Professional web design can cost anything between $10,000 to $75,000+.
It can be frustrating, but there is no simple answer when it comes to the cost of a new website. Like constructing a building, the answer is – it depends.
Factors like the complexity of the site you want to build, the size of that website and the functionality you need it to have all come into play.
This guide will dig deeper into what goes into a website build and what factors you will need to think about when designing your website.
Read on to get a better understanding of a web design and development project and how you can budget for your next build.
What Every Website Needs
Let’s start with the essentials. When you first speak with a web design agency, they will break down for you the basic elements that you will need to get a website up and running.
Some costs will be project costs that appear only for the duration of the project. These include the build of the actual website, which we will look at in more detail in a moment.
Other costs are universal and will need paying on a regular basis, usually annually. These are the website’s maintenance costs and will vary a little depending on how large your website may come to be.
Domain Name Registration
Every website has its own unique identifier that allows users to find it more easily. This is the domain name that appears in the browser when you visit or search for a website.
Domain names need to be registered with the registration authority of the country whose suffix they are using. So, .au domains are registered with the Australian Domain Registration so that they can be indexed.
This is something that your web developers will assist you with. The costs for registration are renewed annually, although you can buy a longer-term if you know you want to hold onto the name indefinitely.
Keeping your domain registration up to date is important as letting it lapse can result in others swooping in and stealing your domain from under you.
Most web design agencies will include this renewal price in their support package and will take care of remembering the dates for you.
You will need to rent a space online where your website can be hosted. Similar to file storage on a computer, this is where an agency can upload all the files related to your website and where users can access them through their browser.
Website hosting comes in a variety of different options depending on how much space you need and whether or not you require a private or shared server. Large enterprise websites should host on their own server to avoid slow-down on their website.
If you have a web server on your IT network, you can self-host your site to save on rental costs.
Again hosting costs are usually annual, and your web design agency will be able to advise you on the best solution for your website.
Once you have a domain name and hosting space, we can dig into the real costs of designing and developing a website.
It is important to understand that website design and website development are two different activities. Often these two terms become conflated and confused as some freelancers tend to have both skill sets. They are sometimes used interchangeably, but they have very different requirements.
If you imagine creating a website is similar to constructing a building, website design is what the architect does at the beginning of the project. They create the blueprints for the site, think about the look and feel and how users will interact with and use the website.
The design is a major part of the process and requires the most input from the customer. A web designer wants to meet your requirements for the site. They will suggest different looks and layouts as well as colour schemes and fonts.
Website designers are interested in User Experience (UX) and User Interfaces (UI). They are professionally trained to think about the human experience and interactions with technology.
Some businesses think they can skimp on this part of the project, but poor user experiences will sink a website faster than bad content or products. On average, you have around 7-10 seconds to impress a new visitor. If they cannot navigate around the page or find what they are looking for quickly, they will bounce away and never return.
The same goes for mobile applications. Every website now needs to be accessible on a huge variety of different devices. A website designer will consider the needs of mobile users as well a desktop and even smart devices.
You may need several versions of your website to make it as accessible as possible for all users, especially those with special needs.
Once the design work is complete, the development can begin. In our building analogy, the web developers are the engineers and construction workers who start to put the building together.
Development is usually broken into two phases, though they can work in conjunction with each other: Frontend Development and Backend Development.
As you may imagine, frontend web developers work on what the customer can see and interact with, bringing the designers vision to life. Backend development makes it work. It adds all the functionality and applications that are required to give the website interactivity. Both are essential parts of a website design project and will factor into the cost of a new website.
The costs here will depend on the complexity of the build. If your project requires more interactivity from the user or engagement with third-party applications, you will need more backend development.
Your agency will talk you through the website’s design and how much work it will involve behind the scenes.
Website Design & Development Costs
The costs for this project stage will depend on three different factors: Complexity, functionality and size. Each will lessen or increase the size of the project and its cost depending on what your individual project requires.
Costs will include:
- Number of pages
How big will your website be? How many pages of content do you need to include?
- Website complexity
Will you be including lots of database-driven features like the ability to edit the site remotely or by several users. Or do you need an e-commerce solution so the customers can buy online?
- Custom layout
Do you require a custom design? Some websites can be cookie-cutter designs built from pre-existing templates. This is one way to save costs on design. However, most businesses want a design built from the ground up, and this requires custom development which is more costly.
- Custom images and graphics
Do you need images made for the website, either taken by a professional photographer or designed by a graphic designer? This could include a professional logo design to fit the website. If so, there will be costs associated with going down this route.
- Mobile customisation
As we mentioned above, you will need to design your site for the broadest possibility of devices that may access it. This could include some image customisation and copywriting changes to make sure everything works on a small as well as a big screen.
- User testing
A good website design needs to be tested with users to make sure it works well and is easy to use. You may need to go through many stages of testing, and your agency will advise what you need to fit within your web design budget.
- Technical Testing
There will also need to be phases built into the project that include other types of testing. These are to ensure the website is fit for purpose, not a security risk and not riddled with bugs at launch.
Content Management System
One of the primary features many website projects includes in their backend design is the means for end-users to access and edit the website.
If you do not factor in some kind of user-friendly means of editing the site, then you will need somebody with the ability to edit web pages to be able to update your content. Alternatively, you can push all content changes throughout the original design agency and include a cost for this in the service contract.
However, most businesses factor into their design of a content management system (CMS). This will provide you with a dashboard that enables you to access a simplified version of the backend of the site. You should be able to upload images and new content from the dashboard and push it live as and when it is required.
The cost of a CMS will depend on the level of complexity. Again you can design a CMS from scratch to meet your exact needs or build your website around an existing CMS, like WordPress, to make this feature already integrated into the site.
One of the higher costs in the functionality of a site is the addition of an e-commerce platform. If you want to sell products or services online and would like users to buy directly from your site, you need e-commerce website development.
E-commerce solutions can range from quite simple all the way up to the vast complexity of a site like Amazon, for example. The more products or ranges of products you want to sell, the greater the cost of this part of the project.
Each product will need its own page, its own references in the supporting database and will require some means of user-editing so that you and your staff can update prices and descriptions regularly.
E-commerce requires a lot of backend development and is one of the more expensive elements you can add to your business website.
Other Important Cost Factors
Web design and development create the meat on the bones of your website. Once all this is complete, you will have a functioning website, but you need to consider some more cost factors when creating a website.
Unless you are planning to write every page on your website in-house, you will need to think about hiring a copywriter or content editor.
Copywriters will help you with engaging sales copy that will entice customers to buy.
Content editors will write interesting articles and blogs that attract visitors to your site or encourage another website to share links and boost your standings in the search engines.
Once your website is live, you will be competing for prominence with millions of other sites doing the same thing. You will need to think about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) so that your website appears higher in the search results.
You will also need to engage in community management and interact with potential customers via social media. This will help boost your website’s visibility and gain you more visitors and potential sales.
Website Maintenance & Ongoing Support
Like any machine, your website will require maintenance from time to time. Your web server will need software updates and security patches to make sure that your site is safe from hackers. User support and training may also be required to ensure that new staff members can interact with the site correctly and deal with any problems quickly.
Your web design agency should be able to provide you with an ongoing support package as part of the overall project, and you should negotiate this in your final contract.
Speak To A Web Design Agency
Now that you have a better understanding of all of the factors involved in web design, you need to speak with an agency. Then you can start building a design for your own website with a budget that works for your business.
If you are looking for a Sydney web design agency, then we can help you. Get in touch today to start the process and see how we can help you develop the website you need.