Website pricing: how much does a website cost?

Categories Articles, Web Design

I’ve been asked this question too many times…

What Does a Website Cost?

As either a potential designer, developer, freelancer, or the owner of a website design business it’s important that you know how to answer this question and understand what your competitor is charging as well as how you can create value.

And, on the flip-side, if you’re a business owner looking for information on the cost of developing your own site (either using a service like an ecommerce platform to build your online shop, or hiring a developer) you need to understand the many levels of answers that can come from such a broad question.

In both cases – it’s important to remember that although a website is a “digitized” item, a website is still a product, but it’s also a service.

Except there are two problems – they’re nothing like conventional products, and “service” is a four letter word in this industry.

Years ago, I even took the time to create a whole write up on the topic over on my main site entitled “What Does a Website Cost?” and to this day – even after years of being up (and years of edits) it’s still one of the most popular pages and definitely the most commented. This is a question that we field all day, every day.

There’s a whole relationship (between you and your client, or you and the company you hire to do your website) that crops up through the process of web development, and this relationship, as well as the ongoing support that continues AFTER the site has launched is what separates this “product” from others.

If I had to make a comparison, I’d say pricing (and building) a website is a lot like pricing (and building) a new home. 

Whether you buy a home from a new development, or have one custom built. The process is very much like (and sometimes as complicated and as costly) as building a home.

Website Pricing

pricing (and building) a website is a lot like pricing (and building) a new home. 

The reason it’s so hard to simply give one a price for a website is there are so many damn factors involved – even outside of the technology (which matters A LOT!).

Here’s a short list:

  1. Client Server/Hosting Requirements – Who is hosting? Email? Who is setting that up? What if something happens to email? What kind of server will it be hosted on? Does the client have access? Do YOU have access? Hosting problems alone take 2 – 10 hours initially to address on EVERY project – and problem account for about 10 – 20 hours of support during any given year for a client.
  2. Scope – What does the client want? What does the client NEED? Two very different things.
  3. Who is the Client – I’m going to quick address business owners here – who are you? Are you picky? Are you easy to deal with? A good web development company will do one of two things – either read you well, or structure their contract for it not to matter (ie hourly). However, in either case the easier you make it to work with you, the less expensive a site will tend to be.
  4. Client’s Technical Knowledge – More highly technical clients don’t have to learn how to maximize their web browsers or, and this one still gets me!, understand why there are “bars” on the side of their website (the background of a site in a fixed width design is called “bars” here). The more hand holding a client needs (or the less IT staff they have) the more time it will take to complete the project and have them satisfied.

These are just a few items that impact the overall cost, and they don’t even begin to touch upon budget, or design/back forth.

But, as they hinted at – websites, be it coding, or communicating, take time.

Time is precious; time is valuable. As a freelancer you must value your time. As a business owner you have to understand the time it takes you to “figure out how to build” a website, takes away from other items that lead to making money and a living.

“Do you want to specialize in HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc. or do you want to be running, growing, and profiting at your business?”

(That was a good line dev in case anyone ever asks you why you cost so damn much!)

Which btw – I have a quick side story. A friend of mine, a highly technical friend mind you, studied and literally took 6 weeks straight to build his companies website (he was managing the company at the time and has since graduated to president). At the time he was paid $25/hour. Much less than your average web developer. However, factor in ALL of his time and he spent nearly $6000 of his company’s time. All for a static site that wasn’t even search engine optimized and frankly looked pretty bad! (Okay… I did help out a bit).

Point is, it almost never pays to have some “figure out” how to build a website within a company. It doesn’t make time, or financial sense. – Now learning how to edit/update a CMS on the other hand – does – and we’ll get back to this in a moment.

And then there’s everything that comes AFTER a website is launched (and the things you or your team should be looking at during development…) THE MARKETING!

You also need to evaluate the best ways to market your clients’ website, once you’ve launched. If you design a website that doesn’t get found, then your client will not appreciate the fact that you charged him or her ANYTHING to build their site. Knowing how to market for your client takes experience.

