How much does it cost to build a website in Australia? [updated]

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UPDATE: This article on costs to build a website was first published on 27 October 2020 and updated 17 June 2022.

The importance of having a website in the digital age cannot be overstated. A website helps customers find you easily and get to know you and what you offer. The more people you can reach online, the more opportunities you have to make a sale. But the question many business owners ask is how much does it cost to build a website here in Australia?

The cost of a website varies depending on if you just want the bare basics or all the bells and whistles.

A website can range from a DIY job — which costs little but can take hours of your time — to something that you outsource to a professional for thousands of dollars.

Below we provide a breakdown of what you can expect to pay when creating your website.

Costs to build a website

Here are ballpark estimates of the cost to build a website in Australia. Some options won’t include web design fees, but there are plenty of free tools online you can use to create custom graphics and designs for your website with no design experience required. GoDaddy Studio and GoDaddy Logo Maker are just a couple examples of online resources you can refer to for any of your designing needs.

Website type Total cost of creating your website Web designer charge Cost of hosting Cost of domain name (.com.au)
Brochure website created by a web designer $3,000-$7,000 $50-$250 per hour $4.95 to $24.99 per month From $15.95 per year
Website built using GoDaddy Website Builder $12.95-24.95 per month n/a Included Included
Small-to-medium eCommerce site created by a web designer $6,000-$15,000+ $50-$250 per hour From $24.99 per month From $15.95 per year
Small-to-medium eCommerce site built with GoDaddy Online Store $29.95 per month n/a Included Included
Large, bespoke website created by a web designer Above $30,000

 

$50-$250 per hour From $24.99 per month From $15.95 per year

Please note: The prices above are estimates of what it costs to build a website in Australia. We recommend shopping around, as web prices vary depending on scope. Once a website is designed, you will likely need to factor in ongoing maintenance charges, or any charges for making changes to your site once it’s created. It is best to discuss these with your designer before committing to anything.

Types of websites

There are three main types of websites — a brochure website, eCommerce site and custom bespoke website.

Brochure-type website

As the name suggests, the website is like a brochure, but in a digital format. It shows what your business is about and the products or services you offer.

To keep your business at the top of search rankings, you’ll want to optimise your web pages and regularly add new content.

Brochure websites are suitable for anyone looking to generate online leads:

  • Small businesses
  • Consultants
  • Freelancers
  • Tradespeople
  • Business-to-business providers

This option is great for those who don’t expect to sell online and are on a limited budget. In fact, you can build a brochure website with GoDaddy at no cost whatsoever.

eCommerce website

The main focus of an eCommerce website is to sell products and services. If you also have a physical store, the site should include your store hours, locations and directions.

An eCommerce website requires:

  • A digital catalogue
  • The backend technology needed to securely process online payments
  • An integrated shipping tool
  • Answers to frequently asked questions, your contact details and returns policy
  • A blog to provide a steady stream of fresh content
  • An SSL certificate (included with GoDaddy’s Online Store builder)

The cost of an eCommerce site will depend on what types and how many things you are planning to sell.

Bespoke website

If you’re after something a little more customised, you may want to consider hiring a web designer. A good web designer can create just about anything you need. The cost will vary depending on the complexity.

Web Developer Working on a Laptop
If you have the funds, a professional web designer is an excellent choice.

While hiring it out does require your input — you’ll need to supply photos, videos and often written content — it’s the easiest option of all. The primary benefits include:

Time savings

If you don’t have any web design expertise yourself or within your team, hiring a pro can save you time and hassle. This frees you to focus on what you do best.

A highly customised website

A pro may be able to give you a more sophisticated website with database integration, say, or one capable of high-volume eCommerce, than you can design yourself.

Ongoing help

Your web designer may be able to provide you with ongoing support as your website grows. You should ask about maintenance costs before you hire a designer.

The only drawback with this option is the cost.

 

Of course, if you’re planning on launching the next Amazon or Kogan, you’ll need to hire a team of designers and developers on a full-time basis to build and maintain the site.

Related: Do you need a web designer or can you DIY?

Website Building Chart Comparing Various Options
This chart shows your options, ranked according to cost to build a website.

