How much should my website cost?
11 December 2017
One of the first questions most clients ask me is how much will my website cost.
Website cost varies massively, so much so, that there is almost no standard price you can expect to pay. This is because the cost to build a website depends on several factors. To start with I need to know what you want to do with your website and how much you can afford.
You can ask yourself three simple questions to provide me with the answers I need:
- Why does my company need a new website? (e.g. I need to rebrand, my current website doesn’t work properly, I need my site to generate leads etc.)
- How will my company use the website? (e.g. I just need a website to point people to, I need to sell products online, I need to generate serious traffic and leads to sell my services, I need a site that my clients can use (members section/forum), etc.)
- What are the things I most value in a website? (e.g. easy to use, sleek, works responsively on a mobile device, easy to update, integrated blog, connects to my social media, CRM integration, email marketing integration, analytics that are easy to understand, etc.)
There are some other things to consider when determining website development costs which are:
- Functionality requirements – sliders, contact forms, social feeds, downloads, FAQs etc.
- The number of pages/products – The more content that needs to be added to the site, the larger the site and the higher the cost.
It’s important to see your website as a marketing tool which isn’t just a one-time cost.
You should always budget for the cost of building the website and for the ongoing marketing costs of your site. If you don’t touch your website after it’s been built then you won’t accomplish your goals if they are anything beyond just having a website to point people to.
The number of clients I work with whose ultimate goal is to have a nice-looking website without really using it to generate leads or (worse) those that assume if it looks great it will just work, is higher than it should be. The companies I work with who really flourish online understand that creating an easy-to-use, purpose-focused website is actually only the tip of the iceberg. These companies invest in a website build, then they focus their resources on driving traffic, leads, and customers to it.
If you are serious about using your website as a powerful marketing tool the average cost of website design for small business should reflect your ambitions for the amount of revenue you hope to draw from it. If you are hoping to attract clients wanting to spend £4,000 with you per transaction then spending £400 on your website is a complete waste. You need to be realistic so setting a budget for both the cost to build a website and the ongoing maintenance and marketing of that website is key.
So, how do I determine my budget for a website?
We all have budgets for things, a budget is an amount of money you are prepared to pay for a product or service. When it comes to website costs, it’s pretty straight forward, you should spend as much as you can afford to get what you need.
There are all kinds of rules out there about how to determine your marketing budget. It’s commonly recommended you use a percentage of gross revenue, and I most often here the figures 5-10% which are allocated to marketing. Not everyone uses this method though and others take a more pragmatic approach. Whatever method suits you, decide what percentage of that budget you are going to allocate to creating an effective web presence.
Do your research
Once you identified a budget the next stage is to determine what you can get for your money. Do some detailed research into website prices. Explore different options such as DIY solutions like website builders if your budget is tiny, template builds, freelancers, design agencies, marketing agencies etc.
Get quotes and compare what you are getting for your money as everyone will be different. I find it frustrating when I see social media posts about web designers ripping people off. Make sure you understand the the type of products you are paying for because the price for different types of website varies greatly. Don’t assume that a website that costs £400 and a website that cost £4000 are the same.
Here is a basic guide on price:
- Website Builders – £*
- Static HTML Website – ££
- Template CMS Website – £££
- Custom CMS Website – ££££
- Bespoke CMS Website – £££££+
*Something to watch with website builders is the ongoing costs and costs for additional functionality as this can quickly escalate to the ££-££££.
Is there an average cost of creating a website?
Honestly, it ranges from the ridiculous to dirt cheap. Prices are all over the place, depending again on what you want to accomplish with your site and how amazing you want it to be, but I’ll try and give you some numbers.
For many companies, a website doesn’t have to be crazy expensive to be effective, but there are some features you need as a minimum requirement in order to have an effective website that works well and is visible in the search:
- The ability to edit and update your own content without relying on a developer. To achieve this you’ll need a site built on a content management system (CMS) like WordPress. This could save you a lot of money moving forward.
- Pages that describe each of your services and how they benefit your customers. Make sure these pages include copy written in such a way that it engages your readers and helps them take the next step toward becoming a lead. You also need to ensure correct formatting of the page and content to maximise the on-page SEO.
- A blog for generating content quickly. With WordPress this is integrated into it already.
- Trackable forms to capture leads quickly. The easier it is for potential customers to contact you, the better. Tracking the page they came from and what they searched for is also very useful for other marketing activities.
- Integration with email and social marketing. This means that your website is easy to share and has URLs that make sense to humans.
- Designed for optimum use on all devices. Responsive design is a must for any modern site. Your site should look great on desktops, tablets, phones and everything in between.)
For a site that does all these things combined with a bespoke design and custom theme build, you should plan on spending a minimum of £4-5,000 with a regional agency or £2 – 2,500 with a decent freelancer. If you can find a developer who does little projects on the side (like me) you can expect to pay £1-1,500. You could get a website design package cheaper if you’re willing to use an off-the-shelf WordPress theme or remove some of the functionality. It all really comes back to what I mentioned at the beginning of this blog what do you want to do with your website and how much you can afford.
Let’s use an analogy to make this easier, the humble bicycle. Now we all know that the main purpose of a bicycle is to get you from A to B but how you want to get there dictates the type of bicycle you should buy.
There’s a big difference between buying a £7,000 super aero, carbon framed, electric geared bike with disk breaks and a £50 second-hand trolley shopper, right? Both are lovely bikes, but they are purchased for completely different reasons. If you can afford the carbon beast and it does what you need, go for it! (make sure you have left some money in the tin for the full lycra outfit so you look the part as well.)
If you need somewhere to put your groceries then the shopping bike is the one for you, enjoy that fantastically comfortable seat! Choose the features that best fit your requirements and budget.
How much does it cost to maintain a website?
This is often something that is overlooked when budgeting for a website. I already mentioned that a website shouldn’t be seen as a one-off cost and that’s because there are always ongoing costs associated with owning and maintaining a website.
Website Hosting – In the simplest terms, this is the space on a server where the website lives so it can be freely accessed via the internet. Hosting is a requirement of owning a website and should be included in any annual expenses budgets. The cost of hosting (like websites) varies massively but essentially you get what you pay for and budget hosting is not recommended for WordPress.
Updates & Support – Like any software, WordPress must be kept up to date so it functions correctly. Some companies will offer support or maintenance contracts for things like updates. It can also be included in managed hosting costs (I include quarterly updates with my premium managed hosting plan).
On-going SEO – Search engine optimization is the process of making sure your website and its content is fully optimised to perform well in search engines like Google. Cost for this is also a bottomless pit as it varies massively. If you are serious about SEO though you need to be spending upwards of £200 per month. On an average freelancer hourly rate that equates to 4-8 hours. A lot of people might say that’s rubbish and you can get monthly SEO for less than that but as with hosting, you get what pay for.
So, how much should my website cost? It’s a really good idea to spend as much as you can afford to get what you need. This way you avoid wasting money and having to re-do it further down the line.