How much does website design cost in NZ?

Working on a new website design in NZ

Websites can be built to include many different features, such as email list subscriptions, social media plugins or online credit card payments.

Website design costs vary widely depending on what your requirements are and what you want to achieve with your website. We’ve found that people enquiring about a new website have become more knowledgeable over the years, although we still get the odd person who wants to know…

“Can you build me a website just like Facebook for under $500?”

What you need to spend on a website design can be greatly affected by your web designer’s impression of how easy it will be to deal with you as a customer. Are you asking them to build a website for you, or are you asking them to create an entire business plan from some fuzzy idea that you had 3 minutes before you called them?

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Explained in Plain English!

As a rule, the more complicated the website, the more the design will cost. However, there is now a lot of software available that allows us to build advanced websites more cheaply than in the early days of website design. I’m going to cover the following areas commonly associated with building a new website.

  1. Domain Names & Email Services
  2. Copywriting
  3. Photography
  4. Graphic Design
  5. Website Design
  6. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  7. Minimising the cost of website design

What do domain names and email services cost?

smartphone user sending email

Using a company domain name in your email address is more professional

Domain Names are the website address that your customers will use to view your website. Our domain name is energise.co.nz but you might notice that our website runs on www.energise.co.nz. This is because when we started building websites over 20 years ago, all websites used www as a common practice to indicate that they were websites and not some other form of content. If you’re interested, you can read more about the origins of www here. These days, we tend to build websites without the www but still redirect website traffic using it so that no visitors get lost.

Domain names need to be registered every year or they are released and made available to the general public again. Costs of domain name registration vary a lot. Many domain businesses in NZ have been bought out by overseas companies and have become difficult to deal with. We use a NZ-based registrar and we are your first point of contact for any domain name queries.


Price: $45 per year

Email Services are usually connected to the domain name used for your business. Avoid using free email providers such as Gmail or Hotmail as it looks unprofessional. We can set up email on a domain name to redirect to a free email service (at no cost) but redirects have become increasingly unreliable due to more stringent spam filtering and if a redirected email is flagged as potential spam, it has nowhere to go (no spam folder) and can be lost. The best way to use email is with a mailbox that is specifically for your domain name. You can have multiple mailboxes or multiple email addresses pointing to one mailbox. We offer low-cost email services for our customers but if you require a lot of storage, we recommend using Google Workspace. We can help set up email services and provide instructions for you to create accounts on your computers, tablets and smartphones.

Price: From $1.95 per month

What does copywriting cost?

Woman writing website copy

Copywriters can be used to write blog posts that seek to both inform and convert your site visitors

Copywriting refers to the writing of text for your website (not to be confused with “copyrighting”, which refers to legal rights over original creations). Often, our clients will already have some sort of “copy” that they have previously prepared for brochures, advertising or other marketing that can be used in the website design.

However, a new business owner will probably have almost nothing available. You can save money by writing the website copy yourself but don’t underestimate how difficult this can be. If you enjoyed writing essays at school, you might be fine. But if not, consider asking us to write your website copy for you. Even if you do have existing promotional material, you might find that it’s either not suitable for your website.

Good website copy can make your digital marketing more effective and therefore, more profitable. We can provide you with costs for website copywriting based on the number of pages you require. Usually, we can prepare all your website copywriting for under $500.


Price: From $500 (but sometimes included)

What does photography cost?

Photography is often skimped on when building a website. However, great images can make a great website. We have local photographers that we recommend to take photos for your website. If you think that you can take good photos yourself, ask us for guidelines on what we need to make it work online. We sometimes are given photos that are not suitable for the places we need them. It is possible to purchase stock photos or even find free stock photos online (check that link for our blog listing some good free sources) but offshore photo library images can look out of place on a New Zealand website.


Price range: From $500 (For a photographer but stock images can be much cheaper or even free)

What does graphic design cost?

Graphic design is usually the first step on the way to building your website. This often starts in the form of a logo design, as the colours in your logo will normally be reflected throughout the website graphics. If you need a logo, we have a logo design package you could take advantage of. If you already have a logo you’re happy with (remember, your logo is going to be on everything), then we would move on to discuss the overall look and feel of the website, starting with the homepage. Depending on what you want to spend, the homepage may be the only part of the website that requires any original graphic design. Internal pages are often simpler and more focused on generating an enquiry than they are on encouraging a user to delve further into the website.

