How much should a website cost?


The growth in smartphone usage has supported increased Website Design investment over the past five years. Not only has the smartphone usage boosted web traffic, but it has also forced businesses to have mobile-ready websites.

The Web Design Services industry is forecast to grow by an annualised 4.6% over the next five years, strengthened by rising internet penetration and wider acceptance of online shopping. The industry is forecast to reach $2.8 billion in 2015.

In addition, the growth in popularity of online shopping has altered consumer purchasing behaviour, which has compelled traditional retailers to expand their reach online.

This has resulted in strong demand for web design services operators to design and develop online content. Society’s increasing reliance on the internet and web services has also contributed to industry growth.1

These changes have brought great opportunity, but have also brought significant challenges, and with all the providers available, how do clients take advantage without being taken advantage of?

First some basics.

What is Website Design?

Web Design includes the multitude of services involved in the visual, technical, and experiential overhaul, implementation and ongoing maintenance of a website. In real terms this includes as a minimum the following roles:

  • Digital design – creates the “look and feel” of the website
  • Responsive design – enables engaging usability across all devices
  • Website Development – the technical implementation of a website
  • Content Management System (CMS) – the “backend” of a website where content is created, updated and published
  • Website Hosting – the physical location of a website and where traffic is sent and managed
  • Integrations – includes Client Relationship Management (CRM) and other third party platforms like Google Analytics
  • eCommerce – enabling online shopping, orders and purchases


Why is this important?

Increasingly, websites are becoming not only the most important piece of the online marketing landscape, but marketing in general. The website is uniquely positioned to form the bridge between every other channel, Social, Paid, Mobile, Local and even offline rely heavily on the website in order tie the campaign components together with a consistent experience across all channels.

It is also important to understand the different elements of Website Design from a high level so that you can put together briefs with confidence with realistic expectations from your Website Design agency and an understanding of what makes up the cost allocation for your online budget.

What does a Website Design Project look like?

It seems obvious but a website is defined by 3 things: a domain name, a web host and its content. Based on that definition, a website design project can come in many forms. It can be a simple blog, a single landing page, an online form or the larger scale websites with multiple webpages, databases and information architecture which is the example we are more likely to think of when we hear the term “website”.

How do I know what I want?

The easiest way to brief a Website Design project is by looking at what you are trying to achieve. Best in class Website Design agencies are able to work with clients to determine the Digital Strategy for their website and build a custom solution to suit the client’s needs.

The following questions are a good starting point:

  1. Who are your users?
  2. What do they need to be able to do on your website?
  3. Do you need to store their data?
  4. Do different user groups have varying need states from your website?
  5. Do they need to purchase or compare products / services on your website?
  6. Do you need to integrate feeds from or to other data sources?
  7. Is your website optimised for Mobile devices?
  8. Is your website optimised for Search?
  9. Does your website already utilise a specific Content Management System?
  10. Do you want to migrate to a different Content Management System?
  11. Is your current Website Design out of date and in need of a refresh?
  12. Is your website optimised for Conversion?
  13. Do you require Web Hosting included?


Based on your answers to the above questions or similar, your Website Design agency should be able to provide you with an accurate estimate in both time and money to deliver your project.

What should an estimate include?

The following items should be included when you receive an estimate for Website Design:

  1. A clear itemized breakdown of the project requirements into tasks under their respective service areas, i.e. Design, Development, Hosting
  2. Estimation of hours required, and timeframe for delivery
    1. Should include a high level project plan
  3. A breakdown of costs
    1. This should come in the form of an all-encompassing project cost
    2. If required itemized costing by task should be available
  4. Terms and Conditions
    1. Including
      1. Liability
      2. Security
  • Service Level Agreement
  1. Uptime
  2. What penalties or bonus applies for late or early delivery respectively


How much should it cost?

As with any project, especially one that requires the skills of highly trained professionals, costs for Web Design can be significant, but more so across the industry there can often be a wide variation on the level of fees for the same work. To make it more confusing, agencies will often package up various tasks or include value-adds in order to provide what seems like a more cost-effective solution.

In our experience the following rates per hour represent the spectrum for web development:

  • Low: 100 per hour
  • Mid: 150 per hour
  • High: 200 per hour


In our experience the following rates per hour represent the spectrum for web design:

  • Low: 150 per hour
  • Mid: 200 per hour
  • High: 250 per hour plus


In terms of project size the following bands are consistent with our experience:

  • Landing page: $3,000 – 10,000
    • 1-3 Templates
    • Open source platform (for proprietary allow 30% increase)
    • Online form
    • Data collection and management
  • Microsite: $10,000 – $50,000
    • 1 – 10 Templates
    • Open source platform (for proprietary allow 30% increase)
    • Online Forms
    • Data collection and management
    • Modules
    • Custom features
    • Navigation
  • Full Website: $100,000+
    • Dependent on Requirements and features
  • Website Hosting: $300 – $2,000 per month
    • Dependent on Security requirement
    • Dependent on whether dedicated or shared
    • Dependent on whether it is managed and supported ongoing


Resolution is always available to provide obligation free estimation, quotation and advice regarding Website Design and Development for our clients.