Cost of Web Design? The Short Answer: It Depends.
…But we’re here to give you a good idea / estimate before you reach out to us or anyone else for help. Like anything in life, web design and digital marketing is a variable service that can accommodate the needs of businesses of nearly any size. Iconic Web HQ is not the cheapest business website design agency, however we are not the most expensive by any means. Instead, we are focused on providing the best possible results for our clients at the most affordable price point and service level based on their individual needs.Learn More Request a Quote
Three Great Ways to Get Web Design Pricing
Official Guide to How Much Does a New Website Design Cost
With over 70% of consumers making their brand choices by consuming web content than through advertising, it is easy to see why many businesses choose to make a considerable investment in their online presence.
But, exactly how much does a business website cost in 2021?
Unfortunately, the answer is usually rather unsatisfactory.
Many factors need to be considered to help you get an idea of the budget required to build your business website.
In this comprehensive guide, we will look at what exactly you need to pay for when building a website and what options you have for making the most of your money.
What is the Average Cost of a Website in 2021
It can be a real challenge to give a straight answer to this often asked question. The simplest answer is that it depends on what you want. However, this is not a very helpful answer when you are first considering how much you need to budget at the start of a project.
We will go into much greater detail in the breakdown of different websites below, but the short answer is the average cost of building a website is anything between $2,000 and $30,000. We know that’s a big range, so we’re going to break it down as much as we can. We also want you to know that every business has different needs when it comes to web design, so we will provide you with a custom quote tailored to your specific needs.
This depends on many factors such as size, complexity, the tech stack required, and ongoing costs associated, which is why the range is so great.
Certain web design pricing tends to remain more constant, but the full costs of a site will depend on what your business requires to have built to serve your and your customer’s needs.
A full business website is never an off-the-shelf product that you can pick up and run with. It is a major communications tool that will help your business grow, attract new customers, and promote your products. It will evolve and adapt to the growing needs of your company.
The exact type of online presence you require will ultimately define the final cost of your website.
The Key Factors in Web Design Pricing
Whatever type of website design you are looking to build, some main factors are constant from build to build. These are:
- the size of your website
- the technology used
- the requirement for custom graphic design
- the complexity of the features on the website
Other factors in web design pricing will be your choice of a professional agency. You will need to consider their skill capabilities, rates, and locations.
Individual freelancers may offer cheaper rates but usually offer far less in a full tech stack skillset. In contrast, website design agencies have a staff of skilled professionals, each with their own specialist skills in-house.
You will pay more for an agency, but it is worth the additional cost to know all your bases are covered technically under one roof.
So, what are the individual factors that go into building a website in 2021? Let’s break down each stage of a web development project to clearly explain where the costs come from and why each stage is important.
Before you can begin any major website project, you need to have a clear plan in mind of what you need, what your customers will need, and how the website will fit both of these. To do this, first, there needs to be an analysis of the market in which your website will sit.
Analyzing the competition will help you understand what is already available online and how complex your website will need to be to outmatch what is already available.
Secondly, you need to analyze your online customers. They may be different customers to those that you find offline, especially if your business already has brick-and-mortar premises. Identifying who your customers are and their wants and difficulties is an essential step.
You can build customer personas to help visualize the different types of customers who may visit your site and how they will interact differently with your services. This will help give you a better picture of what services, tools, and features you need to provide each type of customer.
This work can be done within your own company but is also a service that a professional web design company should be able to assist you with.
For example, we can sit with you and help you research and plan your needs to ensure that your goals are realistic and achievable within your budget constraints but also achieve your business goals.
The design stages begin before a line of code is written, much like when an architect creates a house. Web designers need to draw up plans of how the website will look and work before the development begins.
An engaging website needs to be easy to use and attractive to look at. Any weaknesses in either of these areas could cause a customer to give up on your website in frustration and move on to find a better alternative.
User Experience (UX)
Have you ever come across an application or website that just doesn’t work the way that you expect it to?
A website where cancel buttons are green instead of red or the navigation is difficult to find. Do you find yourself annoyed by auto-playing videos that pop up the moment you enter a site and are difficult to switch off?
All of these are examples of a bad user experience and highlight why it is important to make sure your website is designed with human interaction in mind first and foremost.
