Web design & development can seem daunting unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, so we’ve put together a guide to make sense of it all.

What’s the real cost of having a website built in 2020?

The short answer: the average website design cost for Australian businesses is $1,000 – $5,000. In this article, we’ll help you drill down into these costs, so you can figure out exactly what you need, exactly how much you need to pay for your website, and where the biggest cost savings are.

Australian businesses spend anywhere from a few dollars for a personal website built with a DIY website builder, to tens of thousands of dollars for large, customised, technically complex websites for many large corporations.

Like most things though, there’s a creamy middle, and as a ball park figure, and assuming you want something more professional than the DIY approach (the DIY approach is fine if you’re on a shoe-string budget, but won’t be very flexible and it’ll be very difficult to give it a professional look and feel – more on this later), most businesses will spend somewhere between $1,000 – $5,000 building a business website, depending on their particular needs and goals.

Your website isn’t a dead cost, it’s an investment. As a business, your potential customers will judge you on your website. And like any investment, you should have a clear idea of exactly what you’ll get for your money.

You’re asking all the wrong questions – define what you need before you start

To work out a budget for your website, you first need to decide what sort of website you need. Depending on how you want your website to look, what it should say, and how it should function, you might find yourself paying for things you don’t need, or you might be disappointed at how primitive and unattractive your low-budget website turned out . So ask yourself these questions:

  • Will a simple, informational website be enough for my business, or do I want some design or functionality options?
  • What are my design requirements (i.e. website layout, colour scheme, logo, photography, graphics)?
    • It’s much cheaper to use a template for the website design, like a WordPress theme, rather than a fully customised design.
    • You can hire a designer to a logo, photos, and any other graphics you want to use on the site, but again, if this can wait till later, stock photographs and a simple text logo are much more affordable.
  • What do I want to say on the website? Will I write this content myself, or would I like help with it?
  • What functionality will the website have? (there are thousands of possible features a website could have, but some examples include: ability to change the website’s content, a blog, a forum, photo galleries, newsletter sign-up forms, or eCommerce functionality). Which technical features are must-haves, and which are nice-to-haves?
  • What’s my marketing budget, to get found online? It’s okay if you don’t plan on budgeting for this, we can offer you some free tips to engage with your online audience for free, using social media platforms and more.

To avoid scope creep, and an ever-ballooning budget as the project goes on, it’s important to have these things figured out before you start.  A good web design agency will sit down and help you decide these things before offering you a quote.

Stop! If your budget is less than $1,000

If you’re expecting a professional business website for under $1,000, you’ll have to do some serious corner cutting. You’ll either need to go down the DIY track, and spend a considerable amount of time learning the skills needed to build a website yourself, or you can opt for a simple, plain, no-frills, 1 page website, with your contact details and not much else. Both of these options have their pros and cons, and you can always get more help to upgrade and improve your site later on, when you’re ready to invest more in your online presence.

The DIY approach

If you’re operating on a shoe-string budget, a DIY website builder may be your best option to start with, until you decide to invest in a more professional site.

Remember, though, that your time is also a cost. Be realistic about your own IT skills, and how much time you’re prepared to spend learning the computer and web development skills necessary. If you’re time-rich, money-poor, and don’t mind spending quite a few hours behind a computer screen, the DIY approach could be the perfect way to get your business online at low cost.

A note for those looking for the silver bullet of a cheap or free website: if you want a professional-looking website, and especially if you want it to have custom features and functionality, you’re going to have to spend a substantial amount of time and/or money to get a final product that you can be proud of. Remember that you get what you pay for (in either time or money).

If you do decide that the DIY website approach is for you, just beware of hidden lock-in costs and contracts. Platforms like Squarespace and Weebly that offer free DIY websites typically make their money by offering tiered ‘freemium’ plans; a basic plan can be very cheap, or even free, but if you decide later that you really do need more features or flexibility, like your own domain name, email, security & backups, ecommerce functionality, or a premium template, you may end up paying ongoing costs you didn’t anticipate.

