A great website is capable of accurately reflecting your brand or business. That’s why well-thought-out web design has become so important – as it can give your business the boost it needs to dominate the competitors.
In the South Africa, many are visiting shops less frequently due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. So, with fewer consumers visiting the high street, it’s even more important for your business to build an online presence that will cater to this consumer shift.
A number of people still encounter some confusion over how much a website should cost – is it reasonable to spend thousands, or could you get away with less? And if you do pay to have a website designed, what are the ongoing costs to anticipate? fact of the matter is that it is not always easy knowing where to start, and your research may yield conflicting results.
We’ve explored all the costs involved in setting up and maintaining websites of all different sizes to give you a clearer idea.
So How Much Does a Website Design Cost in South Africa?
Website design prices in South Africa range from R500 – R30 000+. Several factors impact the price of web design, including the website’s style, size, and functionality features. The skill and experience a designer has, and programming language/s or content management systems (CMS) also plays a role.
But for the purpose of this article we’ve broken them down into four different categories; basic, small business, e-commerce and bespoke.
How Much Does A Website Cost?
The cost of your website will depend on the type of site you need, and the number of features you require. However, to give you an idea of how much you’ll need to spend, we’ve provided the average costs of using a web designer for different websites below…
Web designer prices accurate as of January 2021.
|Type of website||Features||Designer cost|
|Basic||R500 – R2500|
|Small business||R2700 – R7000|
|Ecommerce||R9000 – R25000|
(banking, architecture sites etc)
|R10000 – R150000|
Cost Of A Basic Website Design
Basic websites are great if you want a simple online presence. It is a place to showcase your business, and receive enquiries. Think of it kind of like a modern day business card.
A basic website is made up of one to five pages, and has very simple functionality. Added to their core pages, Basic sites have a contact and home page. You would need to confirm if the mobile responsive feature is included in the design price.
You can go down several routes when creating your basic website. Each option has its own pros and cons:
Web design agency
Design agencies are typically very reliable and experienced. Creating websites is what they do, and they have perfected the skill. They are the perfect option if you want a basic website but lack the time or skills to make one yourself. Agencies normally will provide a quotation for the project as a whole, which makes it easy to compare offers.
Using a freelance developer is another option for creating your basic website. Finding a freelancer may take a little more research, but you can typically enjoy a more personalised service. You will find, however, that a freelancer won’t have the broad range of experience that an agency does. They will also typically charge per hour (R150 – R1000). This can make it hard to predict the total cost.
The cost of a basic website will roughly be:
|Cost of a Basic Website|
|Design||R500 – R2500|
|Domain||R80 to R290 / year|
|Total Upfront Cost||R500 – R2500|
|Hosting||R55 – R100 / month|
|Content Updates||R0 to R200 / month|
|Total Ongoing Costs||R55 – R300 / month|
Of course, these prices depend very much on both the size and the complexity of your website. When requesting a quotation, be sure to be clear and specific as that’ll help you to get the exact total cost. Transparency in the early stages of the web design process between both you and your designer ensures everyone is on the same page, and will help prevent costly amendments further down the line.
Cost Of A Small Business Website
A small business website can a good fit for a business that requires something slightly more than a basic website, or one needs an upgrade of their existing basic website. ‘Small Business Websites’ are also brochure style, but are far more feature-rich.
Some of the features of a small business website could include: social media integration, responsive User Interface, a content management system, google analytics and google maps, ‘google my business’ capability. There’s also a few more pages than a basic website, and again will be designed to be mobile responsive.
A small business website is a great fit for a business that is updates it’s content regularly. This makes them the perfect choice for startups, freelancers or any growing organisation.
The cost of a small business website will roughly be:
|Cost of a Small Business Website|
|Design||R2700 – R7000|
|Domain||R80 to R290 / year|
|Total Upfront Cost||R2700 – R7000|
|Hosting||R55 – R450 / month|
|Content Updates||R0 to R700 / month|
|Total Ongoing Costs||R55 – R1150 / month|
Paying for a well-designed website does in no way guarantee internet success. Once you have your completed website, it’s recommend that you reinforce your presence with regular digital marketing and content updates, in order to keep visitors coming back over and over to your website. Thus, allocating a monthly budget of time and money can be a great way to ensure that this doesn’t get forgotten.
When choosing a web design company for your small business website, select one with experience in working with other small businesses. Otherwise, you may find yourself battling with fancy features that won’t actually offer you any real benefit.
Again, website design agencies in South Africa are a great option for creating your small business website.
Cost Of An Ecommerce Website
The cost of an Ecommerce website can vary greatly. The price is impacted by the number of products you want to stock, and the number of variables on each product. And yes, it will also depend on the number of additional features you’d like to incorporate. An Ecommerce web design should naturally include an order management system, delivery tracking functionality and a live chat facility, in addition to the features included in a small business website.