Real World Website Pricing Breakdown

First, there are services (and for the majority of this article I’ll ignore these). There are a ton of services out there that can get you up and running quickly, easily, and in some cases freely. I’m a huge fan of “” for anyone looking to simply build a blog and get their voice on the web. Although Tumblr does have such nice templates, many of them you have to pay for, and I find the traffic from much better. In future posts we may highlight many of the free and inexpensive web services available. For people who know a bit of coding, might be a great option to create a super simple and effective site like for example. You can follow a tutorial such as this one and probably get set up with less than a hundred bucks and a couple of hours. But for serious websites, read the rest of this post.

Okay, here we are.

Basic Website – $1000 – $2000

After spending a significant amount of time (over a decade in this industry), we’ve determined that the market average for a baseline website is $1000 – $2,000. I’ve seen much, much higher. And, I don’t recommend going with anyone who charges less because the quality of the work will negatively (and directly) correlate to the price decrease.

With a basic website, you’ll have a simple online brochure made out of a boilerplate template (or format) where your customers and clients can review your products and services. The basic website may be your best salesperson, working 24 hours a day by just showing up. It’s your marketing tool to get your message out to the world. It provides a digital launch pad, where you can showcase your products or services. Most web developers will install Google Analytics too.

Custom Website – $2500-$7500

If you can think it, it can be designed in this price range. They may not be as fully functional, but they will be beautiful. At this spending level, you will find a website that is custom-tailored to meet your specific market needs.

At this price point, you can expect the beginning of the “wow-factor” from your web design team. You will not typically find features of audience interactivity, ecommerce, or content management.

Going back to the Basic Website, the website pricing is calculated at the same rate. These websites take much more time to build since they will include custom CSS and XHTML coding so that the website will show up the same on virtually every interface. Again these websites will be optimized for Google, Yahoo, and Bing so that they will rank better in organic keyword searches.

Content Management System (CMS) – $3000- $8,500

A website designed and built with full CMS integration will typically run from $3,000 to $8,500 with an average of $5,750, depending on your specific needs and the extent of the customization requested. These websites will be designed with both functionality and appearance in mind. Custom art design and mid-level functionality will be included. You will be able to manage and update all of your content through the installed CMS interface. You can have an infinite number of pages (depending on the amount you want to spend for the time it takes to create them). With CMS you can manipulate, upload and change the pictures, content, and blog all day long. (You’ll soon discover, if you don’t already know, that updating your website can quickly become consuming).  

This is our most popular product package at Atilus

By enabling a CMS interface, these websites are designed to be user-friendly (as user-friendly as possible for a non-tech inspired individual). You won’t be billed for the time that it takes to make the minor changes and small adjustments that may become costly.

These sites will be laced with the ability to get “social”. You will be able to build a reputation through your BLOG. Depending upon the specifics of the agreement, you should be able to expect some keyword research to help you get started.

Aside from Flash Art creation, these sites will remain in the ballpark I’ve outlined above. And, as always, you can expect SEO and Analytics Tracking for these types of web properties.

The Grand Slam Package– $15,000- $100,000+

Highly complex websites can be very expensive to create. Social Networking, Advanced Blogging, and Web Application Development will raise the price tag. There are a limited number of companies that can perform well in this arena, and most of them will charge you a consulting fee (the initial consultation with Atilus is free).

These websites aren’t some of the really good sites we’ve visited.  Falling in this price range are sites like,, and These sites will have been coded from scratch, along with the applicable application programming. Websites in this price range require an extreme investment in time to research, develop and implement the software necessary to integrate the entire website in one seamless design.

It’s more expensive to build a website when you consider the actual cost in terms of hours. There is a distinct difference between amateur websites and the work of a professional development team. While it may cost more money to build the website in the first place, by hiring a professional you will realize a return on your investment (assuming that whatever you’re selling isn’t garbage).

