How Much is a Website in 2023?

Q: Are more expensive sites worth the extra?

website design and web development illustration

A: A classy looking website can help you look the part, but if your website doesn't turn viewers into customers (or doesn't attract traffic in the frist place) what's the point?

According to, you You are now competing with 1.14 billion websites. Getting seen is teh issue. Gone are the days where you could build a website and wait for the money to roll in.

Currently, there are around 1.14 billion websites in the World.
17% of these websites are active, 83% are inactive.

In 2023, even if you invest heavily in a new website design, there is no guarantee that it will receive a significant amount of organic traffic. In contrast, in 2012, when there were fewer websites online, a new website with a new domain could expect to receive about 300 visitors per month without any advertising or marketing efforts.

Today, even small oversights such as not including a phone number on your website, can result in an invisible trust penalty from an anxious search engine like Google.

And don't be fooled by slick marketing firms that increase your traffic ten-fold overnight. Chances are they have bought backlinks which will soon get you in major trouble with Google. More abou tthat in another post.

Real website success should be slow and steady

What you with your website will determine its success

A website with a good on-page SEO profile (You can check yours using this tool: SEO Site Checkup) and no advertising (e.g Google Ads) will get some traffic. If you're in a locally competitive industry, your peers will be employing a marketing strategy (that would be regular SEO, Google Ads or like what we mostly do, a combination of both Ads & SEO).

In short. Without running PPC Ads or paying for regular SEO you may not be able to compete online. It might be less onerous to open a physical shop.

Nobody knows this stuff.

Put aside some time for an online marketing strategy. Think about how your website will get found befor you hire that photographer for the products page.

Website Prices and Ongoing Fees

The absolute minimum you can pay for a website

Here is an overview of typical website prices and services. I’ve assumed a basic 10-15 page, lead-generating website with one contact form and one order form. These are the cheapest options I could find.

Item (A$)
Website Cost (initial outlay)
Free* Website $0+ Wix, Squarespace, Shopify & Weebly have additional costs. $5/month on Wix sounds great until you break the 500mb monthly limit.
WordPress Sites $200+ Cheap creators usually use a generic theme with limited functionality. Your options will be very limited at the low price end. The creators recoup any initial loss with hosting, so add about $50/mo for that.
E-commerce $100+ Monthly (e.g. Shopify). While you can get it cheaper, this figure includes all the relevant domain connection, plugins and payment gateways you will probably need.

* Read the Sitebuilder Report on Pricing for details about so-called "free" services.

Geoffrey Websites

Initial outlay plus ongoing fees

See our website design page for typical package prices.

We have worked on tiny one-page websites (for $500) - right through to million dollar and government websites. However, what usually happens for a typical small business is that we try to keep the initial website price under $5,000 and then help individuals and companies with their marketing. Generally people like what we do and then ask us how to market their website.

Item (A$ incl.GST)
Ongoing costs (Geoffrey Rates)
Content updates $99+ Per hour (incl GST).
WP Maintenance $50+ monthly
SEO One-off (our rate) $495 Technical Tweaks
SEO One-off 2 $950 Tech Tweaks + 5 x on-page SEO
Monthly SEO $99+ Weekly. One hour work
Other Online Advertising
Google Ad Management $110+ Weekly (this is our rate)
Google Ads $10+ Daily click spend (minimum). $70 to $100/week. Stop after 5-6 weeks if no results.
Facebook Ads $25+ Test run (obviously continue is this works)

If we are managing your Google Ads, we're happy to roll one-off tests with Facebook or LinkedIn etc. into the mix.

I recommend budgeting for Google Ads plus SEO. Sometimes SEO alone can work better than ads. Each approach has their own advantages and disavantages which we cover briefly on our Google Ads plus SEO page.

Is it cheap to update my existing website?

If your website is more than two years old and has never been updated, it may be cheaper to build a new one

Unfortunately nobody is going to give you a discount for an old website makeover.

New tech comes out almost every month, so a little bit of research and education helps. Those big images you uploaded back in 2018 are already too small for modern browsers.

If your website was coded by … Who Knows working for … Who Knows Pty. Ltd. in … Who knows what country … most web agencies won't touch it with a barge pole.

Wading through old or badly written code

Wading through someone else’s code takes hours. If the original coder was terrible, double the hours. Your website cost is directly proportional to the time that takes. No agency will quote on this. They will give you an hourly rate. Time unravelling old code is better spent building a new site with modern, fast code and many more options.

Have you heard about the car mechanic who had to re-machine a whole engine block because the previous mechanic used the wrong gasket?

That's kind of what happens on every website rebuild.

