Budgeting for a New Website
If your business doesn’t yet have a website, or you’re looking to upgrade an outdated one, the first question you’ll want to ask is how much does a website cost?
A lot of experts might shrug their shoulders, roll their eyes and dismiss this as impossible to answer. This is mostly because there are a lot of factors to take into account, so it can take a while to calculate everything and come up with an accurate, comprehensive quote.
Just like buying a house, the cost of a website isn’t a single, simple figure. There are plenty of variables, which means that every web design project is different.
As a rule of thumb, the more ambitious your aims, the more expensive your website will be to create. Rather than leaving you in the dark, we’ll try to go through each aspect that a modern site requires and help you get an idea about what you’ll need to spend so you don’t have unrealistic expectations, or leave yourself open to being ripped off.
The Different Parts of A Website
A website is a lot like a car; there are many different parts to consider and everything needs to pull together in the same direction to work effectively. If you want to get your website in shape, you can’t afford to focus on one aspect at the expense of ignoring other vital components in the process.
From underlying elements like the domain name and hosting package to customer-facing touches like the content, colour scheme and branding, building a website is a multifaceted process. This also means that you have to balance your budget carefully to avoid neglecting anything important.
Choosing a Domain Name
A domain name is used to uniquely identify your site from the millions of others that existing online. For many businesses, the domain name they pick will be the same as that of the entire organisation. Alternatively it might be the brand motto, or some concise yet descriptive phrase that outlines who they are and what they do.
If you are currently developing a business from the ground up, it’s worth searching for associated domain names to see if they are already taken. This can help you choose wisely, rather than picking something that has already been adopted by an established firm.
Registering your domain name is relatively inexpensive, with some providers even offering free registration for a fixed period, depending on the top level domain (TLD) that’s chosen.
High profile TLDs including .com and .co.uk tend to be more expensive to register, but the cost should still be £10 or less annually.
After you’ve paid the initial registration fee, you’ll be committed to the domain for at least 12 months and will then need to continue paying a yearly fee to hold onto it.
Because your domain also plays a role in branding your business, it’s not a choice you should rush. In fact, it makes sense to get expert advice if you’re approaching this without prior experience of running a website. A shorter domain is generally seen as more memorable and engaging from a visitor’s perspective. However, it also helps if it includes target keywords that will help bring visitors to your site, which makes it a bit of a balancing act.
Hosting For Your Website
The data that makes up your site needs to exist somewhere so that visitors can access it, which is where hosting enters the fray.
Larger organisations can opt to host sites on in-house server hardware, although this requires significant resources and technical know-how. As a result the best option for start-ups, small businesses and sold traders is to invest in a hosting package from a third party provider.
A basic hosting package can come with a monthly cost of under £15 and will place your site on the same server as a number of others. Sharing the capacity in this way helps to drive down the price, but results in performance taking a hit during peak periods. This means it’s not a suitable option for the vast majority of businesses.
Renting a dedicated server from a hosting company is the next step up, with prices falling into the following ranges:
£65 a month for entry-level solutions
£200+ a month for fully featured packages with more bandwidth and features
Even more variety in terms of price and performance can be found in the world of cloud hosting, with costs including:
£10 a month for basic packages
£350 a month for flagship cloud hosting services
Deciding which hosting package to pick should be based on how many visitors you anticipate your site will receive, as well as the kinds of activities they will be carrying out and how resilient your site must be to be to satisfy users’ needs. If your site will be used for data-intensive activities like video streaming, for example, then your hosting package has to reflect this. Secure connectivity, data encryption and ease of access will also be relevant. Check out our great guide to hosting for a full lowdown of the variables you’ll need to take onboard.
Investing in a business-grade email service for your organisation may not be necessary for smaller firms, but there are lots of inexpensive options that offer advanced features and benefit from scalable pricing. SMEs can share server resources between their website and email to keep costs down, while larger firms tend to outsource email duties to major corporate platforms including Microsoft Exchange and Gmail for Business.
Modern cloud-powered business email is often priced on a per-user basis, with addresses that feature the same domain name as your site.
Here are some typical costs to consider:
£3 per user per month for a basic email with capped cloud storage
£6 per user per month for mid-range email with unlimited cloud storage
£20 per user per month for high-end email with cloud storage including disaster recovery and more
Lower prices are available if you are willing to pay annually upfront.
Rich Content for Your Website
To gain traction on search engines and engage visitors, your website needs words. Today, multimedia content is also an important aspect of web design, and there are lots of ways to satisfy user expectations with images, cinemagraphs, videos and interactive elements embedded on pages to augment written information.
The more media-rich, intricate and informative you want your content to be, the more it will cost. You also need to ensure that content is well written, entirely unique and completely relevant to visitors. If it is not of a high standard, then your site’s search rank will drop and visitors will lose faith in your business.
For new sites, the content needs to be substantial enough to rank on search engines in the first place, so setting goals in terms of length is also important. 300 words is a bare minimum starting point, but for more in-depth content which is well optimised then anything from 600-2500 words will be better.
If you don’t want to generate content in-house, agencies like KIJO specialise in providing competitive content creation services. When it comes to getting high quality content for your site, it makes sense to work with professionals who know what’s needed to succeed in an oversaturated marketplace.