How do I find a designer to build my website?

A quick search on Google will give you millions of results for website designers. It’s a saturated market and we have five tips to guide you in finding the best website designer for your needs.

1. Set a rough budget for your website design

As we’ve seen, it can vary in costs to build a website. Your budget determines the level of web design you want and where you’ll get it from.

Once you’ve set a tentative budget, you’ll have a better idea of what outcome to expect and who you might pick for your design work.

Woman adding figures with a calculator

2. Pick the type of designer you want to hire

When it comes to web design, you have several options with different price points.

Freelancer

Freelancers will typically be the most inexpensive option, and you can find hundreds of freelancers on websites such as Upwork or Airtasker.

Freelance web designers vary in capabilities and experience.

 

Working with a freelancer is usually an informal process, meaning service levels may vary.

Good freelancers are communicative, flexible, and stick to promised turnaround times on design work. On the other hand, unprofessional freelancers will do just the opposite.

A design agency

There are agencies that specialise in web design and usually have teams of more than two with various capabilities.

They’re usually more expensive than freelancers because you’re paying for pooled expertise. Many professional design agencies offer more consistency, frequent communication, a higher degree of customisation, and faster turnaround times.

The full-service agency

An agency does everything from web design, to search engine optimisation (SEO) and digital marketing. A full-service agency such as  Ogilvy will cost more to hire than freelancers and some specialised design agencies, due to their end-to-end expertise.

You’ll find that bigger corporations hire full-service agencies as they can afford the premium service.

3. Have a look at their web design portfolio

Web design is very personal, so it’s important to look through the web designer’s portfolio to give you an insight into their style.personal using a stylus on a tablet

You’ll quickly know whether their work is a good fit for what you want. If industry experience is important to you, their portfolio will also show which industries they’ve worked in and with whom.

4. Check out their Google reviews and client testimonials

Reviewing the freelancer or agency’s testimonials and Google Business reviews will give you an idea of what they are like to work with.

This is particularly important if you are not familiar with their work and just found them on Google.

It’s reasonable to presume that businesses with many similar positive reviews will likely provide better service and outcomes.

5. Shop around on the pricing

We may come across a freelancer or agency that ticks all the boxes but what happens when the initial quote breaks the bank?

If we don’t have deep pockets, this requires managing our expectations or reducing the number of features on the website. It also pays to just ask what they could do with your budget. You’ll be surprised what they come back with.

It also helps to shop around. Most designers will offer an obligation-free quote or consultation, and you should take advantage of this.

Don’t let a website designer pressure you into signing an agreement right away.

Explore all your options and decide.

If you’re left feeling even more confused and flustered than when you started, you may want to bounce some ideas with a friend or business associate who has been there and done it all before. They can offer tips on what to look for and what to avoid.

Cost of keeping your website safe and secure

If you own a smartphone, chances are you’ll be familiar with the regular software and app updates. If you ignore them, things will start slowing down and you may see glitches before your phone stops working altogether.

Security section in WordPressIt’s the same with your website, where it needs regular updating to ensure the website is secure, optimised and backed up. If you decide to hire a designer or developer, it’s likely you’ll need to set budget aside for website maintenance costs.

Website maintenance is usually paid in retainers and can cost between $400 and $3000+ a month. There are also additional costs to consider, including your domain name, SSL certificate and web hosting.

To get peace of mind, we recommend investing in an all-in-one security solution to fix and prevent hacks, such as GoDaddy’s Website Security. This tool includes an SSL certificate, daily malware scanning, a firewall and automatic backups.

The amount of maintenance that a website needs can be overwhelming for some, which is why it’s often more cost-effective to utilise a website builder.

Websites created with website builders will have more security measures automatically in place, and you’ll have a support team behind you in case anything goes wrong.

Cost of copywriting and SEO services

SEO is now a non-negotiable for every business that wants to stay competitive. According to Adweek.com, 81% of all buying decisions begin with an online search.

The higher your site ranks in relevant searches, the more customers will choose your business.

SEO is a service that helps improve your visibility in search engines such as Google so you can reach your target customers more efficiently.

