Web Design

What is a Website’s Cost?

The cost of a well-designed and well-coded website will usually range anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, but sometimes can even jump up to $15,000 depending on the size of the project.

If you’ve ever been in the market for a professional website or have even purchased one yourself already, chances are the price may have taken you by surprise. The cost of a well-designed and well-coded custom website will usually range anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, but sometimes web development costs can even jump up to $15,000 depending on the size of the project. Not to mention you'll want to make sure your site is fully repsonsive in nature. It feels almost silly to spend so much money on something you literally can’t even touch, but we have a lot to say on this topic because of the sheer importance of website design.

In this article we hope to break down the value of a website. By explaining the time and effort that go into professional website creation, you will have the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions in your online pursuits.

Today’s Case Study

You don’t have to be a master developer to understand that a 50 page custom website will be (in most cases) more expensive than a five page website. This is especially true for an ecommerce website. Prices will also vary from service to service, so for simplicity’s sake, let’s assume that the website we will be using for our web development example today will be one of a small corporation, located in Philadelphia and Denver. The quality of the site will be slightly above that of the market average. It will be well-designed, fast, and mobile responsive. In short, we will be discussing a medium-sized website (about15-20 pages) without any bells and whistles attached. We will say that the site does have potential to achieve top results in Google if optimized properly.

Workflow of website creation

The Sales Executive

As the name clearly suggests, this role in the web design studio is filled by the person who sold you the website. This person has most likely had several in person meetings with you, visited your office, prepared commercial offers, and worked with you throughout the finalization of the contract. They have brought the studio a project and will be paid as a result of it. This person usually receives a percentile commission based on the value of the contract he signs as well as a base salary. According to Indeed, the average annual salary of the type of salesperson mentioned above is approximately $64,000 per year + commission in some form or another. Our studio, also located in Denver and Philadelphia, offers comparable salaries to our salesmen. Taking our website case study into account, the sales executive must then sign at least 2-3 website contracts per month in order to reach the national average per year.
Sales costs: about $1500 - $2000

The Project Manager

As your journey through the web design process continues, you will be passed from the sales person who initially introduced you to the studio, to the project manager. This person acts as a buffer or link between you and and the rest of the company (i.e. designers, developers, salesmen, etc.). Your relationship with this person is incredibly important. Not only will they know everything there is to know about your business and your needs, but they will serve as your representative to the web development team, advocating for what you want and what you prefer. In the website design world, project managers are incredibly valuable. Supposing that the project manager’s salary is slightly lower than that of the salesman, they will have to maintain a base of about 10-15 projects at a time, spreading out the costs overtime.
Project management costs: $1000 - $1500

Text, Photos, and Content in General

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The content on your website is indescribably important, especially because website design is largely dependent on the content that the site is comprised of. Obviously you can delegate this task to a copywriter who can study all of the material pertaining to your business and industry, but this work does not come cheap. Usually for a single article of well-written work, copywriters will charge anywhere from $50 to $100, sometimes even more. And guess what? You will need at least 10 of such articles on your website. Pictures also count as content. As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, the quality and relevance of the images you use on your website will affect the overall perception of you and your company as a whole. Therefore, hiring a professional photographer should not be something you quickly cast to the side, especially because they could create a photobank for you to use later on. But it will add to the overall costs.
Content costs: $1500 - $2000

The Designer

Designers are responsible for - you guessed it - designing the website. A smart designer, however, is an expensive person to keep around, especially in larger cities like Philadelphia or Denver. Design is like playing the violin: it is very obvious when the person is good at it, and it is even more obvious when they are not. In order to provide your company with the image and perception that you know it needs, you will need an experienced designer working with your website. They must create a design that fits the business. An ecommerce design will be different from a design for non-profits. The best designers are the ones who can do all of this while simultaneously taking into account the design adjustments that must necessarily take place on a responsive website as well. The salary of such people falls around $80,000 to $100,000 per year. It takes around two to three days for the designer to make the main page of your website, but more often than not you will want to see a couple different versions of the design. Then of course come all of the templates for the internal pages and follow them up with endless corrections from customers. Taking all of this into account, the small corporate website designer will spend around 3 weeks on one website alone.
Design costs: $4500 - $5000

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In order to provide your company with the image and perception that you know it needs, you will need an experienced designer working with your website.