Zach Katkin – Entrepreneur, Web Developer, Designer and Writer – is the co-founder of Florida Web Design Company Atilus. In business for nearly a decade, Atilus has more than 600 clients worldwide.

  • Interesting piece, and worthwhile to try and break down what the different options are. I’m not sure it’s a question that can truly be answered, but this is a reasonable breakdown.

    I’m slightly surprised that you separated out “CMS” as an option. At least for me, I can’t really see any major justification for not implementing a website on a CMS framework. Whether it’s a very basic site or a more complex custom design (the first two options you identify), implementing them on a CMS platform seems like a logical step that any web designer should be taking in order to provide the best service for the client.

    • Zach Katkin

      Thanks Robin, I agree about using a CMS – long term it absolutely makes sense, although we’ve found the amount of additional time spent getting things in WordPress (or something similar – although we do LOVE wordpress) can be costly, and many small businesses aren’t up for paying that additional fee. Sadly I still feel too many small businesses view their website as a necessity – a business card – and not a real lead/business generator.

    • Tom

      That’s dependent on if the client actually wants anything to do with the maintenance and upkeep of the website content. As a developer, if a client will be doing anything on the website itself, a CMS is automatic. If, however they do not, it’s far far easier for me as the developer (and cheaper for the client) to make updates without a CMS.

      • I don’t get this – I find it so much easier as a developer to make changes through the CMS rather than editing the code. Compare on the one hand even uploading an image via FTP and then editing the (ever-growing) html template for that page by including a reference to that image vs logging into the backend, going to the relevant page and uploading the image directly into the relevant field (and, for those who use WordPress, I don’t mean the content editor – rather using something like the advanced custom fields plugin with it’s awesome repeater fields). Even with the added time to make the templates dynamic, I find I’ve made my time back even after a few substantial updates for the client.

        • Zach Katkin

          Hi Dean, Thanks for stopping by. I agree completely here – and it sounds like you’re a great dev – balancing the current and future needs of your client. And that is where this article comes from – the need to provide our clients that balance, but at the same time earn an honest wage that will ensure your company’s longevity. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times we’ve been up against less expensive companies or individuals, but its only those that charge prices in line with what I’ve written and (at least this is my opinion) rates that my company does – that stick around. Literally hundreds of companies have come and gone in the web field in my sleeply little area (and I’m sure this is worse in larger cities/town) – leaving clients with a site they can’t access, get to, modify, and no support/people to help.

    • This. A simple business card site is still easier to do in WordPress.

    • Completed agreed, but sadly many business owners won’t spend the money to get a website done the right way, and many ask for one-page or static website solutions. I always let them know that this in the long term will cost more if their demands start coming in, which they will. Having said this, I’d much rather people picked a template CMS, than having me create a static website.

  • I agree Tom, although – in some cases it’s beneficial to the dev EVEN if the client doesn’t pay for it – to put it in a CMS anyway – say for example clients that need to make a lot of updates but are unwilling to spring for the dev of a CMS – just to save yourself time it helps to have this kind of situation. Thanks for stopping by!


  • Chris finiksopoulos

    I Live in greece, this article made me laugh since most companies wont pay even $500 for a well designed CMS website…i live in hell,but its cool we have beaches.

    • You can’t possibly design and code a website for a month and a half for 500EUR, even in Greece. If that’s the case use templates.

      Templates aren’t that cheap, if you take into consideration SSL, Cloud hosting, Support, domain and hosting, you can just about scrape in at 500 euro’s.

  • If a WordPress site costs $3000, it has to be professionally designed and fully customized to the business branding, properly optimized for search, loaded with plugins and training has to be provided for at least one user. A template site with a logo at the top will not cut it at this price, and often, calling WordPress a CMS will raise objection, when specialized CMS for specific types of business are far superior for their specific purposes. (i.e car rental company CMS, property rental CMS, auction CMS, etc,,,)
    Small business clients need WordPress, they just dont know it, and you will rarely convince the Cafe owner or the flower shop to pay $3000 for it. I say start at $2200 for all of the above and do it quickly, take no bs from the client over design issues and be firm about application functionality. They need to be educated in WHY theyre spending the money before they’ll spend it.

