Website cost questions other agencies avoid!
How much does a website cost? In our experience, those looking for a new, or redesigned website tend to fall roughly into one of these categories.
What type of website are you interested in?
- Simple or Static – I just need something quick and cheap!
- Content-managed – I want to change text, images, maybe even layouts
- eCommerce – I have something to sell
- Membership model – I need subscriptions or on-going payments
Table of contents
- Website cost questions other agencies avoid!
- What factors influence website cost?
- Website cost – what can I realistically expect to pay?
- I’m on a budget, how can I save money?
- You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers
What factors influence website cost?
Having a brief
It literally can be brief, a few points can get the conversation started.
An email asking for “just a price” or “ballpark” (over a 10-page brief document) can quickly let an agency know, how much consideration has been put into the request for a cost, thus you get the same time spent on the answer!
It’s too vague to give ballparks at the first enquiry, as each project is different because your business is different, and having a discussion will enable an agency to be able to ask questions – likewise you can find out more about the agency, too.
Knowing you’re going to be just as invested is important, this will be a long term working relationship. Fact finding in these initial discussions can drive the direction – and the cost or timescale – of the project.
Functionality – what should it do?
Outlining what you expect the website needs to do, to work for your business really helps an agency give you a more accurate quote.
Knowing that a chatbot is more priority over having a blog, can make a big difference in time and implementation of that piece of code, or sourcing the right app/plugin can make a huge difference.
What functionality might you need? Do your customers just send you an email, fill in a simple contact form, who will pick up the form … or would you rather they went through an onboarding process? Perhaps they need to login to save billing or delivery information?
If you are looking to build the next Facebook by next Tues because your bank needs to see something online before giving you a loan, that will not be realistic.
Usually website projects, on average can take 2-3 months, everything considered. So factor in time to source an agency, pay your deposit, and time for feedback on design as these can be variable.
If you’re planning for an event, ensure you have plenty time prior, or a phased approached could be an option where you design and build only what you require, then move the rest into phases after that particular launch.
My top tip would be to collate a Wishlist – Must Have, Would Like, Flourishes. An example of this could be;
- MUST HAVE: It must allow a customer to purchase a product, go through checkout and use PayPal
- WOULD LIKE: I would like it if they could sign up to a mailing list
- FLOURISH: Can we automate emails to them, when they do sign-up to increase productivity?
Website cost – what can I realistically expect to pay?
If we use our typical websites we mentioned at the start, we can start to breakdown some rough ideas of website cost.
Simple or Static – I just need something quick and cheap!
These typically cover those who perhaps are just starting their business and need a presence so they can add social media or print business cards.
Or perhaps they are on a tight budget – perhaps weren’t aware how much it can cost.
DIY builders can be ideal for those happy to spend the time themselves, creating a website, in order to save cash. These are dependant on the cost of the platform, for example;
- WordPress.com is from £7 p/month for “Freelancers”
- WIX.com is £11 p/month for “Entrepreneurs and Freelancers”
- GoDaddy.com is £4.99 p/month for “Basic”
- Squarespace is £15 p/month for “Business”
All have their limited settings or features, but be aware of hidden costs, such as paying for SSL certificates (needed for security) or backups!
The alternative to this – from what we’ve heard – is some clients have hired a friend, family member, a local freelancer, or someone “good with computers” to build their first website.
We’ve found from taking on client websites that some have invested around $60 in an “off-the-shelf” theme, which is purchased, then you can change elements suit any brand colours, typography, add a logo, mostly adding your own content to templated pages, you get the idea.
We’ve also been told websites in this range, tend to range from a couple hundred pounds, to around £1,000 – bear in mind these can range vastly due to region or location and experience.
Content-managed – I want to change text, images, maybe even layouts
In our experience, we find businesses that are 2-3 years in, have found their feet, perhaps grown their team, and want to look more “professional” than their DIY counterparts.
I’d say it’s fair to split this into two parts – first, those that are moving from the first stage and likely want more control over content, images, videos, even layouts for landing pages, minor integrations with the likes of MailChimp.
Websites built on WordPress and similar CMS platforms, are great as the ability to manage and control content and layouts, is at your fingertips.
Website costs can range, because of the experience and approach a web designer, developer, or agency may take in implementing the design and build.
Getting into a website cost range of £1,000 to £5,000, you likely have a design that is custom to you, designed and then built, tested, launched.
The second part, we’ve found, is usually when that second website still isn’t fit for purpose, isn’t meeting the needs of their SEO or Marketing team requirements.
Or they really want to invest in a lot of functionality, apps, integrations, etc.
Website costs that are ranging between £5k to £10,000 and upwards, are likely to have more pages that are uniquely designed, more integrations for sales and marketing (think analytics, tools that sync with Google or CRM systems, Metaverse).
