How Much Does a New Website Cost in 2023?
When a company wants a new website, the first question they often ask is, "how much will it cost?"
As with most price-related questions, the answer is, “it depends.” Realistically, the cost of building a new website can range from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The cost of a new website depends on several factors, including:
- The size and complexity of the site
- Whether you hire professional help for some or all of the development
- What level of customization your site will require
To help you determine your desired cost investment, we’ve broken website budgets into four categories.
Websites That Cost Less Than $2,000
While it’s possible to spend this little on a website, most sites at this price point are built for an individual, or for a very small business that needs a static, catalog-style site with only a few pages.
For this level of website you can use a DIY website builder like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace. All are marketed as free website builders that let you create a “professional” website using a simple drag-and-drop interface, but that’s not the whole story.
The basic levels of these tools are indeed free, but support for building the site is extremely limited. Also, if you want things like your own domain name, extra storage, or more flexibility in design and functionality, these features or services usually require additional costs
The cost may seem appealing, but this price point will likely put limits on your desired web presence and marketing efforts. These restrictions often mean a shorter “shelf-life” for your website before a more sophisticated and customized website is needed.
What to consider:
- Are you comfortable creating a website on your own, including determining the design and writing all the content?
- Do you have the time to develop a website in addition to your everyday business responsibilities?
- Are you OK with design and functionality that is “close enough” to your vision for your website?
- Will you be able to maintain the site on your own with little or no help from the website platform’s support?
- Do you mind that your website won’t be totally unique, and may look like other websites that have used the same website builder?
- Are you OK with limited marketing potential in using a platform or design that may not be optimized for online exposure?
The bottom line: If you need a basic, low-cost website that looks professional, have the time to put into building the site, and don’t mind if the site uses standard templates and includes ads, a DIY website builder is a viable option.
Websites That Cost $2,000 to $8,500
If you’re looking for a higher-level website than you can get with a free website builder or you want a professional to help you with design and development, you might want to hire a freelance web designer/web developer to build your site.
When hiring a freelancer, there are many things to consider. You’ll want to ask about:
- platforms they use (custom or open-source?)
- billing structure for the project and possible overage fees
It’s also important to know exactly what you want to achieve with your website, as this will determine what skills you need to focus on when hiring professional help. Web design, web development, website content creation and copywriting, and digital marketing are all very different skillsets.
A web designer is a creative who uses design and user experience (UX) best practices to create a website design that incorporates your brand identity and website goals.
A freelancer who is primarily a web designer might be able to create a beautiful design, but only know enough coding to deliver fairly basic functionality, while a freelancer whose strength is programming will probably use design templates to build your site rather than create a design from scratch.
And chances are neither a web designer nor a web developer will be able to write or edit the content on your site or optimize site exposure for search optimization and marketing goals.
Be sure you know what your priorities are and what your freelancer is able to deliver.
What to consider:
- Are you comfortable hiring a freelancer?
- Who will own the site, including the domain, the design, and the content?
- What is the freelancer’s availability and expected timeline to complete your project based on their bandwidth for other projects?
- Will you have access to the site once launched, or will you need the freelancer for any updates and changes?
- Is any ongoing marketing support available or will you need to manage efforts on your own or find additional help?
The bottom line: If you have a budget of less than $8,500 and want a professional to build your website, a freelancer can help. Just be sure you know what you need, and make sure the freelancer you hire can deliver it.
Websites That Cost $8,500 to $20,000
If you are looking for a more robust, complex website and want access to a wider and deeper pool of web design and development talent, your best bet is to partner with a marketing agency that specializes in web design.
When you work with a web design agency, you’ll have access to experienced, professional web designers and web developers that provide guidance regarding web design strategy, best practices, and the latest web technologies.
Most agencies will have other professionals on staff as well, including digital marketing specialists, copywriters, social media experts, branding strategists and others who can provide valuable input both during the design and development process and on an ongoing basis once the project is complete.
Some agencies do outsource some of these services, so it's important to understand whether you prefer to work with an agency whose staff is in-house versus using other freelancers or white-labeled services to complete your project.
Working with an agency also gives you added assurances and accountability, since you’ll be dealing with a company that depends on referrals from satisfied customers. Agencies often have staff, systems, and policies in place to ensure the development process runs smoothly and to address your needs in a timely manner.
Many agencies work with multiple web development platforms, and can discuss the pros and cons of each, including whether to use an open-source content management system (CMS) like WordPress or one that has been created internally by the agency itself.
A website in the $8,500-$20,000 range will probably use some sort of template that is more customizable based on your company’s brand and website goals. Often website functionality is incorporated through installing standard modules or plug-ins such as a blog, news, careers, events calendar, contact forms, FAQ, photo and video galleries, etc. Support for website content can be provided in recommending a thoughtful navigation structure, review and formatting of on-page content, and copywriting support as needed.
Most importantly, working with an agency will give you a true marketing partner that does much more than build a website. A good agency will start your relationship by learning about your company and your industry, getting to know your business challenges and goals, and identifying the ways in which your website can help you achieve them. Rather than someone who carries out your orders, you’ll get an ally and advisor who can walk you through the entire process, helping and supporting you every step of the way.
What to consider:
- Do you want a website that allows you more input and flexibility on branding, design and functionality?
- Do you feel more comfortable working with a professional web design agency rather than a freelancer?
- Does the agency provide all the skills and expertise you are looking for?
- Do you want to partner with a team of web design and marketing experts that provide guidance during your web project and after launch?
The bottom line: If you want a professional website built by a team of experts, a good web design agency should be able to deliver an attractive, functional site for less than $20,000.
Websites That Cost $20,000 and Up
If you work with an agency and have a website development budget of $20,000 or more, you should be able to get a website with many customizations built to your exact specifications.
A custom-built website will include separate page layout designs for the home page and landing pages for key sections of the website. You will have more flexibility in terms of features and functionality, as well the ability to incorporate larger amounts of content (like a product catalog for ecommerce), the capacity for a more complex navigation system, and higher end visual elements like photography and animations.
The larger your budget, the more customized functionality you’ll be able to offer, including a complex ecommerce store, online form submissions, password protected areas, and complex or custom modules that interface with third-party tools.
With any agency website project, you’ll have a project manager to coordinate the efforts of the agency team and act as a liaison with your company, and you’ll have on-call access to a team of professionals dedicated to delivering a website that meets your expectations and goals.
What to consider:
- Do you have very specific ideas for how you want your website to work, which may be unique to your company or industry?
- Are there several pages on your site that will require a custom design?
- Do you have internal systems or third-party tools that your site will need to interact with, like a database, intranet, accounting program, or customer relationship management system?
- Will the site be very large, with a complex navigation?
- Will you need ongoing digital marketing or other services after the website is complete?
The bottom line: With a budget of $20,000 or more, you'll get a custom-designed website with a beautiful design and flexible functionality that serves as a powerful engine to drive your business.