When commissioning your Ecommerce website project, put much thought into what you want from your new store. Will this website make up most of your brand’s presence – do you want people to hang around, to read blog posts, to engage with you on some of your social media platforms? Are you looking to have people returning to your site? Or will it be more of a ‘one-stop shop’? Do you expect a lot of your customers to shop from their mobile devices, or mainly on desktop?
|Cost of an Ecommerce website|
|Design||R9000 – R25000|
|Domain||R80 to R290 / year|
|SSL certificate||R150 to R3500 / year|
|Total Upfront Cost||R9000 – R25000|
|Hosting||R55 – R1000 / month|
|Content Updates||R0 to R2500 / month|
|Total Ongoing Costs||R55 – R3500 / month|
In addition to the usual maintenance, hosting, domain and design costs, you may laos need to factor in the cost of an SSL certificate. This will add a trusted layer of security to your website, which will reassure your customers.
Having an SSL certificate provides a ‘https’ prefix, instead of the usual ‘http’ to your website’s URL. The ‘s’ stands for secure, and it’s something we’re increasingly seeing sites adopt. An SSL certificate also means you have a green padlock icon in the address bar. It means your customers will take your website seriously, and Google will fall in love with it. You should check that your web designer will include the initial SSL licence as part of the web design package.
Again, being as specific as you can about your requirements will ensure you get an accurate quotation early in the process. It can be hard to guess the price of an ecommerce website because of the many variables involved.
The most straight forward way to get an accurate price for your website is by comparing free quotes. We can help you there. Simply fill in this short form and tell us what you’d like from your website, and we’ll be in touch with non-obligation quote for you to peruse. It’s simple!
Cost Of A Bespoke Website
A bespoke website is great for larger companies requiring more functionality, with a larger amount of visitors or with more information to share.
No! Not all websites are bespoke.
For smaller websites without any complex requirements, a web designer can easily reuse an existing web template for your business. In this case, the website is tailored, but not bespoke. A real bespoke website is built from the ground-up to an original and unique set of requirements. If you are looking for a bespoke website with ecommerce functionality, then have a look at the section above for a breakdown of ecommerce website costs.
Bespoke websites are database driven. They are also embodied by some advanced functionality and unlimited subpages (pages created within the subcategories of your site). These are almost always required by businesses in certain industries, including financial services, recruitment or property companies, health and fitness businesses, and architects. This list is by no means an exhaustive one – any business requiring complex functionality may well find that they fall into the bespoke price range.
Bespoke websites will also take mobile responsiveness to a higher level, creating a ‘fluid’ design that may look completely different on mobile. As over 50% of searches are conducted on mobile, making this experience as great as possible for your customers should should be paramount.
When requiring a bespoke website, it is helpful to work with a dedicated partner. Unless you have a strong relationship with a talented freelancer, we would definitely recommend looking for a creative agency to work with. This will guarantee that you get the best possible service and that they understand your business and what you are trying to accomplish through the site. It’s even more important that you get a quote for the complete project, and not a ‘per hour’ rate. This is because larger projects have the potential to produce time consuming issues that are out of your control as a client.
|Cost of a Bespoke Website|
|Design||R10000 – R150000|
|Domain||R80 to R290 / year|
|Total Upfront Cost||R10000 – R100000|
|Hosting||R55 – R100 / month|
|Content Updates||R0 to R4000 / month|
|Total Ongoing Costs||R55 – R4100 / month|
In costing terms, a bespoke website is certainly an upgrade from a small business website that has been built from a template. If you’re not sure whether you need a small business website or a bespoke website, consider more that just the functionality and number of visitors you are working with at the moment, but rather what your needs are likely to be in the future. Having a website that is focused and ready to grow as you grow is vital.
In addition to design costs, the main upfront cost you will encounter is purchasing a domain name (if you don’t already have one). Some agencies include this free of charge with your design package
A domain name is the unique ‘address’ of a website. For example, the Magoven Creative Studio domain name is ‘magoven.co.za’.
|Domain type||Minimum cost|
Once you’ve found a domain name which isn’t already registered, you can pay for it on a website such as 123 Reg or Coolhost. Prices differ depending on how popular your chosen domain name is: .co.za domains cost as little as R80 per year, and .com domains will be around R290 upwards per year. The most desirable site names cost tens of thousands of rands per year, so check out a few combinations before settling on any one.
Hosting: at a glance
All websites must be hosted on a web server. Hosting a website makes it possible for the site to be accessible on the web. Think of it as renting or buying some ‘space’ on the internet, ie. some bandwidth. You don’t need to completely understand what web hosting means, but you should know that your website will need it in some form of it and you have a few options for this:
|Type of hosting||Typical cost|
|Shared hosting||R55 – R480/month|
|Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting||R100 – R1500/month|
|Cloud based web hosting||R100 – R3500/month|
|Dedicated hosting||R300 – R5000/month|
Shared hosting is the cheapest of all web hosting options. You share your hosting platform with a number of other websites, therefore sharing the cost as well. The downside though, is that you also share the bandwidth. Shared hosting can be a great and cheap option for basic or new sites which don’t yet get many visitors.
