Web Design Costs – Forbes Advisor

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When you’re building an online presence, web design costs can add up quickly. While you can limp with just a free social media account, you should also have a website to establish your brand.

Depending on the scope of your business (larger e-commerce sites will be more expensive) and the automation requirements needed (think online tax calculators), costs will vary widely. It’s also worth mentioning that you can either build it yourself or hire a team of professionals to help you get to search engine results pages (SERPs) out of the park.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves – first, let’s look at what you’ll need to get started.

Web Design Essentials

There are a number of basic requirements that must be met when building a website. These include registering a domain name, finding a website hosting company, finding a professional designer to build the website, or doing it yourself with a website builder. website. You may also need to obtain an SSL certificate if it’s not included with one of these services, in addition to other add-ons you may need, such as an e-commerce portal.

When creating a website, you can tinker with websites that provide free templates. That being said, there is a learning curve that can be steep. In the modern world, investing time in a skill that you won’t be able to use later can be an expensive exercise.

Domain name

Securing the right domain name is critical, especially if you’re looking for a popular .com URL or top-level domain (TLD). Registration usually involves an annual subscription with a domain registrar, ranging from $12 to $60 per year.

If you use a website building service, they sometimes include it as a free bonus for the first year. With services like WordPress, it’s an extra.


With drag-and-drop website builders, this is usually included in their annual subscription fees. But if you build the pages yourself or use WordPress, you will need to subscribe to a website hosting service provider.

Again, these subscription fees range from around $100 to $500 per year. If you have a lot of web traffic on your website, it’s best to invest in a more robust web hosting plan to make sure your site doesn’t crash. High traffic volume is considered to be over 100,000 visitors per month.

At a later stage, you could invest in your own servers and ensure that all information is kept in-house. Typically, most small businesses don’t need to go this route.

Professional website builder or designer

We have mentioned website builders and their included packages. If your budget is tight, using these packages to design a site yourself can save you a lot of money.

But to access premium features like unique themes, you will have to pay higher subscription fees. Costs vary depending on the platform you subscribe to and the plan you choose, and can range between $100 and $500 per year.

Typically, website builder site customization is limited compared to WordPress or building your site from scratch. If you want to exploit this unique design aesthetic, you’ll need a graphic designer familiar with HTML coding.

Designers can charge by the hour or at a flat rate for the assigned project. But you’ll want someone with a strong portfolio because there will be less design comebacks and you’re more likely to get what you envisioned for your website. Costs can vary widely depending on experience and project needs, but it’s not uncommon to get quotes between $30 and $100+ per hour.


Many small businesses don’t realize how important it is to register with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) service provider. SSL certification means your visitors are protected from unwanted cyberattacks. Some browsers divert users from websites without SSL certification with the message “This site may not be secure”. For most visitors, this is enough to deter them from clicking through to the site.

SSL also helps with SEO and data flow to and from the site. The fees for SSL range from free to around $249 per year. Some website builders include this certificate at no additional cost, so consider it a valuable perk if you see it offered.

Additional costs to consider

As with everything in life, there are always extras to consider before you start uploading to the back-end of your website. Here are some of the most common.

Add-ons and plugins

Whether you subscribe to a website builder site, use WordPress, or are looking to venture into e-commerce, you’ll likely need add-ons. These plugins can enable features like on-page testimonials, contact forms, and newsletter subscriptions, to name a few.

There are many free versions as well as paid plugins. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which features are worth spending. Depending on the new feature you want, it can be free or incur an annual subscription fee of over $100 per year.

Hiring a content manager

If you plan to deploy a large website, you may need to consider hiring a content manager.

This person will upload and update content on the website, and may also manage social media channels that will drive traffic to it. It can be a high monthly cost, but an outdated website can prevent potential customers from doing business with your business.


Your website should rank well on Google. Unfortunately, this does not happen by chance. It takes work.

If you plan to rank your website on the first page of the SERPs, you may need to hire a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist.

This person will help you recommend content and keywords you want to rank for and provide monthly reports on how the strategy is working. If you’re using WordPress to host your content, you’ll have a lot more flexibility, but WordPress sites generally rank higher on Google.

Another advantage of hiring an SEO specialist is that they should let you know if any of the pages on your site are experiencing issues like a 404 (“Page Not Found”) code.

Images and design

Another cost associated with creating a website is the artwork. Whether it’s your company’s branding, product photos, or lifestyle shots, these assets can add up quickly. While you can tap into royalty-free images, they won’t separate your business from the competition.

If you can, it’s always worth hiring a photographer to take images of your offerings, hiring a graphic designer, or subscribing to an extensive stock library like Shutterstock. As a general rule, make sure the professionals you hire to help you with your website know what they are doing. A simple mistake can shut down your website and, in turn, cause you to lose revenue.


Depending on the scope of the project, if you need updates and unique features, the costs of a website can vary greatly. If you’re willing to invest the time to learn new skills, it’s inexpensive and fairly easy with an all-in-one website builder. But if you want professional support or lots of extra features, the costs can add up quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between web design and development?

Web design focuses on the look and feel of the website for browsers. This means that they will need to be able to produce work that is easy to understand, eye-catching and unique. Web development involves implementing these designs on the backend of the website and managing the site structure.

If you are recruiting an experienced designer, both of these roles can potentially be filled by the same candidate.

Should my website be responsive?

Responsively designed websites are mobile friendly. This means that when you design your site on a desktop or laptop, if found by someone using a mobile device, the site will not cut elements or have broken functionality.

In a world that is increasingly using mobile devices to search the web, ensuring your site is mobile-friendly is essential.

Before any design, it is always best to review a wireframe design for your website. A wireframe gives you an idea of ​​how pages look, how much space elements take up, and how much navigation to put in place. It’s a really easy way to show what a final product will look like before you start any in-depth work.

What are carousel and hero images?

When they refer to a carousel, web designers are talking about a slideshow on your website’s landing page. Carousels help reduce on-page clutter and allow you to display multiple posts about different offers.

As for a hero image, it is a large image placed at the top of the page, which usually spans the width of the page.

UX, or user experience, is the process by which the designer focuses on providing users with the best experience. If done correctly, users will find browsing the site easy, enjoyable, and relevant to them. Ensuring that your site’s UX is top-notch will encourage users to explore more.