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Web Site Design Buyer's Guide - Pricing

Web Site Design Buyer's Guide - Pricing

Published: 04/19/2011

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Prices For Professional Web Site Design

The cost of professional web site design can range from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars. Here, as in many other business purchasing decisions, you can expect to get what you pay for. If your web site is going to fulfill essential business processes – allowing customers to place orders or manage accounts – and you base your purchase decision solely on price, you may be setting yourself up for problems down the road.



One key point to be aware of as you compare prices: your project may include both one-time costs for development as well as recurring monthly costs for hosting, updates, and other ongoing work. Bids from different companies may not address these two areas in the same manner, so make sure you clarify the exact breakdown of your costs before making a decision.





Web site pricing from basic to complex


At the low end of the scale are web site “packages.” If you choose a web site development firm that offers a 4 to 6 page web site for $400, you’ll probably get a template-based web site with very little customization and no extra functionality. If your site just needs to inform people of your hours and location, then that’s probably enough.



The same basic type of site package with a customized design will usually come to around $800 to $1500. In most cases, the packages are just a starting point: good web design firms will provide a detailed proposal that itemizes various costs like additional pages or extra image work.



Higher-end web site projects are usually priced on an hourly basis, because the amount of work it will take to complete them is harder to judge. This can range from $40/hour for basic HTML production to $140/hour for high-end development work. It’s a huge range, but the fees are reflective of vendors’ expertise and specialties. However, a medium-sized web site with a completely customized design, content management tool, and robust features and interactivity can easily cost $5,000 to $10,000, and up to $50,000 for large or very complex applications.





Additional web development costs


E-commerce is usually priced separately. Initial development costs for an e-commerce enabled web site start at around $1000 for the bare minimum. You can also expect to pay an ongoing monthly fee of $15 to $50 for a typical online store, depending on how many products you have and how many options are involved in the ordering process.



Hosting is another separate cost, but a fairly small one. Basic site hosting – shared services, where your site is run on the same computer with many others – can be as low as $10/month, although $15 to $25 monthly hosting fees are more common. Dedicated hosting, in which a specific computer is only used to run your site, is more like $150/month. These costs are directly related to the size and visitor activity on your site, so online popularity can increase your monthly bills.



There are other occasional expenses you should expect. If you don’t own your domain name – the “” – it might cost you $20 or $40. To conduct e-commerce on your site you’ll need a $125-per- year SSL certificate, which guarantees the security of credit card numbers and other sensitive information. Flash animation may cost $30 to $75 per hour.



None of these charges should come as a surprise - make sure they're spelled out in your contract. Professional web site design can vary quite a bit in cost - so make sure you know what you're getting.