How much should you pay for a new website in 2020/21?

You know what it’s like when you’re looking for a specific product or service.

You visit many websites looking for the perfect solution for the right price, but it’s not easy especially when you can’t find pricing!

It’s the same when you’re in the market for a new website. There are soooooo many choices!

Where do you start and how much should you pay?

You dive into research mode – and before you know it you’re drowning.  

There are just SO many website design options (and price tags!) – it’s overwhelming. 

However, the first thing your research warned you about was the worst-case scenario.  A wrong choice could lose you “optimization” – instead of boosting your website views and visitor interactions, the wrong choice could put you behind the 8-ball!

But you persist – because without enough research, you might end up making a choice that does your business harm instead of good. 

You’re facing:

  1. too many options;  and
  2. too long a decision process

When you have decision fatigue your chances of making a BAD decision multiply.

Relax. We’ve got you covered. This article will help guide you in deciding which option is right for you.

Three simple steps to avoid website decision fatigue:

To avoid decision fatigue, there are three key strategies:

  1. Look at your needs (not what competing advertisers tell you that you SHOULD do)
  2. Understand the different options that could get your needs met
  3. Choose the option that’s right for you

So what do YOU need?

First look at your situation and ask yourself questions like…

Are you building something new in your business like testing a new offer or business model?

Are you an established business?  Do you have a strong business model, a hard-earned reputation, and a growth future?

Are you technically skilled or have an in-house tech team to help design and build your website?  

Then look at what you currently have, if you have a website…

Does your website still stand out from your competitors and is it bringing in the leads and sales you hoped for? 

Has your business or offer pivoted, however, your website hasn’t?  Or has your market moved and you need to respond to keep up?

Is your website starting to look tired, dated, and is getting slower by the month?

Does your website do a good job of demonstrating your expertise and authority?

Does your website have a look and feel intentionally designed to appeal to YOUR ideal customers?

Is your website a “marketing machine” that brings you the right prospects and entices them to take the next steps?  Or do you have an online brochure with no marketing strategy? 

Has it served you well – but the prehistoric coding is held together with the electronic version of duct tape and zip ties?

Could it be that when you pull yourself away from social media & finish that coffee, you look at your website and finally acknowledge the sad truth:


Once you know you’re clear on the answers to the questions above, THEN you have a powerful weapon against decision fatigue. 

The next step is to get serious about understanding what it takes to attract the right audience and convert them into paying customers. 

In summary, you will need:

  • persuasive copywriting that has clarity – written to educate and motivate your visitors to take action.
  • a strategy and a clear pathway that warms up your cold website visitors into hot buyers.
  • a quality, stunning website design that creates a desire for your business and uses powerful psychological drivers throughout the design.

The options below show you the pros and cons of the choices you have:

Off-the-shelf D.I.Y. Website Templates:

A template website is a pre-designed and pre-coded website that you buy “off the shelf”. You install the template on your domain then add your content yourself.

Some of the most popular D.I.Y. Website Templates are found at ThemeForest, TemplateMonster, Weebly, Wix, SquareSpace, etc.

Templates are great when you’re starting a business or testing a new offer.  You can get a website template up and running quickly to see if your ideas work.   A new website can be incredibly hard to visualize – so the right template can get your ideas out of your head and onto a screen.

Website templates have become increasingly popular in the last few years, thanks to, how many there are, how easy they are to install and how much fun techies have played with them.

When you check out template sites on the internet, you’ll see just how many there are to choose from—ThemeForest alone has 45,000 templates!

Templates can be incredibly beginner-friendly. Most only need a couple of clicks, and “hey presto” – they’re installed on your domain.

Because there are lots of templates to choose from, there’s almost certainly a theme that caters to the industry you’re in. And they’re cheap, too!

Templates have their limits

No matter how “cheap” templates seem, they have hidden costs down the track.  If you don’t understand their limits, you could impact your business visibility and long-term website performance.

Template-based websites are like off-the-peg clothing.  The design is usually quite generic and it’s often not flexible. Like off-the-peg clothing, you have to fit the template and the way the template works. 

Overall, templates can’t be customized very easily.  They do what they were originally created for. They’re not built or designed for your unique business, or optimized around your content and offer. If your business changes, a template won’t change with you.

Templates can break over time.  They’re coded for a particular version of a particular content management platform (like WordPress).  As the software around the template changes, the age of the template. They will probably work fine for a while, but over time as you start trying to customize it and add plugins, it doesn’t look like you hoped, it gets slower and things break. Eventually, your frustration usually leads to wanting to start again with a better solution.