Good UX design should delight your customers in the effectiveness of your website without them even realizing it. It is an innate benefit of using the site and a core tenet of good website design.
User Interface Design (UI)
Equally important but for different reasons is User Interface design which looks more at the aesthetic of a digital product rather than the ease of use.
A poor aesthetic will have a similar impact on a user. They will find your website ugly and difficult to use, but for different reasons. Reasons that they may find difficult to articulate.
For example, poor contrast on a site is an example of bad UI design. A website that is all one color, possibly to give a luxurious aesthetic, is actually very difficult to look at and read.
Like bad UX design, bad UI design will drive customers away from your site as they will consider it too challenging and unpleasant to use.
Costs that will impact the design phases of a website will sometimes be the number of revisions required to get the site looking the way you want it to.
Here at Iconic Web, we offer 2 revision phases to get you the design you need.
A professional web design agency will be able to design for both good UX and UI designs. It should work with you to develop some wireframes for an attractive and functional business website.
Wireframes will act as the blueprint for your site and, once completed, will allow the project to move into the development phase.
Web Design vs. Web Development
These terms often get thrown around interchangeably, but they do actually reference two different services. It is not always a matter of semantics. Web designers often refer to themselves by both names, but some do not always perform both tasks.
Web development is the term used for building our website from start to finish. Web design is really the conceptual phase when we plan how we want to website to look and work. Then the development begins to make it come to life.
This is where the website’s real work begins, and you will start to see the physical shape of the website evolve.
The front-end developers will write the code for the website to function on the client-server. That is, they will develop everything that you can see and interact with when accessing the website.
The aim here is to bring design blueprints into reality. Not all of the website features may function as expected yet, but they should start to look like original plans on paper.
Making a website work on all types of devices across as many browsers as possible is a big part of the frontend development plan. Responsive websites are now a standard as more than 50% of website users access from a mobile device. A developer will need to make sure that a website is accessible and looks consistent across a multitude of different device options.
Custom design work will also be part of this phase. Any custom imagery that you need creating for the site or possible video or animations can be developed by a graphic designer as part of the frontend development.
Stock image and photo assets should also be available for your selection and factored into the price of the designs.
Factors that will affect pricing at this stage will be the amount of time required to code the website animations and website responsiveness to different devices and browsers.
Once the website’s framework starts to take shape, the backend developers can then begin making connecting the visual front-end to the functionality behind the scenes.
This is the brain of the website, making it much more than just a pretty face.
Everything done here should be hidden from the user’s perspective. This is due to the fact that it will not take place on the user’s machine but elsewhere on a server and/or database.
A good example is a search box on the website. Here a user can enter a search query and press enter. The back-end functionality will make the search box work by querying the database and returning the results.
Once the back-end code has completed the hard work, the front-end code will display the results in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Backend development will usually involve programming languages such as Ruby, Python, or C#. The database queries are managed in other languages such as MySQL.
A big contingent of database-driven websites is eCommerce websites. If you want to sell anything online, you need to make sure that you have a great online shop setup.
eCommerce sites will need to have product pages, category pages, a shopping cart, and various payment gateways.
Other features that may require more complex backend development is online booking functionality, user logins, and admin panels. All of these can be coded from scratch by a professional developer to function the way you require.
Cost factors with backend development will depend on the complexity of your functionality and queries, what data processing you require, and any integration with third-party services through the use of APIs.
Once the front and back end developments are done, you will have a fully functional and visually stunning website. Now it is time to make it ready for release onto the web.
Quality Assurance & Testing
Once development is complete, it is time for quality assurance and lots of testing. We need to ensure that a client’s website is free from any bugs that will cause user interference and hinder their journey through the website.
Testing can take many forms and sometimes requires several iterations. Functional testing will ensure that the website is working as expected. Usability testing will make sure that it works well for users and as expected. Security testing will check the website for any insecurities that may make it a target for hackers.
All of these tests are equally important to make sure the best product will be pushed to market.
Cost factors will depend on how many layers of testing the client wants to undergo. However, some degree of testing will always be built into any development plan to ensure the final product’s quality.
