The Cost Of Building A Website – How To Get An Accurate Quote

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The cost of building a new website

Before you start commissioning a new website design you want to know how much it is going to cost. But before I give you the in-depth answer let me ask you a different rhetorical question – how much is a new car?

Your answer is going to be “well it depends". I haven't given you enough information with which to work. You need to know if the car is going to carry a single occupant or an entire family with a boot full of luggage. If the latter then you'd probably point me in the direction of an estate car.

But which estate car? Petrol or diesel? Automatic or manual? With a tow bar fitted or without?

The level of specification determines the price. Better built models carry a premium over their lesser rivals. Do you need a premium build or will a less expensive workhorse do the job?

It's the same with websites. Different website building platforms exist to tackle different end uses. Choosing the right platform is a matter of budget and practicality.

The Cost Of Building A Website – How To Get An Accurate Quote

Website Project Scope

To begin with, you need to ascertain the extent of your project. What are the deliverables, and when are they expected to be completed? When is the supposed "go live" date? If agencies are busy with other clients, then they may not be able to meet your deadlines or expectations, and this can reflect on the total cost.

Producing a website project scope document will give your chosen agency a fighting chance of creating something that closely resembles your requirements. But you can't build a website project scope if you don't know the right questions to ask. Finding a digital partner that can make those briefs come vibrantly to life impacts your project and the cost significantly. It's essential that you both work in close collaboration together to achieve the best result.

Project Justification

At it's simplest, a project scope could be merely a list of pages that an author needs producing. For example;

  • Home
  • Services
  • FAQ
  • Contact
  • About

This simple list can then be expanded into greater depth depending on how many pages need components (forms, XML feeds) placing on them.

Requirements Gathering

For new website builds, requirements gathering is not an essential part of the site scope because you are not developing or integrating with existing site architecture. Even so, it's a useful exercise. For those builds where a new website is replacing an old one requirements gathering is an essential part of the site scope.

For example:

Are we replacing existing forms and if so, how is data being collected and where will it be routed?

Are there any XML feeds that need to be integrated?

Is there a mobile site that needs designing or are we using the global responsive design?

Are image repositories being utilised? Where are the existing image source files or originals?

Do existing images need resizing, cropping and scaling?

Services Provision

Building a website involves the integration of many different technologies. Website creation is made a lot easier with cloud-based solutions that provide everything in a ready-made format, but you'll still need to decide:

  • Who is going to write the content and maintain it?
  • Where are images/photography being supplied from
  • Who is going to provide ongoing support?
  • Who will provide website promotion and SEO services?

Once you have determined the high-level requirements, your simple "one-pager" site scope document can be used to drive forward the entire website development project.

Alternatively, for larger projects, you can begin to delve into more detail and flesh it out with more information. The more detailed and lengthy than a website project scope document becomes the harder it is to make changes when alternative solutions are found, so it's best not to be too rigid in your requirements and err on the side of brevity. Technology advancements are rapid, and you should be open to incorporating them into your design.

Working with an agency is a two-way street, and a website project scope document is to help you both understand what the overall goals of the project are.

Once a website project scope has been drawn up, then it's time to start looking at the website builder solutions that might provide the answer:

Here are some more related articles that you might find useful:

Small Business Website Design Budget Tips
Small Business Website Builder Ideas

First of all, let's break down the typical costs involved with all website builds. Then we can choose the features we want and add them to our website design platform. This way, we can provide actual costs across the board.

Everyone has their idea of what is a "reasonable cost" so let me give you my thoughts on the subject before giving you the actual figures.

Most of the time, what you are going to pay for a website is going to be determined by your budget. If you don't have one, you should have.

The figures I'm giving below are what I think is a reasonable price to pay for the service based on the level of a website that you are trying to produce.

In general, you get what you pay for, and a custom logo design that may go through many revisions and be supplied with original .psd files (Photoshop native) will cost around £100. High-end agencies can charge £250 or more for a logo, but those costs are associated with high-end websites.

You can make a logo yourself using an online logo creation tool, but the results will likely be underwhelming. That's as politely as I can put it.

Take a look through my extensive list of free logo creation services if you need to make something for very little money.

