How much should a new website cost in 2017?

So, you’ve got an interesting idea and you want to tell the world. Fantastic!

Before you get to figuring out the next steps to building a website you have a few questions you need to ask yourself. You’re going to have to give up something in order for this idea to propagate the inter-webs. You will need either:

  • An abundance of time and
  • Technical knowledge of digital platforms and
  • Small financial investment


  • Moderate financial investment and
  • That’s it

As a business owner you have a couple routes to take to get your project on the move digitally.


  1. How much is a DIY website?
  2. So, I should hire a developer?
  3. How much will a professional website cost?
  4. Website cost breakdown

Mobile or Desktop

How much is a DIY website?

If you have lots of time available and you don’t want to spend much money you could easily grab the latest WordPress installation and get to work. It’s a big job to begin with and we haven’t even gotten into the technical aspects of coding and information architecture.

Steps to build your own website:

  1. Download WordPress
  2. Buy or rent a web server…
    1. $2000/yr for perfect hosting
    2. $150/yr for DIY hosting
  3. Learn Linux
  4. Setup the web server
    1. Maintain the server when it breaks
    2. Maintain the server when it updates wrong
  5. Setup WordPress
  6. Learn HTML, CSS and Javascript ($$$ with classes)
  7. Learn how to build a WordPress theme
  8. Design a world-class website …
    1. from scratch
    2. from a vendor (~$100)
  9. Implement the code into WordPress
  10. Learn about SEO
    1. Continue to learn SEO forever, because it changes
    2. Write posts about your website to influencers
    3. Write posts about your website to journalists
  11. Learn about marketing
  12. Find plugins that work well and don’t slow down your site ($200-500)
  13. Learn PHP
  14. Code own PHP plugins to work perfectly
    1. Maintain code forever
  15. There’s more, but you’ll figure that out later

Final cost: $650 – $2,500/yr and all of your time.

Editor’s Note

I’ve gotten a little flak for suggesting a personal website might cost $650, when everyone knows you can get hosting for dirt cheap and build everything yourself. You are more than welcome to do this, but you may find in the end that you are going to have to spend money on premium plugins for WordPress. There are some things that you just can’t do without, unless you know everything there is to know about coding.

I do not expect business people to know much coding, if any. That is why I’ve listed $650 as the base price for DIY.

So, I should hire a developer?

Most of the time we would have to say yes to this question, but only if you don’t have lots of time or don’t care to learn the technicals. Most people are busy with their lives trying to succeed and be happy. It takes a lot of time to maintain a website as you can see, especially if you want to get results. And we know you want results, because you’re reading this article.

Developers and designers are more than just a techie who is producing pretty pixels for you. We believe in a strong partnership between parties, which uses constant communication to ensure a final product is exactly what you’ve seen us create. Milestones are important to keep clients up to date, and to inform us designers when we stray.

Proper designers will inspire you and be inspired by you. The combination of different backgrounds and unique points of view enable intelligent design to flourish, meaning people want to visit your website. As a designer we appreciate when our clients are busy building revenue, because it’s a sign of a good business.

How much will a professional website cost?


This question is actually somewhat difficult to answer, and we believe this is why people have bad experiences with agencies. We work our utmost to inform you of exactly what you are purchasing. We believe in what we do, because we’ve seen first hand what landing your website on the front page of Google can do for profit and public opinion.

Let’s get down to the dirty of it.

When you purchase a website from us, or any other agency that knows its stuff, you will be purchasing history and experience and expert knowledge. Iron Opal Marketing has over 30,000 combined hours of experience with web technologies and computers divided amongst our experts. This directly relates into the success of a site and final cost of the product. With an experienced agency you will go through far fewer revisions and headaches. Your risk will be lower.

Let’s say you decide to hire a developer on the lower end of the cost spectrum to design and implement your website. It’s unfortunately common that the cost will increase, or the value of your investment drops over time. The fate of the project lies on the designer assessing your needs and goals, and if that isn’t taken seriously it may fail. They will go through revision after revision, because they don’t know exactly what you want — they are guessing each time you see a new version. This wastes a lot of time and money.

A great designer spends the time getting to know his or her client before even touching the code. There are many steps we must take to learn about what you do and who you are. Your company story, and the individual stories of your staff, are what really matter, and designers need to be able to extract the seeds of who you are. Good thing Iron Opal Marketing has a detailed system to extract those specific pain points, brand attributes and more.

Value and Pricing Puzzle Pieces

Value based pricing

Successful agencies will require a down payment for the project upon negotiation. That payment can vary between companies and projects greatly, but each agency will require a certain amount of money to cover the cost of business. Artists, coders and strategists take money to satisfy — especially if they are really good.

So then how does one come up with a proper price that honors both sides of the transaction? Value based pricing.

You’re hiring a developer to design a website, and ask her how much the cost is going to be? Don’t be surprised if she begins to ask you about your own budget and revenue sources. It’s actually important for us to know how much money your company processes in a year, because how much we charge you depends entirely on how much revenue we can generate for you.