    • jake

      its a content management system, of course wordpress would qualify. stfu.

    • “take no bs from the client” Ummm… that kins of thinking is flawed in its base ideology. YOU are being hired. You need to provide the service they’re paying for, not tell them to shut up and give me your money. That’s not business, it’s robbery. Instead I suggest explaining to the client the costs and benefits of what they’re asking for.

    • Coco

      9 lines of text and so much wrong concepts… :(

  • While I fully agree with all the above, I find it a bit strange to dispute WP being a CMS or not.. It has been awarded several times to be the best CMS of the year and personally, I just love WordPress! There is literally nothing that can’t be done in WordPress. Name it; you got it!

    • Mike

      I like word press for basic blog sites or landing pages but I would not recommend it for larger scaled sites with higher volume nor for e-commerce. Drupal or Joomla would be my CMS recommendation.

      • Franco

        WordPress most definitely has e-commerce capabilities, there have been entire plugins dedicated to that.

      • Coco from CNN and Reuters to EBay and BestBuy. Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend WP for any larger scaled site

  • Leuch

    Although I consider myself to be a “Wana be” web master, I don’t agree with completely selling CMS to customer. I have a friend ( web master ) who swears by it. He even sold me a template. I spent 2 1/2 months trying to make it look the way I wanted, and when I finely got fed up with it, I opened DW and have my site completely done in 1 week !

    I’m sorry but as far as I’m concerned CMS is NOT the way to go.

  • Fameplanb

    I don’t have a lot of coding experience (at all) but people ask me to design their websites so I always suggest the retail price (lol) of $300 the wordpress, godaddy, themeforest, and bluehost combo then $50per hr for all labor fee’s and $35 per design I have to build/make I include all googles friends in the site for tracking and searching and give a walk through to the client and make changes as they need (still on clock) i average $1200 per site but lack the skill to advance my asking price. Clients small business, music artist and media company’s…. Hope that helps

  • FOR $15000 to $100000? U gotta be pulling your own chain. you can learn html for free and host your site on for free. you can learn everything you need to know to operate a website at a community college. man, if you’re that lacking in code knowledge, you should getta job at mc donalds or join a blues band, get outta the business world, move over an’ let the big dogs eat. that’s the problem with corporate thinking, dump a ton of money into making my old business model work instead of figuring out the tools you have to work with as they change. a web site doesnt cost anything, it’s a bunch of zeros and one collected up on the intenet. it’s the tranfer of information not exchange of money and things. \m/

    • small dogs bark the loudest…

      Twang, application development is beyond HTML, and certainly is not in the realm of a business owner.

      Zach, thanks for the article. It is a great guideline for developers and business owners alike. Often developers under-estimate the knowledge and experience they bring to the table, and short-change themselves on their own rates.

    • wizardmaster

      Yeah, you can learn html for free, even php, mysql, jquery, css, etc. but you need a lot of time to learn, to practice and to work so you can reach a low level of skills, you can’t compare a self learning web programmer to a professional one, unless that self learning programmer gain a lot of practice, making himslef a professinal one… therefore charging more for his valuable and efficient work.

      • Brian

        I agree practice is what makes a web developer good not just knowing all the php functions, html tags, etc.

    • It’s not about the cost, it’s about opportunity cost. A CEO will make much more money in the time it takes to learn all this stuff than he will spend paying someone else to do it.

    • Big Dog Eats

      “man, if you’re that lacking in code knowledge, you should getta job at mc donalds or join a blues band, get outta the business world, move over an’ let the big dogs eat”
      – twang-o-matic

      “a web site doesnt cost anything, it’s a bunch of zeros and one collected up on the intenet”
      – twang-o-matic

      This stuff is completely genius. Comedic gold!

      If I can pool $300 together will you have a recoded half-hour conference call with my office about the above mentioned topics?