So they’re great for startups, they’re great for trialing a new offer – BUT…

Once you’re making money, it’s time to invest.  Invest in both creating a unique visual brand AND in converting the engine room of your website into getting you a positive result. A result that looks great and will be a reliable website tailored to your unique business.

Will templates work for you?

Templates are ideal for “soft-launching” an offer. They let you get a website out there quickly!

However, over time template websites tend to run into some key issues:

  •  Not optimized. Templates are meant to be used by thousands of people, which means they’re made to be generic. Instead of your web design working around your content, you often have to tailor your content to fit the template design.
  •  Not original. Since templates are available for everyone to use, there are likely a dozen other businesses using your template right now.  It goes against your site’s memorability if your website design looks too familiar.
  •  Not Focused On Conversions. Some templates may look pretty, using all the bells-n-whistles latest design trends, however, most of those trends will hurt conversions and not boost them. If they use display effects like parallax, sliders, video backgrounds, and other fancy animations they will (1) slow down your website AND (2) frustrate and distract your visitors.

How much are website templates? You can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $200-ish for a website template.  You may not need an entire website though. You may only need a landing page, so read on…


D.I.Y. landing page builder templates:

If you are out to test a new business idea or offer, then you may NOT need a whole new website. You may be better off creating a single web page to promote your offer and see if it’s something that you have a market for. 

A landing page is a single web page that offers one specific thing.   It’s focused on explaining the benefits of that offer, who it’s suited to and why people should take you up on your offer.    It’s designed to get visitors to say “yes” to one specific offer – a free offer, a paid offer, etc.

D.I.Y.  page builder templates are web pages that you can build yourself from pre-set drag-and-drop components. You install a landing page template on your domain then add your own content.

Some of the most popular landing page builder platforms are Clickfunnels, Leadpages, Instapage, and Hubspot.

The great thing about landing page builders is that they’re quick to install and easy to use, so you can make a new online offer fast.

Landing page builders are also designed to be mobile-friendly. You can use them in conjunction with pay-per-click ads to make specific offers where people do most of their research – on their phones and tablets.

There are many landing page builders, with a range of tools at a range of price points.  Most charge by the month. Which is great value initially if you’re testing an offer for a short time.

Like any D.I.Y. project, a landing page builder can soak up a whole lot of time and energy.  To make the most of your investment, you’ll want to have a whole lot of marketing clarity before you start – especially about your target market, your offer, and your USP.

So if your primary need is:

  • To make a new offer to your customers; OR
  • To test an existing offer and see how you can improve it.

Then a good way to go is to start with a landing page builder template.

When you have tested your offer and you have a WINNER, then perhaps it’s time to move the successful landing pages to your own website, so that you own that asset forever. After all landing page builders charge you every single month, so while it’s a cheap option at first, over time it adds up. 

If you have tested your offer and it’s converting, then read on to discover a couple more options on how to take your website and brand to the next level.

Here’s one of those options to choose from…


‘Bricks-and-mortar’ website agencies:

Location-based website agencies get rid of all the steps in between wanting a new website and having a new website. If they’re really good, you may only need a couple of meetings with the agency.  

You tell them what you need, pay them money and the agency does everything from conceptualizing the design to coding the website. You give them your content, and then they’ll design, build and optimize your website for you.

The downside of hiring a specialized website agency can sometimes be the expense. (You’re paying for all the people involved, after all!) The graphic designers, the developers, the project manager, their office, their marketing team, their equipment, their insurance, etc.

Businesses that choose one of these website agencies are typically medium-sized businesses that are looking for specialized functionality and custom programming as well as a powerful online marketing process. 

Do your “due diligence” on the agency. 

Read this article on how to find the right website design agency.

Finding a website agency is like hiring an auto mechanic. If you’re not familiar with the inner workings of your car, then it’s easy to get stung. 

You don’t really know what you’re paying for—you’re just telling them what the problem is and then waiting for them to fix it.  If you haven’t chosen wisely, you could end up paying more than you should.

Looking for a new website agency needs care and investigation – because you need someone honest AND someone with real competence. 

To safeguard your business, look for established, well-run companies that make sure they maintain their reputation by delivering excellent work.  

Regardless of how much you like them and how well they seem to understand you in your first meeting, make sure you get evidence that they really can meet your needs.  

