Website Design Pricing

Your needs are unique, which is why there are many pricing options.  Whether you are looking for a budget solution or something truly fantastic, you should be able to get an idea of what your project will cost by reviewing this page.  Also, you can see from the way the pricing is structured, you will only pay for what you need.   The guidelines below are the same that will be used in creating your customized estimate.

The Website
Every website project, regardless of size, will have at least four parts.  The first part is graphic design, where we nail down what the site will look like.  The next part is website development, where a website is created that looks like the agreed-upon design.  The site is then ready for all of your text, photos, products and other content.  The content phase is a big job for large sites with many pages.    A fourth part is search engine optimization.  Finally, some sites have a fifth part which involves custom programming and on some sites this is the largest part of the job.   Consider each of these parts as you look at the pricing options.

Business Websites ($3000 – $5000)
Most websites I do fall into this category.  This is where we address all of the important needs of a typical online presence.  The following is a breakdown of the cost involved in each part of the website project.  As you’ll see, this is not an exact science, but you should be able to get a good idea of what your particular project might cost.

The first part is the graphic design.  I will discuss the design with you in advance and have you show me some website designs that you like.  Once I feel I have a good idea of what you have in mind (or you’ve told me to use my own creativity), I create an image for the site. In most cases the client is either completely happy or likes the design but wants small changes, and we are done with graphic design at that point.  This “design cycle” typically costs $450 – $600.

It happens sometimes that the client doesn’t like the design.  If that happens, we have another conversation about the design.  Sometimes, you just have to see an idea to realize it’s not the way to go and usually that’s the cause of the problem.  Once I have a good grasp of what the client is looking for in the next design, I create another one.   The second design and the changes needed to make it right typically cost an additional $300.

For a while I sold packages that included up to 3 completely different design ideas and I never ended up needing the third one.   Therefore, I believe a budget of $450 to $800 for graphic design will do for most any business website.

The next part is the website development.  This is where I take the design you have approved, and create a functioning website that looks just like it.  There are two major options here: to build the site in WordPress or not.

WordPress is an amazing and free piece of software that allows you to control the content of your website without any web design skills.  I currently design most websites in WordPress.  In fact, you are viewing a WordPress site right now.  If you can use Microsoft Word, you can edit your site with WordPress.  I have gotten great feedback from clients on how much they enjoy the control WordPress gives them over their site.

It is more work to build a site into WordPress than simply writing the “markup” of a normal website, and I charge an additional $100 per hour to cover the additional work.  I feel that this will certainly pay for itself over time just by saving you from having to hire me to make changes to your site.  Additionally, if you needed a picture gallery of some sort, one that you could manage yourself, I could add such a feature in WordPress, but it would be a lot more without it.  The reason is that there is free, easy to install software made to work with WordPress that I can add to the site and configure to meet your needs.  There are similar programs for eCommerce, event calendars and other desirable features.

Speaking of “markup”, I code my sites using the latest techniques.  There is an old way of doing things and a new way and I use the new way.  My sites load easily, look the same in all the different web browsers people use, and are easy for the search engines to read and add to their lists.

To develop a site (including contact form and interactive map if needed) without WordPress typically costs $500,  so with WordPress, this part of the job runs about $700.

Now that we have a functioning website that looks just like the design you approved, we move on to adding all of your content.  You email your content to me and I set up the pages and mostly copy and paste it in.   If you have a WordPress site, you can do this part yourself and it costs nothing (plus it’s a great way to get the hang of editing your site).   If I add the content for you, regardless of which type of site, this can be done at my hourly rate of $100 per hour.

Sometimes, adding content is more complicated than that.  Some clients want each page to have extra design touches such as stock photography, creative headings and text arrangements and other improvements.  These improvements take extra time and would be charged at my hourly rate.

Another snag in the content process is when a client does not have content ready and doesn’t have time to produce it.  This is where WordPress can be very useful.  With WordPress, you, the website owner can easily hide pages while you work on them.  So perhaps you intend on having an “About Us” page, but you aren’t ready to write it yet, you can simply hide it from the public while you work on it when you have time.  When the page is ready, you make it public and it appears on your website.  No need to involve me at all.  If you don’t have content and want to hire me to write it for you, just let me know.  You could start with a Home page, About Us page, and Contact page (no content needed for the contact page) and then do the rest later.  No law states that a website must have a lot of pages.

Bringing us to search engine optimization, an important topic.  It would be helpful for you to read my simple explanation of search engine optimization.

