How Much Does A Website Cost? We Have The Answers

How much does a website cost? Whether you are a business, non profit organization, government agency or education institution, eventually the time comes when you will need to upgrade your website presence. You may create an RFP and submit to a handful of agencies, or go out seeking advice on defining your requirements for a new website. This will, of course, lead you to ask a fundamental question: 

how much does a website cost

Determining the cost of a website that is right for you is not an easy task. If you contact 5 different web design agencies you will receive a proposal with 5 different price tags. The disparity in quotes can be quite significant. So let’s take a step back to begin the discovery process by defining questions you need to know the answers to:

  • How much does a website cost?
  • Who are the best web designers?
  • What do web design companies do?
  • What is the best web design company?
  • How much does it cost to hire someone to design a website?
  • How do I choose a web design company?
  • What skills do you need to be a web designer?
  • How much does a website cost per month?
  • Who are the best website design companies?
  • What is digital web design?
  • How do I choose a design agency?
  • What are the benefits of web design?

The first question is obviously the most unsettling and the initial answer will be frustratingly vague. Why is that? I will try to place the matter into perspective. When you are in the market to purchase a new car you probably have a fair understanding of the differences and range of these types of purchases. A car, for example, can set you back $500 for a rusty clunker or $2 million for a McLaren. This kind of makes the question of cost a moot point as the average consumer simply cannot afford a McLaren and therefore would not consider one as an option. Also, when shopping for vehicles you will want to decide the type of car that’s right for you. If you have kids you may want to consider an SUV. If you live off-road you will probably want a 4×4. If you put on a ton of miles you may weigh MPG as a factor in your decision. This same fuzzy logic applies to website development. Instead of asking how much a website costs in such vague terms you should define expectations that will establish a budget that will deliver the website that best fits your needs.

How Much Does A Website Cost?
What are the different types of websites?

web design costs

Before we delve into costs, let’s identify the types of website available as this will play a major factor in determining website price. For the sake of this article, we are only including the WordPress CMS, although there are several other CMS platforms available that provide similar options:

1. The DIY Website

The DIY, or Do It Yourself, website is a valid option for organizations with minimal or non-existent marketing budgets. There are several options available that will allow you to create a website yourself and without any programming skills using their online website builder “drag and drop” tools. You may already be familiar with some of the names, including Wix, Squarespace and GoDaddy. The benefits of this option is significant cost savings; however, those savings may get overshadowed by a lower quality web presence you my experience. This option is not recommended for any organization that depends on their website for representation and visibility.

2. WordPress Theme Design

The first WordPress category is using a WordPress theme design, which is a pre-designed and pre-developed website template you can purchase at low costs in order to avoid significant design expenses. There are literally thousands of designs to choose from, which can be a challenge onto itself when searching. The benefit besides lower cost is that there are some really attractive website themes available. A major drawback going with a WordPress theme design is that you will be sharing your website design with literally thousands or hundreds of thousands of other businesses and organizations. In addition, you do not actually own your design, you are renting it and have no say in how it is used on other websites.

3. Custom WordPress Design

The other category when choosing to hire a WordPress developer is to go with a custom design. This has obvious benefits as it allows your web designer to  work with you closely and hand-craft a unique design that truly represents your business or organization. If your budget will allow, a custom WordPress design is ALWAYS the best option. If you have ever bought a house it’s very similar. Whereas a stock floor plan allows for almost zero customization a custom design will be made to your exact specifications.

Click Here to learn about our custom web design services.

How Much Does A Website Cost?
How do I determine my website needs?

wordpress developer cost

As established previously, asking the cost of a website will not provide you with a clear answer from web design agencies. A professional design agency will take the time to ask questions and determine your project requirements that will help determine cost.

Considerations that go into requirements assessment should include:

  • What is the business, non profit organization or government agency structure?
  • For a business, what are their annual revenues?
  • For a non profit organization, what are their revenue channels?
  • For a government agency, what is the source of their funding?
  • Do they have an existing website?
  • What are the website’s call to actions?
  • Does the website use a content management system (CMS)?
  • Does the website sell products or services online?
  • Does the website have a client portal that allows them to access their account information?
  • Is the website updated on a continuous basis, and how many content contributors work on the website?
  • What is the level of technical expertise within the organization?
  • Will the organization be able to support the new website after launch or will they require a maintenance plan?

