Development, Thought Leaders

How to Create a Budget For A New Website [With Template]

January 12, 2023

by Hannah Hicklen

Having a website is essential for any business looking to attract customers by building their online presence. But developing a website doesn't need to break the bank. Learn how to create a web development budget to keep your project affordable. 

In this day and age, it’s absolutely necessary for businesses to have a well-functioning website, regardless of their industry. For many consumers, online research is the first step of the buying process. 

By building an online presence, companies are able to reach more customers online and enhance their credibility. As a result, many are able to increase sales that impact their bottom line. 

While the reason why they’re building a website may vary, companies hope to build user-friendly platforms that represent their companies well and deliver the functionality they need, but are still well-within their budget. 

Here’s what you need to know to create a budget before you start building your website. 

What Goes Into A Web Development Budget?

There are many steps when taking a website from conception to launch. Creating a web development budget requires business leaders to consider all the aspects of the project. Understanding the scope of your project is a key step in creating a budget for your website development project. 

Whether you choose to hire a web development company, build the platform in-house, or hire a freelancer, here is what your quote should entail.  

  • Discovery includes the initial research and information gathering required to scope the project’s requirements. This may include market and competitor research. 
  • Information Architecture is the step in which the structure and hierarchy of the site is determined. This creates the groundwork needed for navigation. 
  • Wireframing is the first step in the design process. Designers create sketches to determine where certain design elements will be located. 
  • Design can have a huge impact on how appealing the site is and its accessibility. Web designers determine what colors, fonts, styling, sizing, and layouts to use for developers to implement.
  • Development begins only when the design has been finalized. The web development team will use various programming languages, website builders, and CMS to take the project from a concept to reality. 
  • Frontend Development focuses on the interface that users will interact with. As a result, how the frontend works has a huge impact on the site’s overall success.
  • Backend Development or server-side development ensure that the website functions well. This is less focused on design, but is just as important for user experience. 
  • Project management ensures that the project goes smoothly. Project managers create a timeline for the development process, allocate resources, and communicate between different stakeholders. 
  • Testing and QA makes certain that the site meets expectations and provides a positive user experience. By running through a comprehensive checklist and testing for functionality limitations, companies can flag any issues and fix them as needed. 
  • Launching the website is the final step in the web development process. A great launching strategy minimizes disruptions to any existing sites, prevents technical issues, and ensures the integrity of tracking data. 

Once you understand exactly what you need to build a website that meets your business’s needs, you’ll be able to estimate how much you need to spend. 

How to Create A Budget For A New Website

Building a new website for your company can be an intimidating task — the design and functionality of your platform depends entirely on what your business can afford. By outlining breaking down your budget before the project begins, you can build a new website that has everything you’re looking for. 

Follow these steps when creating a budget for a new website: 

  1. Focus on what you can afford
  2. Create a scope of work
  3. Decide if you need to hire an agency
  4. Factor in hosting, licensing, and maintenance fees
  5. Leave room for surprise expenses

Focus On What You Can Afford 

If you’re not careful about how you go about budgeting, building a website can be a costly process. Especially for small businesses or those who are just getting off the ground, keeping your costs in check is absolutely necessary. 

When building out your web development budget, you should first determine what your business can actually afford. To do this, you must carefully go through your revenue, fixed costs, and variable expenses. 

This information should be included in your company’s financial reports. Profit and loss statements, for example, summarize the revenue, costs, and expenses that have occurred within a fixed period. By subtracting costs and expenses from your income, you can determine your profit. 

You should then set aside a portion of what you’ve saved for your new website. For some, this may be just a few hundred dollars, but for others, it could be several tens of thousands. How much your business is willing and able to spend will have a huge impact on what they can accomplish during their website development process. 

With an estimate of the total you can spend on the project, you can then break down the cost of each segment of the project and outline your website’s budget. 

Create a Scope of Work

The cost of building the website varies depending on the size and complexity of the project. A scope of work outlines the expectations of a project and can have a huge impact on what a business spends on their website development. 

Traditionally, a scope of work should be very detailed and include expectations for product features, designs, which tech stack to use, and which metrics you plan to track. During the budgeting process, business leaders don’t necessarily need to have a super detailed scope of work that includes the project schedule or deliverables. However, they should have a basic outline of what they want to accomplish through their website. 

With a solid understanding of what their website goals are, business leaders can create a project scope that features the size and features of the site. With this information, they can estimate the cost of developing the website and break down what they should spend on each. 

If you plan on hiring a web development company, a scope of work can also help potential vendors provide a fair and accurate cost estimate. 

Additional reading, ‘Why A Scope of Work is Essential to Finding the Right Service Provider.

What needs to be included in a scope of work for building a new website? 

  1. Purpose of the site 
  2. Size 
  3. Functionality

Purpose of the Website

To create a scope of work, companies must first pinpoint the purpose of your website and the type of website they want to build. While some companies may need to build a robust platform with thousands of product pages, others simply use their website to provide information about their company and their brand. 

Why Build a Business Website? 

  1. Enhance brand awareness
  2. Provide information 
  3. Increase leads
  4. Make sales
  5. Develop a mailing list

The purpose of the site can impact both the number of pages you need to include as well as the features and functionality that will be included on the website. To plan for it appropriately and create an accurate budget, you must first focus on why you’re building the website. 