Prices range from R55 – R480 a month.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting
A VPS server is a like middle ground between shared hosting and having your own dedicated server. A VPS is one physical server but allocates multiple, separate servers to its sites. This way you can avoid the endless problems associated with shared hosting.
Prices range from R100 – R1500 a month.
Cloud Based Web Hosting
With cloud based web hosting, your website is hosted on a virtual server. This is a popular option for a number of different reasons.
- With cloud hosting plans, you can accommodate unusually large surges in traffic.
- It’s easy to adapt cloud based hosting to your ongoing changing requirements.
- With cloud based web hosting plans, you pay only for what you use. This is a logical next step for a website that might have started on a shared hosting plan but begins to experience a large volume of traffic.
Prices range from R100 – R3500 a month.
With this option, you have your own server dedicated to hosting only your website. Websites that are particularly large or complex, or that require exceptionally high levels of data security will benefit from dedicated hosting. It is also the best option for websites with a high and steady amount of traffic. By not sharing a server with other websites comes with its advantages, namely that you do not have to compete for bandwidth. This is reflected in the higher price.
Prices range from R300 – R5000 a month.
In addition to hosting fees, you will need to take into account the cost of content updates. Costs will vary depending on the size of your website, any updates you want to make, and how much you pay the team tasked with making these changes.
Keep this in mind, your website is never really ‘finished’, even when you are happy with how it looks and works. Making sure you update it on a regular basis will help to keep your audience interested and to appear on google searches. We’ve allowed up to R4000 a month for content updates.
In addition to the costs mentioned above, there are some additional services you may choose to consider:
1. Content production
Writing your own content can help to keep costs down. However, it can be worth getting a freelancer or agency to assist. Expect to pay between R200 and R500 per hour for content creation.
It is advised to consider hiring a photographer to collect a wealth of images for your brand or product in order to create a strong brand image. You can also buy stock images and graphics from sites like depositphotos, or download free images for commercial use on unsplash.
3. SEO / marketing
Let’s say you own a cakes shop in Johannesburg. Googling ‘cakes Johannesburg’ produces around four million results. So how do you make sure that your business appears near the top?
Much of it has to do with how relevant your business is, how up-to-date the content on your site is, and how many visitors your site receives from other platforms, eg. social media platforms. However there are additional steps you need to take to make sure you’re securing the best position possible.
This is where SEO – Search Engine Optimisation comes in. This process makes a website the best that it can be in terms of search engines. Search engines always give preference to sites that load faster and offer information that people are always searching for, amongst other things.
It’s always a good idea to check with your web design company if they offer SEO services as part of the package. For websites with a lot of content, consider getting a freelancer or agency that specialises in SEO to take a look through your site once every couple of months, making sure that it remains well-optimised.
How Long Does It Take To Build A Website?
Now you have a rough idea of how much your site might cost, you may wonder, How long will it take?
Unsurprisingly, this depends on the type, size and complexity of your desired site as well as the agency you’re partnered with. Working with an agency may take anything from a couple of weeks to a few months.
Always check with your website design company on their delivery timeframes.
10 Important Questions To Ask Your Web Designer
Communication is paramount to making the web design process as seamless as possible. You need to know exactly what you’re getting from your web designer, and they in turn should know exactly what you expect of them. With this in mind, here are a few questions to ask your designer:
- Do you arrange buying the domain name and hosting for the site, and is this included in your quote?
- How easy will it be for me to report on and update my website? If it requires specialist knowledge, will you provide training for myself and my staff?
- Will there be any ongoing costs for general site maintenance?
- Will you optimise the website for search engines?
- Will the site be mobile responsive?
- If I am unhappy with the finished design of my site, can it be amended and is there a cost associated with this?
- Will you provide content and imagery for the site, or should I provide it?
- What is the scope for future development of the website? Is it built to grow quickly?
- How much will future amendments to the site cost?
- How is my website protected if something goes wrong?
Other Things To Bear In Mind
Web design is a service, not a product
Looking at web design as a service instead of a product will help you to understand why it can be difficult to put an exact price on it.
Standards vary from agency to agency
Like in any other industry, the quality of work will vary from agency to agency. It’s wise to have a look at customer reviews and examples of previous work when deciding which agency to go with. And remember, the cheapest option isn’t always the best one – anything that looks too good to be true probably is!
What To Do Now?
Even with a guide to help, trying to work out the exact cost of a website without a background in design is really tricky. We can assist with your exact website needs, and all you need to do is contact us and tell us what you need. You’ll then receive an obligation-free quotation for your business.