After two years, a website will look dated and the code behind it may not even work properly or be as nippy as it should. I’m forever patching and securing old websites that came to me for website maintenance and that were built too long ago. In most cases, I bolster security on old sites to prevent hacking. But as plugins and code frameworks are con stantly updated to keep up with modern browsers, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep older websites going.

Your website isn't an advert

It's your business

Having a website shouldn’t be confused with advertising your business. Your website is your business. It’s an asset, not an expense. You need to advertise and promote it.

If you just leave a site, it will slowly get eaten in search by people regularly adding content or paying for SEO. A lot of SEO has to do with improving your code and fixing omissions when the site was originally built (e.g. adding alt tags for images, missing description meta-tags, adding headings in a meaningful heirarchy).

Here's an irony. Sites with fresh content written for humans always rank better than those written for search engines. Getting found should be your goal. My job is to get your website to appear higher on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) than your competitor. SEO, maintenance and online marketing are mandatory if you want to compete in 2023.

But let’s just talk about your potential site and who you might choose to hire…

Who will host my website?

Hosting is bread and butter for web agencies and developers

I don’t charge for hosting – just for the stuff I actually do. Hosting on my server is free (for sites on a yearly or monthly maintenance plan).

Ten years ago, I saw a tenfold increase in website traffic in the week I moved this site from to The phone literally rang and I got 5 new clients every day for a week. I still serve some of those clients today.

Investing in a fast hosting service pays off. Sometimes you get amazing deals. GoDaddy and Hostgator keep their prices low. Faster speeds, robust servers with 100% uptime and human support is hard to find, but you can get great hosting from about $150pa.

That fee usually goes right into the pocket of your hosting provider. Hosting 100+ sites can cost less than A$1000 per year. For A$500pa, you can run a shared server with 50 websites on it. The charge for “hosting” is up to the provider. Normal people rarely bother the hosting provider – and that’s what they’re counting on. When you need help, it’s usually an emergency. You developer will talk with your host more than you will. We depend on the smooth running and regular maintenance of a server.

Iinet, for example, won’t update software on the server unless you ask for it to be done.

Who will maintain my website?

If you think that’s you, think again.

Rather than hosting, ask about how your site's code is maintained, secured and upgraded and then include website maintenance in the total website cost.

Website Maintenance (sometimes called “Managed Hosting”) means keeping the back end of your website healthy, secure and up to date. The website maintenance packages we offer include very basic SEO. If you are running WordPress, regular website maintenance is mandatory if you don’t want to lose your site to hackers.

Who will build my website?

How much you pay is largely determined by who you choose to build your website and how many bells and whistles you require. Each choice has its own particular advantages and disadvantages.

As a rough guide;

  • DIY website ($free)
  • Out-sourcing to India or Philippines (A$500-$2,000 for a basic site)
  • Relative, friend or student (A$1,000-$3,000)
  • Graphic, Design or Print Company (A$2,000-$7,000)
  • Freelance Web Developer (From A$1,500)
  • Web Firm, Web Developer, Collective or Company (A$3,500+)
  • Communications Company or Advertising Agency (A$8,000+)

Obviously, if you want functionality such as a quote estimator or an online shopping cart or some other specific functionality, you’ll pay more.

Final Web Designer Thoughts

Another thing worth noting is that the success of your website solely depends on YOU, not the person building your site. How much time you allocate to the upkeep of your site (adding articles, news, new images and timely content) will determine how many visits your site gets. Who will write your content?

I’m going out on a limb here, but it’s a good idea to treat your website as if it’s even more important than your physical business. More people could visit your site in one day than you can actually fit in any shop.

A website IS a business and so the website cost needs to be added to your bottom line – not in an advertising budget. The differnce is subtle, but once you realise that you need to advertise and promote your website - you're halfway there. You need to get your head around this. Most businesses have it the other way around. Entrepreneurs put the business first and think of the website as an advert.

Your website can do a lot more than a physical business, including take money, but it must generate trust and you need to do that quickly. You have less than one minute to make an impression.

Your time starts NOW

Of course, if you want to hire me, you can. I'll make you millions. :)

Use the form above to contact me or call me (Edwin) on 0417 0417 43.

Or send an email to

If you liked it, please leave a comment.

Article ┬ęCopyright Geoffrey Websites 2012-2023. All rights reserved.

website design, seo and general web development

Who We Are

Geoffrey is a business owned and run by Edwin James Lynch, who holds a degree in Communication and a diploma in Multimedia. In the past, Edwin has taught web design, development, and online marketing at universities in Western Australia. He sometimes collaborates with copywriters, programmers, and other specialists, but he often works independently.

ABN: 50 277 372 669

All Content © Copyright 2023 Geoffrey Multimedia (Est. 1997) | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy