How Much Does A Website Cost In 2016?

Website Cost

“So how much will a website cost”? is a question we not surprisingly get asked a lot. I would be worried for any web designer that didn’t.

While the question itself can be asked quickly, the only quick answer I could give is it depends on various factors. The longer answer is this comprehensive explanation.

In this article you will find out:

Prices For Different Types Of Websites
How Website Costs Are Broken Down
How The Definition Of A Web Designers Success Could Affect Costs
Should You Pay An Hourly Or Fixed Rate?
Why Demanding Clients Could Increase Your Quote
Building A Website Involves A Certain Degree Of Planning
Is Content And Copywriting Included In The Website Cost?

A Typical Scenario:

Janet is a new small business owner. She has a solid business plan that includes various ways she intends to market her business. One of those ways is to have a website built, so she can market her business online.

Janet knows roughly the type of website she would like in terms of design and functionality. It isn’t overly complicated just a small business website consisting of 10 – 20 pages, mobile friendly, well laid out design, contact form functionality, social media integration and a blog section.

She contacts 4 web design companies to find out how much it’s going to cost:

“Web design company 1 quotes £1,000”

“Web design company 2 quotes £1,500”

“Web design company 3 quotes £6,000”

“Web design company 4 quotes £10,000”

Janet is confused. She obviously wants to get the best deal possible, but thinks £1,000 might be to cheap.

How can one company build her website this cheaply if another has quoted her £10,000?

Unfortunately this isn’t uncommon, web design quotes can and do vary this much, leaving many business owners confused and wondering how they should proceed.

Without getting to technical, I wanted to firstly explain how and why the quote for the cost of a website can vary so greatly and secondly the checks you should make and questions you should ask before making any kind of decision.

Prices To Build Different Types of Websites

Basic Customised small business website:

£700 – £1500

This is likely the starting point for most small business owners. Expect the site to be built on WordPress or another popular CMS platform and customised accordingly.

What you should get:

  • Developed on a CMS
  • Logo design & graphic customisation
  • Social media integration
  • Contact form
  • Google map integration
  • Slider and or image gallery
  • Opt in form
  • Keyword integration (meta descriptions & content)
  • Responsive
  • Cross browser compatibility
  • 5 – 15 pages approximately

Ecommerce Website

£2500 – £5000

If you require a fully functional Ecommerce website and are prepared to do a little work yourself, like photography and product descriptions then your website falls into this category.

What you should get:

  • Fully functional Ecommerce website with 20 – 150 products
  • Responsive design
  • Logo & graphic customisation
  • PayPal and or Sage pay integration
  • Contact forms
  • Blog
  • Slider
  • SEO friendly architecture – category & product pages
  • Social media integration
  • Cross browser compatibility

Bespoke Website

£10,000 – £20,000+

At this level you should be able to sit back and let the design company do everything, meeting all of your requirements. You should be able to add any functionality you require from booking systems and back office integrations. You should also expect the design company to provide keyword research based on your objectives and include well written copy that converts visitors into leads and customers.

What you should get:

  • Fully customised, branded solution to exact specification
  • Ecommerce/shopping cart functionality if required
  • Logo & graphic customisation
  • Payment gateway integration
  • Contact forms
  • Blog
  • Slider
  • Image galleries
  • Back office integration
  • Social media integration
  • Custom coding and or functionality
  • Copywriting
  • Keyword research
  • Responsive
  • Cross browser compatibility
  • SEO friendly architecture – category & product pages
  • Conversion optimisation

How Website Costs Are Broken Down

  • Domain name – A domain name eg costs approximately £10.00 per year.
  • Hosting – £50 – £300 per year depending on the size of the website and the amount of traffic it receives.
  • Design & Development time – 10 – 100 hours, which normally accounts for the huge variation in cost – fully explained here.
  • Updates, Maintenance & Security – Are you going to perform the updates yourself? Add new content etc, this is a decision you need to make which will reflect the cost.

Design & Development Time

Building a website can be accomplished a hundred different ways. If at the end you receive a solid, functional, well designed solution based on your specifications and goals, no way could be classed as bad, just more expensive.

A high proportion of web developers will use a CMS like WordPress or Joomla, we do for some projects.

The work involved when developing can be as little as uploading a theme and making some visual changes without having to touch a line of code.

Much of the functionality can be accomplished by uploading plugins which can provide contact form, social media and Google maps integration. In this scenario you will receive an acceptable website that will work and should pay accordingly.

For a standard small business website we like to take things a step further, customising a theme to develop something which is very good, but still comes in at under £1,500.

At the other end of the spectrum is a fully customised solution that “does something” maybe an interactive booking system or back office integration.  In this instance the website will require custom coding, which will determine the price tag of £10,000+

For a small business website with basic functionality, there is absolutely no need to pay over the odds for a complicated customised solution.

A basic WordPress theme can be easily and quickly branded to a high standard – approximately 20 hours work. There are tens of thousands of plugins available, which provide nearly any type of additional functionality.

I think it’s naughty but not uncommon for web designers to add customisations that provide absolutely no benefits in order to justify a large price tag. We have taken over several websites to which this has obviously been the case and in some instances the customisations have had a negative impact to the website in terms of site architecture, which is important for SEO.