You say you make $500 per sale on average, amounting to roughly $5,000 – $35,000 a month in gross sales. The designer will typically take that number and estimate how much his or her service will affect that profit margin. Great design practices can increase someone’s traffic by 10-30%, which directly translates into sales. What would that revenue do for you? Just keep in mind that’s after a year’s work. Progress is seen immediately once the new design is live, because people are more inclined to follow buttons and links when designed with SEO in mind.

Great design practices can increase someone's traffic by 10-30%Click To Tweet

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of designing a webpage with google in mind, so the search engines can easily sort through the site and determine the contents. Further, Google pays attention to the time a visitor stays on a page. The better your content and the easier it is to find the better your ranking in google will be. We talk more about SEO here.

Remember that great SEO practices can triple your traffic and income, and is entirely separate from a new design. SEO must be kept in mind with design, but practicing SEO requires work every week. That’s why SEO can be more expensive, and yet is necessary for explosive growth.

Remember that great SEO practices can triple your traffic and incomeClick To Tweet

Take the amount of profit your client makes from your direct work (their website, for instance) and the project cost will be a tenth of that. So…

Profit derived from new design ÷ 10 = website cost

Let’s say our example company makes $300,000 a year gross. With this formula we can assume a conversion increase of 15% or more:

15% of $300,000 = $40,000 ÷ 10 = $4,000 for the price of the website

For example, the designer says her service will increase your sales per month by 5 at first, increasing substantially over time as she includes promo videos, pushes the important information into the top of the view, and includes eye-catching calls to action which helps guide the user to begin the sales immediately. With these methods of design and coding your website will rank better, retain visitors longer, and make the stay much more enjoyable. Everyone wins.

Suddenly that $15,000 website you hesitated to fund is cranking out hundreds of thousands of dollars, or increasing your visibility substantially, or the awareness of your brand or product. Why would it cost $15,000?

Website cost breakdown

Service Typical costs Typical duration
Brand attributes, business needs and goals, user profiles, competition analysis
 $4,000 – 10,000  1-2 weeks
Stylescape, wireframe, mock-up, final product
 $2,500 – 30,000  2-3 weeks
Multiple approval days
 $5,000 – $10,000  2-4 weeks
Systems Integration:
WordPress or other CMS implementations
 $2,500 – $5,000  1-2 weeks
Quality Assurance/Testing:
Maintenance, user testing, systems testing, stress testing, error flow charts
 $500 – $5,000  No limit
  Total price:  $14,500 – $60,000

Today’s business is digital

Get on board today and start making serious profit. The more money you invest into your website the higher the chances your visitors will stick around and be happy about it. A serious web designer makes a website to make someone money, or to market a new product, or to make a client happy in some way. It’s important to us that you succeed, because it reflects back to us and who we are.

We are here to help you find solutions, and sometimes the solution is more than just a website.

5 thoughts on “How much should a new website cost in 2017?

  1. No way a website should cost that much unless its a mammoth of a project or a complex ecommerce portal.

    Dont hire a company if you want a personal or simple business website, look for a freelancer or train your personnel/yourself.

    Get Shared Hosting $150 year, a domain ~$12, small website (single page no fancy forms) should cost about $400, a medium website lets say wordpress + theme about $800 (or free if you learn a bit and dont want a whole lot of customization)

    of course there is always the option of hiring someone remotely where the exchange rate is favorable so you end up paying $50 for a simple wp site.

    If your company is large and you care about your data or sales then hire a local shop (avoid the “big shots”)

    • Thanks for replying, Chris!

      I had hoped I made it clear why it costs this much above, but let me try again.

      The reason businesses should not do their own website is because of the lack of time and knowledge. Even if you are a small business I advise you to get a professional website done, because it will add tremendous value and bring in even more customers. It could become better than local traffic.

      Building a website and handing it over to someone without doing any proper research is the same as letting your cousin do it for free. There’s no substance to the worth of a website if you don’t do competition analysis, research user profiles, extract brand definition, et all. It’s actually quite a lot of work we do as a designer, and again more work once we develop a website.

      You can certainly go the DIY route and keep your costs minimal, but you will have to do everything yourself. It’s definitely possible, but not easy and again takes a lot of time.

      Why would you hire out of country to save a few bucks? You have far fewer methods of communication, and what happens if something goes wrong? What about the time zone differences? Cultural differences? Talent is all across the world for sure, but it’s always better to keep it local. You get connections and relationships with the people around you, which in turn gets you more business. It becomes a community or a network.

  2. I love the reasoning behind the pricing equation and the chart that follows it. I always thought I undercharged for Web design at 2-5K, and it looks like I’m in the right ballpark and can increase prices accordingly!

    It’s true, a well crafted website can be the defining moment of a businesses explosion in profits! My last client has already made back over half the price of his website project back in sales strictly from the site itself! It’s WELL worth the investment!

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