The cost of web graphics will vary greatly depending on the type of website, quality and quantity of design required and amount of graphic content. A very basic graphic design may only account for a small part of the overall website cost, whereas a website where every page has a custom graphic design would cost a lot more. To give you an idea of the time required, our website design page is entirely custom-designed. It took around 5 hours to do the graphic design and another 10 hours to code the responsive template. To reduce costs to you, we have developed a range of website templates that we can use for your website that significantly reduces the time it takes to develop a website.


Price range: From $500 (but sometimes included)

What does website design cost?

Man preparing for website design project

Preparing a plan for your website design will help the project run smoothly and to your expectations.

Time to construct your website will usually make up the bulk of the time to build your website. This is the process of installing software, taking the graphic designs and building them into your website templates. It may also include special features such;

  • A content manager to allow you to update your own web pages.
  • Shopping carts that allow you to take orders and payments.
  • Social media plugins to display content from your social platforms.
  • Search functionality so viewers can find content on your website.
  • Customised fields to allow you to display content in a particular way.
  • Online forms so that you can get enquiries or gather specific information.
  • Other tools such as RSS feeds and email marketing addons.

Static Website Design

A static website is a collection of individually hand-built web pages that cannot be easily updated by you. We don’t build many static websites anymore due to content managed websites becoming cheaper to build and easier to use but some customers still prefer a website that they can’t “mess up”!

This sort of website can be ideal if you are on a budget or require only a very basic internet presence but we can also build a static website that is custom designed and as professional-looking as any other website.

Most static websites we build are around 4-5 pages. If the website requires many more pages or is likely to be regularly updated, it is more cost-effective to build a content-managed website. Updating a static website yourself would require knowledge of website coding or web design software.


Price range: From $800

Content Managed Website Design

With a content managed website, you are able to update your web pages without assistance from your web designer. This is the process of installing software, building the graphic design and website copy into your web pages. It could also include special features such as a content manager, online shopping carts, social media plugins and other tools such as RSS feeds and email marketing.


Price range: From $1500

Ecommerce Websites

An e-commerce shop with all the bells and whistles, built from scratch, once cost tens of thousands, but now we can build for a fraction of that. Most e-commerce websites will be in the $2,500-$10,000 range depending on your requirements, the number of products, the complexity of shipping charges and payment processes. We can build on online e-commerce platforms such as Shopify or stand-alone platforms such as WooCommerce. Generally, we prefer WooCommerce due to the greater flexibility and independence it offers.


Price range: From $2,500

Get a quote for an ecommerce website

Responsive Website Design

Now that almost everyone has a smartphone and around 50% of website visits are from some sort of smart device, responsive website design is essential. We built new websites to be responsive to multiple screen sizes as standard practice. However, if you have an older, non-responsive website that you would prefer to upgrade to be responsive, we can help with that too. The cost of a responsive website conversion starts from $500. The actual cost depends on how your website was built. Read our article: How much does a mobile website cost?


Price range: From $500 (for an upgrade)

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Woman using smartphone to make a purchase online

Getting sales or enquiries online relies on being found on Google

Most web designers do very little search engine optimisation (if any) for their clients. SEO is the difference between being on page one or page ten of a Google search. We carry out some on-site SEO as part of the cost to build your website. What is the point of having a great website if no one can find it? We also offer SEO as part of an ongoing service for websites that are in competitive industries or aren’t ranking as highly as they would like to. While some basic on-site SEO should be a part of your website package, it is only the start of what needs to be an ongoing process.


Price range: From $500 (We include basic SEO)

Read more about SEO here

Minimising the cost of your website design

The more prepared you are, the more effectively your web designer will be able to help you. No preparation means more work for the designer and more cost for you. If you know what pages you want, have an idea of layout and colours and can provide some text and photographs, your website cost can be reduced significantly.

If you walk into your web designer’s office with a vague idea in your head for an awesome online business, you could find your quote will be higher than it would be if you had prepared better. Most web designers aren’t interested in working on your business plan for you before building your website! Personally, I’m happy to talk informally about business plans (assume disclaimer here) as I used to be a financial adviser but the business owner needs to already have clear ideas of what they want to achieve.

Finally, when choosing a web designer, there are also other ongoing costs to consider like ownership of the website and what ongoing services are provided like web hosting, support, search engine optimisation and digital marketing. Remember that you are likely to have a long term relationship with your designer, so you need to feel confident that they are able to continue to support you in future.

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