Web Design Pricing – How Much Does a Website Cost in 2024?
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January of 2023 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
A well-designed, smooth-running website ensures a seamless, navigable user experience for your target audience at every step of their journey to becoming customers. It’s the foundation of your online success; without it, driving profitable conversions will be mere wishes.
For this reason, it’s imperative you put considerable effort into creating a site that presents your business in the best light possible. But whether you’re looking to revamp your existing site or build a new one from scratch, you first need to understand your options and how much they will cost.
That’s exactly why we’ve created this post. Our goal is to give you a solid understanding of what you can expect to pay for a website in 2024, explain the various factors that can influence the cost of a website, and discuss the pros and cons of different web design strategies.
Let’s dive in.
How Much Does A Website Cost in 2024?
Building a business website can cost anywhere from $500 to more than $300,000. Similarly, website maintenance can range from $400 to $80,000 per year.
Just like cars, houses, or clothing, your price depends on what you’re looking for. Suppose you’re bootstrapping a startup and need a simple, attractive site to promote your products. In that case, you’d need to shell out much less for a website than an enterprise business with massive security or data management requirements. Moreover, the cost of a website largely depends on whether you build it yourself or hire someone else to do it. Later in the post, we’ll examine the relative benefits of the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach versus outsourcing the work to professional web designers.
We’ll lay out a step-by-step blueprint that includes the investment required, and demonstrate how we’ll leave your competitors in the dust.
Before we look at different web-build options, it’s important to understand what other variables can influence how much you pay for a website. Here are some of the main cost factors to keep in mind:
The Type of Website:
There are different types of websites – eCommerce websites, personal blogs, portfolio sites, etc. Each has unique functionalities, design, and complexity levels. As a result, the cost of building, developing, and maintaining any of these websites varies.
For example, personal blogs tend to have simple designs with few functionalities. Website builders like Wix or content management systems like WordPress come with pre-made templates, which reduces development costs.
An eCommerce site, however, demands more. You need more functionalities, such as integrating secure payment gateways, shopping carts, inventory management systems, etc.
While simpler e-commerce sites can be built with Shopify or Magento, more complex sites often require complex customization beyond what these platforms offer out-of-the-box. This may require the expertise of a developer to build custom solutions tailored to your business. And as you would expect, that’ll cost more.
Think of your domain name as your website’s unique virtual address, appearing within your site’s URL:
Usually, most domain names mirror the business name, making it easier for web users to find your site online through branded and unbranded search queries. It also boosts the trust and credibility of your brand.
Unique, exact match, top-level domain names are any business’s digital assets as they cannot be replicated or acquired by someone else – except you don’t pay the renewal fees.
A brand-new domain usually costs between $10 and $20 per year, but prices can vary slightly depending on the domain registrar you use. GoDaddy is the biggest domain marketplace in the industry, but there are other alternatives, such as Namecheap, BlueHost, etc.
If your exact match domain name has been acquired by someone else, you may have to resort to expired domains (which is an exact match of what you’re looking for). These expired domain names are, most times, costlier than brand-new domain names. Their prices are valued based on keywords, brandability, and several other factors.
Short-tail keyword domain names like car.com and hotel.com will cost more than their long-tail counterparts or unique names like davidbarlett.com. Elon Musk, for example, reportedly acquired the ‘Tesla.com’ domain name for $11 million.
Getting a domain name someone already owns means you’ll need to contact the owner to negotiate a price, but be prepared to spend hundreds, if not thousands, to secure the domain name.
A web hosting provider lets you store your website on its servers so internet users can access it. A good hosting plan offers benefits like regular site backups, quick load speeds, and minimal website downtime.
Although it’s possible to find free hosting plans, you’re better served by opting for a paid plan that provides advanced functionalities and tech support.
The costs of getting a reliable hosting plan largely depend on your needs and the type of provider you choose. Basically, all hosting providers offer:
- Shared hosting: Here, your website will share server resources with several other websites. It’s the cheapest hosting form but less efficient than other types. For instance, if other hosted websites are busy simultaneously, the entire server may experience downtime (and may affect your website load times or other critical activities). The price ranges between $25 and $120 per year.
- VPS (Virtual Private Server): Although you will still technically share server space with other sites, the system uses virtualization technology to allocate dedicated resources to your site. It’s more effective than shared hosting and minimizes the risks of consistent downtime. This option costs between $240 and $1,200 per year.
- Dedicated server: This option is best suited for complex websites with multiple functions and higher traffic levels. It has advanced functionalities such as unmetered bandwidth for efficient scalability, advanced security features, faster connection speeds, etc. A dedicated server can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $24,000 per year.
Robust website security features make it easier to protect your users’ information and safeguard your IT systems against harmful viruses. Failure to take appropriate security measures can cost your business dearly in terms of lost revenue and customer trust.
One of the most crucial website security features is a Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate, which protects the transfer of sensitive data to and from your site. Users can tell whether a site is TLS-secured by checking to see if the site address has an ‘HTTPS’ prefix and a padlock icon in the web browser.
This certificate usually costs around $60 per year but can reach as high as $1,500 for sites with heavy–duty security needs.
As I shared earlier, if you run an e-commerce business, your site will need features like a payment gateway, shopping carts, and a shipping system.
The cost of implementing e-commerce functionality will depend on factors such as the size of your inventory and how many orders you typically receive within a given period. Also, if you’re planning to grow your business in terms of product offerings or tapping into new markets, you need to build your website for scalability.
The upfront cost of integrating e-commerce features is around $500 for DIY builds but can reach five to six figures for professional builds.
