One of the first questions any business or organisation will ask whether they are a start-up business or an established business looking to grow and spread their message, is how much does a website cost?
Of course, people recognise that this is similar to the old ‘how long is a piece of string’ question, but even in a world full of options, it should still be possible to find at least a ‘ball-park idea of a price when setting out your business/organisation marketing plan.
Understanding the Extras
Websites have a wealth of possible extras that are available to you. These optional extras make a website truly bespoke. Buying a website isn’t like buying a physical product, like a car or item of clothing at a set price. These optional extras and additions will obviously add to the overall cost, and therefore most buying decisionmakers have to consider what might be the possible return for those additional costs.
For example, considering the addition of a conservatory or landscaped garden to your new home, or larger alloy wheels and sat-nav to your new car. These optional extras require us to think about the rewards and benefits of such optional extras versus the cost. In the business digital marketing world, it is necessary to try and calculate what extra sales leads might be generated from investing in a better design for an easier User Experience, or a clearer layout of your facts and figures. Optional extras can add greater value to your website visitors’ User Experience and ensure your business makes a great first impression with them online.
It can be hard to equate but it might be that spending £500 more on extras on your website can result in more leads being generated through your website, making that £500 investment result in possibly double or even quadruple return on investment.
Equally, if not done properly, investing in optional extras unnecessarily can be a waste of money. In many cases, extras and improvements to your website can be added later after a few months.
How Do I Know If My Website Investment Is Worthwhile?
Many years ago, whenever I presented some super cool software that was going to revolutionise our business, my old boss would say, ‘OK, so explain to me how that is going to sell us more of our product.’
Cost vs Benefit was always his mantra, and frustrating as that was to me as a junior programmer, I now see the very wisdom of these words.
So first ask yourself, what is the purpose of the new website? Is it even required? And you’ll be a big step further in your buying decision.
Nowadays, my personal favourite mantra is, ‘If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it’, but then I am a bit of a geek and my coffee mug says ‘I love Spreadsheets’!
Nonetheless, hopefully, you can see the argument that it is very difficult to justify a buying decision after the event if you can’t measure the results and influences of spending that money.
Thankfully, in the world of websites and online marketing, the answers are out there, and that justification of your spend can surprisingly be almost scientifically tested, by using a wealth of information available to measure the success, or otherwise, of each channel of your marketing decision.
Consider the Follow-Up or Maintenance Costs
It’s also only fair to tell you right now that there is no point investing time and money in a new website if no one can find it, and therefore no one is going to be looking at it. When embarking on the road of online marketing and setting up your website as the hub of that plan, you should, by at least equal measure, consider the time, effort and money it may take to get visitors to view your website in the first place. That said, there would be no point driving visitors to a website that is poorly set up and with poor information. But how to drive visitors to your website is another post for another day. For now, we will continue to consider the costs of a new website.
Don’t Forget to Take WordPress CMS Maintenance Costs into Account
Even when investing in a website with a CMS or Content Managed System, that allows you to add and amend content on your website without any coding knowledge, it is still important to keep your website up to date.
The CMS websites like WordPress, for example, can allow you greater freedom to add content, change price information, insert images and videos, change the menu structure, etc, without having to call a web developer. This can save you money. You can also update the software of these systems in much the same way as you can update the apps on your smartphone. However, it is still possible to download or update a plug-in (app) to your website that can break it somehow. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep a good relationship with our website provider in case of such events. You should also look to factor in the Website Hosting cost.
How to Keep the New Website Design Cost Down
To keep the website design cost and associated fees down there is plenty you can do yourself.
Quite a lot of the additional costs will come down to photography and content. It’s always better if the images and photographs appearing on your website are yours and of your works, workforce, services or product, and are of good quality. If you already have these or know how to get these produced cheaply, that will help enormously.
Also, with the content, nobody knows your business better than you, so who else is better at writing about it? Of course, it’s not always easy or even possible to write reams of text by yourself, but if you can sit down and bulletize the main salient points of your business and each service, this will also save you considerably in the long run (as you won’t have to pay for a copywriter to research and write content about your website from scratch).
Lastly, look out for training events like a WordPress workshop. There is a wealth of information online, but you can also receive a 1-to-1 workshop on how to administrate your website yourself, and with confidence.
So, How Much Does a New Website Cost, With and Without the Extras?
First, let’s consider the current size and age of your business and your growth plans.
The Smaller Startup Website Costs
For all business owners my advice would be the same, ‘you can only spend it once so spend it carefully’ and that I believe is probably even more pertinent to the Small Start-up business. Does a Small Start-Up business owner even need a website from day 1 when social media is freely available?
