Hiring a web designer is a big task. First, you need to like the person’s style. If you don’t, then you’re not going to like what you get.

Second, you need to have a good relationship with your web designer. You’re going to be working with them to create a major business asset, so the ability to communicate and understand each other is key.

Finally, you have to understand the value of your business. So often people underestimate their website’s value until they are knee-deep in a decision that they can’t change.

Designing websites is both an art and a science. Because we use websites every day, we often think we know a thing or two about what looks good and what doesn’t.

But the reality is, I eat nice meals at restaurants from time to time, but there are recipes that are outside of my comfort zone.

Hiring a web designer means that you’re hiring someone to enhance your vision and communicate what your business does to your ideal clients. The best ones use creativity and good visuals as well as science and psychology.

Now that you know you’re hiring a web designer, the next question comes up. What should it cost me?

There’s a lot of ingredients

When it comes to pricing a website it would be amazing if there were a simple and easy answer. However, each company has its own set of needs so instead, we need to talk in terms of ranges.

As someone who designs websites for a living, I've seen a lot of different pricing models. No matter what, however, it breaks down into several core principles.

Basic Options


Often people start with a number of pages. All websites need a home page (and your blogroll does not count as your homepage), and most likely will have an about me page. 

For service-based businesses, they’ll need a services page while eCommerce sites need a Shop. 

Most have some form of a contact me page as well and potentially either of the blogroll or podcast.

The issue with this, of course, is that not all pages are created equal. 

For example, here on my website, I have a calendar booking page. This page is fairly simple. There's also a thank you page for when after people book.

These two pages took me next to no time compared to my homepage. That being said, not factoring them into the time estimate on my part would be a mistake.

An eCommerce shop is going to need a checkout page. There’s also the cart and the individual product pages. If you have categories that you want to be customized, those are more pages.

So when it comes to pages, some pages need to be weighted differently. Things like a homepage and about me page are always going to be more complicated than booking pages.

For something like blogging, a company may want something simple or they may wish to have something a bit more custom. A more custom look takes more time. All of these things have to be factored in.

As a customer, you want to make sure that the web designer you're speaking with understands what your expectations are in terms of pages as well as the level of complexity. 

You won't always know exactly what you need, which is why it's always important to talk about the problems that you're looking for solutions for. 

A good web designer will know what you need based on your discussion.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 per web page to $1000 a web page depending on the complexity and any custom code that is needed.

Most simple websites will have at least five pages, but you’re more likely to have 10 for a small business website for a service-based business.

The Design

A good design can make or break a website. Nearly 90% of what people judge you on when they first land on your website is related to design.

Designing a website however, is both an art and science. Did you know that there are psychology tricks when it comes to websites?

Things like understanding eye patterns, knowing which differences draw attention, and knowing where to stop when it comes to design are key.

We’ve all been to websites that feel out of touch and like something is just off. We might not know why, but it doesn’t seem right.

Often, it’s because there are inconsistencies in the design. We aren’t aware of them but our brains are.

Our brains don’t like to work to find inconsistencies. It takes too much energy.

Instead, those inconsistencies make us uncomfortable and our brains get tired. So we leave the website.

Hiring a good web designer, someone who understands the ins and outs of good versus bad web design (which is different from graphic design) means that your website will most likely convert better.

The better the designer, the better the results, and thus the more money you’ll end up paying for the design work.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 for the design alone.


One of the biggest things that are crucial to a website’s success is copy-writing. We like to think that we know what we're doing when we talk about our business, but often I see coffee that doesn't convert.

The design can be the most amazing design in the world, but if the copy-writing isn't there and the website visitor has no idea what you do, then the design won't make a difference.

You can have a great copy with horrible design and maybe make a sale or two. You can have a fantastic design and horrible copy and potentially make a sale or two.

But to be truly successful using a website, you need both the design and the copy-writing. Together they are a Powerhouse.

You can expect a range of $1000 to $2000 for a standard website copy.


SEO stands for search engine optimization. When you hear people talking about getting you into the first rank of Google this is what they are talking about.

