Published on
Thursday, 29th March 2018

How much does a website cost?

By Richard Groves


Most posts on this subject ramble on for ages about the different types of websites there are before eventually getting round to answering the question. They explain in detail how different types of sites work, starting with the basic free ones, before building up to the expensive ones (and then try to sell you one). They may even finish off with some sort of fancy comparison breakdown.

I have a lot more respect for your intellect, but practically none for your attention span so am going to do it backwards.


Some sort of fancy comparison breakdown:


1. “I always knew this web design thing was easy” / 

Likes to save money wherever possible

 

Your Situation

  • Self-employed/Small business
  • First website
  • Just want something for branding
  • Don’t need any complex functionality

Type of website that might suit you

DIY Basic - Off the shelf “brochure site” from a “build your own” site like Wix or Squarespace

 Rough Cost

£3 - £50/month dependent on packaged options taken

+ The time it takes you to learn/design

 Benefits

  • No massive upfront cost
  • Quick and easy. You can have a website up in a day if you’re a quick learner. Don’t need to go through a lengthy design process
  • You get to feel cool when someone asks: “Who did your website?” and you say: “I did”

Risks

  • You may end up with a site that looks the same as many others so your brand won’t be as strong
  • As you grow and start to introduce more and more systems, you’ll find it harder and harder to get the website to do what you want and then may have to overhaul the whole thing from scratch at some point


2. “I don’t have time for this, I’m way too busy, 

but I don’t want to spend too much”


Your Situation

Same as above, but you don’t have the time or inclination to learn and do it yourself.

Type of website that might suit you

Bespoke Basic - Small web agency/That one friend you know who’s just starting out doing websites

Rough Cost

£500 - £2K

+ any design meetings you have to attend

+ ongoing hosting costs

Costs dependent on amount of pages/complexity of design/whether you pick a theme they already have or ask for original designs etc.

Benefits

  • You can say super vague things like “I want it to pop” and the designer will come back you with designs. Then you can take the credit for coming up with the ideas
  • Tailored to your requirements rather than you having to fit into someone else’s
  • With a smaller web agency, they will be learning and be hungry to help you out with little extra bits which means you might end up with something really good value for money and also build a good relationship with them for future developments as you both grow
  • If it is built bespoke for you and the team are good, the code behind the site will be cleaner than an off the shelf solution meaning you should get better SEO rankings as a result

 Risks

  • If it’s your first site, it’s sometimes hard to tell if an agency is just selling you something off the shelf from one of the “build yourself sites” and not actually giving you your own bespoke product
  • It may take a long time to get the site live as you go back and forth on the designs


3. Sell, sell, sell! I want it quick and I want it now!


 Your Situation

  • You’ve just started out and want to sell items through your website direct to customers without too much hassle
  • You have quite a simple product set with simple categorisation
  • You have a bit of an eye for detail/you want to save money/you are a control freak

 Type of website that might suit you

DIY E-Commerce - Off the shelf “build your own” like Shopify or Weebly

Rough Cost

£25 - £220/month dependent on packaged options taken/how many users you have

+ The time it takes you to learn/design

Benefits

  • When it comes to the checkout process on an e-commerce site, sometimes being unique isn’t good. People want to buy things easily so if it feels familiar then they will feel more comfortable. The DIY platforms may be hard to integrate with your current systems without the help of a proper web team but if you want a tried and tested purchase flow and have the time and inclination to learn, these are actually quite good starting points to get to market quickly

 Risks

  • If you have quite a complex product set, sometimes these sites can’t be bent to fit your needs without making major compromises
  • If you do grow to a point where you need something bespoke in the future, all your products will more than likely have to be entered again manually


4. I have more customers and more products than Amazon, 

soon I won’t even have to pay tax anymore


 Your Situation

  • You’ve out grown your current E-Commerce site. It’s annoying the way it categorises products and can’t be manipulated in the way you want
  • You’ve developed some really good processes for your stock management and logistics but your current site is holding you back in making them as efficient as you know is possible

 Type of website that might suit you

Bespoke E-Commerce - Web Design Company

 Rough Cost

£2K - £50K+

+ any design meetings you have to attend

+ ongoing hosting costs

These costs really depend on how complex your catalogue is, how many locations you sell out of and to, whether you have the logistics chain integrated with the site etc.

 Benefits

  • You can integrate the site with your internal systems e.g. you could have your site send picking sheets directly to the shop floor upon order if you like, cutting down on masses of admin

Risks

  • Takes a lot longer to get this solution up and running and you may have to change the way you work internally. This will always be for the better if designed right, but some people fear change…


5. Screw this, I want something that connects my whole workforce with the customer in a seamless way, not only reflecting the brand I am proud of, but automates as many things as possible as well


Your Situation

  • You’ve probably already had one website or maybe two and are tired of being half arsed with it
  • Your business has grown and so have your day to day admin tasks. You have lots of people phoning you about stuff and you know a decently designed website could help you streamline processes as well as be a great way of connecting with customers
  • You somehow love spreadsheets as they run your business but also hate them with a passion because of all the manual work they entail

Type of website that might suit you 

Bespoke “Business Engine” Website - A decent web design company that knows how to extract requirements taking into account multiple stakeholder/user groups and build interconnecting systems

Rough Cost

£5K - £50K+

+ any design meetings you have to attend

+ ongoing hosting costs

 Benefits

  • If you‘ve got all the budget, you can get all the benefits… Want a site that is a one stop shop for your customers, internal staff, sub-contractors and everyone else in between, each with different levels of access and ability to gain the information they need about products, projects and processes all in one place? Want it to hook into your CRM, Project Management software or Accounts package? It’s all possible as long as you have the right team and the money to pay for it!
  • All the code (should be) yours to do what you want with (check the Ts and Cs before you sign!)