A good website agency will be more than willing to show you what they can do – they’ll have case studies plus before-and-after examples,  along with video and written testimonials.  

What to expect from “bricks-and-mortar” agencies:

Agencies require minimal effort on your part. So, if you’re busy and looking for a website solution that doesn’t involve you too much, then you should think of investing in a website agency. (And it IS a marketing investment, not just a cost.)

They are usually very good at what they do, so you will most likely get a good result. 

How much are ‘bricks-and-mortar’ agency services?

Some agencies will charge by the project.  Others will establish an ongoing monthly contract. You could be paying on average anything from $10k to $100k (and then some) for bigger projects.  That’s why they attract bigger businesses.

Agencies are often paid by the hour. New York-based agencies cost up to $600+ per hour while other regions average at $300+ per hour. 

One thing to be aware of is that when you pay a “bricks-and-mortar” agency, you’re also paying for their in-house designers, their marketing, their utility bills, and their office rent, among others. 

If you still want an outstanding website that gets you a great result, without an expensive ‘bricks-and-mortar’ price tag, you may want to consider hiring an ‘online website agency’ that has a leaner business model and can offer you a better price.


Online website agencies:

Online website agencies can offer custom unique websites designed to boost your results, that aren’t templates AND they operate without the higher fees that ‘bricks-and-mortar’ agencies have to charge to cover their costs.

Online agencies understand deeply that reputation is everything.  To stay in business for the long term,  they HAVE to be good at what they do. They run online, so they really understand how to get results for you online.

A good online agency will have a structured, effective briefing process to make sure that they understand your business and your requirements.  Look for one that asks lots of questions and spends time with you to make sure they understand what you’re looking for.  

Expect to answer a detailed questionnaire, then participate in an online interview process to add more detail.   (If your chosen agency doesn’t have lots of questions – think again!)

Benefits of online website agencies:

Hiring an established, successful online website agency has lots of benefits: 

  • No physical location. Online agencies can draw from a global pool of smart talent.  They’re not limited by a talent pool based in a single city.
  • Fewer overheads to cover. Since online agencies don’t run big, central offices, they don’t have to worry about paying rent, electricity, water, and the Internet. That means they can deliver great websites at competitive prices.
  • Customized, unique AND great value. Online website agencies produce high-performance websites as well as any traditional bricks-and-mortar website agency – just more affordably. They work with you to make sure your website is 100% optimized and ready to launch.
  • Hands-on approach. Online website agencies are generally smaller, more connected and more agile than traditional bricks-and-mortar website agencies. They choose people who enjoy what they do and care about their client’s results. If they take you on as a client, you know that they’re committed to working with you to deliver a site that you are proud of and that gets you great results.
  • They Walk The Walk. Every website agency you speak to will claim to be an expert in online marketing. However, online website agencies have to be experts in online marketing; it’s how they find clients and build their reputation! If you’re going to trust a website agency, trust one that walks the walk!

How much are online website agency services?

You can expect to pay between $5k & $15k on average. If you are quoted less, be careful that you aren’t locked into an ongoing hosting fee. Read the agreement first. It could say that if you stop paying the monthly hosting fee, that they have the right to take your website offline.

At  we can provide great results for our clients, without charging a ridiculous price tag, because we operate a lean online business.

You can expect to pay between $2.5k and $5k for a full website design, depending on the length of the pages.  We then offer to code the website for an extra $2.5k – $5k. (Coding a website simply means to turn the website page designs into a live functional, mobile responsive website on your domain. We also give you the choice to hire your own coders if you want to.

Studio1 specializes in high-converting websites – designed and built to deliver optimal website performance, not just good looks.

Every page is designed to drive conversions. No filler words or images; each design element has a purpose in communicating your brand and your message.

If you want new branding and style guide, then add between $1k & $3k, depending on how many design elements you need.  Then you’ll have a completely new brand standard that you can apply to everything you create moving forward. 

Read this article to discover why branding is more important than ever in today’s competitive market.


In Summary: Don’t focus on the price; focus on the results you want!

To help you decide which option to go for, ask yourself: 

How much value will each option bring to my business and what is the result I really want to get out of my website? 

We’d love to help you if you think we’re a good fit for your business and you’re ready to invest in a website that’s an active, 24/7 marketing machine!

Take a stroll through our latest Design Transformation Portfolio here, and see what “stunning websites that convert” look like in 2021 – then imagine what we could do for your business…

Also, check out our extensive folio here.

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