Breaking Down The Costs Of Building a Website

Planning a new website? It’s not just the cost of designing and developing it you’ll need to budget for. We asked our community of Web Design Companies for advice about all the elements you’ll need to consider and budget for.  

We’re going to use the idea of a ‘new-build house’ as a metaphor for your ‘new-build website’.


1. Domain (AKA the address)

Purchasing a domain name is an essential part of owning a website on the internet. Your domain is the website address that will lead visitors to your website.

For example, our domain name is

For many companies, their domain will be the name of their business. You purchase the domain name online from a certified domain registrar, and usually pay for it on an annual basis (although purchasing several years upfront sometimes results in a discount).

Things get a bit trickier if someone already owns the ideal domain name you’re after. Could you get something similar? Picking a different domain ending might help – not everyone needs a dot com these days – .net .org .tv .ninja .london – there are lots of possibilities!

If you’re really determined to get the exact address you want, you can try and buy it from the current owner. Be careful though, this could get expensive.


2. Hosting (AKA the land)

Once you have your domain name, you then need to pay for a space in which to ‘host’ your website. In our house analogy, the hosting is like the land your house is built on.

Websites live on special computers called servers. When someone wants to visit your website, they type your domain name into their browser or click on a link to take them to it. Their computer communicates with your web server, allowing them to view your website.

A web host provides the technology needed for your website to be viewed on the internet.

It is important to choose the right host depending on the services and features you require for your website. File storage, backup and technical support are all services that can come with hosting so make sure you’re getting what you need and always research before you buy.


3. Design (AKA the plans)

Web designers are the architects of the online world. The creatives who can dream up beautiful looking websites can also apply technical knowledge to ensure they will be functional and meet your business objectives.

By the time you have committed to work with a web designer you will have already discussed the project in significant detail. The design stage is where the designer brings your joint vision to life. Mock-ups and visualisations – often known as wireframes – will give you the first glimpse of your new website.

This will give you a clear idea of how your content fits with the design and help you plan and produce your branding, visuals, calls to action and copy.

Once the design is agreed between you and signed off, the build can begin.

Design and development often go hand-in-hand and are taken care of by the same company.  Some web designers are also developers.


4. Development (AKA the build)

By now you’ve probably spoken to your designer A LOT. You’ve agreed a budget, a design, functionality, content, pages, images and more.

Don’t forget to agree on deadlines too (just as you would with builders in your home).

Building a website from scratch can take time and requires a lot of specialist knowledge. Setting milestones and regular opportunities to review progress can help prevent mismatched expectations and keep communication open.

Unless previously agreed, do not expect your Web Design Company to provide the content for your website. Speed up the development process by having key items ready such as a high-resolution logos, suitable images (that you hold copyright for or are copyright-free), videos and written content for all the pages.

Once the build is complete, make sure both your web designer and yourself have tested, tested and re-tested the website, on different devices and operating systems, to make sure it will work as it should for all your visitors.


5. Ongoing Support (AKA the maintenance)

Congratulations! Your new website has gone live.

However, a bit of TLC can go a long way in keeping your website up-to-date and performing well for your business.

Your Web Design Company will now have detailed knowledge of your business and website and can likely advise on what sort of ongoing maintenance and other work your website would benefit from.

This can range from regular content updates to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), traffic monitoring to security and software updates, troubleshooting problems and server maintenance.

You’ll also need a marketing plan in place to make sure people find your website. SEO can help your site rank well in search results but there are lots of other things you can do to direct people to your business online, through listings, community websites and paid-for advertising.

Once you have an idea of which services are important to your business, you can decide if a custom support plan is right for you and what other services you might need to buy in.

Most Web Design Companies will offer ongoing support for a fee. Otherwise, you may have the necessary expertise to handle these elements internally within your business, or simply prefer to pay for one-off updates as and ad hoc work when needed.  The choice is yours.

As always, wherever you start your website journey, we urge you to do your research. Take the time to browse impartial reviews on WWDC, research your choices and always ask questions. 

You can also browse businesses recommended by our Web Design Companies.

If you want more advice on budgeting for your website then take a look at our article,  how much does a website cost? 