    • Coco

      I didn’t laugh this hard in years, thank you!

    • TS

      Really every program ever made is a bunch of zeroes and ones. Actually, the more I read this, the more inane it sounds. Nevermind – this has to be a troll.

  • great article its been saved so I can show these tight ass businesses I quote to!

  • jay

    Great Article! Thank you Zach. I found it helpful to give a price tag to my services.

  • I really enjoyed reading this article and the different views everyone had.

  • Hi Zach,

    I wish I read this just 3 months ago before I signed on to use a template and modify it to my needs. I think it will be fine when it is finally finished and maybe taking 3 months is not as long as I feel it is. I am 50 plus and this will be my first website. I have a small solo business and had no clue as to what was involved. I just wish somebody had told me up front that I need a CMS based website (even if it had cost me a bit more which it now will), instead of just HTML-5 and photoshop.

    Apparently I will need (to purchase) dreamweaver and photoshop to edit the site and a lot more time and knowledge then I have. However, I do want to be able to make small wording edits and change photos occasionally – I will have about 170 photos. So I have decided to have it converted to WordPress CMS before I put it on a hosting site. I think the conversion cost will be worth it.

    Thank you again for taking the time to explain what all good website designers should state up front. Still learning!

    • Steve, thanks for your kind comment. I couldn’t agree more. I had a friend opt to do his own website and have a breakdown of what it approximately cost (opportunity costs included) here: If you’re considering buying dreamweaver/photoshop/etc. I would recommend exploring either some paid options (online services like Square) or finding a local developer. Those tools are expensive and it took (me) years to master photoshop.

  • I’m do a Content Management System Pro Website with good design only $350 – $450 :D

    • Oh your price seems very high to me. I can do website for half of your price buddy

      • Zach Katkin

        Thanks Peter. The funny thing is – I KNOW! I say that emphatically, passionately – and not in any anger :) I could do any site for free, or next to nothing. I could personally (and have) done sites for a few hundred dollars – and made a descent personal wage. But, there are so many problems with this model – and although I’ve left out many of the business, emotional, and longevity reasons in the article, I’ve been making sure to answer these kinds of comments directly through comments.

        • Črni Žec

          Yes, and we eat air. This is such amazing proffession. :D

  • Ian

    I think one lower category should be added for CMS with a template. The basic setup for wordpress installing a template (meaning pre-built theme?) takes 5 to 10 minutes (definitely not worth $3000). So I’m guessing that price includes time spent creating a theme, adding content, creating pages, page templates, SEO, analytics setup, etc.

    Also for the base web site would this include a general set of pages (home, about, contact, services/products)?

    It is really good to see someone make a good effort at breaking it down. I really appreciate the article and have a lot to think about. It will be very helpful in deciding my pricing.


    • Črni Žec

      5 pages should be automaticly inluded in your pricing, every addtional one you charge 20$ per page. you also offer in your basic pricing 3 layouts. every additional layout costs 60$ more (minimum – depending on complexity). This is the standard. Also you charge for forms, contact forms and feeds should be automaticaly charged in your pricing, every additional form that client wants costs 150$ more. Pricing is very static in webdesign because in comparison to art, design has standards that follows. Some sites needs two or more database which you also need to charge, but one database set you should be included in pricing also. and so on and on….

      • TS

        For sites that require only the typical basics of function, you may be correct to price them in this way – and many company’s/individuals will only need a typical layout with typical features. But there are many many clients who need out of the box solutions and eye catching graphic design – that isn’t as quantifiable. In my opinion, regardless, the prices you are stating are too low.

  • Zach Katkin

    Hi Ian, Thank you for stopping by and reading. For the CMS – the base I suggested is $3000 – this would be for a template.

