Sam Hollis Web Design

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How Much Does a Website Cost?

Sam Hollis is a web designer, dad and serial networker

‘I’m always happy to chat and advice is always free’

It’s the number one question on the lips of almost all of my customers: How much does a website cost?

It seems a shame for me not to answer it then. Of course, you can find my prices elsewhere on my site, but for this blog, I’m giving you a look at what you can get across the market in general. After all, everyone wants a good basis for comparison.

Although there’s no easy answer to this big question. I’m aiming to go through the most important considerations to give you the simplest, most useful answer possible.

How much does a website cost on average in the UK?

On average, a basic website with 5 pages fit for a small business costs £720 in the UK.

Average small business website cost: £720

Typical minimum cost: £400

Typical maximum cost: £1000

This includes phone-friendly design and setting up basic Google search-engine recognition, so you’ll get seen. This is based on studies by bidvine.com and expertmarket.co.uk

This being said, the actual cost of a website can vary wildly depending on many things. To help you costing your site, I’ve looked into a few of these considerations below and given some rough, average guide costs.

Regular Fees

With a few restrictive exceptions, you need to make regular payments for pretty much all websites, even if you pay for the design upfront. These cover the cost of having your site hosted on a server and reserving your web address or domain name.

Average hosting cost: £15 per month

Cheapest .co.uk domains: £5 per year

Cheapest .com domains: £10 per year

There are a few things to note here. First, hosting will be slightly cheaper if you buy it direct from a hosting company, but with more stress. If you buy from your web designer, it could be a more expensive, but they will often handle the fiddly bits and support you. If you do get a one-off payment site, and are not a web expert, I would recommend this option. The better the support, the more you may have to pay for the service.

Domain names can cost anything from a few pounds per year to a few million, depending on how sought-after your name is. You should find one you like for £5-£15 though.

How much does a pay-monthly website cost?

Sites like the ones I make, with no up-front cost and regular monthly payments are a relatively new concept and are offered by a growing minority of designers. As the web evolves, sites are generally turning from one-off jobs into consistently developing services. Visitors expect consistent updates and owners benefit from a variety of apps and integrations that need management. For this reason, it makes sense to many designers and customers to deal with a monthly subscription-style fee for a site, instead of hitting the customer with a big bill up front.

Because this type of charging system is so new, there is little to go on, but a quick study of the providers that ranked well on Google revealed that the average five-page pay-as-you-go site costs around £70. The cheapest to be found was £20 for a one-page site and the most expensive quoted cost was £250 per month for an ecommerce website.

Average pay-monthly website cost: £71

Deciding how much to pay for your website

Finding the cost you want to pay for your site is more a case of weighing up priorities, options and budgets than putting a price on a single item. This is truer the more complex your site gets. The rest of this guide will take you through the four main questions you need to ask yourself to figure out a budget.

  1. How much work and responsibility do you want to take on?
  2. What do you want your site to do?
  3. How much customisation do you want?
  4. What do you want to do about content?

1. How much work and responsibility do you want to take on?

The first options are: do you want to do it yourself, pay someone else to do it for you, or opt for a midway solution?

If you’re happy to build, update and manage your site yourself, you can get away with paying only a few pounds. You’ll be spending a lot of time keeping the gremlins in your site happy though.

Do it yourself Pay someone else
Cost

Regular 5-page site

£15 per month hosting + £1 domain

Free with conditions on some platforms

Around £720 + £15 per month hosting

Or

Around £70 per month PAYG

Pros · It’s cheap – Most people build their own site for this reason.

· If you do have a good level of skill and plenty of free time, you can create a worthwhile page.

· You are in control, as far as your ability stretches.

· Modern apps such as WordPress make the building process easier and quicker than it was.

· You will get a high-quality website that looks good and functions well.

· Your website will be managed by a professional.

· You can relax, knowing your site is bug-free and functioning well.

· Most web designers will ensure finer technical details like metadata and user experience are handled well.

· You will get support when you need it.

Cons · It won’t look or function as well as a professional site.

· Design and management are both time-consuming and stressful.

· Bugs and security weaknesses can pose big problems.

· Many of the problems that can occur are not immediately evident. E.g. Your website may appear fine while being blacklisted by Google.

· Many DIY site-construction apps will start to cost money down the line, and this can be hard to avoid.