Or, if you’re struggling on which Web Design Company to choose, we’ve got some advice for you there too. 

Many thanks to Ste Woods of eVolve Web Consultants, Gareth Gillman Web Design and Adam Godsall of A Design Day and all our Web Design Companies for sharing their expertise and giving us feedback to get this article right.

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How Much Does a Website Cost?

Having a realistic budget is essential for planning your website. We sought advice from our community of Web Design Companies to help you get it right for your business.


How much does a website cost?” It’s one of the most frequently asked questions in web design. Why? Because building a website isn’t like strolling into a restaurant and ordering off the menu. There are hundreds of factors that can affect the cost of a website build. 

How much would my website cost to build?” is a better place to start. But even when you know the ins and outs of exactly what you want, the price can still vary widely.

So that leaves us with the all-important question “How much am I willing/able to spend on my website?”. It may be daunting, but putting in the work up front to outline your precise business needs is likely to save you time, effort and money in the long run.

Here are some factors you need to consider when setting your website budget. 


1. Be realistic 

Only you know your financial resources, so it is crucial to be honest and upfront with what you can realistically afford at this moment in time.

A good question to ask yourself is “what is the maximum I would be willing/able to spend?”. That figure is your maximum budget. 

You also need to be realistic with what you can expect for the money. Web designers are experts in their field and you are paying for their time, skills, knowledge and resources.

Bespoke websites can start from around the £1,000 mark. Add e-commerce and you’re looking at £2,000 plus. The more functionality you add, the more hours a company will need to spend developing it, so your budget should increase to reflect this. 

It is normal for a web design company to request partial upfront payment but do not be tempted to opt for an unachievable overall budget in the hope that you will be able to afford the remainder in the future. You will be entering a contract, and just as the design company must fulfil their side of the deal, so must you. 

2. Know what you want to achieve

Setting a realistic budget sits alongside what you want the website to achieve. Start thinking about what you want to get from your website. How is it going to help your business? Consider things like Return On Investment (ROI), user experience and what you want a visitor to your website to be able do. 

Framing your website in terms of its goals helps to inform what content and functionality you need. It can also drive what level of spend you put towards it.

Carve out some time to write a wish-list and describe what you want from your website.

  1. Design – how do you want it to look?
  2. Content – what do you want it to say?
  3. Functionality – what do you want it to do?

This will give you a clear idea of what type of message and experience you want your business to promote.

Do you want a custom design or are you happy with a template that plenty of other companies may use? Will the website have 10 or 100 pages? Do you want users to be able to purchase from a shop/play video/search listings/download information? The list goes on!


3. Communicate

It sounds simple, but talk to your web design company! In fact, talk to multiple web design companies. In very basic terms, when discussing cost a web design company will primarily want to know:

  1. What you want
  2. What you want to spend

There may be the temptation to not disclose your budget and instead wait to see what price they come back with. However, this is only likely to waste both of your time. Imagine how many unsuitable houses would be viewed if an estate agent didn’t know how much their house-hunters could afford!

Be ready to share a ball-park figure on what you’re looking to spend (nod to point 1) and exactly what you want from your website (hat-tip to point 2). Armed with this crucial information, web design companies will very quickly be able to tell you exactly what they can do for you, and at what price.

Feel free to dig into the quote and ask questions – use it as a learning opportunity. This will help give you an idea of costings, but also help you work out if you would like to work with the company themselves (more on how to choose a web design company here).

Importantly, make sure you are absolutely clear on up-front costs as well as any ongoing maintenance or support costs, so that these can be factored into your overall budget. 


4. Shop around

Prices vary, we cannot stress that enough. Approach 10 different web design companies and you will likely receive 10 different quotes. That is why we always recommend you seek quotes from a few different companies before settling on one. We suggest at least three or four.

Time-consuming, perhaps. But the research will give you valuable insight into the process and enable to you settle on the company that offers you the best balance of price and quality.

5. Provide examples

If you’re really struggling to either to put down into words exactly what you want from your website, or to come up with a firm budget, examples can be your best friend. 