The Programmers

More specifically, two programmers. As you might assume, web development is the most expensive stage in the website creation process. Once the design work is complete, it is passed along to the programmers who, after analyzing the various features and unique requests from the customer, make a programmed template of the design provided to them that runs smoothly on both mobile phones and computers. Each separate page undergoes this process, with only the repeating elements on every page able to be duplicated.

Once the design is entirely programmed, it is then passed to the back-end developer who connects the pages to the Content Management System (CMS), connects the site to its hosting source, and then launches the site into its new life. For an average-sized project to be fully functional and capable across all devices and platforms (responsive), programmers will typically need one month to complete their work. According to data aggregators such as Google, the average salary of an experienced programmer is above $100,000, easily making this the most expensive stop in the process.
Programming costs: $6000-$8000

The Tester

The best web design studios will have a tester on their teams.This is the person who literally tests the site when it is complete. They will view it on all platforms, browsers, devices, etc., in order to find as many bugs as possible. The goal of the tester is to find every single bug so that the site is pristine and perfect. Of course we have to realistic at this stage and understand that it is impossible to find every bug right away, but by making a significant dent in the total amount of them, the chances of a smooth site launch increase greatly.
Testing costs: $500-$1000

Cost of salary payments for employeers

Taxes and Overhead Costs

A curious sight to be seen is that of a website development firm that doesn’t have internet access. The whole team needs an office, the internet, phones, furniture, computers, and perhaps most importantly, coffee. Companies will also incur costs for advertising, sponsorship, and other PR outlets. They also must consider the taxes associated with the location of their office. Taxes for an office in Philadelphia  and Denver will be entirely different than those for an office in a more rural area. When taking into account overhead costs such as these, the price of the project usually increases by 30% - 50%.

Leadership and Profits

Uniting all the moving parts of website development from the top is the managerial team. This team does not work for free. Their salaries must also be taken into account. The company’s goal after all of its costs is to turn a profit that can then be reinvested into the company. These costs will add another 20% to the total costs.



The Sales Executive$1500$2000
The Project Manager$1000$1500
Text, Photos, and Content$1500$2000
The Designer$4500$5000
The Programmers$6000$8000
The Tester$500$1000
Taxes and Overhead Costs+30%+50%
Leadership and Profits+20%+20%
Summing It All Up$22500$33150

Summing It All Up

Remember, these are just estimates, but they hold significant value and truth. That truth, however, is going to be applicable only to website development companies with the capacity to afford the type of team that we describe above. It isn’t uncommon to have solo-developers offering their services at cheaper rates, but pricing is one of many things to consider in such situations. Yes, they may be more affordable, but when you have someone working offshore or outsourcing their work to others, you retain significantly less control in the development of your site according to your standards. Different solutions work for different businesses.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the large corporations putting web designers and developers out of business with their “cookie-cutter” websites. Sure, the price is cheaper, but do you really know what you're buying? Some people are fine with doing away with the designers and developers and buying a template website like WordPress, but this is a decision that only you can make.

Where your money goes is entirely up to you, but now you have a solid understanding of what happens to it when you hire a development company like Direct Line Development. If you enjoyed this article or have any questions, leave them in the comments section below and a member of our staff will glad chat with you! Talk to you soon!


I've spoken with alot of website companies in the past and, while it's true that prices vary based on scope, it's good to see that Direct Line isn't afraid to show their prices and costs upfront.

Custom Web Design at Direct Line Development it is still a very affordable thing!!! Our clients get tremendous value for what they pay us. When we take on a client we work hard to get them results and to make sure that they are happy with us and our work.

Working with a local team with definitely make for a better experience when launching a website.

I like how much transparency you see in this post, which many companies don't even mention at their meetings. All these costs make sense and it's great that there is a person that takes care of pre-launching and finding potential issues and bugs, such as Tester.

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Stephen Greenspan
Stephen Greenspan
(215) 901-2356