    Being in this industry we know it takes 5 minutes to setup wordpress/install a template – but there’s a number of caveats here. First – who are you installing this for? If it was a client – typically it takes a number of marketing initiatives and then sales meetings to gain this persons trust and earn their business. Then – once you “get started” the question of – where is is this all taking place? On our servers, on someone else’s servers, etc? Usually this is pretty fast, but it never takes less than an hour of back/forth to talk about hosting, determine where this stuff will be situated and properly educate and communicate to a client.

    At that point an array of questions and logins and settings that have to be researched, received from the client (who often doesn’t know what they’re providing or even looking for).

    This is not to mention helping someone select a template, and then actually configuring it. As I’m sure you’re aware there are a ton of great templates out their, but all of them look horrible with out a ton of great content and full configuration.

    I guess one of the largest costs on more basic priced sites ($2000 – $5000) is typically the “getting to know one another parts.” At our company we invest an average of 10 hours/client before they even become a client or do any work with us. Then there’s a lot of handholding throughout these projects. I’m not saying this is a bad thing – on the contrary, I think this is a need many businesses have (should have – as they’re outsourcing that expertise to you) and it’s a need that’s going underserved because too many (particularly new developers) price themselves so low they can’t provide a great service/experience.

    Thanks again for stopping by, just a few things to consider regarding pricing.

  • What you seem to have missed is the ongoing cost of having the website. This would include hosting, security management (security updates and backups) as a couple of obvious ones and there are also two biggies – content creation and technical updates/maintenance. Those last two can easily outweigh the original cost of the build. For content creation this can be calculated for tech maintenance I would suggest that you factor in an increasing cost as time goes on. I am currently working for an organisation that maintains a site for a very large corporate. It is 10 years old and the maintenance just to keep it going is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. This is an extreme example but consider that WordPress just updated the jQuery versions bundled with the distribution and this has caused site I know to have catastrophic failure it is apparent that you don’t need to go long for a big headache to arrive. I would suggest (after 18 years of doing this stuff) that you add 20% maintenance of total build costs for year 2 and 3 adding an extra 20% per year thereafter so that at year 8 you get to the full site cost. Whist this may seem extreme you have to consider that at this point almost all the tech that it is built on will have been superseded, it may not work on a modern server, you will have trouble getting staff to work on it etc.. etc..

  • “If I had to make a comparison, I’d say pricing (and building) a website is a lot like pricing (and building) a new home. ”

    Great article, I just wanted to highlight that quote because it’s a really solid analogy.

    Most people use analogies based around other trades such as “how much does your electrician charge for X”, the issue with that is most electricians, plumbers, mechanics and so on, do a small piece of work for a day or less. The difference in time frames is too distorted to compare web design with another trade.

    So I’m going off on a tangent a bit, but your analogy was great and we’ll be using it – thanks!

  • Hollow Ween

    Your costings are ridiculous. Way too high. I guess there are always going to be deluded people who want to rip others off.

    • Big Daddy

      Your English is ridiculous! Price is in the eye of the beholder. Selling any service based on price alone is a great way to destroy value. And value is, and always will be, the ultimate selling point. A client concerned only with cost will be one that will bleed you dry emotionally and time wise.

      The reason I refuse to outsource is value. Every outsourcing business that contacts me always tries to sell me on price – on how cheap they are. They’ll never get my business because I see far more value for me and for my customer in having my own team communicating directly with them and taking the time to build the site properly.

      It should also be noted that the basic SEO standards are included in Zach’s web design services, something that is critical, and something that I do as well. Most developers add more for this.

      At the end of the day, the ripoffs that need to be avoided are the low priced developers who have no business sense and think that price is the end-all, be-all. It isn’t… and it’s the customer who decides whether the service offers enough value to justify the price, not the opinion of others.

      • Črni Žec

        “At the end of the day, the ripoffs that need to be avoided are the low
        priced developers who have no business sense and think that price is the
        end-all, be-all…” Maybe you haven’t go on college… but I do not want to be hursh, but there is a saying among professional designers:” Say whatever you need to say to sell yourself, at the end of the day you will lough your ass off what people are ready to blow!”