Websites come in all shapes and sizes – if you have seen one that you love then that can be a great starting point for a web design company. It shows them what sort of site you are looking for and begins a conversation. They would likely be able to give you a rough idea of what a similar site would cost them to build. Just remember that bespoke designs are usually copyrighted so do not expect an exact replica!

6. Be flexible

In the event that your perfect website and ideal spend do not match up, you may need to be flexible. Do not be disheartened if you cannot yet afford your dream website. Simply look at where you may be able to compromise instead.

If you cannot increase your budget, take a look at your website wish-list and see if there are any non-crucial items you could put on the back-burner in order to reduce the price. Remember, the more work there is the more it will cost, so prioritising your needs will help keep the spend within budget. 

In the event that you cannot adjust your budget or be flexible on your website needs, it may be that you have time on your side instead. If you’ve spoken to a selection of web design companies you should have a rough idea of what your website will cost. Plan for the future instead and forecast how much time is required to save up the financial resources you need. No doubt your chosen web design company will be happy to revisit the project with you when ready. 


7. DIY vs Professional

There are numerous options out there for Build-It-Yourself websites that seem to come with almost unbelievably low price tags. A good rule of thumb is that if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is! Always read the small print and don’t make the mistake of being lured in by a small upfront cost when in reality you’re getting tied into a monthly fee and long-term contract. 

DIY options are there because the demand for cheap websites is there and some of the tools available can deliver a great result if you’re prepared to put the time and effort in. For some individuals a basic website with little functionality and a great template is all they need.

However in a digital age where even the smallest business relies on a polished and up-to-date online presence for revenue, well-built websites are a crucial part of professional longevity.

As you can see, “how much does a website cost?” has no single answer. Taking the time to plan, prioritise and set a realistic budget can pay dividends when it comes to finding the right people for your project. If you would like some more advice on how to choose a web design company, read our blog here. Or if you’re ready to delve in, head to our homepage where you can begin to browse over 10,000 user rated companies and request free quotes. 

Huge thanks to the following WWDC members companies who contributed to this article: Phillipa Christie of The Brand Geeks, Tony Williams of TDL Web Developments, Fi Barnes of Moghill Web Services, Ste Wood of eVolve Web Consultants, Pat Barnes, James Petley of FMUK Consulting, Scotia McCombie of PaleGallery Design, Paolo Fino of Draggard, Paul Dowling of Key Designs.

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Top 10 Tips for Choosing a Web Design Company

Choosing a web design company is about finding the right fit. Our community of Web Design Companies pooled their collective wisdom in this blog post to help you find the right web designer for you.

Choosing a web designer

Choosing a web design company is a bit like finding the perfect pair of jeans – it’s all about the fit. You both need to work well together. Your requirements, your expectations and your resources should be taken into account, just as you should assess the skills, style and processes of the company you choose to work with. Remember that last part: it is a choice, and the final decision is down to you!

If that sounds scary, don’t worry. We’re here to help demystify the process and offer some tips to get you started on choosing the right company for you.

1. Think about what you want

This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people aren’t sure what they want their website to achieve. Is it simply to help your existing client base find more information on you? Do you want to promote your business and reach new people? Is it important that it generates leads or sales? Do you want visitors to the site to interact with the content?

Your budget is also a crucial factor when first discussing your requirements. Simply, you can’t build a website without money! Your budget dictates what can and can’t be done, so have a figure in your head and be ready to present it alongside your website wish-list. Be honest with yourself on this front. A good question to start with is: “what is the maximum I would be willing/able to spend for the website of my dreams?”

You certainly don’t need to know all the ins and outs yet, but knowing roughly what you want your website to achieve and the amount you’re able to spend on it is the first step in sharing the idea with a Web Design Company. After all, only you know what your key priorities are!

2. Ask questions

Do not underestimate the power of questions – they are a useful tool for a couple of reasons:

1. They help you find out what you need to know! If, for example, you want your new website to
gain a high SEO ranking then finding out if your Web Design Company has experience in this
field will be crucial. Similarly, if you have a very specific deadline for the work to be completed then finding out if that is achievable is key. Have a think about what you need to know right away so you can ask all the right questions off the bat.
2. Questions can also be helpful when it comes to finding out if a Web Design Company is a good fit for you. Everyone interprets information in different ways, but you need to work with
someone who you can communicate well with. If they are not able to answer your questions in
the first instance, it is likely you will encounter further problems down the line.