A better option is to get a leg up from an expert (that’s us!). RU Online offers a DIY Website Package to help businesses get off the ground – for $199.95, we’ll set you up with your own blank canvas template website, your own business email address, connected to your own domain name (eg www.yourbusiness.com.au). Then you’ll be able to stuck in yourself, building and editing your site, and we’ll always be just a phone call away if you get stuck with anything and need help.

Click here for more details, or to purchase, our DIY Website Package (or you can give us a call or drop us an email if you have any further questions).

Go back to basics – the 1 Page Wonder Website

If you don’t have the time and creative energy to create your own DIY website, and you don’t want to spend a few thousand dollars on a professionally designed site just yet, there is one more, entry-level option to get you started: the 1 Page Wonder Website. The 1 Page Wonder Website package, for $199.95, is a neat, simple, no frills, 1 page website, with your business’ contact details, and nothing more. This is a cheap, quick, easy solution to give your business an online presence, get found on Google, and dip your toe in the water of the online world.

Lots of businesses choose the 1 Page Wonder Website, and find that they never need to upgrade this at all – it’s a self-contained, self-sufficient website. But you can always upgrade it to a full, multi-page website later if you want to.

For more details, or to purchase the 1 Page Wonder Website now (we’ll typically get it up and running very quickly, within a day or two), click here.

Should I hire a web designer? Dealing with a professional web design agency.

If you do want a professionally-built website, and either aren’t able to or aren’t interested in learning the various technical, coding, and design skills of a web developer, it’s time for you to look at hiring a web design agency.

If you do decide to hire a web design agency, avoid the cheap and nasty ones. There are plenty of web design firms out there offering suspiciously cheap complete packages, and they’re usually suspiciously non native English speakers making the offers. Take these kinds of deals at your own peril, but don’t say we didn’t warn you! When it comes to hiring a web design agency, you really do get what you pay for.

Web design agencies charge by the hour for their services, so their quote will be determined by how long the project is expected to complete. Don’t be fooled by agencies that offer fixed-price packages; make sure you read the fine print, so you know exactly what you’re paying for. After you’ve sat down with a few agencies, gone through exactly what you want out of your website, and been given detailed quotes, including a breakdown of all deliverables included in the project, you can compare quotes and know you’re comparing apples with apples.

Expect to pay between $40-$150/hr for a good website designer. We pride ourselves on being transparent with our billing and pricing, and we charge between $50-$80 per hour for our services, depending on the particular service in question (design, coding, setup, support, etc).

Getting found online – digital marketing

Now that you’ve got your business online, and have a professional image for potential customers and clients, it’s time to think about how you’re going to get found online.

Your website won’t stand alone. It’s one part of a broad ecosystem that makes up your business’s online strategy. Extend your online presence with an active, social media presence, and boost your brand.

You should also consider using digital marketing to reach more customers – through a combination of online advertising, SEO, email marketing, and more.

While a lot of this digital marketing can be done by you in-house, it may be beneficial to hire an agency to help you set up your wider online presence, or to help you manage it long-term.

RU Online offers a range of great startup digital marketing plans to help your get found online (www.ruonline.com.au/seo), or you can contact us for a more customised solution.

A final word

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You now have all the tools you need to start the journey of getting your business online, and we’d love to be a part of that journey.

Here at RU Online, we pride ourselves on our transparency, and straightforward, honest, free advice, whether you intend to use us for your web design needs or not.

So drop us a line, we’d love to help you get started, and offer you a free quote to get your business online.

TLDR Summary (too long, didn’t read)

  • If you’re in business, potential customers will judge you on your website, or lack of. You’ll need to invest either money, or your own time, to ensure your online presence looks and feels professional.
  • If you hire a design agency (like RU Online) to design your business website, expect to pay between $1,000 – $5,000, depending on your design and feature needs.
  • If you’re operating on a shoestring budget, you can make do with DIY website builder to save $$$. We can help you with this, too – RU Online offers a DIY Website Package to help businesses get started with a DIY website (it’s always handy to have someone to call when you get stuck).
  • Hire RU Online to build a website for your business 😉