Due to reduced development time we are able to dedicate more time in making the website search engine friendly. There’s very little point having an amazing, customised business website if no one ever visits it.

We provide optimised content, meta descriptions, take care of the architecture and importantly ensure the website is running at optimal speed.

While this isn’t particularly normal within the industry it should be and something you should enquire about before making any kind of decision.

The Definition of Success May Vary

There are developers who concentrate on branding and design, while others concentrate on using the most up to date code and developing each website from scratch. Other developers are more marketing, SEO orientated not just basing success on delivering something eye catching or highly functional but looking at the bigger picture for the client and taking the initial steps for driving and converting traffic.

This can effect cost, for example if your developer specialises in building websites from scratch with the most recent coding practices, this will take them more time, which will increase the cost of your website.

Hourly Or Fixed Prices?

While hourly pricing is less common, some web designers will quote for the cost of a website as ongoing, meaning the total cost will be based on the number of hours it takes the developer to finish the project multiplied by their hourly rate, which could be anything from £50 – £150.

In this instance you need to trust the web designer is going to be fair and only charge for the actual hours they have worked.

It’s more common to quote for the project as a whole. In this instance it’s highly likely you will pay a percentage of the costs upfront, we charge 50% and then the remainder upon completion.

Demanding Clients

Unfortunately for all the great clients out there that provide specifications, content etc in a timely, hassle free manner, there are normally 2 bad ones.

If you email me 50 times a day, want 100 minor revisions to the website and start asking for complicated features half way through the development I’m afraid im going to have to be compensated for it.

While many experienced developers have a nack of sniffing out potentially difficult clients at the start and simply refuse to take on the work, there are some that slip through the net.

For every really bad client a web designer encounters it’s possible there prices will go up slightly to compensate for this, it’s human nature.

Building A Website Involves A Certain Degree Of Planning

Web Design Planning

Building a website isn’t quite as simple as getting a few specifications from a client and jumping straight on in there and developing. It takes thought, research and planning. Many developers will use specialist software to build mock ups of the website and design logos and graphics. This takes time, which determines cost.

Size Of The Development Company Can Determine Difference In Price

No one wants to get ripped off when having a website developed, which is often the reason many turn to the more established, larger web design companies.

Generally speaking the larger companies will charge more than the smaller guys, they simply have to.

Hefty wage bill at the end of each month and a large office space means these companies have to charge top dollar in order to survive.

Hiring the services of a larger company will no doubt result in you receiving an excellent website and a cup of coffee in nice office surroundings during your face to face meetings.

If however you aren’t that bothered about the coffee and only looking to receive an excellent website at often half the cost than maybe you should give the smaller guy a try?

Content & Copywriting

I think this is often overlooked by many web designers who request their clients provide all the content for the website.

In our experience, this not only holds things up, but can prove a negative factor for the website in terms of conversions and SEO.

We understand that many business owners simply haven’t got time to write large amounts of content for their site, we also understand that many aren’t copywriters, why would they be?

We offer copywriting and website content charging a competitive rate which reflects the quantity and specifications.

Unfortunately their is no set answer to “how much does a website cost” but hopefully this article provides an insight into the justification of cost and why quotes can vary so much.

Have Your Say

It would be great to hear from business owners and web designers alike. Have you had a good or bad experience with a web designer? Been quoted a price which seemed to good to be true or way to expensive?

James Brands specialises in the development of websites and applications at WilliCreative. He is also a proven SEO expert using the latest techniques to increase the visibility of both local and national client sites.

5 replies on “How Much Does A Website Cost In 2016?

  • Alexa @ The Mindful Maritimer

    Before starting my own blog I had always wondered if it would have been worth it to just pay someone for their services in running it for me.. but i guess that would have taken the fun out of it in the first place. I’ve never used a web designer per say, only hosting websites. That being said I’ve purchased themes from third party sites and because I was new to web design in general I was worried about how to implement the codes into my own site. I have had nothing but good experiences dealing with the creators of the themes and I’ve even paid for their services in order for them to modify the theme to match what I desired. I think it takes time to see how valuable certain elements are when it comes to looking at a website plan as a whole.

    • James Brands

      Hi Alexa,

      Thanks for the comment.

      If you have time to learn the skills to design and develop your own website, there is nothing more satisfying.

      Unfortunately for the majority of small business owners, they have to dedicate there time elsewhere.

  • Anansi

    Great information! I was wondering about developing an e-commerce website to make a few extra dollars a month from referral links via Amazon and Ebay. This article gave me some idea on how much things would cost if I needed professional assistance on setting up the website. Like the nice lady up top I have only viewed the 3rd party themes that work with wordpress. I have a few buddies of mine that are doing pretty good every month with their websites, but they did say the cost on the front end is around $200 U.S. Dollars, and you have to determine if you are going to have content with each products. Content post can cost extra but again quality content can help drive sales which equal more money from your referral sales. I have to agree with James that there is no set price for building a website, but make sure you get a quality contract drawn up if you are going to hire someone to build your website. It’s important to know if your going to get billed for everything or get a few freebies here and there.


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