After the website is ready to go to the customer and be launched, the users must know how to work with the site. Users need to be trained on how to make any content updates to the site if and when they are required. If your website has an admin panel for managing features such as eCommerce or bookings, users need to be trained as part of the release process.
Costs here will depend on the number of users who need to be trained and the systems’ complexity. Many agencies will include user training as part of their maintenance package.
Admin Access / Control Panel Integration
If your website requires user access to the back-end environment to collect or manage user data, then an admin panel will need to be developed. Admin panel software can be bespoke, but there are also many third-party options that your developer could integrate into your website design.
Costs factored into the admin panel will depend on the complexity of your needs. Backend admin panels can be straightforward if your requirements are small.
If you are managing a large eCommerce site, however, you will likely need a larger, more complex solution that will give you full control without the need for constant external support.
Maintenance and Support
Once the development is completed, it is important to know who is responsible for ongoing support after the project ends. For many, support may end once the website is signed off and handed over to the owner.
However, most professional development agencies will offer a maintenance package to ensure you are supported when things change. They may offer different tiers of support depending on how hands-on or off you want your developers to be.
These charges are always optional, but most agencies, ourselves included, are always happy to see a user’s site well maintained and updated to keep it secure and looking its best.
Ongoing Website Costs
Building a website is not a one-off cost. There will be maintenance costs that need paying either monthly or annually. The common ongoing costs of website design are:
- Domain Name Renewal
- Web Hosting
- SSL certificates
- Third-Party App Licenses
Every website needs two things: a web domain and web hosting. These are two business website costs that you will not be able to avoid when creating your online presence.
The web domain is your URL and the address of your website. You pay per domain, which means you pay for each .com, .org, or .eu that you own. So if you want people to find your business at mybusiness.com and mybusiness.co.uk, you will need to pay twice.
Each domain type charges a different annual price.
Average Cost: up to $30 per year, depending on the domain
Web hosting is the rented server space where your website will be stored. The cost will vary depending on the amount of space and features you require. If your website is a large enterprise solution, you will need to rent a large amount of space and pay accordingly.
Email management services should also be included in this price, giving you access to as many business accounts as you require for your enterprise.
There are different types of hosting that could meet your needs: shared hosting, virtual private servers, and dedicated servers.
Shared hosting requires you to share server space with other businesses. You will be on an entirely separate partition, so you will never see or have access to their files.
However, you would share access to the same hardware, which could impact the website if their website on the same server is experiencing a heavy load from lots of users.
Virtual Private Servers are similar to shared hosting options, but you will have access to the server’s resources so you can tweak the virtual settings to meet your website needs.
You will still be sharing server hardware with other customers.
Dedicated hosting is expensive but means that your website has its own server hardware and access to all the server resources.
Shared hosting is really only an option for small businesses with a limited budget. Any larger website should be on its own dedicated hosting service to ensure the smooth running of any applications and to be able to manage a large influx of visitors on a daily basis.
Your web design agency should be able to advise you on the type of web hosting you will need for your website plans. They may even offer the option to outsource your web hosting maintenance if you do not have an in-house specialist to look after things for you.
Average Cost of Hosting Services: up to $99 (shared) – $25,000 (dedicated) per yearWeb Hosting Quote
When you access a website, you may see a little green padlock in our browser next to the URL. This denotes that this website has an SSL certificate, and all the data is encrypted. It is imperative to have this if you are dealing with any kind of secure information on your websites, such as eCommerce or customer data.
Google also uses SSL certificates as an on-site ranking factor these days, so it is important to make sure your domain is secured to increase your chances of making the front page of the search engines. There are different types of certificates, all increasing in levels of security, but for the Google ranking factor, you only need a domain-validated certificate.
If you deal with customer data, you will need to upgrade our SSL certificate to a more robust protection level.
Average Cost of SSL Certificates: $10 – $75 per yearSSL Certificate Quote
If part of your development requires the purchase of third-party applications such as eCommerce, content management systems, or admin panels rather than bespoke development, then you will need to factor in paying an annual license fee.
Third-party apps also usually have an upfront cost to pay as well as the annual fee, which also needs to be considered when building a website.
