The most asked question in web design without any exception is how much does a website cost? Unfortunately we can’t answer that question as it varies so much between different web design agencies. In fact, we can’t even answer how much it would cost for a website from us as it again varies greatly depending on things like the size of the project and features required.
Despite not giving you a definitive answer this post should give you a better understanding of the different factors involved in determining the cost of a website.
The costs involved
First lets look at the different costs involved with a website. There are the initial costs, the design and development of the site and possibly things such as search engine optimisation and usability if the web design agency doesn’t include them as standard. Then there are the ongoing costs, hosting is a necessity with optional maintenance and then marketing the website.
There aren’t many industries or sectors where you will find such a massive difference in price for seemingly similar products. You could get a website online yourself for free with some knowledge and the space from your ISP or you could pay a large design firm with a big office in the centre of London hundreds or thousands of pounds. Of course there is a huge range of prices in-between as well. There are three main reasons for these differences in price:
The web design agency
The first reason is perhaps the most obvious. It’s common sense that the more features you want your website to have the more it is going to cost. Basic features such as contact forms, photo galleries and contact management systems etc.. will cost extra but these costs should be both reasonable and fairly standard as they are popular features that the web design agency will have used before and will only need to adapt them for your site.
However if you require any special feature specific to your site they may need to be custom built from scratch in which case you can soon run up very large bills as you will be charged the whole development costs.
Anybody can design a website these days but not everybody can design good websites. Programs such Word and Publisher are capable of exporting HTML code and creating a web page from a document. It’s fair to say that these types of websites never look good and actually do your business more harm than good due to how unprofessional they look.
There are many web design agencies out there using programs like this or simply editing pre designed templates rather than designing from scratch which is how they manage to keep their prices down. Compare this to agencies that take time to start with a blank canvas and design the site to fit the clients content rather than try to squeeze the content into an existing recycled design and it’s easy to understand how this can effect the cost so drastically.
Other factors such as the qualifications or more importantly the experience of the designer will also effect the quality of the website and therefore the cost.
The web design agency
Whilst the first two reasons are fairly obvious and easy to see where your money is being spent the final reason is a little more difficult. It is probably the biggest influence on the cost of a website as well. As we said earlier you could do it all yourself for free or you could chose a web design agency. Of which there are a wide range with different levels of skill, experience and perhaps more directly linked to the cost of your website, overheads. Obviously there is going to be a huge price difference between a website designed by a 17 year old in his bedroom or an internationally renowned design firm which has offices, staff and large marketing campaigns to pay for.
There are people claiming that they can build a website for £100 whilst those world-renowned firms mentioned above may start at £100,000. In this extreme example it’s probably clear which is going to be the better site but what if you don’t have that sort of budget? It’s possible that a 17 year old working out of his bedroom could be just as good at producing a small brochure site but he would definitely struggle with larger projects which required more development and experience.
It then becomes necessary to balance quality, experience and features against cost and select the agency that can deliver the most within your budget.
So once you’ve paid for a website to be designed you will need some form of hosting to get it online. Hosting is cheap these days and unless you are going to receive extremely high volume of traffic or are transferring a large amount of data you can expect to pay between £100 – £300 a year.
Maintenance is an interesting area in web design where there is no standard procedure. Some agencies simply won’t make any changes after the site is completed, others will make a limited number and many offer maintenance contracts. There is no right or wrong solution as long as the client is aware of the procedure and cost from the start and is in agreement. At Jigsaw we offer a range of solutions, including free minor changes for the first month, contact management systems to enable clients to make their own changes or various maintenance contracts. We always discuss a clients maintenance requirements at the start and help them chose the best solutions for their situation which will then be written into the contract.
Marketing of a website is hugely important yet often overlooked. With the level of competition on the web these days it’s a dangerous thing to assume that people will just come and visit your site. It’s vital that you spend time and money promoting your site both off line and online. There are a range of marketing solutions to suit any budget. PayPerClick advertising campaigns are becoming more and more popular as they can be cheap and provide instant results whereas gaining listings via search engines naturally is a long process.
So how much does a website cost then?
Hopefully you now understand that it really isn’t possible to give a definitive answer but at least you now know some of the factors involved in determining the cost. We will be looking at ‘
How to choose a web design agency’ in a future post but until then perhaps the best way is to decide how much you are wiling to spend on your website first. Then ask the agencies what you can get from them within your budget rather than approaching them for a price.