The price for a new web design is linked to the amount of time needed to build your website, and the web designer's hourly rates. Let's talk briefly about the factors that determine web design pricing and how each factor can affect the amount of time a web designer spends creating your website.

Content List

This is a list of all the pages and functional features for the website. If you don't already have this list prepared, the cost to come up with it will vary depending on how much research the web designer will do. For example, will they be interviewing your target audience and analyzing your web traffic statistics? Or will it be a lot less involved than this?

Usability & Navigation

This involves organizing pages into the information architecture, creating the navigation, and setting the labels for links. It can also include formal testing, such as usability testing and A/B testing. The more time a web designer spends on these tasks, the easier your website will be to navigate, but it will also add to the cost.


Re-using a template is the most cost effective approach to design. Of course, it can be difficult to find quality template designs that accurately convey your brand. The flipside is to create a custom design, which will be more expensive. The cost for a custom design varies depending on how complex the design will be, how many pages are in the site, and the number of design concepts to choose between.

Content Writing

Will your existing content be adjusted for the new website, or will new copy need to be written? The cost to have it written for you will depend on the number of pages and the amount of research needed.

Content Management System

With a CMS you'll be able to make changes to your website's text, photos, and pages with a few clicks. The most popular CMS platforms are open source (free), with the web designer's costs coming from configuration and design customization (theming). Costs for an open source CMS vary based on the number of pages in the website, and the complexity of the design.


The website's technical components, such as ecommerce, message boards, photo galleries, and webforms. The more functionality you need, the higher the cost. Pretty much any functionality you can think of is probably already available as a free plugin or module for an open source CMS like WordPress or Drupal. They can easily be added to your website, but will need to be configured and customized.

Mobile Website

A website specifically designed for viewing on a mobile device or tablet. The cost will depend on the content and if it will use a "responsive design".

Search Engine Optimization

Getting on page 1 of Google isn't automatic when you create a website. It involves researching what keywords people are searching for on Google and optimizing the website for the targeted keywords. Factors that affect the cost of SEO are the competitiveness of the keywords, and the number of pages in the website.

Email Newsletter

Using a pre-existing MailChimp or ConstantContact design template is the most cost effective way of setting up an email newsletter. If a template isn't going to cut it, a custom design will increase the cost.

Social Media

Setting up a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google + or LinkedIn will add to the cost depending on which sites you'll be targeting and if a custom design is needed.

Training & User Guide

Training your staff on how to use the content management system and providing you with a user guide.

The cost to design your website

The web has become so commonplace that it's easy to underestimate the amount of work that goes into building a professional website. This doesn't mean your website has to be expensive. The average web design price is $5,000, depending on the mix of services mentioned above.

What's your take? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Johan Johansson is a web developer at Pixelmade, a Vancouver web design + internet marketing firm.You can find him on Twitter and Google+.