I carry on about search engines because I want you to be clear on what you are buying.  For the average business, I will make sure you get into the search engines and do a basic search engine optimization to your pages.  The cost is $100 per hour.  The basic search engine optimization is nothing more than looking at the text on the page, determining what it has the best chance of ranking for and then inserting information into the unseen part of the page that search engines read to try to boost you for that search.

Want to do more than that?  Want to dominate the search engines?  Are you sure it will help?  You see, you can rank number one for “roadkill removal Boulder”, but if no one ever searches for “roadkill removal Boulder”, that doesn’t help your business very much, does it?  So the next logical step is to find out what people are searching for that might be relevant to what you do.  There are some online tools I can use to do this.  Once we see what people are searching for, then we know how valuable the top rank could be.  Next, I look at the top sites for those searches to determine how hard they are working for their top placement.  Based on this, I give you an estimate of what I think it will take to get there and you decide if you want to move forward or not.  I charge around $350 for this analysis, it’s based on how complicated your site is and how many keywords you want to rank for.

If you have a WordPress site, I can install certain tools that will help you optimize your own site for the search engines, and I can consult you on how to do it.  If you want me to do a more advanced optimization myself, it would be billed at my hourly rate.  I can also come up with a strategy both for adding fresh and relevant content to your site regularly and for generating incoming links.  There is really no limit to how much time and money you can spend on search engine optimization and there are no guarantees of results.  I had a client who used a large company for search engine work, paid $15,000 over a six month period and got $0 in return for that investment.  I also know of a company that spends $3,000 per month (and they have for a long time) with a different SEO firm, but they do extremely well on the search engines, and are happy with the price.  Because of the amount of work involved and the uncertain results, I always suggest a measured approach when it comes to search engine optimization.  If your keywords are extremely competitive, a Google Adwords campaign (where you pay for clicks to your site)  might make much more sense.

The Budget Site ($1500)
If you have a very small budget, but need a decent website,  I have a solution that works well.  You’ll have the ability to edit your own site, and a lot of flexibility to update the site at a later time, without having to redo all the work of adding and arranging your content.  In this option I will set up a WordPress website for you, install a theme or a very simple design, insert your logo, add a contact form and google map if needed, and show you how to get started with adding your text, pictures and other content.

WordPress is an amazing and free piece of software that allows you to control the content of your website without any web design skills whatsoever.  Because of the many options it offers to designers and programmers, I currently design most websites in WordPress.  In fact, you are viewing a WordPress site right now.  If you can use Microsoft Word, you can edit your site with WordPress.   To save money on the graphic design part, you will select a free theme (there are well over a thousand to choose from) from  Here’s a link to the WordPress theme page.  If you can’t find a theme you like, I can create a very simple, useful design and layout for your site.

You’ll be able to have as many pages as you want to have and be able to add or remove these pages without paying a web designer to help you.   On the Internet you’ll find tons of free videos and tutorials that will teach you how to make changes and do other things with your WordPress site.    If you want to figure out hosting, installing WordPress, installing themes, etc. all by yourself.  Then this solution will cost you nothing.  Let me warn you that it can be a headache if you and computers don’t get along too well.  If you have me do it, then it’s $100 per hour to set up the site, install your chosen theme, add your logo and set up a contact form and google map.  I give you access to the site and give you a tour of the administration area so you can start adding and editing your pages.  You take it from there.  I also charge an $100 per hour if you need me to create a simple layout for you or if you need me to edit the theme in any way.

Note that you enter the content yourself and there is no search engine optimization.  This does not mean that you will not rank in the search engines.  I will make sure your site gets into and other major search engines.  You can then take steps yourself to improve your rankings or pay me to do search engine optimization for you.

Ecommerce ($2500-$3500)
There are several ways to sell items online from your website.  Some options don’t cost anything, such as using “Buy Now” buttons from PayPal.  The more elegant online store, where people load their cart, receive a real time shipping estimate and pay by credit card all without leaving your site, adds about $1,500 to the price of the site.  There are some options in between as well.

Custom Programming ($3500 to $15,000)
Programming a site to behave in a unique way requires discussion and planning, lots of programming, and lots of testing.  Poorly written programs can leave your website and its users vulnerable to hackers, so things have to be done carefully.  It’s not enough to make something that works – it needs to be done right.  I’ve spent a lot of time studying how to program sites in a secure manner and I’ve got several years of experience programming sites that work.  Whatever you need, I have probably done something like it before and can give you an idea of cost.  We just have to talk about it.