It helps to have the right words and messages on the page to attract eyeballs. You could hire a copywriter to create the initial content for you. A copywriter is a professional writer who specialises in writing that promotes and sells goods and services.

Regardless of the size or industry you’re in, having a strong online presence is going to benefit you and grow your business. SEO is worth looking into as soon as your website is up and running.

Your SEO package may include copywriting, as great content is important for your rank on Google. It’s worth noting that  SEO services  are ongoing in nature and can cost you anywhere from $300 to $10,000 monthly.

How to minimise the cost of building a website

Business owners often scratch their heads, wondering where all the money goes when something looks super simple. Often what we think is a straightforward website with a few graphics, words, and webpages can stack up in costs.

How do we minimise the cost of building a website without compromising on quality?

Depending on how you choose to create your website, the cost of building the website is mainly the time and resources. Web pages, particularly customised ones, can take time to design and program.

Then there is also the editing and proofreading to make sure all the words are grammatically correct and share the message you want for your products and service.

When it comes to images, it’s not as easy as copying and pasting nice pictures from Google images. These images are usually subject to copyright, so you will need permission to use them before posting them on your website.

It can be a tedious process, so many use free photo sites like Pixabay and Pexels or purchase stock images, which give you the full rights to use. Stock images can vary in cost and reach a few hundred dollars each.

The final bit of where the money goes is testing and optimisation to see if all the links work, especially from a mobile device.

There are so many elements to building a website, and the above are just high-level examples of big-ticket tasks.

Given the cost, it is not unusual for small businesses to re-think their website projects. But even if you don’t have a website budget of $30,000+, there are many ways you can reduce the cost.

Consider pre-made templates

There are thousands of professional-looking pre-made templates (called themes for those using WordPress to build their site) on the market today for all types of businesses.

Purchasing a theme lowers the time a designer or web developer needs to create the look of a website, reducing the project’s costs.

Often, designers and developers use themes as a starting-point and tweak them with code according to your needs. You can scroll through all of GoDaddy’s pre-made templates here.

Use your own images and royalty-free stock photography  

Two women looking at photos on a camera

To keep costs down, use your own images. One benefit of this is that using your own images adds more creditability and authenticity to your business. Your images can be in the form of high-resolution photos or supporting graphics to enhance the look and feel.

Handy tools

If designing things isn’t your strongest pursuit, GoDaddy Studio (included in the GoDaddy website builder or available on its own) can help you either design from scratch or access a library of stock images.

To get a logo tailored to your industry, use GoDaddy Logo Maker. There are thousands of beautiful templates to choose from.

Not many businesses have the budget for professional photography, which is why stock images have become very popular. Most stock image websites like Shutterstock and iStock require a subscription, and you also have the option to purchase them individually. The costs do add up, and subscriptions are only good if you plan on downloading a large volume of pictures every month.

Thankfully, there are some free stock photos. In addition to the two sites mentioned above, Unsplash offers free photos. Just be sure you provide a link to the photographer’s Unsplash page.

Since they are free, you may find there are limited options on these sites, and you will need the time to go through the image library to find the right one — especially since some look quite staged and cliche.

Related: The DIY guide to photos that get clicks

Determine what pages and features you really need

Every page takes time to design and build. On top of that, you’ll need to write the content and pick the right images to accompany it. Depending on the type of business you have, you may need to have additional features or plugins (only for WordPress websites).

Think about the pages you absolutely need and build the ‘nice to haves’ later.

Think about when someone visits your website, what information are they seeking? How can you help them find the right area on your site?

Understand your website’s purpose and succinctly put it on your home page. Decide on the content, features and benefits that definitely must be featured up front. Use the rest of the site to build on that information.

It’s tempting to have the latest fancy features on your website. Too many pages and unnecessary features not only stack up in cost. They can also dramatically slow your website down and create a poor user experience, negatively affecting your traffic.

Reuse text and photos you already have

If hiring a copywriter is not in the budget right now, there is a big chance you have some content lying around, especially if you have been in business for a while.

Think about the text, videos and photos you have created and posted on your social media. Review, reuse and update them instead of starting from scratch.

