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.
- Design – how do you want it to look?
- Content – what do you want it to say?
- 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!
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:
- What you want
- 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.