What quality the design is, the quality of the code -do they consider our 4 pillars of Security, Speed, Web Accessibility, SEO and bears, oh my, are all considerations and how much is added to the project, thus time spent on researching functionality, writing bespoke code, testing … can vastly increase the cost.
eCommerce – I have something to sell
Ecommerce websites I’ve broken out because there is a big difference to having a service-based business, which could be several key pages with lots of content.
In addition, having to deal with products, variants, product categories, shipping, returns, user accounts, holding customer information, taking card/billing payments and all the marketing that goes with it!
So with that in mind, you’ll find eCommerce is costed differently – also all the DIY Builders will increase their prices for this feature, too.
Apart from all the work you need to perform as a merchant, shops can vary from 1 product to 50,000 products and choosing the right platform can greatly affect if that website can scale when you get a ton of traffic, or not.
An example, we love to work with the eCommerce platform, Shopify. They host the infamous brand Gymshark, who crashed their servers on a Black Friday sale. That’s scaling to the max!
Naturally there is a different user journey, more pages to design and consider, more functionality from the get-go because of the actual shop pages (think Checkout, Cart, User Account, Thank you screens), and interactions we’ve come to expect and love, such as Wishlists, Track My Order, automated emails and more.
Typically we’ve seen website costs similar to the higher end of the “CMS” group and can be from £7,000 and more as the project becomes more complex.
Shopify is great for that range, as you can be a “one person band” and only a handful of products and it can be competitive on price, compared to having your own listing on Etsy.
In addition if you want to go Premium (or Plus as they call it) you have dedicated support from Shopify and a wealth of benefits on their platform, too.
If Jeff Bezo’s can be a small independent in a garage and scale to the behemoth that Amazon is today – it’s not impossible for you to scale, but you’ll need a plan for growth and a budget to match.
Membership model – I need subscriptions or on-going payments
Memberships can be fairly akin to eCommerce, in that, there are lots of moving parts to consider. Most of these require similar functionality such as user accounts, logins, client-only access areas, pages to hide from google, an onboarding process, lots of forms or collating of information or data.
Not only are you still dealing with taking payments, different payment plans that are recurring, but also many integrations with other software, such as your Newsletter mailing list, CRM, automated emails, discounted pricing and more.
Again, taking into consideration this can be unique to the business or individual needs, designs can vary and be substantial so that every touch point is on brand and are often guiding the user or sell, sell, sell. Think landing pages or funnels.
Thus often you’ll find research (or scoping) is needed to fully understand the different paths a user may take, but reading documentation for each integration and fully understanding what can/cannot be done can be where time goes in the project.
Website costs can be along the lines of £3,000 to £7,000 I would say with an educated range, as some can be a few pages, or many hundreds.
Other points to note about website cost…
‘Fully bespoke’ platforms (think CheckATrade, Yell, Etsy) are usually for enterprise level, where most of the code is unique to that business and significant time and investment has gone into the project.
You’d likely be looking at funding, a bank loan or equity to cashflow this type of project and they can last months-years due to how much is involved and for that reason an established team/agency often with departments offering a ‘full service’ likely would be your go-to.
When getting quotes, ensure you know what you’re actually getting for that website cost.
If someone says on a Facebook post, “hey I’ll build you one for £300 no bother” – whilst there is nothing wrong with that, I’d be wanting to know;
- What are you actually getting for that £300?
- Is there a contract?
- Is there an outline of what work will be completed?
- When are they available – is this their full-time job or side-gig?
- What does the process look like?
- How long will it take?
- Will there be any ongoing costs, apart from hosting?
Having this information from prospective freelancers or agencies, can help when comparing website costs and ultimately forming your working relationship together.
Website cost can vastly range depending on the experience of the person or team doing the work, the area (London vs North East), they might have a special offer on; you’d really need to speak them as they all have their unique approaches.
Some quotes can be based on hourly rate, or a day rate, some price per project.
For us, we price per project. Because we’ve tracked how our previous projects have gone, using time-tracking, project management tools, this gives us decent gauge, if the project is similar in nature (based on your WISHLIST of requirements!).
At Blueocto, our projects typically take around 3-months and that is because how much is involved in the process (as touched on above). A typical process might look like this;
“Welcome on board”
Initial call to discuss what you’re looking for and if we’d be a good fit, then a more involved meeting to find out more specifics and meet other key stakeholders
We provide a proposal of the work we’re looking to do and the cost attached, along with our contract.
If you’re happy to proceed, we’d take your first deposit – all our projects are 3 part payments.
We’d jump into the first stage which is usually either branding, wire-framing a homepage or designing a homepage. We’d also research any particular functionality, test demo’s etc.
Once you’re happy with the first design, we would either create more designs if we feel it needs to be established before it is coded, or if it’s amicable we’ll jump into build and design/build as we go.
A second payment would be made at this point.
We would put the build on a ‘staging’ or ‘development’ link, which means you can start providing feedback, answering any questions, we can test functionality.
The second part to the build phase is more complex, all the “inner workings” for custom components or eCommerce.