 Risks

  • Again, time is a factor. The more complex something is, the longer it takes and this also means that multiple people within your organisation will have to give up time to ensure all angles are covered
  • Magpie effect… Once you start seeing what is really possible it’s hard not to spend more and more money to get all the extra features…
  • “Blinded by tech speak”. Some companies may get you in to technical rabbit holes where they make you think you have to spend more money to solve problems



Why are your prices for the bespoke sites so vague, Richard? 

Please don’t call me Richard, only my mum calls me Richard.

I assume you already have a basic understanding that some websites only have a few pretty pages, whereas some might sell thousands of products and link you through to personalised account pages. Some may have interactive galleries or have a lightening quick search function that sorts though masses of data and I know you know all that clever stuff costs money to build, but how is a price attached and why should you pay for it if there is something similar out there already?

What you may not know is quite how integrated your daily processes and your website can be. Did you know that you can tie your front-end site into a CRM program to track leads? Did you know you could have a booking system that users can sign up to something like a training course on, but when this booking is confirmed the system makes sure books are ordered, keeps track of venue costs and even sends out reminders to the trainers and delegates about when and where they need to be? With this sort of functionality, your beautiful looking front-end site becomes not just a branding tool, but the outer shell of a much more powerful business engine, modernising logistics and admin processes. As a result, this sort of site will provide far greater ROI through better end to end efficiencies than a simple “brochure” site.


This is all fine, but you’re still being super vague about how much it costs…

Okay, okay. I get it, but it is very hard to quantify. Because your business is unique, it requires a unique solution, and the industry has always found it difficult to define proper labels for unique things. The easiest way to explain how much it costs is down to complexity.

When creating a website, there are degrees of complexity at each stage of the process. In order to quote, a company must look at what is being requested and ask themselves not how long it will take, but the level of complexity in each area of the site. This will take into account how many pages there are likely to be, the design, the systems it will have to hook into, the different types of users that will be engaging with the site (externally and internally) etc. etc. For each level of complexity comes an increased cost and without understanding the inner workings of your business, it’s hard to truly understand what you need.


Isn’t it their responsibility to find out what I need and quote accordingly? How do I know what I want? - I’m not the expert!

You’re right. And you’re wrong.

Imagine if you walked into an ice cream shop and asked the person at the till for a dessert that, when eaten, makes you feel like a unicorn lost in a waterpark. When they then handed you a multicoloured ice cream sitting in a beautiful blue porcelain bowl, would you get upset because you actually wanted a cake?

Getting what you want from people is very hard if you are not clear about what you want in the first place. On the flip side it’s very hard to say what you want if you don’t know what is actually possible because, as you said, you’re not the expert. You’re not expected to map out the solution, but it helps if you have a basic understanding of what the problem is in the first place.

What a good web design company will do is not just get under the skin but get right down to the bones of your business. How do your customers currently fit into the process? What happens behind the scenes when a customer makes a request with you?  Do you run your business on a pile of spreadsheets with massive room for human error? What are the motivations behind the different user groups - not just the customer, but the admin staff in your office, the FD sitting in her tower or the sales people out in the field?


Ok, advice noted. So how do I make sure I’m not getting taken for a ride?

The simple answer is trust. If you’ve got to a stage in your business where you’re spending proper money on a site, you will have probably already done some due diligence and looked at their previous work online. You wouldn’t even be meeting them if they didn’t pass these basic tests. Hopefully you will have looked at these sites not just from a design perspective, but a user experience one as well. Can you find things easily on them? Did you get frustrated using it?

If they have got to a stage where they are sitting in your office, during the conversations do you feel they have truly understood what you want? Have they had some creative ideas for solutions that meet your needs? Have they introduced you to the project team (at very least the project manager) or have they just thrown sales staff at you? Do you feel comfortable around them, because this will be a lengthy process and you need to feel like they are part of your team, not just a faceless resource.

Because of how vague pricing can be, the biggest fear will be that you get to points in the project where costs balloon out of control. Confusion as to what was in and out of scope is a very common thing in the web world because the initial scoping and quoting phase was rushed.

The only way you can truly feel comfortable is by getting to know a team and treating the procurement process more like a job interview. Yes, they are technically skilled, but ask yourself truthfully; are they going to get on with my team? Do they have my best interests at heart?

Ask them for references, call up their previous clients and enquire directly how the process was handled. Ask these people if at any point in the process, the web team made them feel like they were being baffled by technical jargon. Did they feel like they were constantly being sold to? Were key decisions written down and signed off on? Most importantly, would they use the same team again?

If they fall at any of these hurdles, then you need to keep on looking.



At Impelling, we like to think we’ve got all of these things right. If you want to chat about your project with us, get in touch and we’ll be happy to come to your offices, eat your biscuits and get to know you a bit.

 



Richard is a Project Manager with years of experience in large scale corporate events and now IT and Web. He is qualified in PRINCE2 2017, AGILE and is a certified SCRUM Master.









Share on Linkedin

For the best experience we recommend a modern browser

To enable us to cater for as many users as possible our website is built using modern techniques. We've done our best to make the site as usable as we can across all devices, but for the best experience we highly recommend updating your browser if you can.

Close this message