Once the web consultant completes this assessment, he or she will have a much better understanding of the project requirements and should be able to establish a budget that is inline with your expectations.

If we consider all three website types, we will see that the cost of a website can range from free to well over 6 figures. Once you get your head around the absurdity of this range we can start to whittle down the disparity by deciding which type of website is best for you. When evaluating, an organization should not make its decision based solely on cost but rather weigh in budget along with goals and requirements.

With this said, here are some deeper considerations that will help you come to the right balance between cost, objectives and requirements:



How much of your personal or staff’s time are you willing to commit to the website development project? The greater the investment of human resources, the less cost associated with building the website. Bear in mind that in order to assume full website design and development responsibilities you or your staff will become the de facto designer, developer, marketer and IT department.


Before you begin your search for a web design agency, it is important that you take the time to establish some goals. Ask yourself these questions: Why are you choosing to build a new website at this time? What are you trying to accomplish? What does the website need to do to achieve your goals? What are the key metrics that will determine success?


Who is your target audience? What are their needs? What are their expectations for the website? How will your target audience be able to provide feedback on the new website?

How Much Does A Website Cost?
The bottom line.

san francisco web designer

After you have done a little soul searching and perhaps received a little help from a web design consultant, you feel confident that you have established your new website’s goals, functional requirements and success metrics. Now, you can factor in costs to your website equation. Here are ballpark estimates that can help you determine which type of website you can afford:

DIY Website

Free or very cheap, with possible hidden costs such as hosting mandates and technical support. If you still live in your parent’s basement and need a new website for your fledgling record label, save yourself the $100 bucks and do it yourself.

Cost: Ask your girlfriend if she can float you a $20.

WordPress Theme Design

This option tries to strike a balance between cost and quality. There are thousands of inexpensive and beautiful WordPress themes available, and the overall website development cost will be much lower as you will not have to pay for custom design services. This is a good option for someone working on a modest budget but wants a quality website and to work with a knowledgeable web designer for guidance. For these benefits, however, you will be losing out on a custom design, exclusivity, input and most likely customer service.

Cost: $5,000 – $10,000

Custom WordPress Design

A custom WordPress design is the best option for getting the maximum quality, customer service and technical support for your web presence. We call custom sites hand-crafted websites as they truly are built from the ground floor up to your exact specifications. The best web design agencies in the Bay Area will be custom website developers and they will have the portfolio and pedigree to show for it.

The cost of a fully custom-designed website will vary dramatically as you may require advanced features, such as eCommerce, security, membership portals, web services and custom back-end application development. These projects require dedicated project management working with a team of graphic designers, information architects, web designers, web developers, QA testers, copywriters and marketing experts and can take several months to complete, so you will need to factor in these additional costs. Here are just some of the benefits you will get to enjoy working with a professional, full-service web design agency in building a fully custom-designed and custom-built WordPress website:

  • Expert design
  • Experienced development
  • Quality project management
  • Dedicated customer service
  • Advanced functionality
  • Quality assurance
  • Reliable technical support

Cost: $10,000 – $100K+, depending on functional requirements.

How Much Does A Website Cost?

how much does a website cost

We end today at the beginning of this article by asking How Much Does A Website Cost? As we have seen, we must first consider several factors, including organizational goals, project requirements, the level of customization and, finally, cost. The bottom line is that when looking to hire a web designer to create your new website it’s important to determine the type of website that best fits your needs and then then establish a budget you can afford to live with.

D E E P B L U E Knows the Market

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D E E P B L U E is a San Francisco web designer that delivers measurable results. Learn more about our web design services and contact us to schedule a complimentary needs-assessment consultation.

When it comes to these hot new trends, the team here at D E E P B L U E is ready and willing to use them when designing your site. In fact, many of the new trends follow the work we have completed, making us proud web design trendsetters. If you want to get your hands of a site that is innovative and designed beautifully then give us a call, we’d love to work with you.

Frank Farris

Frank Farris is Founder and CEO of DEEPBLUE. He has been an active thought leader in the practical application of emerging web technologies and web standards since 1998.

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