Average Cost Third-Party App Costs: From $50 per application license per yearThird-Party Licensing Quote
SEO & Web Marketing
Web marketing is a significant cost that can not be overlooked if you want to launch a successful website. A well-optimized site with a solid web marketing plan behind it will drive much more traffic, potentially building more leads and selling more products.
SEO investment can be tailored to your companies specific needs and grow as the business does. It can also be done in-house if you have the staff with the skills required and the time available to make it a success.
Ideally, you will want to hire an SEO manager if you want to manage your website marketing under one roof. Otherwise, you will need to hire a professional agency that can manage the process and daily tasks for you.
Let’s look at the key areas of website marketing that need to be covered and their costs.
Once the bare bones of the website are complete, then it is time to fill it with the meat, the website content. Good content is the foundation on which any great website is built. You could build the most beautiful, flashy, and impressive website ever developed, but if the website content is poor or unreadable, the site will be a failure.
If you are updating an older website, you may need to review what content you have to freshen up older evergreen content or add new, more modern material. In some cases, the website content may need to be dramatically overhauled to be brought into the modern age.
Your business can deliver content marketing through several different mediums, including blogs, infographics, podcasts, videos, and much more.
Additional costs will come from how much content you want to create on a regular basis and how often you want to publish it.
Average Costs of Content Marketing: $500 – $5,000 per monthContent Marketing Quote
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A stand-out website design will do nothing for your business if nobody knows that it exists. That is where search engine optimization comes into play. A good SEO manager will make sure that your website and its content are optimized for Google (and other engines) search. They will suggest strategies that will help you rank better in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Costs will include regular analysis reports of your site, the amount of time you want to dedicate to making SEO improvements for rankings gains, and whether you want a local or international level campaign.
Average Costs of SEO: $500 – $5,000 per monthSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) Quote
Social Media Management (SMM)
Maintaining a strong social media presence will help your brand visibility and help new customers discover your website. Social media can help you grow your customer base, develop new leads, and increase sales when done well.
Part of the SMM marketing plan will be creating content to attract and engage customers.
To run a successful social media campaign, you really need to dedicate time to it every day to make sure you are staying visible across the various channels and able to creatively engage customers at different times of the day.
Costs will depend on the amount of time you want to invest in creating social media content.
Average Costs of Content Marketing: $150 – $300 per daySocial Media Management (SSM) Quote
Types of Business Websites
When you are budgeting for a business website cost, you need to consider the type of website you want to build. There are many styles of websites, and all of them can serve very different purposes.
Some work best for small to medium businesses whilst others may need to be large with complex functionality.
A good web design agency should advise you on the best type of website to support your business, based on the ideas you have for your website. Each website will have its own requirements and costs associated.
Let’s look at some of the most common website styles and functionality.
A business website is really a catch-all term for any website owned by an enterprise that is used to provide information and promote themselves to customers.
In fact, it is difficult to imagine many businesses without an online presence in 2021. Many customers now require a business, even smaller ones, to have a website to prove their legitimacy.
There are some standard features that you will find on all business websites, regardless of their size or global reach.
Those pages are:
- About the company
- Contacts Page
- Service / Product Showcase
- Blog / Press page
Most business websites do not require enormous amounts of backend development and complex functionality. For many, development costs will mostly involve a contact form or lead capture pages.
Brochure / Landing Page
A brochure website is usually a landing page that attracts customers to a specific service or product. They are often one long scrolling page that keeps the user’s attention on the products being promoted.
The aim is to provide maximum information in minimal functionality and drive the customer into a sales funnel.
Other pages may include an About Us or Contacts, but the landing page aims not to draw the customers away from the primary focus, the product, or service.
At the end of the brochure, there will be a call to action to encourage the customer to purchase a product or sign up for a service-based. Excellent copywriting services are essential to making this style of website a success.
These websites allow you to sell products online and receive payments. They need to be secure and easy to use to keep the customer’s attention and confidence.
Good UX and UI design are paramount for a successful eCommerce site. The product sales will reflect the ease of customer navigation and interaction in the sales of products.
If a customer can not easily find a product or make a simple purchase within a limited number of clicks, the website will fail.
eCommerce websites can be small and even limited to one or two pages if you are selling few products. The biggest examples of large successful eCommerce sites would be Amazon or eBay.