When it comes to SEO, there are a number of standard practices and tricks that can get you to move up in the ranks.

Often, web designers will promise that you will rank for certain keywords, words that people are searching for. Often these are your business name or industry that you’re in.

SEO is always changing and what works today may not work tomorrow. Google changes its algorithm about twice a year sometimes more.

That being said, SEO also can bring fantastic leads to your website. These are people who are actively searching for solutions that you can provide.

SEO can cost you anywhere from $0 to $30,000 depending on how large your website is and how many keywords you are attempting to rank for. 

It’s also not a one and done service. Often you’ll have to pay monthly to continue to get results.


Depending on the type of website you want and the level of tools you want to use, there may be additional costs.

For example, if you want a calendar for prospects to book a time to speak with you, a payment gateway for clients to pay, or a course on your website, that’s going to increase the price.

Often, people start with the idea of a basic website and then want to expand. A good designer will help you figure out what makes sense to start and will create your website with future enhancements in mind.

Most businesses want services like email marketing, chatbots, and quizzes. If your competitor has them, then you’ll probably want them too.

There’s no good way to estimate what this will cost because there are so many options out there. There are free tools, but you’ll still want to pay to have someone install them the right way.


Bad graphics will kill a website the same way that bad messaging will. Our brains process graphics much faster than text, so if they aren’t up to snuff, people will leave before taking the time to read your copy.

It’s illegal in most cases to grab any image off of Google and add it to your website. You must have permission to use the graphics.

Some web designers will purchase photos on behalf of their clients and will charge extra for the photos. Rights to photos can go from pennies to hundreds of dollars depending on the photo and photographer.

If you took the photos yourself, unless you are a professional photographer, you’ll want to have the images cleaned up. You’ll need to factor in editing.

Graphics can also impact a website’s performance. If photos are not properly sized, the designer should be altering them. This will most likely be factored into the budget for designing the pages.


When it comes to web design in 2020, you must have a responsive website. That means that your website displays nicely on a desktop, and also on a mobile phone or tablet.

While some themes or website builders claim to be responsive, in reality, sometimes what looks good on a desktop will not look good on a mobile device.

In these situations, the design will need to be shifted for the mobile device. Depending on the content of your web page, a web designer may have to make some changes.  

This may or may not affect the overall cost of your project.

What Else?


When it comes to any type of website, you have to factor monthly maintenance into your budget.

It's important to keep your website up-to-date from a safety standpoint. When you hear about people's websites being hacked, it's usually because their website was not updated recently.

Depending on the amount of maintenance and the size of your website, it's not unheard of to pay between $500 and $2,000 per month for maintenance.


Sometimes, you just need a little support. If you're unsure of how to add a new web page to your site, or you just want to hire your designer to add something in there for you, keep in mind that your website will always be changing.

Once you have an established relationship with your web designer and you're happy, make sure that you talk to them about any further support that you may need.


Hosting is where your website lives. You can expect to pay anywhere from $3 per month to $100 per month depending on your hosting plan.

Better hosting means more space and faster speeds. Most hosting is about $10 for what the typical small business needs.


Your domain is your website’s address. It's typically about $15 for the year. Some people will also add privacy settings, and that will add extra cost.

To Wrap It Up

Websites are one of those things where you get what you pay for.

For a service-based small business, expect to pay at least $2,000. If you get a quote for less than $2,000, the designer is taking a shortcut somewhere. 

If you're adding in anything like a course, or membership, don't trust anything less than $5,000.

For a small eCommerce website, you can expect a professionally-designed website to run you at least $5,000. 

The good news is, with a professionally-designed website you'll be amazed at how much better your site will look at how many more customers will end up with.

About the Author Jennifer Anastasi

I’m Jennifer Anastasi, an Engineer turned Brand Strategist. I empower other service-based businesses to find that clear brand and online presence using my background in tech mixed with creativity (I'm a lifelong creative after all). Unlike courses or group programs, I focus on each business as a unique entity and break down complex and intimidating concepts into easy-to-understand ideas for custom results.

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