How much will a website cost?
I have lost count of the amount of times that I have been asked this simple question. The trouble is that whilst it’s a simple question to ask, unfortunately, the answer is often fairly complex to arrive at an answer. You will find that different web companies have different charges and it will all come down to your requirements. Some web companies will start at around £1,000 for a very basic website and some won’t even talk to you about a website unless you have £25,000 upwards to spend. A well known US web agency (Happy Cog) put their stake in the sand at $100,000 (USD). It all depends on your requirements, the amount of research needed and the perceived quality behind the service provided.
‘How much does a website cost’? It’s similar to asking ‘how much does a car cost’ or ‘how much does a house cost’? In other words, it’s virtually impossible to say without understanding what you need. If we were discussing the cost of a car we would ask questions about what you need the car to do. For example do you need an executive class saloon, a large family vehicle that seats 6 or more, or are you happy with a fairly clapped out old 10 year old rust bucket? We don’t supply the equivalent to the rust bucket in web terms before you ask. Hopefully you get the point, the cost can be very little or very large depending upon your requirements.
Following the above car analogy, in the same way that a top of the range performance car will cost you upwards of £60,000, a top end website with a lot of functionality will cost at least £30,000. Whereas, a cheaper Kia Picanto (this is an example, I’m not picking on those cars) with a far more modest performance and feature comparison will set you back around £7,000. In the same way a more simple website will most likely cost you around £1,000. In fact, our prices here at The SeedMill often start at around £800 for a small, simple but custom built and high quality website. But, our prices will scale up with your requirements.
Below, I have broken down some of the main costs associated with a website into relevant components. This will hopefully, give you more information and help you to plan costs better if you are looking to have website built by us or anyone else. I have tried to be as neutral as possible when providing costs in effort to hit fairly general, industry wide pricing.
It’s also worth mentioning that the price guides I provide below consider bespoke, custom built, quality solutions and not pre-packaged templates or other turnkey solutions sold in bulk. You can pick up half decent templated website packages for between £100 – £500 if that’s really what you want. Most of the time though, the templated packages will require a heavy monthly hosting & maintenance cost and almost certainly will not get you all that you want.
Following are fairly industry wide costs related to designing and building websites:
Domain Name costs
Your website domain name is a very minimal cost at around £5 – £20 per year depending on whether you want a .co.uk or .com etc. domain name. However, it must be remembered that this is a yearly commitment. Failure to renew your domain name will result in your website disappearing from the web and not coming back very easily. Most web companies can purchase and provide a domain name for you or you can do this yourself fairly painlessly.
Planning and project management costs
This is an area that a lot of web companies miss when quoting for websites and therefore do a very poor job of providing consultation and structure during the design and build process. Each project we take on goes through our industry standard project management software (that we have to pay for) where we can communicate to you and plot deliverables. This is a much more effective way of communicating than traditional email approaches where everything consistently gets lost.
Good project management will ensure that a proper level of information is provided at the beginning of the project.
The costs behind providing good project management will often be in the region of £100 – £200 for a small website up through thousands of pounds for much larger scale websites. However, this area in particular is one in which you can save costs. If you provide a very clear brief and communicate your needs very clearly, supplying written and image content up front, this can help to save low hundreds of pounds (on smaller websites) up to thousands (on larger websites) off your final bill.
Website design costs
The design of your website is probably the most influential area when considering costs. A simple, run of the mill design will not take long to do and will cost very little, whereas, a much more complex and time consuming high quality design will be much higher in costs. However, you have to be careful here. If you scrimp on the design you will lose that essential uniqueness and visual quality, thus reducing your ability to communicate effectively to your target audience. A poor quality design will result in lower conversion rates and very low trust in your business.
The second factor that will determine the design costs will be the size of the website and complexity of it. Similarly to website development, the more functionality you need your website to do and provide the larger the design costs will be too.
Typically, a website design in isolation to anything else will cost in the region of £500 for the most basic design on a low functionality website, through to £1,000 – £2,000 for a high end design all the way up to £20,000 plus for the highest grade executive / interactive style designs on more complex websites (automotive manufacturers websites are good examples of this type of website).
Website development costs
Website development, like the design can vary enormously, depending on the specific requirements. If you want a simple brochure website with a standard homepage, blog and contact form the associated costs involved are very small (in the region of £200). Do you want a content management system whereby you can update your website? If yes, again, this will mean more work for the web company and an increase in costs.
If however, you are wanting to have the latest eBay clone with functionality that will take 2 developers the best part of 4 months to build, you will be looking at well over £20,000 perhaps in the region of £40,000.
Web hosting costs
Every website has to be hosted online by a hosting provider. Hosting costs are a monthly fee charged to the web company. Those costs will be passed on or included with a maintenance fee from a web company. The monthly hosting costs will vary from a few pounds per month up to many hundreds. Again, this will depend on your requirements. The more hits you anticipate on your website and the more complex the technology that you want to run on the site, the higher these costs will be.
You should probably factor in hosting costs of around £15 per month for good quality hosting on a simple website up to around £500 per month for a large enterprise scale website. Sometimes costs can even go up from there.
As another note of caution, in general you should never pay cheap for hosting. It is essential that good quality hosting is used that is secure and fast. Failure to do so will result in your website being hacked and/or slow website performance (which will hurt your search engine rankings).
Website maintenance, online marketing and analysis costs
As a completely optional step we and other web companies will provide high grade maintenance plans, perhaps as well as online marketing and analysis plans. Not all businesses need this option and with some initial consultancy, can work out their own online marketing strategies.
Maintenance plans usually relate to websites that employ content management system software. Because all software needs to be kept up-to-date and because online security is such an issue nowadays, the maintenance of websites can often be a time consuming and technical affair. If you have a CMS running your website you or your web company should be looking after it. This is where maintenance plans come in.
Because not every business is capable of putting the time into pursuing a consistent online marketing campaign, this is where an experienced web company can provide a good return of investment. They can help search engine rankings and overall online visibility through social media etc.
Maintenance plans should start at around £25 per month for a basic offering, increasing from there depending on what is being delivered. Online marketing packages often start at £50 per month and again scale up depending on requirements.
Okay, so how much DOES a website cost then?
Again, the above are rough costs, but should be enoght to give you an idea do the influencing factors and costs involved. Combining all of the above depending upon your requirements will give you an overall price that shouldn’t be too far off in accuracy. Whichever way you want to work it out, you or a web company will have to consider the above planning / project management, web design, web development, web hosting and maintenance costs at minimum in order to arrive at a cost.
To summarise, the cheapest custom built websites should cost around £1,000 for design and build. Then you can expect to pay between £15 upwards to keep the website running from month to month.
The upper end of the scale will cost many thousands both for design & build and then hundreds to thousands for upkeep and marketing.