If your business is in news, media, or any form of entertainment, you require a publishing website.
These websites are large and constantly updated, often by lots of different users. A robust backend admin access is going to be essential to this kind of website’s success.
Users will need to be able to write and add their content to the website. This content may need to go through a quality assurance queue to check that it is fit for publication. Articles need to be able to move up and down the queue with ease in the backend before being pushed live to the public.
Publishing websites will need a lot of backend development, either in the form of a bespoke solution or the customization of a market solution to meet the needs of the publisher.
Support & Knowledge Bases
Support websites provide customers with two things: information on how to fix a problem and communication channels to high-tier support teams.
These websites may require the integration of helpdesk software to help support agents track and close customer requests.
A database of knowledge will also be a large feature of a support website design. It needs to be searchable both by agents and customers.
Your business may be focused on building an online community with your customers. To do this, you may want to develop forums or social sharing tools similar to larger sites like Facebook and Twitter.
A community site often allows users to generate their own content and upload and share images and videos with other users.
This website style will require to be database-driven and will need a lot of back-end development and admin access for both the managers and the users of the website.
An educational website is often a form of web portal that allows users to log in and access courses that they are studying.
A website like this will need an administrative back-end for the users and the staff managing the courses. Teachers also need to have access to update the courseware or be able to interact with students.
An educational website will require considerable back-end development to make it a viable product.
A good example would be sites like Skillshare or Khan Academy.
Business Website Cost Breakdown
In conclusion, the true business website cost in 2021 comes down to two things:
- The complexity of the functionality on your site.
- The size (number of pages) of your website.
This will determine how many hours are required on the different development stages that we outlined earlier in the guide.
On average, a skilled web design freelancer will charge around $36 per hour. So from this figure, we can make a rough estimate on prices based on the different types of websites a customer usually requires.
Small to Medium Business Sites
$1000 to $5,000 average set-up cost
Most smaller business sites are between 4-12 pages and designed to provide information on a business or company and its products.
They usually require fewer interactive features, such as a contact form or lead generation pages.
$5000 – $15,000 average set-up cost
An eCommerce site will allow us to sell our products online. Each product will need to be featured on the website and require its own page.
The site will require backend development to create payment gateways and process user data. The site will also need to secure and tested rigorously.
A Large Application-Driven Website
Upwards of $20,000 average set-up cost
If we are looking to provide our users with bespoke online services and tools, we will need to budget for a developer to build an application from scratch.
Larger websites are upwards of 15 pages and are looking to have a global audience, possibly for international companies looking to reach customers in different market sectors.
Language customization and global SEO work will increase the price of these websites that can easily reach prices above $500,000.
The Benefits of Using a Web Design Agency
There are several options for getting a website live online these days. Many businesses are looking to find the cheapest solution to building their online presence.
So, why should you choose customer development with a web design agency?
A web agency will build you a custom solution that matches your specific business needs. It will be like choosing to buy a tailored suit rather than one from a department store. The fit should be bespoke and customized to exactly your measurements.
One size rarely fits all.
Of course, this option will cost more, but the benefits of a bespoke, customized product always outweigh the initial outlay in the long run.
As you have seen, web design requires lots of different levels of expertise, from design to development to website marketing and promotion. All of these skills are under one roof when you work with a web design agency, and you do not need to worry about additional outsourcing costs.
A larger pool of professionals means that an agency can develop your website under tighter deadlines than a single freelancer.
Web agencies are more likely to be able to offer you a single flat cost for a development project.
Freelancers will often charge by the hour, and if a project hits complications later down the line, this can rack up extra hourly charges rapidly.
Ongoing Support and Maintenance
Working with a web agency means that there will always be someone there to support you. If you take on a maintenance contract or even outsource your website’s maintenance to the agency, you will always have a point of contact for technical queries about your website.
How Much Does a Business Website Cost?
So, what does a business website cost in 2021? In short, whatever you need it to.
When you work with a professional agency, we will be able to find web design pricing that will match the size, complexity, and budget of your project.
Every stage of the project can be tailored to match your business needs and resources, regardless of your business size.
If you found this article helpful and would like to know more about website development, then please take a look at Iconic Web HQ’s services page to learn more about how we can help you build a website that matches your business needs.
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