· Self-built sites can load slower and are limited in what they can do.

· It costs money – sometimes a lot.

· You may not be in full control of what you get, although good designers will coordinate with you and consider your brief carefully.

· If you’re not careful, you can get caught up in bad deals.

As well as doing it yourself or giving your site over to someone else, there are several mid-way options. These include pre-made themes that you can buy and fill with your own content, and developers who will create the basis of your site, then let you mould it as you want. If you have some technical ability and want the best of both worlds (and are happy to deal with the cons of both), this might be the option for you.

2. What do you want your site to do?

Do you remember the days when almost every site consisted of a few pictures, some text and (often) a garish background?

Well, those are thankfully long gone.

Sites can include many functionalities from obvious ones, like ecommerce and social-media integrations to things happening in the background like search engine optimisation and extra security features.

Many of these cost extra and there are really too many options and offerings to cost everything. Here are a list of the most popular functions you may need though:

  • Blog/news
  • Ecommerce
  • Booking platform
  • Video library
  • Photo gallery
  • Search
  • Forms
  • Event calendar
  • Social sharing tool
  • Location map

One important thing to remember is that most web designers’ listed prices for websites include none of these things; just the vanilla options. Some, like mine, will include basic search engine optimisation features and security, but many won’t.

Most design companies will have a basic price with extra costs added. Some publicise their prices and some don’t.

3. How much customisation do you want?

Customisation is another thing that will drive up the price of your website. The cheapest web designers will download an off-the-shelf theme and simply input your images and text into it. In the middle price range, you can expect a generic structure to your website adapted to meet your needs. How much customisation and adaptation you can ask for depends on how much you are willing to pay.

At a certain level of complexity and uniqueness, you will have to think about getting your site custom coded, meaning written in the basic language of the web, just for you. This is the point at which prices really begin to skyrocket.

4. Content

Finally, you need to think of the content that will fill your site. Most web designers will ask you to provide the content yourself. Some will offer the content as an extra and the more expensive providers will include it in the cost of your site. You can expect to pay from £80 to £150 per page for web content, with the average sitting at £120.

Photography is a bit of a different beast, as base costs, requirements and needs vary a lot. Bidvine quotes an average cost of £250 for a commercial photoshoot though.

Average website content cost: £120 per page

Average website photography cost: £250

The maths

Here’s a rough guide to working out the prices based on what we’ve said above for a five-page business site.

  1. How much work and responsibility do you want to take on?
    1. DIY – £16 per month + potential one-off costs for repairs
    2. Pay someone – £720 + £15 per month or £71 per month on average – varies hugely
  2. What do you want your site to do?
    1. More functionality = more cost.
    2. List what you want for an easy quote.
  3. How much customisation do you want?
    1. More customisation = more cost
    2. Off-the shelf theme with no customisation = £200-500
    3. Customised site with generic basic structure = £500-2000
    4. Custom coded site built from the ground up = £2000 +
  4. What do you want to do about content?
    1. DIY – Free
    2. Average cost of written content = £120 per page
    3. Average photography cost = £250

Conclusion

I wanted to save the most important rule until last, because you probably already know it:

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys! That applies to web design, hosting, content and photography.

The price guide above should give you a pretty solid basis for working out site prices. Although we researched it very carefully, it is only a guide and we can’t guarantee other providers’ prices.

However, I can promise that a five-page pay-as-you-go site from me will cost £40 per month, while a single-pager will cost £25 and an eight-page premium site £50 per month. Get in touch to discuss our prices, ask a question about budgeting or get a quote.

sam@samhollis.co.uk

The most expensive websites ever … and the one that was 10,000 times too pricey

When I said prices can vary, I really meant it. Website costs can range from a few pounds to millions.

The most ever paid for a site on public record is … wait for it …

A whopping $35 million, or around £25 million for vacationrentals.com in 2012.

The biggest sites are usually maintained by large, in-house teams who accrue even more expenses over time though. Some commentators estimate that Google.com, run by around 30,000 employees, and more than 20 huge data centres, is the most expensive in the world.

We’ve looked at the most expensive, but the most overpriced site ever was probably one commissioned by the South African Government not too far from my home. It came in at the equivalent of $10 million. When it was evaluated by auditors following a complaint that it was a relatively basic WordPress site, they put the true value at a mere $1000. Now that is a mark-up!

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