If you’re a small business and, for example, in the growing market of home services, like home laundry, dog walking, cleaning services, or even a community group or charity, it is important to consider your best route to market, just like any large business might.
Similar businesses in the good old days may have left service cards in the local post office window (and that may still be an excellent option for many people), but the modern alternative would be to have a well thought out Social Media presence and make use of this free resource.
Certainly, before shelling out for a dream website there are many types of online and offline Networking (networking being the keyword here) that can really help you establish a very nice customer list.
However, if you believe a website necessary from the word go, you can also consider the options shown here for the Bigger Startup!
Website Price: N/A – but think about getting some training on Social Media for Business to get you going – (approx. £195+VAT).
The Bigger Startup Website Costs
For new entrepreneurs with bigger targets and bigger budgets the advice remains the same, you can only spend it once so don’t waste a penny!
Depending on how you are planning your new business and when the future launch date is set, you may well consider some of the excellent ‘build your own website’ options. There are plenty of these options available from Wix and Squarespace to the Hosting and Domain providers offerings from the likes of GoDaddy and IONOS.
Even in these template environments, if you have a clear plan of what pages you need and what you want to say, and with some good quality images and video, you can come up with something that looks pretty good that gets your message across.
However, even these website builders that don’t require any coding knowledge can be a bit awkward for many people and do have a learning curve with them. But if you have more time than money or have a relationship with someone who can find their way around a PC quite well, then they are a great place to start.
Alternatively, employing the online services of a junior developer from someone like Fivver to help get you started, approx. £100+.
Website Price: Free to £30 per month (plus the cost of your time!)
The Small Established Business Website Costs
For all sizes of business, it is important to value your own time when considering how you buy, set up and manage your new website.
Marketeer Ed Rivis, makes a great point in his book “The Ultimate Web Marketing Strategy“, even if the CEO of Toyota could build a car on the production line, would that be the best use of his time?
Of course not!
Always consider the value of your time and how it might be more profitably used.
There are circumstances when it is greatly beneficial and cost-effective to have your website designed, branded and built by a professional website designer. But even here, there are many ways you can keep those costs down and avoid those ‘optional extras’ we mentioned earlier.
Here the benefits and costs can be set out (in a spreadsheet if you will) in a costed ‘Pros’ and ‘Cons’ scenario.
The costs of a professionally designed website may start at around £2,500 which can be a significant part of your business’s sale and marketing budget. For many that have had a website for many years and not really seen a benefit, it’s hard to visualise how a new website can do any better.
The benefits are not only that you have a website to be proud of and happy to show off to all your customers and prospects, and that can be easily updated so it is always current and up to date, but also has been designed to convert as many visitors as possible to becoming a genuine lead.
Website price: From £2,500 upwards – depending on how many ‘optional extras’ you may need it is possible to double this figure.
Remember that you can significantly keep costs down by having a well-prepared plan of what you need when requiring extras like having an online shop, requiring content creation, professional photography, Google management.
The Large Established Business Website Price
Even large businesses can benefit from the services of a professional website design and inbound marketing company. The continual improvement required will be at the centre of such an organisation’s online strategy so the idea of a ‘new website’ perhaps doesn’t apply here as frequently.
The website should be an organic part of the business that is constantly being updated and optimised by the PR and marketing of the services and products themselves.
In this case, the design “assets” of the website will be critical to develop a perfect User Experience (UX) and enhance as good a conversion rate as possible through better content, as well as regular optimising of such things as font, colours, icons, sliders, videos, and so on.
Website price: From £3,500 upwards depending on the number of products and services you have to offer, and any interactive tools required.
Also, for continual updating, maintenance and development of a supporting of an ongoing 12-month content marketing strategy, you should also be considering an annual budget between £8,000 to £20,000, dependant on the reach and engagement targets set.
(This assumes that the business does not have an established online marketing plan and is now deciding to use this method of marketing to grow their business in the new era).
One last piece of advice before you buy a website – ‘Apples for Apples’
Yes, yet another mantra… ‘Apples for Apples’ – there are many website designers and developers out there capable of delivering for you a fantastic website that fits your brief precisely. As with all buying decisions, it’s important to do at least some research and have your own list of requirements to ensure that all your tenders and quotations are like for like, apples for apples. Look at the portfolios of previous work. Are they current? Read the content. Is it interesting, informative and well written? Check out their Facebook and Google Reviews. Do people speak highly of them?
Very importantly, see if their websites for previous clients are optimised and rank highly on the search engine results page.
For more information on website costs and other marketing costs, please go to the Pivotal New Website Costs Made Easy page.