We’d get you to start adding your content in tandem, which means you get used to the back-end of the site and we can discuss any questions you have, identify training needs or tweak parts that could work better.
We would be iteratively testing in browsers and Google tools during this stage.
“Get ready for the launch”
Towards the end of this phase, we’d get sign-off on the build and do rigorous browser testing, technical seo audit and start setting up Sitemaps, get Analytics in place etc ready for go-live.
You’d then pay your final payment and the website will launch.
Obviously it’s more detailed than that, but hopefully that gives you a clearer view of what can be entailed and also how the time/cost comes into play.
What happens after that?
After it launches, we offer monthly support, but not all agencies do – for many reasons only they will know!
Personally I’ve never felt comfortable with the “build it and off you go” approach and when we’ve spent considerable time together, know you and your business, for us it makes sense to maintain the website and be around for support once it does go live.
What is included in the monthly support, can also be depending on what your requirements are, but at a baseline it would be, ensuring backups are running, updating plugins, making speed/performance optimisations as Google roll’s out changes all the time.
Often we can create training videos so they can refer back to or share with a team member, some want to just chat about how things are going and ideas for digital marketing.
Some clients prefer regular contact, as if we’re an extended part of their team and can have us doing all sorts on their website including optimisation of images to fixing bugs … some client prefer to crack on themselves but like the peace of mind we’re there if they get stuck.
I’m on a budget, how can I save money?
- Ongoing costs such as hosting – shop around like you would for insurance. Personally we like Krystal as they’re UK-based, have great customer support (support can really make a difference, should the poop hit the fan) and great pricing structure.
For bigger websites that need to scale we like Digital Ocean but you do need a Developer to help you with this.
- Do you really need all those mailboxes? we only have 5 mailboxes and that’s because there are 3 staff, if you are solo you only need one or two.
I’ve found Gmail great for this, and you can use a custom email with Gmail or Google Workspace (formerly GSuite), it’s a very small cost to look professional.
- Do you need every variant of your domain? This was an old-hat SEO technique, but unless you’re Apple and love a good court case for IP or copyright, just get one domain and go from there.
Google Domains are well priced and have a good range. 123-reg have good deals on for UK domains, but make sure to untick all the extra crap they add into checkout!
- What I always say is, if you’re spending 10 hours a week on social media, you could spend half that on your website, whether that’s a new blog post, watching a Youtube video tutorial about a specific plugin … chipping away at it, still means it stays fresh.
- Personally, I’d delegate boring tasks in your business to a PA, virtual assistant or sub-ordinate if you really want to get your head down and work on your website.
- Content is king, so keep a list of blog or landing page ideas on your phone, as they’ll often come to you in the shower, in a conversation, when you’re driving. I usually shout at “Siri” to take a note for a cool idea!
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers
Picking the right web design agency is like finding your lobster. You want to feel protected. You want to feel understood. You want to feel loved. It’s a big decision, we get it. We’d like to move past the awkward Tinder phase and let’s address your biggest fears in working with us.
You have two locations, where are you actually at?
We’re in Sunderland, we did have a virtual address in Durham as a lot of our clients are down that way, but cost-of-living crisis and all that, we’re down to one physical office.
If Google says we are elsewhere, it’s likely it’s old information or a scraper website!
Otherwise, we’re happy to chat on the phone, on a video call such as Zoom or a good old email. You’re more than welcome to pop in for a cuppa, just drop us a message and we’ll pop the kettle on.
Do we have to go through several calls and meetings, can’t I just get a quote online?
If we never talked, what kind of relationship would we have? Seriously though, we don’t offer an online quoting tool because your business is unique and we can’t account for every eventuality or requirement.
An online quote form cannot ask you in-depth questions to make sure everything that is important to you gets covered. And I can’t sleep at night thinking we’ve got the project or cost completely wrong.
Why should we listen to you, what are your credentials?
For me personally [Caroline], my academic background is in Graphic Design and Advertising. After University in 2007, I worked in agencies, big and small.
In 2014, I decided to venture out my own and have been solo/freelance until 2019 when I partnered with a fellow Developer and have slowly built the Blueocto team since then.
If you want me to drop some name-bombs, I’ve trained with Google at their Academy in London, I’m the only Mobile Sites accredited Developer in the North East that I know of, and completed their Marketing certifications in 2018.
I’ve worked with FIAT, Blackberry EMEA, Clarks Shoes, Ward Hadaway, Parkdean Holidays, Primula Cheese, Durham University.
Ok, enough of that!
We love working with micro – small businesses, and charities, as I often felt they got forgotten about! And the small businesses deserve great design, marketing education and SEO tips too!
If you’d like to have an honest conversation, I’m happy to chat any time.
Caroline brings over 15 years as a Designer and Developer; featured in .NET magazine, the only woman in the UK accredited for Google Mobile Sites. A business mentor with Enterprise Nation, STEM Ambassador and Google Women Techmaker Ambassador Previous client projects include Blackberry, FIAT, Clark Shoes and Sky.