Domain Names ($30 per year)
Every website needs a friendly name, called a domain name, that people can type in to reach it.  One of my domain names is  You can register these names cheaply at sites like or I can register your name for you.  When you register a domain name, you don’t own it, you pay for the right to use it – you actually rent the name for one year or more.  If you register the name for a year and then forget to renew it, you lose the name and anyone typing that name will no longer reach your site.  This is a disaster.  The advantage of having me register it for you is that I will help you make sure you don’t lose the name by letting it expire accidentally.  I have never lost a client’s domain name and because I make sure they are registered far into the future, I never will.  If you register your own name, make sure that the email address you give the registrar is one that you will have for years to come.  They will notify you by email when you need to renew the name.  Also, it’s a good idea to register the name for a number of years and then renew it for one year each year following so that you are way ahead.  I charge $30 per year.

Website Hosting ($15.00 per month)
Every website needs a home.  Every website on the Internet is set up on a computer somewhere.   I host my websites with companies that specialize in maintaining computers that do nothing but serve up websites to people surfing the Internet.  I have virtual private servers with these companies and can offer your site more reliability and security than the average web host.   Basically, your site will perform similar to sites that have their own servers, but since I aggregate you with my other client sites, you don’t have to pay for your own server.  Alternately, you can buy your own cheaper hosting where you are aggregated with hundreds or thousands of other sites.  The most noticeable difference is that your pages will load faster with my hosting, which is important to most people.

A word to the wise about hosting.   Regardless of where you host, especially if you have WordPress, you need to be aware of the host’s backup policy, which is their policy on making copies of your site.  How often do they do it and for how long do they keep the copies?  In the event of a hacker attack, computer failure or other problem, you could completely lose your site.  If the company does not have a backup of your site they can restore it from, the site could be gone forever.   My hosting is particularly good for WordPress sites because I’ve taken extra steps to secure my servers against hackers.  Additionally, you are safer by virtue of sharing the server with fewer websites.  Finally, the companies I use have good backup policies and provide a way for you to download backups of your site to your own computer (and then if you use Carbonite or some other online service to back them up again off-site for you, you really have your bases covered).  I offer additional off-site backups for a small fee ($20 per backup) if you want that additional step taken but don’t have the time to do it yourself.  I can also burn a copy of all your site files (including the source files I used to develop the site) and your database to a CD and mail it to you for $45.

Technical Support and Miscellaneous Labor
Some people require more support than others.  For example, if I create an email account for you at your domain name, [email protected], and give you the information needed, you may be able to set that account up in Outlook and check your mail there.  You may not be able to do that and you may need me to get on the phone with you and teach you how to do it (or write out instructions for you).  I have to charge for my time when I do something like that.  I log all of my time throughout each day and I bill in 15 minute increments.  I generally send a bill when an hour or more has been used, but if less time has been used and the incident is more than 30 days in the past, I will send a bill for that.

Time spent on phone calls and emails where we discuss future work, of course, does not get billed.  If you are interested in having me do some work, or want to know if something is possible, then that is not support and I don’t bill for any such time.  However, if you are picking my brain on a subject, that’s billable.  Example, if you call me and say “Hey, what do you know about Google Analytics?” and I explain what I know, then that is a billable call.  If you call me and say “Hey, I’ve been reading about Google Analytics and I want you to add that to my site.  What does that cost?”, that call is not billable.

In general,  I bill for any time I spend working on a task a customer has set me to.  This includes researching products or technologies, testing out ideas, communicating with third party vendors on the customer’s behalf and other miscellaneous work.

All of the pricing on this page is based on my hourly rate, which is $100 per hour.   I provide written estimates and collect a 50% deposit for a job before I start.  I then collect the balance of the job when it is complete.  I rarely exceed my estimates.  It does happen on occasion, usually when a client introduces additional work or requirements, that a job takes longer than estimated.  I do not exceed the original estimate without getting approval for the additional time.

I accept cash, checks and major credit cards.  Hosting is paid in advance and I can set up automatic credit card charges to collect that monthly.  I offer a 10% discount for paying for a year’s hosting in advance.

I hope this answers your questions about pricing, but feel free to contact me with questions and  for a customized estimate.

Chad Phillips:  720-335-6552
Web Designer
New Vibe Web Design – Web design in Boulder CO and including Louisville, Lafayette, Erie, Longmont and the Front Range