Next, you need to consider the level of design you need. The visual appeal and layout of your website directly impact the user experience. It also influences your rankings, as one of Google’s ranking factors – the core web vitals – measures your site’s performance from a user’s perspective. This includes ease of navigation (usability), interactivity, and visual appeal.
In fact, Google has pre-set benchmarks:
As you can see, sites with impeccable, user-focused designs increase your credibility and rankings on the search results. It also impacts your conversion rate as sites with superior user experience can have up to 400% increase in conversion rates.
No-code website builders cost less and have in-built, aesthetically pleasing design templates out-of-the-box. They also have a drag-and-drop feature that lets you customize your website to your taste.
You can also buy premium themes for extra quality and customization, usually costing around $50 annually.
If you hire an expert or a web design agency, expect to pay more. For agencies, the design cost will be factored into your quote.
Many businesses need to incorporate information from existing databases into their websites. For example, provide real-time updates to users around delivery statuses, account balances, or loyalty points.
As you’d expect, the more complex your database integration requirements, the higher the cost is likely to be. This is especially true if you’re using custom databases. Depending on your specific needs, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000 for this type of work.
Given everything you have to account for when building a website that suits your business needs, what approach should you use to build one? And how much do different approaches cost?
Here are the three main options for building a website.
Website builders are online subscription services that let you create websites without needing hands-on coding. You simply select a template and customize it to your needs using a drag-and-drop editor.
Some of the most popular website builders include:
You can create and maintain a website using a website builder for $7 to $500 monthly. This is the cheapest way to get a new website up and running.
When you subscribe to a website-building tool, you get hosting, security features, and built-in themes as part of the package. In most cases, the only additional costs to consider are for any paid plugins you might need to enhance your site’s functionalities.
Tip: Some web builders let you create websites for free (such as Weebly and Jimdo). The trouble with using free plans is that your website will contain ads, you won’t get a custom domain, and you won’t receive any e-commerce capabilities. In other words, it’s far better to opt for a paid plan.
Web builders are a popular choice for freelancers, solopreneurs, and startups.
A web builder may suit you if:
- You’re on a tight budget
- You need a website quickly
- You have little to no technical experience
WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS).
Like a web builder, the main attraction of WordPress is that it makes it easy to build and modify websites without coding. However, WordPress and website builders differ in that the former offers far more flexibility than the latter (but also involves a steeper learning curve).
WordPress can be used to build any website, including business sites, freelance portfolios, and e-commerce stores.
The upfront cost for creating a WordPress site is $40 to $800. The additional monthly maintenance costs range from $10 to $50.
WordPress is technically a free-to-use platform, but you need to pay for things like your domain name, security features, premium themes and plugins, and hosting. For more technical WordPress builds, you may want to hire a freelance developer (which can cost up to $100 an hour).
WordPress is very popular and used by businesses of all sizes. In fact, 43% of all sites on the internet use WordPress.
A WordPress site may suit you if:
- Your budget isn’t too restricted
- You want fine control over your website design
- You’re willing to put the hours into designing your site
Read more: Top 15 WordPress SEO agencies in 2024.
A web design agency specializes in building easy-to-navigate, high-converting sites that leave a lasting impression on visitors. Usually, the agency comprises a team of expert designers responsible for designing a website’s visual experience and user journey. You’ll likely also find SEOs, brand strategists, and content marketers on the same team.
Tip: When sourcing for a web design/development agency, opt for one offering all the required services. For example, if you’re newly building your site, you’ll need:
- Web developers: To build and customize your website
- Web designers: To design your website for optimal user experience
- Brand strategists: To guide your brand creation process
- Content marketers: To create and suggest ways for effectively marketing your website on the internet
This way, you can save costs on hiring independent talents. In addition, ensure you have a clearly defined and laid out plan for your website. Factor the future of your business into your goals so that your website can be built accordingly. Specify your target audience, choice features, and everything else you believe will make your online storefront an excellent representation of your business.
The upfront cost of hiring a web design agency to build a new site is usually between $5,000 and $70,000.
Naturally, the price you pay will depend on the size and complexity of the build, as well as the experience and the prestige of the agency in question. Costs will also increase if you want your agency to manage matters like hosting, domains, security, and so on.
Tip: One way to reduce the cost of hiring a design agency is to ask them to customize a premium WordPress theme to your specifications. This can be much less expensive than getting your agency to build a custom site from scratch.
Web design agencies are the most common choice for SMBs and big businesses.
Hiring a web design agency may suit you if:
- You have the required budget
- You need to custom-build your site
- You have no time to work on building and maintaining a site yourself
We’ll lay out a step-by-step blueprint that includes the investment required, and demonstrate how we’ll leave your competitors in the dust.
Before you make that decision, remember …
Your website lies at the heart of all your brand’s online activities, so it’s essential to do what you can to make it functional, secure, and easy to use. We’ve seen that the cost of building a website depends entirely on your specific goals and requirements.
Solopreneurs, freelancers, and startups can create perfectly functional, good-looking sites at a low cost using a web builder or WordPress. On the other hand, businesses with more complex requirements are generally better served by hiring the support of a specialist web design agency.
So, how much does a website cost in 2024?
If you use a web builder, the cost lies between $7 and $500 monthly. If you build your own WordPress site, the upfront cost lies between $40 and $800. And if you hire a web design agency, the price can range from $5,000 to $70,000.
Remember, your website is your most important online asset, so don’t rush into a decision. Take the time to determine your business needs from a website, work out a budget, and then pick a solution that best suits you.