How much does a website cost in 2018?

When businesses think web design, they often only consider the appearance of the site. If the business is new, however, all of the following efforts need to be undertaken:

NOTE: We just published our website costs 2019 article.

How do web design agencies determine website cost?

The primary factor in website cost is the complexity of your website. We determine website complexity through a process called website “Definition” (some may refer to this as “Planning” or “Scope”).

It’s simple. The more complex the website is, the more time and effort is required to plan it, design it, build it, market it, and maintain it

website cost 2018 complexity chart

Some of the broad questions the digital agency will ask your business in order to determine complexity and cost are:

  1. Does this business have an existing website and brand, or is it a new business?
  2. What level of creative design is required?
  3. What level of technical complexity is required?
  4. How much effort will be required after the website launches, to maintain and market it?


Note:  Redesigning an old website is approximately 25% less expensive than creating a new one.


Not to mention the advantages you gain on the content creation and strategy side. If the business has an old, existing website, this reduces the amount of effort and complexity that yields a smoother, more cost-effective project.

So, what does the average website cost?

In our 12 years in the business, we’ve found that the average website costs are as follows:

  • Small business marketing website: $8K – $15K
  • Medium business marketing website: $18K – $30K
  • Add e-commerce, customized databases, or applications: +$5K – + $20K

Figuring out the cost may actually be the easy part; the more difficult question is “who do you trust to build your website?”. Anyone that has hired a professional service company (building contractor, car repair, plumber, lawyer) knows how hard it is to find a trustworthy professional with a strong work ethic. Finding the right online agency for your business can be equally difficult. Performing your due diligence up front will be cost-effective in the long term. 

You’ve hired a design agency. How do you make a website cost-efficient and effective?

First, estimate the level of creative design.

The cost of your website design is a bit tricky because the creative design is subjective. For example, we’ve worked with clients that have a hard time articulating their brand image. This can result in many days of additional effort before we reach an approved design. Websites that are designed by committee are also prone to additional time and effort. On the other hand, if the client knows their brand, and what they want to portray, the creative effort can be quite efficient. Additionally, creative media/content, like original video and photography, can sometimes eclipse the cost of the website.

Next, estimate the level of complex functionality. 

The cost of the technical and programming effort is usually 50% of the total website budget. The majority of small to medium-sized, marketing- focused websites, don’t require much technical complexity. Complexity, and therefore increased expense, starts when we require features like:

  • Membership
  • E-commerce
  • Custom application development
  • Integration with external services

Fortunately, many of these “complex” pieces can be found in pre-made “modules”. These prebuilt modules or SAAS (software as a service) solutions mean that some complex functionality does not need to be built from scratch. If the right module can be found and integrated into the website, the business can save tens if not hundreds of hours of web development.

Saas website cost efficiency 2018

Cost of Website Maintenance

Finally, we need to consider ongoing maintenance and marketing costs. These maintenance expenses should be factored into your online budget. There are 2 primary types:

  1. Maintenance cost to update text, photos, products, and content on your website. This type of work can be done by an outside agency, or by our client’s staff. For most websites, the core content doesn’t change that often. If the website has an active blog or ever-changing products/services, more time will be required.
  2. Maintenance cost to update, and upgrade the website framework and plugins. Most of the small-medium, business websites we maintain, average about $500 per month. This covers website code updates, backups, hosting, reporting, and additional security measures. Updates to a website with a variety of custom modules may require more time to test and manage.


website cost web redesign marketing 2018

Ongoing Marketing Maintenance Cost

We would recommend that the minimum amount a business allocate is $1,000 per month. For an average business, a website is 60% – 70% of their online footprint or presence. The other 30% to 40% is the business’s presence in:

  • Social media channels (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Linkedin, etc.)
  • Online advertising
  • Email campaigns
  • Other marketing channels (partners, directories, etc.)

If a business ignores this opportunity to broaden their brand and messaging, they are not being competitive in today’s market. For marketing, the cost depends on the level of strategy. 

Post-launch, a business faces the monthly maintenance costs as discussed above and costs for ongoing marketing efforts. The cost of consistent marketing depends on a variety of factors. How active does the business need to be in order to maintain profitability, compete, and grow? This answer is different for every business. But it is important that an ongoing marketing budget is prepared – because without proactive marketing, your website may be an island that few people visit.

Still have questions? 

To brainstorm solutions with a trusted design agency that understands how to make your business effective across the online landscape, or for a quick estimate, contact Executionists.

Richard Parr
by Richard Parr
Posted: May 30, 2018