How Much Does a Professional Website Cost and Why Is It So Expensive?

Liliya Smirnova / 08.01.20171224

You’d love to have yourself a fancy website - no «good» will do, it HAS to be fancy. A lot of bells and whistles and «even-my-granny-can-use-it» usability.

Oh, and reasonably priced as well. Like, $399 for the whole thing, tops. Now, where do these multi-thousand dollar bills come from if it’s all so simple?

Is the Client Always Right or What?

Here’s a story I’d like to tell you - a true one, that happened in the same studio where I happen to work. The story goes like this…

«A client came to us named N. (let’s keep the actual name a secret). Immediately she informed us that something had gone wrong with a website of hers, which was done by some lone developer.


We: What? A fully-functional, decent website done by a single person?

Client: Yeah… Why not? The design, the code, the content - he did it all by himself!

We: And… Does it work alright?

Client: Well, not really. The damn thing doesn’t want to work!

We: And what did you expect when you were ordering the website from him?

Client: Well, I just said I needed a website and told me he could do it.»

Curtain falls…


There is, however, a bright side to this - when you’re ordering a website from a lone, jack-of-all-trades developer, it’s cheap. But that’s not really a con if you look at in the perspective - sooner or later, the flaws will show and you’ll pay twice as more to rectify them. That is if you’re lucky to find a studio that will agree to help you as well-known, respectable studios don’t usually sort out somebody else’s mess.

The reason we’re talking about this is that the issue, although an old one, still persists to this day. During the 8 years of us as a studio, we’ve met quite a few such clients: angry, disappointed, and somewhat disillusioned about the whole web development thing.

Why Is Web Development So Expensive?

Maybe it’s because developers are greedy and cheeky by nature?:) Hardly the point.

On a serious, the answer is simple: «good things don’t come cheap». You only get as much as you put into it.

For example, you’ve got $10,000 to spend on a website. This a considerable sum of money, definitely not be wasted. Instead of a lone developer, you’ll be stuck with a team of 5 people working for you on the project: a programmer, a designer, a front-end developer, a tester, and a project manager. Let’s say, a website like you want takes a month to develop. But these people - they want to eat. Shall we give them a salary and split five ways? That would result in $2,000 per person. If you’re counting the fixed and variable costs, it’d be even less than that.

Not too much after 5 years in college, huh?

What You Actually Pay For

Let's try to figure together how the price for web development is made up.

  • Staff full of skilled professionals

Can’t be a jack-of-all-trades. Every specialist is trained to master his/her own area. With the speed of technology and innovation today, it’s hard to even stay relevant in your field, let alone master the other. Plus, teamwork will always prevail over an individual effort. Every team member has to play a certain role in the team and adding up the team members’ skills and work, you don’t just get 100% - you get 110% and sometimes even more.

  • Custom approach: when you don’t just do what you’re old - you’re helping to flesh out your client’s ideas in the most effective way

Remember that unfortunate client N. we mentioned earlier? She is, in fact, a notorious business woman with a strong, charismatic personality. Unlike the website that she ordered…

It’s obvious: a website should resonate with the company’s brand and owner, but, most importantly, with the visitors. If a developer agency doesn’t bother to do it, their websites are bound to fail miserably.

On the other hand, when studio personnel are taking a genuine interest in your project and suggest ideas, that might be a good sign. There are often times when a client doesn’t know what the future website should be like. And, actually, they don’t have to. A good developer will ask the proper questions, run the numbers, require some stats to figure out the direction, in which they will be going with the website. In this case, there’s a good chance you will get what you expect and maybe even more. But, as Mick Jagger sang, you can’t always get what you want.


Note: there are a lot of custom-developed and designed websites in our portfolio. These websites have reached the top positions in their respective fields and are highly regarded by customers and owners alike.

  • A responsible developer doesn’t vanish without a trace after the website is complete

Websites are like cars. They don’t function by themselves - they need support and maintenance from a qualified person. They get old-fashioned, they get laggy, over-bloated with features and so on.  Therefore, you need to keep your website neat, clean, and well-oiled by regularly updating, checking, and upgrading it. This will pay off 10-fold.

If you ever see a development agency or a lone developer not wanting to have anything in common with the website after it’s done, it’s a very BAD sign.

A website that’s fresh out of development will always take some time to start working properly as inevitable bugs and minor issues will pop up from time to time. The development agency is there to fix them and sustain the longevity of the website.

Important note: to learn more about proper website support and maintenance, visit this page.


«Expensive» is just a word with three «e’s». When the reputation and success of your business are at stake, think twice when deciding on the price (hey, that was an unintentional rhyme:)) and don’t trust cheap shots.

In the long term, the final result will always pay off.


How Much Does a Professional Website Cost in Toronto in 2020?

Price often depends on many factors but if we speak about the approximate cost of web design in Toronto, it is:

  • Template-based website for small business = CA $1,500 - 2,500
  • Template-based website with customizations = CA $2,500 - 5,000
  • Custom web design on CMS Wordpress or ModX = CA $5,000 - 9,000
  • Enterprise-level website with a custom design on PHP framework Laravel = CA $9,000 - 30,000
  • E-shop on the basis of a template with customizations on CMS Open Cart, Magento or SAAS platform Shopify = CA $4,000 - 8,000
  • E-commerce website with a custom design on CMS Open Cart, Magento, BigCommerce SAAS platform  or PHP framework Laravel = CA $9,000 - 50,000
  • Web app, directory or social network = CA $15,000+

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