What Does Web Design Cost?

January 11, 2009 Web Design

A common question, also known as ‘how long is a piece of string?’ Several times every week I receive enquiries from prospective customers simply asking what my prices are. No specification, feature requests or style influences from their side, just one simple question for me to go on. This article should shed some light on the factors that influence the all-important quotation.

The website requirements

What will the website do?

Is this a one-page, ‘business card’ style website, or is it a vast, multi-user, database-driven website? The former is obviously a web designer’s bread and butter and is achievable for a very modest fee; the latter falls more into the realm of development so will be subject to a four-figure fee at the very least.

As a general rule, anything that requires interaction from the user is expensive. (That includes e-commerce, scheduling and booking.) If it’s just a static website serving as an advertisement, the cost is low.

What kind of design does the website require?

All too often I’m reassured that a website ‘only needs something basic’, only to be directed to a model website constructed entirely in Flash. Some examples of websites in a similar field, plus general websites whose design and layout is considered a good model, are good barometers of what the client requires. The difference between a basic design and a complex design is can run into the hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds.

Once the website is in place, what happens next?

Nine times out of ten, the client has not considered this eventuality. Who will update the website when items need to be changed? If only text-based updates will need to be made, it is prudent to invest a little more money in a content-management system for the website. Using such a system, the client gets an online admin panel to add/edit/delete content from their website, without having to contract a web designer (at a web designer’s hourly rate!) every time. Adding a content management system to a quote is usually a surplus of a few hundred pounds, but it’s sure to pay for itself in the long run as the designer is written out of the maintenance equation.

Other factors

Domain name

Does the client have a domain name already? Is it a good domain name like www.theirbusinessname.com or is it something less palatable like www.lots-of-needless-hyphens.biz? If the latter, suggest a better alternative along with a list reliable domain registrars.

Web hosting

Is the domain name parked, or does the client have an actual hosting account? If so, will the hosting provided be sufficient for their website needs?


No two websites are the same, so I don’t employ a one-size-fits-all approach to my pricing strategy. Most clients pick me because my pricing is different – that is to say I’ve carefully considered their requirements to determine the fairest quotation.


  1. William 9 years

    My wife designs sites for a couple of clients.
    sometimes she works for several hours on one page. I think she under prices her work. She charges $100.00 USD per page.

    uiwt.net a site dedicated to our family geneology,
    took her two days to create.

    However, I think that a lot of designs are way over priced. I have seen them at over $1,000. USD. I think and I might be wrong depending on the website design and what it is intended should cost around $250 to $500.

    A store front that has a revenue should cost five percent of the quarterly earnings.

  2. Designs differ. You need to get a lof of information from the client to be able to give a quote. As for our company, we have some packages with estimated prices, but usually we deal with custom requests.

  3. Mathew Liles 9 years

    Always a question I hate answering.

    But I think the most important thing to remember when freelancing is that you will be spending your time working on someone else’s site. So you want to be paid what your efforts are worth.

    By charging too little you maybe not have the motivation to complete the project with the same level of effort as you should.

  4. Web Design UK 9 years

    The cost for web design can vary significantly. Web design companies tend to charge more than freelance web designers or independent designers. However a lot of the times, you get what you pay for. Professional web design companies may charge more but the quality of design and service will most likely be different as well.

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