This may also help web developers provide ideas or suggestions to improve your website. 

Size of the Website

As stated above, the purpose of your site may also impact the size of the platform — an informational site may require just a few pages, while a database or an e-commerce site may need a few hundred or a few thousand. 

Of course, a larger website means that it will take longer to develop it. Generally, web developers charge an hourly rate for their services. Thanks to these labor costs, the price of the project will inherently increase based on the size of the platform. 

Having a general idea of how big the site will be will not only help developers create a timeline to keep the project on track, but it will also help you calculate how many hours they will spend on the project, and therefore, how much you will need to budget for labor costs. 


What may affect the budget of the project more than anything are the features and functionality of the website. More complex websites are labor-intensive and expensive. Even though certain features can impact the project’s budget, ensuring that your website can deliver everything your business needs makes it well-worth the cost. 

Here are some common features businesses may choose to include in their website. 

  1. Content management system (CMS)  
  2. Ecommerce functionality (shopping cart, check out, etc) 
  3. Interactive multimedia 
  4. Navigation bars
  5. Clickable CTAs
  6. Images
  7. Live chat or AI tools
  8. Social media icons 
  9. Contact forms 

Additional reading, ‘Top 6 Website Features People Value.’

Of course, some features are more expensive than others. Developing a bespoke CMS, for example, requires significantly more work than ensuring that images can be uploaded to the site. 

To keep your budget in check, it’s important to prioritize the features you want to include in your website. First, create a list of all of the features you want to include in your site. Then organize them from most to least important. Alternatively, you can divide your list into features you need versus features you want. 

This way, if your budget starts to run a little tight, you know what you need to cut to prevent overspending, while still ensuring that your website includes the features your business needs. 

Once you’ve created this list, you can conduct more research into what it costs to build each feature to estimate how much it will cost to build your dream website. 

If you choose to hire a web development company, a list of the features you want to include is essential for getting an accurate quote. In addition to providing a fair and accurate cost estimate, vendors can use this information to manage your budget throughout the development process. 

Decide If You Need to Hire a Web Developer

Hiring a service provider, such as a web development company, may increase the budget of the project simply because of the labor costs associated with it. To avoid these costs, many companies choose to build their website in-house or with a website builder. 

For businesses with experienced website developers on-staff, this certainly makes sense. However, complex website designs can be tricky to implement. Especially if your business requires a lot of features or enhanced functionality, hiring a professional web development company will ensure that you receive the final product you’re looking for. 

If your business doesn’t have the resources you need to build your website in-house, but you still can’t afford a full web development company, another option would be to hire a freelancer. For simpler websites, freelance developers can provide the experience needed to deliver a high-quality website at a more reasonable price than a full development team. 

Alternatively, low-cost or free website builders allow people with limited or no development experience to build their own websites. These online tools allow people to use drag-and-drop features or choose from design templates to build their own websites. 

Many website builders also provide additional features that your business may need for your website. For example, Squarespace and Shopify provide shopping carts, making them the perfect website builder for e-commerce platforms. 

Leading Website Builders 

  • Wix 
  • Squarespace
  • Shopify 
  • Wordpress

While website builders often help companies build their website in-house, they can be limited. Some companies may find that they need more experience to add additional plug-ins or features to their website. In these instances, they may determine that it is better to work with a developer or freelancer who is more familiar with the website builder. 

The only way to determine whether or not you need to hire a website developer is by scoping out your project. 

Factor in Maintenance Fees 

In addition to standard development costs, there will be recurring fees to launch your website and keep it up and running. It’s important to account for these costs, not just in your website development budget, but also in your ongoing business budget. 

Recurring Maintenance Costs


Domain name

$0–$20 per year
Web Hosting $2–$80 per month
SSL Certificate $0–$1,000 per year
Tech Support $2–$300 per month
Plug-ins $0–$600 per month

These ongoing fees are absolutely essential to keep your website functional. 

Leave Room for Surprise Expenses

Like any big project, things can go awry when building a website. When this happens, it’s nice to have a little wiggle room in your budget to accommodate unexpected expenses. 

By budgeting for these expenses, companies can ensure that the project will be completed without a huge impact on the business’s bottom line. It will also keep costs in check and allow businesses to expand the scope of their project if they think it will improve the final product. 

Website Development Budget Template

Web Development Budget Template

Download the template for your web development budget.

Factors for Web Development Cost 

The cost of building a website varies widely. The wide range is due to many factors including: 

  • Website features and functionality 
  • Complexity of the website 
  • Size of the website
  • UX and design 
  • How much time you have for development

To create an accurate budget when building a website, companies must be aware of the costs surrounding web development. Know what each part of your project will cost in order to keep your budget under control. 

Budget For Your New Website to Keep Costs Low

Whether you’re looking to build a complex e-commerce website or a simple informational site for your business, outlining your website development budget is necessary to keep your costs in check. 

Website development can be a complicated process, so it’s important for business leaders to account for every aspect of the project. With a solid understanding of how much it will cost to deliver everything your website needs to be successful, you can build a great website without blowing the budget. 

Looking for help to build your business’s new website? Connect with a web development company on Clutch. 

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