        I do not know why you pulled out that speech, but here are mostly designers and not clients so it comes funny to read stuff that you sell to others. Everything is about pricing, every your work you do is coming down on price, EVERYTHING. You wanna tell here that you do the same amount of creativity for 1000$ and 4000$?! Pls, don’t… just don’t. Price is the begining, price is the end. Every part of your work is charged and labeled with price, even your idea, creativity level, everything comes down on price.

        Designers that charge less, did you ever think why is that?! For example you think that chinease and indian designers works under price, right?! But you don’t know the level of inflation in their country and that 400 dollars is in their country like 1000$ in ours. That’s the basic of economy if you want to do business you need to know the basics. And they will not make you a bad website, that’s why doing business online is harder for designers that lives in countries with lower inflation, because at the end of a day, it’s cheaper to take indian designer that will do the same work for 60% lower price then US designer that will ask 1000$. Learn the basics, learn the economy, learn the business. ;)

    • These prices are not ridiculously high actually. They are above average prices. One rule that I always take into consideration is “You get what you pay for”.

  • Dev

    People have come to me with websites offering low prices like less than $50 to make major changes. I always say I’ll take a look at the code just for fun and I’ll find multiple backdoors, installed shells, malware, plain text passwords, people’s credit card information flying around, successful SQL injection dumps of databases, and anything else you would hope was not in the code that was hidden behind a website that you had used. You’d be surprised how people treat your information. I am very wary about the information I give in registrations or with giving credit cards to small business websites. I never reuse a password because nobody hashes, let alone salts them, and most small businesses with websites have never even heard of PCI compliance.

    Bottom line is DIY people are the reason that identity theft, credit card fraud, and internet security are so bad today.

  • Črni Žec

    It’s too much m8. First you were avoiding to mention in your article about simple cms cores that are focused on small and medium companies – like wix, weebly and so on, which offer free hosting with integrated cms platform for basic use. The cost of THEME (it’s not a website) is around 550$ to 1500$ – depending on complexity. Today noone serius would design static website without cms, it’s history, and it’s not practical anymore because noone want’s to pay 200$ per month to administrator to meintain their website. If you work for cms like WordPress then nothing under 2000$ is taken, because you have scirpt, html, css, php… to deal with, alot more then when you do work for simple cms. For ecommerce, if it goes on simple core like weebly then the price is around 800-1000$, if it goes on WordPress core, then price is 2800$ minimum. For portals, nothing under 4000$. All other pricing you mentioned works like this:

    You have one product that costs 1400$. To medium business company you charge the same product 1400$, but if some big company wants the same product you charge them 14 000$. Why? There is no any legal way or mathematical where the same product for 2 different companies can have 2 prices. But, it’s a high earning money company right? And then you think, why not to ripp them off?! It’s the common way in design, and because of such designers clients easely gets lost because they think that same product that for someone costs 1400$ and for others 14 000$ are actually two products that are not the same, but they are. And if you charge 1 000$ per paragraph, then you have some big problems with doing business in correct way, and keeping clients returning to you. I work sometimes under price when I need to let people know about my services, and I do not create bad or trashy products, I never was and I never will. And about pricing, pricing in web development is very static, when you tell someone it is complex, and you start avoiding direct answer people should already know that you will try to drain the money from them for no reasons at all. This is just my opinion as professional graphic designer (print/web).

    • eman

      If the client gave you a site as psd files and asked you to convert it to html pages how to charge for that ?

      • hitz


  • Coco

    Some valid points. I agree the figures are a bit high by nowadays figures, there’s a lot of high end dev and designers working for lower than usual rates and taking LOTS of clients. But well, it all depends on many aspects

    Personally, I prefer to offer very good service at an affordable price and have a constant flow of clients (btw, our company has start up clients paying as low as $500 as well as Hollywood actors, sports personalities and many governments, so guess we’re doing something right). Note that I’m not posting my name, company name, real mail or anything, so nobody can accuse me of tooting my own horn, I just want to give what I consider a more realistic point of view

    Bottom line is: I’d LOOOOOOVE these figures to be standard, but I’ve the feeling 90%+ of designers and developers are out of these parameters.

