent on independent coding. Technical hiccups will rarely occur, and you’ll have full control of your website without needing to understand the programming involved.

Who Can Build My Site and How Much Will it Cost?

Web Design Solution Benefits Price Range Estimate
Freelance designer Affordable, creative $8 - $85 / hour
Large corporation Fast turnaround, budget-friendly $1,000 - $1,600 / month
Specialized agency High quality, personalized experience $1,000 - $150,000+ / project

Now that you’re informed and rearing to go, you have to consider where you’ll go to get your website designed. You have a few general options:

Pros and Cons of Freelance Web Designers

Freelancers work for themselves and are not affiliated with a company or agency. Freelancers are typically the most affordable option when it comes to website creation, but they can have their downsides. You’ll be entrusting two jobs (front-end design and back-end coding) to one person who may be more capable in one area than the other, and your website could suffer as a result.

Communication tends to be hit-or-miss as well. There are plenty of extremely professional, timely, and transparent freelancers who will cater to your every need. Unfortunately, there are just as many fly-by-night freelancers who are just in it for some quick cash. Discerning between the two can be difficult, and picking wrong could lose you a lot of money.

Pros and Cons of Big Corporate Website Builders

These corporations are usually international, with an army of designers ready and waiting to pump out your website. If you’re looking for quick turnaround time at a reasonable price, these corporations are a good bet.

Among the cons of selecting a big corporation to design your website is the fact that you’ll be one of many, many clients. The process is less personalized, and you won’t feel particularly cared about. Don’t expect much creativity from the big guys, if any.

Communication can be difficult as well. Time zone differences can make it hard to coordinate, even though clear and consistent communication is the most important part of the web design process.

Pros and Cons of Website Design Agencies

Specialized web design agencies are usually similar to their international corporation counterparts, but can be smaller, more invested, and of a higher quality. They’re also typically the most expensive option.

Because they’re smaller operations, specialized design agencies will be invested in each and every client. You can expect clear lines of communication as well as fast response times when it comes to questions or desired changes.

The end result may take a bit longer, but you can be confident everything will be of the highest quality and good to go right out of the box.

About WebFX

This website cost calculator and information is happily provided by WebFX, Harrisburg’s leading full-service web design and development agency. While we’re a bit biased, we think trusting a specialized design agency is the way to go if you’re in the market for a quality website. Our web design experts have been delivering award-winning results to businesses across the country for more than 10 years, and we’d love to do the same for you!