The same goes for website development costs. Any reasonable freelance developer should be charging between £25 and £35 per hour for their work. Many agency fees go as high as £60 per hour. Don't be fooled into paying unskilled workers £10 per hour because it will inevitably take them five hours to do the work.

Skilled designers and developers in CSS and Javascript should be charging around £35 per hour. That's how much it costs. Finding unskilled workers prepared to do the job for less money is a false economy as they will bill you for more hours.

A developer that can make a CSS change in a few seconds to correct a glaring error or make massive improvements to the look and feel of a website is worth far more than one that takes hours to do the same job.

If you want the job done to specification and on time, pay the going rate.

So let's get to the costs:

Logo creation £100

Don't forget to ask for the .psd files as well as the finished .jpg so that you can provide them to external agencies who might need them for stationery or other advertising purposes.

Graphic design services (making custom graphics and artwork) £250

Most of the time a logo is the only artwork you'll need, but I've included this for sundries like banner creation.

Professional photography services £25 per image

It is getting easier to build a website every day, and with the advent of new dropshipping suppliers like Oberlo, the competition is becoming fiercer. The only way to stand out from the crowd is to have eye-popping graphics. Paying a professional photographer to shoot your products is a sound investment.

Stock images: (25 images) £300

I've known companies spend £500 on one stock image without batting an eyelid if it is the right picture. Using paid for stock images will save you hours of hunting around the free libraries for suitable photos to use, but they come at a cost.

Copywriting: £50 per page

Some people find writing for the web incredibly tricky, and their text becomes stilted and corporate. Write as if the person you were speaking to is sitting directly in front of you. That way you'll come across naturally. Alternatively, pay someone to do the job for you. Copy and pasting from existing catalogues or brochures often do not work well.

SEO Services: £5,000

Any website promotion services should be provided with their scope document because SEO is so closely related to site architecture. £250 doesn't even scratch the surface, and a reasonable ballpark figure would be around £5k

Building A Weebly Or Wix Website

Using a drag and drop website builder is the most cost-effective way of building a small five to ten-page website that won't need a lot of ongoing maintenance. For a business website, you should use the premium version to remove the adverts that will otherwise be displayed.

Wix website builder is straightforward to use drag and drop website builder who can put together beautiful looking sites very quickly with it's a vast range of templates from which to choose.

But just because you CAN build it yourself does not mean that you SHOULD. You'll probably create a disaster. Much better to pay an experienced Weebly or Wix designer to develop your site for you. If your time is precious, then this is the obvious way forward.

Weebly is better suited for those who want close control over CSS and layout, while Wix is more suited for those that want better looks out of the box and are happy to go with an existing template. For those of you that are interested, Wix uses large portions of Wordpress code to power its websites.

Wix v Weebly – Drag And Drop Website builders Compared

An excellent Weebly or Wix designer should charge you around £500 to produce a beautiful looking site. You'll need to pay the £7.76 monthly hosting fee separately.

Building A Website In Wordpress

Creating a ten-page website in Wordpress site gives you the future flexibility to add many more pages and is the standard way to go. A developer will modify an existing template for you and Wordpress has a vast array of useful plugins to automate many tedious processes like on-page SEO.

For a standard website build, Wordpress is an excellent choice.

A good website designer will charge around £1,000 to produce a fantastic looking Wordpress website.

Building An eCommerce Website

It makes no sense whatsoever for someone wanting to create a mainstream eCommerce website to choose anything other than Shopify or EKM/Shopwired for UK users. For a detailed explanation, see this post: Magento Or Shopify, Which Solution Should You Choose?

All three solutions rely heavily on templating systems to do most of the heavy lifting and thus reduce the cost of development tremendously. Front-end development costs are likely to be around £2,000 - £3,000 to begin with and a store with many products is probably closer to £5,000 and upwards. This production cost is a fraction of what you would spend on an open-source solution like Magento.

The beauty of using a cloud-based solution like Shopify is that if required, you can do some of the more straightforward set up yourself and save some of the development costs.

Creating your website using an agency, you'll be looking at around £10k all in with a decent SEO plan, maintenance fees and don't forget the £79 monthly hosting charge.

That's the ballpark guide. Questions? Let me know in the comments!