Never feel afraid to ask to clarify any terms or ‘jargon’ you don’t understand. Any good web design company worth their salt will be expecting to answer a variety of questions from any new client, and should be ready to explain processes on a level that works for you.

3. Do they ask YOU questions?

Just as you will undoubtedly have a lot of questions for them, a Web Design Company should also have some questions for you. A good website encapsulates the values and goals of the company, so it is crucial that your designers understand your business. Once you have shared an outline of what you want (see point 1), they should be able to dial down on the specifics such as your target audience, short and long term goals, how you want to manage the content, and any preferences you have in terms of design and functionality. The more they know, the better they can shape the website to your needs.

4. Do you get on with them?

No one is suggesting you become best buddies with your Web Design Company, but good rapport and mutual respect is the foundation of any good working relationship. You will likely be speaking to your designers A LOT, sometimes over a lengthy period of time. Having someone you communicate well with makes the entire process much smoother, and enjoyable!


5. Check out other work they have done

Established Web Design Companies will have a portfolio of previous work on their own website. Browse through with a critical eye and see if their past websites are in line with what you are
looking for. Remember that design is often a matter of taste and what suits one person may not suit another. For example, one of their previous clients may have stood firm on wanting that purple and orange website! But do look at things like whether the website is easy to use, does it look as good on mobile devices as on a computer, does it feel professional? If the answer is ‘no’ to all these points, then you’re almost certainly better off looking elsewhere.

Make sure to also look through independent reviews on other platforms such as Freeindex, Trustpilot and social media platforms – as well as Which Web Design Company, of course! A Google search of the company’s name can go a long way in finding out more about their past customers and whether they were satisfied.

6. Do they have experience in your sector?

If you are a store that is going into e-commerce, you will need a very different website than, say, a non-profit organisation. A non-profit organisation may need a donation page that accepts different currencies, while an online shop needs to maintain an accurate inventory. Previous experience with your market and industry may mean your Web Design Company understands the users that land on your website better and will have more experience in designing the website which will give you the most value.

It need not be a deal-breaker for a company which otherwise fulfils everything you need, but if
you’re feeling stuck then an agency that has experience designing for organisations similar to your own will likely be more aware of common issues (and solutions) from the onset.

7. Company background

Knowing how long a Web Design Company has been trading for is important. Not only because
they will likely have a variety of case studies to share with you, but also because you will want to work with an established company that is not going to disappear overnight. A company that has been around for years will have experienced a multitude of changes in the way the web works, and has obviously adapted successfully. They will be able to provide more context to the decisions they make, and have likely had more experience in dealing with a wide variety of clients.

Where the company is based is also useful to know. There are brilliant web designers all around
the world, but for ease of communication you may prefer to work with one based in the same
country as you to avoid higher call charges and different working hours. A local company may
seem ideal, but unless meeting face-to-face is a top priority of yours, you would be significantly reducing your options.

Finally, size. Tempting as it might be to go with a huge company with hundreds of employees, that alone does not assure you of quality. When it comes to web design, size doesn’t always matter! Much more important is to do your research, ask questions and make an objective decision based on the facts. If it turns out that a huge company is right for you – that’s great. But be open to the fact that smaller agencies and freelance designers can often produce superior work.


8. What do they need from you?

The precise answer to this question depends entirely on your website. However it is safe to say
that any Web Design Company will require input from their client at regular intervals.

Nobody knows your business better than you, so establish early on the vision for the website, what assets you will be providing and what you expect your designers to source. They will certainly take care of the design, but do you also require them to provide the images and text for your website? If so, that may be an additional cost.

After the initial design mock-ups they will ask for feedback to make sure they are on the right
tracks. Agencies should always take your preferences into account, but do remember that they
have certain expertise when it comes to things like usability, compatibility and design, so do listen to the reasons why your designers have done things in a particular way.