The cost of getting content for a single page can vary, so here are some rough estimates if you hire outside help:
£30-£60 per hour for content writing
£50-£150 per hour for image editing/graphic design
£100-£200+ per hour for video editing
For content that covers an entire site, calculate the amount according to the type of content you need and the number of pages it will contain.
This is another incredibly flexible area of creating a website, the cost of which will be based upon the scale of the finished product and the skills of the experts you hire to help you.
The role of a design team is to work on everything from the presentation of the site to the way that the interface and user experience operate. It will also include things like formatting, typography, graphic design and several of the other disciplines already covered so far.
When you hire a pro to handle web design duties, the cost will be calculated according to the amount of experience they bring to the table and whether you want them to adapt an existing template to create your site, or build something entirely bespoke.
In the case of a bespoke site being requested, the cost will be significantly higher as it will require more time and effort to assemble. Be sure to consider the hourly rate charged by the designer, and ask how long they anticipate it will take them to complete the work to your satisfaction.
Here are the typical hourly fees commanded by web designers:
£60 an hour for a junior designer adapting a site from a template
£120 an hour for a senior designer creating a bespoke site from scratch
Web development is an all-encompassing term, so someone who advertises their services as a ‘web developer’ should technically be able to forge a fresh site for your business from scratch.
Web design agencies that provide full development services will have mixed discipline teams to tackle the different aspect of web development. Some employees will handle the front end features, including the interface and aesthetics, while others will tinker with the code at the back end to make sure each page runs smoothly and is optimised effectively for every device.
The cost of a complete website development package will usually be inclusive of most or all of the factors mentioned up to this point:
£500-£1000 for a basic, often poor quality site
£2,000-£6000 to adapt an existing template into a mid-level site
£10,000+ for a high quality, a bespoke website built to your specifications
Bear in mind that none of these prices include ongoing costs, just the initial outlay required to get the site off the ground. Also remember that the most affordable sites will be those that are based on pre-existing templates and have relatively limited functionality beyond the basic presentation of information about your business.
In terms of extras that can be tagged on to bolster the effectiveness of your site, at extra cost in the development process, there are a host of options available. This includes:
E-commerce integration to sell products and services
Data entry forms for gathering visitor information
Custom integration of third-party apps and services
Bespoke community-building elements, such as user accounts, forums and more
For each ability you bolt on, expect to pay more. Template-powered additions will be cheaper, while tailored integrations will take more time to complete and thus come with a steeper asking price.
Preparing for Google
Google remains the gold standard for search engine accuracy and wields immense power in the online ecosystem, dictating which websites rise to the top and which sink into the inky oblivion far below.
When building a website, its ability to satisfy Google’s strict algorithm which ultimately determines its search rank must always be prioritised.
Organic search engine optimisation (SEO), based on things like page load speed, content quality, mobile-friendliness and keyword densities, is just one aspect of preparing for Google. New and established sites can also take advantage of premium search solutions, such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising which helps them boost the visibility of key landing pages and increase visitor numbers.
PPC campaign costs run the gamut from a few pence per click for the least competitive keywords, to £40 or more for the most hotly contested words and phrases.
Agencies can operate campaigns for a fixed monthly fee, or with pricing that scales according to your intended ad spend. Look out for:
£100-£120 a month for a basic fixed price PPC management solution
£350-£500+ for a comprehensive PPC management package aimed at big-budget campaigns or 15-20% of your monthly spend if this is higher
£500+ or 15-20% of your monthly spend for a comprehensive PPC management package. Get in touch with KIJO for full details of pricing
With both organic SEO and paid search marketing, the costs involved will be ongoing, as you will need to keep analysing a site’s performance and making changes to ensure that it remains visible on Google. Regularly updates to the search algorithm mean that tactics which are effective today might soon fall out of favour, which is another reason that revisions are necessary and vigilance is essential.
Updates & Maintenance
After a website has been launched, there are other costs to take into account. Upkeep is generally divided between two areas; general maintenance to ensure the site runs as intended without unplanned downtime, and updates which add new content, alter aspects of the underlying software, patch security flaws and ensure that any performance issues are addressed.
A web development package can include ongoing updates and maintenance within the annual management fee, which again will be tied to the size and complexity of the site itself.
You can expect to pay:
£60 a month for a starter package
£120 a month for mid-range package with faster site restoration time guarantees
£250 for a complete maintenance and support solution for total resilience and a slick update process
As you can see, when working out how much a website costs, there is a fair amount of flexibility. So long as your budget can accommodate the services you require and you don’t overstretch yourself, the price can easily be justified by the benefits of having a professionally designed and maintained site.
To recap, let’s break down all the costs covered so far to give you a clearer idea of how to gauge the quality of a quote.
Domain Name – £5 – £10 a year
Hosting – £10 – £350+ a month
Emails – £0 – £20 per user per month
Content – £30 – £200+ an hour
Web Design – £60 – £120 an hour to hire a professional designer
Web Development – £500 for a basic site, £10,000+ for a fully bespoke site
Preparing for Google – £100 – £500+ a month
Updates & Maintenance – £60 – £250+ a month
It’s worth reiterating that you can expect to spend £2000-£6000 for a template-based site, or £10,000+ for a completely bespoke web presence.