Spoiler alert – we don’t tell you how much a website costs in this blog, because the way we build websites means we have to do some work before we can accurately price it up with a sensible technical specification. In the summary section we do however give you some guide pricing to help steer your understanding.
When we open a conversation with a potential new customer around a website, one of the early questions in that courting process is ‘how much will the website cost’? This is a really important question and a perfectly reasonable one to ask, the problem is that at this stage, we have absolutely no idea! Now that doesn’t render the question null and void, quite the opposite – it’s crucial that both you the client and us the agency are on the same page in terms of figures.
A game of poker
The agency will always ask if you have a budget, and the client will always resist giving a figure (which is understandable) and ask for a cost first, so it becomes a bit of a game of poker. This is all very counter productive though because you both need to know what sort of numbers you’re talking to continue the conversation and move to the next stage.
So here is a crude calculation for you. We have a very strict process when we deliver our website projects which has seven stages. We know that to build a relatively simple brochure site, it takes around 85 hours which is an investment of £5500.00. We won’t skip any stages in the process as once you start missing parts out, problems always arise downstream. Depending on the complexity of a site, we build up to a value of around £30,000.
Based on this, if the client has £1500 to spend, which is absolutely fine and a viable amount, it is best to address this really early so that expectations are managed and the right partners for the site can be found. There are a number of freelancers who do very good work using purchased templates and themes for between £1000 – £2000 which may suit your needs perfectly. If you need a greater level of flexibility, control and bespoke functionality and design, you need to be looking at an agency with these skill sets in house.
Have a budget in mind
Clients always feel like they shouldn’t give a budget and this is usually for one of two reasons. The first is that they genuinely don’t know how much they might need to spend – which is a completely reasonable position – why would you know how much these things cost if you haven’t been through a site build before? The second reason is that there is an apprehension that if you say for example £8,000, the agency will go right up to that – which they probably will – but with good reason in most cases.
You see the more money you have, the more you can build into the site so where budget is available, web development companies like Square Daisy will maximise that money. The way to mitigate any potential underhandedness by the agency, is to get three companies to quote for the work and let them know they are up against another two web development companies. This keeps us all very honest as we know a big factor will be value for money (NOT price) so we make sure we keep our pencils sharp and have to justify why we are suggesting the figure that we are – it means you can compare apples with apples, if one agency is suggesting a higher figure – what are you getting for that additional spend and is it worth it? But to ensure you get quality proposals and comparable solutions, ensure you put together a solid web brief first. If you’re not sure where to start with a web brief, we can provide you with a really comprehensive version which you can edit as you wish and then send out with your branding on.
So how much does a website cost?
This is probably the part of the blog that you’ve been waiting for, but I fear it may be a disappointment – sorry. If you are building a bespoke site that has custom architecture, design and a range of functionality, it is just not possible to give a figure without understanding the client business, objectives and functionality requirements.
In the old days (and we still see it now) you get websites priced up ‘per page’. These are great for companies that just need a website as a point of reference for customers rather than using it to achieve more sophisticated outcomes.
The way that we price up a website project is as follows:
- We have a really detailed meeting with the client to understand the objectives of the business and the new website
- We do some competitor analysis and look at the existing site analytics for behavioural patterns
- A headline structure for the site is put together – including primary, secondary and tertiary pages
- Within these pages we look at the different ‘components’ that will make up that page – these are things as simple as a testimonial block or as complex as an animated diagram using CSS
- We identify which components we think will work on each page, how many unique ones are needed, how many can be used in several places and which ones can be adapted slightly for different sections
- At this point we can work out how long each component will take to design and build and how many we need
- We add on some time for testing, migrating the site to a live hosting environment, training, documentation and any imagery we’ve purchased and that gives us our grand total which we send over in a comprehensive website development proposal document
So in terms of how much you may need to earmark for your website development project:
- For a super simple brochure website based on a theme or a template you should be looking at around £1000 – £2000
- For a more sophisticated brochure website that has custom design, flexible content management system and a really good code base you should budget between £5000 – £10,000
- For something that is either e-commerce, integrates with third party software, performs interactive actions with clients based on algorithms or has a vast array of sections and functionality – £10,000 – £20,000
These are crude calculations but give a good grounding for what to expect.
If you’re thinking about a new site for your business, have a really good think about what you want it to achieve and what you’re willing to invest in order to deliver those outcomes. Make sure that you invite three agencies to pitch for the work so that you can really compare processes, delivery and quality and snuff out the chancers. Be clear in your mind what you have available to invest and if more is required, potentially look at a phased approach to development so you get a great foundation and then add to it through a phase two programme of work.
If you have a new web build in mind and want to get a sense of what is possible, give us a call and we’ll come and start the process with you with no obligation to go any further.