Ultimate Guide to Website Design Cost in 2019

7 min readJun 20, 2019


Do you know that 75% of users judge the credibility of a firm based on its website design? Certainly, user-friendly and attractive web design is one of the key assets in any software project.

Here, we explain how to estimate the cost of website design properly. If you are thinking about redesigning your website, this article will also clarify the main concerns regarding this procedure too.

Please note: web design is not the same as web development!

  • Web design refers to how the web page looks — its layout and interface
  • Web development relates to the actual functioning of a web project
Difference Between Website Developer and Web Designer

3 Options for Website Design Creation

Let’s now check the available options for creating web interfaces and the potential design cost for each of them.

Advice: Don’t be misguided by how a website looks, rather, pay attention to how it works. Before you start with the website design, first consider how the website is supposed to operate.

1. DIY Website Cost

  • DIY Services: Wordpress, Wix, Shopify (for e-commerce projects), etc.
  • Design cost (included in website package): $0 — $500+
Wix Drag & Drop Website Builder

Services like Wix, Wordpress, Shopify, or Weebly already have pre-made web design templates included in their website development pricing plans. Based on project type and industry, you can select a necessary design layout and configuration.

Friendly advice: Do not use any free website design templates. These options usually come along with ads, malware, functionality and bandwidth limits.

It is recommended that you use DIY website builders for:

  • simple, one-page websites (landings)
  • web projects without scalability plans
  • personal portfolio sites
  • personal blogs or services

On the contrary, most businesses are prone to switch from DIY sites within a few years. This is due to the following weak points these websites have:

  • generic website design
  • challenges with website consistency, updates, and maintenance
  • high dependency on third-party service
  • low level of website customization and flexibility
  • limited scalability
  • possible website freezes and slow operation
  • no application of new technologies on a design layout

2. Website Pricing for Freelance Design Services

  • Hire a freelancer: locally or on freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer.com, etc.
  • Design cost: $500 — $2000+

You can search for these specialists locally, on freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer.com, or on design-specific sites like Behance and Dribbble.

The cost of web design depends on the level of experience, skills, and location of a freelancer. Consequently, the design pricing depends on the rate for design service and ranges approximately from $65 to $140 per hour in North America.

Note: Do not mix up freelance services with outsourcing.

It is recommended that you involve a freelance web designer in the following cases:

  • small web projects or minor web design works
  • only website design is needed
  • branding materials

The weaknesses of this website design option include:

  • hard and long process of finding a capable and reliable web designer
  • project management process is on the client’s side completely
  • additional expenses and management efforts involved with hiring a web developer
  • potential issues with communication
  • potential issues in keeping up with the deadlines
  • risks involved with distributing project materials or other inappropriate actions of a freelancer
  • risks connected with unsatisfactory end results

3. Custom Design Cost when Hiring an Agency

  • Hire a software development agency locally or work with an offshore company
  • Design cost: $2,000 — $5,000+

If you need extra functionality, plan to scale the website, or want to apply modern technologies, custom web design is definitely your best choice. Expect that the custom design cost for your website to be higher. Meanwhile, you receive a turnkey solution including website design and development.

The benefits of creating a custom web design for your web project:

  • ability to scale the web project easily (add & adjust web pages)
  • application of SEO and marketing practices
  • creation of a unique design in order to stand out from the competitors
  • independence from third-party services and design templates
  • creation of a web design to fit the target audience portrait
  • application of custom visual elements (animations, illustrations, icons)
  • development of well-thought-out user navigation
  • ability to quickly adjust the design to meet emerging technologies
  • ability to devote time to the core business needs (project management is on the agency’s side)
  • custom website design is fully your property

It is recommended that you create a custom website design for:

  • web projects with further scalability needs
  • sites that want to experiment with technologies
  • complex websites, web platforms, or e-commerce sites
  • websites with extensive back-end management (admin panel)

The map below illustrates the average hourly rates for website design service worldwide.

Website Design Cost: Rates on Design Service Worldwide

How Custom Design Cost is Estimated

For a better understanding regarding how the design cost of the website is formed, here we describe the process of its creation.

3-Step Process of a Custom Web Design Creation

User Experience vs. User Interface

In order to create a custom web design, a professional should specialize in the following design areas:

  • User experience (UX wireframes) — this is the backbone of any web project and is the core skeleton of a system, its functionality, and usability.
  • User interface (UI mockups) — this is a visual representation of the web project using colors, typography, graphics, icons, and accounts for the overall atmosphere of the product.

A custom website design creation is usually organized according to Agile methodology. The client and team should have quick daily interaction to check in on progress and give feedback. The most common tools used to create a custom website design are Figma, Photoshop, Sketch, and Adobe After Effects for animations.

Custom Website Design Creation Process

The flow of creating a custom design for your website is as follows:

  1. Collection of web project requirements (business and technical)
  2. Creation of web design sketches and wireframes
Sketch Example of a Website by Hand
Sketch Example of a Website in Figma

3. Creation of web design mockups

Custom Website Design Examples (Mood Boards)

The сustom website design includes the following assets:

  • Web design sketches
  • Web design wireframes
  • Web design mood boards (UI samples)
  • Web design mockups
  • UI Kit

Extra web design deliverables may include:

  • Branding — e.g. logo, favicon, banners, brand book patterns, etc.
  • Clickable web product prototype — for fundraising, presentation, or promotion purposes
  • Map screen — for complex projects and/or project presentations
  • User testing — for existing web projects, to find out which flow is taken by users and so on (usually conducted by Business Analyst and UX/UI Designer)

Factors that Influence Custom Design Pricing

Let’s now move on to the factors that impact the website design process and cost:

  • Type of website
  • Website interactivity and responsiveness
  • Basic vs. custom website design
Comparison between Basic and Custom Website Elements

And here is the examples of basic and custom home page of the website:

Basic Website Design Example
Custom Website Design Example

Website Design Services and Their Costs

This table represents the information regarding the design cost for each activity involved:

Extra: Website Redesign Cost & Process

Website Redesign Process

First of all, specify why you need to redesign your website. Check yourself with this brief questionnaire:

  1. Is my website easy to navigate and find the necessary information?
  2. Is my website informative and does it represent the company well?
  3. How do my competitors’ websites look? Are they updated regularly?
  4. Does my website comply with material design standards?
  5. Does my website bring me profit (visitors convert into sales)?

Therefore, before starting with a website redesign, it is necessary to:

  • Evaluate the functional and business requirements of the website
  • List the elements, pages, tasks, etc, for a website redesign
  • Review current website design

What Does Website Design Cost in 2019?

Based on the recent research conducted by Hubspot, the most important factor in website design is — “it makes it easy for me to find what I want.” Meanwhile, only 10% of respondents mentioned that website appearance is crucial.

In general, the advice regarding website design creation is as follows:

  • Create a minimal and clear user interface
  • Highlight the value proposition of the business
  • Apply high-quality, stylish images
  • Design with conversion rate in mind
  • Show your users rather than tell

The main recommendation regarding the design cost for your website is to approach it rationally. The question — “how much does it cost to hire a professional web designer?” may not be the best one to ask. A good question requests ROI and future value for the business.

It is definitely a fact that the websites costing $30,000 — $50,000, with great functionality and design, generate more traffic compared with websites that were designed for free. The portion of design cost involved in such projects usually constitutes from $2,000 to $5,000.

This is a brief summary of an article published on MLSDev blog.

If you would like to learn details regarding website design options and their price formation read the full article.




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