Repurposing content you have already created can save a lot of money and time. It’s incredible how a new website design can make old content feel fresh again.

Outsource only some parts of your website Designer using a digital pad with a laptop

You don’t have to hand over your whole website project to a designer or developer. Depending on your skills and time, you can choose which parts to outsource and which to do yourself.

For example, if you are fairly good at writing, give it a go yourself and save some money on hiring a copywriter.

Another thing you can do to make a head start and purchase the domain name and hosting yourself. While developers or agencies can do this for you, they are also billing the time and admin it takes to do it for you.

Create the whole website yourself

While it may sound intimidating at first, there are now so many user-friendly options available in the market, all built with beginners in mind. Creating a professional-looking website within minutes has never been easier.

Hundreds of Aussies have built their own websites using GoDaddy’s easy tools — including Corrin Elliott and Roxane Coutts of Barkery Deluxe Dog Treats. Find all their stories here.

Consider GoDaddy’s Website Builder

GoDaddy’s Website Builder is a good choice for those who don’t have much budget (the basic version is free) and want complete control over their site.

This next-generation SMB solution comes with all you might expect:

What you might not expect is GoDaddy InSight™, an intelligent learning system that serves up expert tips just for you. This smart tool bases its recommendations on data gleaned from millions of businesses like yours.

The sky’s the limit

The latest generation of website builders makes it easy for virtually anyone to quickly create a website at very little cost. If you’re after something more bespoke, hiring a designer may be your best bet.

All the best with your website project!


Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why do I need a website?

There are over 4.5 billion active internet users worldwide, and over 90% of them access the internet via mobile devices.

With more and more people online, having your own website is essential to connect with current and potential customers.

While some successful businesses don’t have websites, having one will certainly offer you a competitive advantage. You’ll avoid losing business to your competitors who do have one.

How much does it cost to build and develop a website? 

The cost of building a website varies a lot in terms of its design and functionality. The type of site you want makes a big difference in the price.

The rate also varies between agencies and freelancers, and there are pros and cons to using them.

An Australia-based company will charge you very differently than an overseas provider. Generally, outsourcing overseas may initially feel cheaper; however, when you weigh up the costs of potential miscommunication, cybersecurity and overall quality, you may end up paying more.

Is it cheaper to create a website from scratch?

Generally, website builders are the cheapest way to build a website. GoDaddy’s Website Builder is completely free to sign up for.

While other builders like WordPress are technically free, you will have to pay for:

  • Website hosting
  • A theme
  • Possibly some plugins
  • Quite often some professional help from a developer (unless you’re willing to spend the time to learn WordPress)

We wouldn’t recommend learning coding or design from scratch as it could take months, if not years, to fully master — unless it’s the business or career you wish you pursue, of course.

Can a website be built for free? 

GoDaddy offers a free website  (yes, free — no catches, and no credit card required!) that works for any business that doesn’t plan to sell online. If you decide to sell later on, no worries! The site builder has a shopping cart ready to add when you need them.

With GoDaddy’s Website Builder, you can build and publish your website with unlimited pages and content. Also included are PayPal payments, email and social media marketing tools, an appointment scheduler and SSL certificate. You also get 24/7 support from friendly, well-trained GoDaddy Guides.

What is a web hosting, and do I need to purchase it?

Web hosting makes it possible for people the world over to see your web pages. A web host owns the servers where your website is stored. If you registered a domain name and intend to use it for a website, you’ll need to purchase web hosting.

You could host your own website if you invest in your own servers and have technical know-how.

We don’t recommend this if you have limited resources.

 

If you’re wondering, the cost of servers can range anywhere from $5,000 to over $20,000, depending on your needs. On top of that, a server needs constant maintenance.

Most DIY drag-and-drop website builders (including GoDaddy’s Website Builder) include built-in hosting, saving you the hassle of purchasing separate elements.

How quickly can I build a website?

Building a website can take anywhere between two days to a couple of months. If you’re using an agency, it can take anywhere between two to four months. Using a website builder will be faster due to the drag and drop features and pre-made templates.

Image by: Elaine Nakhle at Lou Lou Pie Creative