9. Read the small print

It is crucial to know exactly what is included in the cost of your website. Before you commit, ask
your designer to detail in writing precisely what comes with the quote. Some things to consider:

1. Are there any extra set-up fees?
2. Does it include a Content Management System (CMS) where you can make your own
updates and if so, exactly which areas are you able to update?
3. Does it include domain registration?
4. Does it include web hosting?
5. How many rounds of changes can you make to the initial draft?
6. Does it include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? This is hugely important in today’s web climate so should really come as standard.
7. Does it include any ongoing support?
8. Will you own the copyright to the material on the site?

If any of these services are required but aren’t included in the original fee, ensure you find out how much they are before committing.

10. Set expectations

A lot of problems can arise simply from having mismatched expectations. Once you are ready to progress with a company, be ready to set some expectations so you know how to best work together. Firstly, the finished product! If your website needs to be live before a specific deadline, ensure you have okayed this with the company before committing. If you do not have a set timescale, still establish how long it will take for them to get your site live.

Secondly, timelines. Your Web Design Company should be able to give you an indication of when a first draft of the website will be ready and what feedback they will need from you at that point. They may also set a deadline for you returning your feedback so that they can best manage their workload. Continue to communicate and establish a schedule at each step of the process so that neither party is ever left in the dark.

Finally, method of communication. You may prefer to be contacted by email. They may prefer
telephone. In emergencies, they may have a specific number to call. You may not get round to
responding to emails until evening-time. Have an upfront chat about your preferred methods of
communication and rough turnaround times. It will save you the frustration of plenty of missed calls and unanswered emails in the future!

We very much hope these tips give you the boost of confidence you need to get out there and begin finding the Web Design Company perfect for you! If you’re looking for a place to start, pop on over to our homepage where you can begin to browse over 10,000 user rated and reviewed companies.

A huge and heartfelt thank you to the following WWDC members and web design companies who provided invaluable ideas and feedback for this blog: Webcraft UK Ltd, Red Website Design, The Brand Geeks, Phase Three Goods, Albany Web Design, Moghill Web Services.

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5 Tips to Getting a Quality Website on a Budget

Whether you are a startup company that has yet to invest in your online presence or an established business looking to freshen its image, sometimes the only thing holding you back from building a new website is the thought of spending a considerable sum of money.

So here are our 5 top tips on finding a good web design company that fits within your budget:

1. Be realistic about your budget

Well designed, basic e-commerce websites start from around the £2,000 mark. The more bells and whistles you add, the more hours a company will need to spend developing the functionality, so your budget should increase to reflect this.

2. Know your maximum budget

It may sound simple, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t know how much they intend to allocate to the project. Have a (realistic) maximum figure in mind when you shop for quotes and if you’re a little bit flexible on the design itself, discuss with your designer what functionality you could compromise on to keep within your budget.

3. Buyer beware

Beware of companies offering hard-to-believe prices and read the small-print. Those companies offering a £100 e-commerce solution will often tie you in to some sort of hosting plan that involves a monthly fee and long-term contract. If you’re opting for this type of deal, do the maths and make sure the total cost still fits within your budget.

4. Get quotes

Smart companies shop around. Make sure you get quotes from a few companies before settling on one to make sure you’re getting the best balance of price and quality. If you are in a hurry or simply don’t know where to start, you could use our website quote tool to get 4 free quotes from UK web design companies.

5. Read reviews

Before you sign on the dotted line, it’s worthwhile doing some homework and reading reviews from customers who have used the web design company before to make sure they suit the needs of your business. Browse the portfolio of their previous projects to see if their design style is in line with what you are looking for.

Hopefully you now have the right tools to find a trusted web design company – best of luck with your project!

5 ways not to go over time and budget

We’ve all had it. That dreaded feeling that creeps over you like a very dark cloud when you’ve spent two days working on something that should have taken you two hours. Or so you thought. Then comes the strike of panic as you quickly calculate how terribly you’ve underestimated the scale of the entire project. What seemed like a tiny, insignificant requirement in the client’s brief has turned itself into a whopping great thorn in your side. This project is now eating into your time like a fat kid eats cake.

And dare we mention budget? You’ve undersold your services so much that you’re practically paying them to employ you.

Fear not – we’ve taken it upon ourselves to compile a trusty checklist that will help you get the initial communication right, saving everyone time and money.

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