  • Gareth

    Some of the comments here made me lol. People are saying the prices in
    this article are too expensive and talking about building websites for
    $500. I wonder how many of these $500 people know HTML, CSS and PHP
    inside out and can build a website from scratch (yes from scratch, not
    using some free off-the-shelf boiler-plate WordPress theme where you
    switch the colours around and leave 25 bloated JavaScript files linked
    in the template footer).

    WordPress is a CMS, and a good one at
    that – it allows the client to edit their content. If you think it’s a
    tool for building websites then, seriously, you’re in the wrong line of

    If you want to use a pre-made WordPress theme then fine.
    Perhaps your client would also like to use a pre-made logo, some stock
    photos and some copy written by his nephew “because he got an A in
    English”. At this rate his new $500 site will be ready tomorrow.

    saying that you should charge “per page” or “per database” need to get
    with the program too. It makes no difference to me whether a client
    wants 5 pages or 15 pages. The overhead is in finding out the client’s
    requirements and producing a design that fits with their brand and will
    attract the right kind of business that they need.

    If you spend a
    week doing your job properly you’re going to want to charge a hell of a
    lot more than $500. If your client wants to call you during the day
    and expects you to answer, rather than getting your voicemail because
    you’re busy doing your milk round or day job, you’re going to need to
    charge more than $500.

    If you want to adapt a WordPress theme and
    knock something together in the space of a day or two then fair enough,
    but don’t be surprised when the client never comes back in the future
    because their site doesn’t make them any money.

  • Jazzie

    Where does the HTML5 scrolling site fit into this price range?

    • Hi Jazzie, can you give me some more details? Maybe some examples as well? It depends a lot. Maybe if it’s something simple you can get away with a template + tweaks.

  • Fuego Beats

    Great article and right on time. Sometimes clients are clueless about prices

  • SG

    Great article, great discussion…what seems to be missing is what people can afford. I have a lot of startup clients who USUALLY don’t have $1000 available, and that’s not even CMS? This day and age it’s basically non-functional w/t CMS, IMO. WordPress may not be elegant, coding wise, or recommended for security reasons or perhaps even for SEO reasons, but at the end of the day it’s what some people can afford. I’m a designer, not a coder. I WANT to find someone who CAN provide the coding part, but honestly, your comment about lack of service is bang on! I’m all about service – I provide it, and expect it. Communication would be nice! But every programmer I’ve come across so far (I’ve been in the industry for 20 years) has been great at promising, but terrible at delivering. So I’m looking at WordPress, I’m afraid.

    • Bianca Morton

      If you want someone to do the coding… i want someone who will do the design… wanna team up? XD

  • rishi

    well written article. i work with a team that developes really nice websites at a great price. if you’re interested in having a site made, feel free to email me at

  • Dan Ihesiulor

    The pricing isn’t outrageous, I always tell my Clients, it all depends on what you want, if u want a website 4 $100 I’ll give it to u, if you want one for $6k ama give it to you too. You only get what you paid for.

  • Yes, I think a professional web site does cost more than 1000$. I spend nothing, but much hours programming my site by myself using YAML. If I would then calculate a price it would be higher than 1000$. I made my side from scratch after throwing away all the content management systems or other stuff that require scripting at the server – for a simple reason – security on the server. And that was only one point.

    BTW. My site is not perfect, but fast.

    For review, you will find me on twitter.


  • Richard Wong

    Guys, I am new here, recently my firend ask my help to develop a webpage for normal login and register only, I don’t know how much should I charge him, as the hosting I’ll let other web hosting server to host my website. As register and login involves database, I don’t know how to charge, for database, is it charged based on number of tables or the whole database?

  • TinyTim

    You don’t mention the average cost of setting up a Facebook page?

  • Out of curiosity i would just love to see some URL’s of the $15,000- $100,000+ bracket websites .