How Much Does A Website Cost?
As an agency which provides web design and development as a service, this is a question we get asked often. Unfortunately (as much as we would like to), this is a simple question which doesn’t have a short and simple answer.
It really is a “how long is a piece of string” scenario. This is because how much it costs depends on a number of different variables. And because no two projects are the same, we can’t give a one-size-fits-all answer.
This is why before we provide an estimate, we always make sure that we get answers to the questions which will help us to understand the variables. Only after we have the answers to these questions, will we then be able to paint a picture for ourselves and our clients of the costs.
So, what are the variables we need to define?
What is your budget?
This is one of the first questions we ask, and for a very important reason. From the perspective of the client, we can understand if there is a hesitation to answer this. But rest assured, we ask this solely for an understanding of what you are able to invest, not how much we can charge you.
We don’t increase our prices based on the budget. We never have, and we never will. By getting an idea of budget, it simply helps us to understand what level of investment you want to make and whether we’re able to provide our service for that amount; the same as many other businesses.
Having even a rough idea of how much you want to invest in your website also helps us identify the most suitable technologies and solutions for you. Not knowing how much you want to invest could mean we end up suggesting something that isn’t achievable.
Do you have a domain name?
All websites need a domain name (a URL). You can buy one yourself, or we can do it for you if you like. There are many providers out there to choose from and many variations available e.g. .co.uk .com .org and .net are just a few of the most common.
We can buy one for you, but it will always be registered in your name and you will be the owner. This means you’ll always be responsible for keeping it registered and paying the registration fees directly to the provider. The fee can be yearly or for longer periods depending on who you buy the name from.
Will you require hosting?
In order to get your shiny new site up on the web, it will need some sort of hosting.
We’ll need to know the details of your hosting package so we can understand whether it needs upgrading or not. If you’re having a lot of development work done on your website, your hosting might need upgrading too.
A 10,000-page image-heavy e-commerce website will, for instance, require more disk space on the hosting server compared to a 10-page website. If your website gets a lot of visitors, this can affect the type of hosting package too, so do let us know how many people visit your site on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
If you don’t have your own hosting, we can provide this for you, and will include a price for this in our quote.
If you stick with your existing hosting package, we’ll need access to it, when the time comes so that we can update or rebuild your website. There’s no need to share any login details with us though, not until absolutely necessary.
Do you have an SSL certificate?
An SSL certificate helps protect your website from being hacked and gives your customers a safer browsing experience. An SSL certificate changes your domain name from http to https.
Sometimes, depending on which SSL certificate you buy, a padlock symbol may also appear in the browser address bar and part of it may turn green to let people know it’s a secure site.
Google recommends using an SSL certificate, and you should use one if you’re running an ecommerce site or collecting any kind of customer data e.g. in a contact form for example.
It’s very rare for us to work on a site that doesn’t have one, and we would always recommend that you to buy one for your site.
Although it is simple to buy an SSL certificate, implementing one will usually need to be done by a developer or someone who knows what they’re doing.
If you have a website at the moment which isn’t using an SSL certificate, but you buy one and implement it, all the internal links throughout your website may need updating so that they point people to the right page. If an internal link starts with http it will probably need updating to https.
(SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer which is a bit of technical jargon that you don’t really need to know to buy one or implement it.)
What is the purpose of the site?
Understanding this is really important, as what your site is being built for will have a big influence over how long it will take our web developers to build, and the type of functionality we’ll need to include.
For example, if it is an e-commerce website, this will take a lot longer to build compared to a site which is just directing users towards a contact page. This is because an e-commerce site has more components to build into it, such as multiple product pages, a shopping cart and a secure payment system.
How editable do you want the site to be?
In other words, what would you like to be able to change yourself? Do you want to be able to change all the words and images on any page? What about some parts of the code like meta title or meta description tags? These tags tell Google what the page and content is all about.
What about how many fields appear in a contact form and the wording associated to those fields? And do you want to be able to create new pages too?
If you don’t want to edit anything, this may reduce the price of the website, but it will probably mean you’ll need to ask and pay a developer to make any changes in the future, even if it’s something simple like a phone number.
If you want to be able to edit lots of things, we’ll usually build a Content Management System (CMS) for you to help you make the changes you want. You’ll log into it and edit the site there, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to edit anything and everything because some website files can only be edited by a developer.
Designing and building a site that is not editable will usually take less time compared to building a site that is highly editable. That’s just the way the coding cookie crumbles.
How many pages does the site need to have, and what content needs to go on them?
Sites which have lots of pages will typically be more expensive than a site which has just one page for example. And as a result, it is essential that we have an idea of how big the site will be, so we can make a judgement on how long it will take to build it.
A typical website might have, as the bare minimum, the following pages:
· Home page
· Contact page / form
· Cookies and Privacy
· Business Terms and Conditions
· Website Terms and Conditions
What level of functionality do you want?
Websites are much like cars. Flashy, fast sports cars are a lot more expensive than a Ford Fiesta, and this is true for websites too.
Websites which have lots of complicated or fancy animations and functionality will usually be more expensive than a website of the same size which is static and has few animations or other interactive elements.
The initial point we made about budgets comes into play nicely here: by knowing how much you want to invest in your website, we will be better able to advise you on what level of functionality your website could have.
Types of functionality you might want could include:
· Contact forms
· Moving imagery or animations
· Customer accounts
· Shopping baskets
· Image gallery
· File uploads
What else do you require?
· Will you be providing the copy for the site, or is this something you want us to write?
· Do you want us to optimise the site, so search engines can find it and understand it?
· Do you want us to create any illustrations, or source some photography or other images, to go on the site to make it more eye-catching?
· Do you want your site to be designed and built for a specific audience with specific accessibility needs or to meet a specific accessibility standard?
· Do you want to integrate your website with any other system? E.g. if there is a contact form on your website, where do you want the information someone submits to go? Just to your email address? Or to a Customer Resource Management programme (CRM) or email platform like MailChimp?
· Do you want to collect data about who visits your website using a tool like Google Analytics?
When do you want your site to be live?
Let us know if you’d like your website to be live for a particular time and date. We will always try to work to this where possible but if we can’t we’ll agree a different date with you.
How long will it take?
This is something we ask ourselves.
All of the answers to the questions above will lead us to the answer of this one. Once we know what your website requirements are, we can start to make an accurate judgement of how long it will take to build.
This is vital to do, because as is the case with most projects, time is one of the main factors with contribute towards cost. As you would expect, a site which takes just a few weeks to build may of course be a lot cheaper than a site which takes a few months to complete.
The more you tell us, the more accurate we can be in our quoting
By finding out the answers to these kinds of questions, we will gain a better knowledge of what you want and need, and how long it will take us to design and build, and how much your website will cost.
If after reading all this you’re wondering how much the website you want for your business will cost, please get in touch. We’ll be more than happy to advise.