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Tips & AdviceWebsite Design

How Much Does Web Design Cost?

“How much does it cost to get a new website built?” As you can imagine, we get asked this question all the time. How much should you spend? How much is too much? You don’t want to be ripped off with sky high prices, but you also don’t want to pay too little for something that doesn’t do your business justice – that could cost far more in the long run than the amount you feel you’ve “saved” by skimping on your website costs!

So, how much does it cost to get a website built?

How long is a piece of string?

It can be hard to know how much is reasonable to pay for what it is that you need. Who should you listen to?

The most important point to make first and foremost is that when done correctly, your new business website shouldn’t be seen as an overall cost to your business – it’s an investment from which you should see a return many times over! Just like a good accountant should save you time and money, and a successful marketing campaign should bring in money overall, your website should cause a positive net effect to your company’s profits. Because otherwise, what’s the point?

Most web design companies – us included – don’t put a pricelist on the website. Why not? Because a new website is not an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits all product… everyone’s needs and requirements vary considerably, it’s more of a modular build of various elements and the time on the part of the designer/developer.

It might be helpful to think of a website as like a house, or a car. Not all houses and cars are the same by a long shot! Big ones, small ones, long ones, wide ones. That’s because of varying needs, budgets and circumstances on the part of the car/house owner.

When you’re looking for a web design company to build you a new website, it can be helpful to have a rough idea of some ballpark figures in mind – that way, you will be able to consider the website development quotes you receive from a place of knowledge, and you’ll know whether you should be suspicious if a quote you receive is far too high – or far too low!

The biggest cost with most web development projects is the designers’ time.

Like with any employer-employee relationship, probably the biggest expense that you’re paying for is time. Think in terms of a daily rate, but don’t make the mistake of over-simplifying this by simply dividing your own monthly take-home pay by 20; remember that as a (probably) small business, the web design company will have direct costs such as subscription fees for any software used to create your website as well as any other costs such as fonts and stock photography, as well as business costs such as office rent, advertising and marketing, accountancy and other fees. Don’t forget time spent on the phone to new clients and meetings discussing your website, too.

Plus, freelancers and small business owners need to put cash aside to cover things like holiday pay, sick pay and a pension so this needs to be taken account of too. Throw into the mix that they might not be fortunate enough to secure paid work on every day of the month and you can easily see how a sustainable daily-rate charge to employ the services of a freelancer or small services business is calculated. The rate has to be sustainable, because you want to work with a company that’s still going to be around to provide support long after your initial website is delivered and finished, right?

Remember also that the designer building your website isn’t an employee of yours – you’re not tied into paying them a monthly salary every single month until they resign, and you don’t have to give them holidays, sick pay and a pension etc. – and you’ll probably be paying them much less than you would a full-time employee.

With that in mind, here are some basic ballpark figures that you should expect to be quoted for the initial website design and development, and what you might expect to get for that quote.

Basic Digital Brochure Website – around £500 to £1,000

Basic brochure websites like this one are a great, low-cost way to establish your business online and lay great foundations for future expansion.

This type of website is a basic site with probably around 5 pages. To keep costs down and development time to a minimum, it’ll probably be based on a pre-defined template and not provide a huge amount of scope for custom design and layout – however that’s not to say that can’t be done in the future. A great starting point for any new business, these cheaper websites can be the building blocks onto which bigger things are built at a later stage. 

Everything a small business needs from a website; an eye-catching home page to create a great first impression, an “About Us” page to give more information about the business, a products/services page to explain what you do in more detail, a Blog for latest news and other content (see below for content marketing), plus a Contact page with an embedded Google Map and contact form.

Small Business Website – between £1,500 and £5,000

Small Business Websites can include more pages and greater flexibility over design.

The key difference you can expect to see at this level compared with the sub-£1,000 websites is that you can expect to have more pages and a more bespoke design and layout due to essentially booking more of a web designer’s time. At this level, you won’t be looking at customising a ready-made template by adding your business name and logo, plus changing a few photos; this will be a website that’s unique to you, starting from a blank page.

Medium-sized Website – Up to £20,000 and beyond

Leveling up once more, the key thing here is that this website quote will probably include much more multimedia elements. Bespoke photography and videography services may be included, and there might be several hundred pages as well as a much bigger blog with many categories and users/contributors.

Large Bespoke Business or e-Commerce Website – anything up to £35,000+

If your website isn’t just about your business but is your business then this is where you’ll have a system where customers can buy items online from you, view stock levels, make payment, leave reviews on items etc. This will include setting up a Content Management System, copywriting for all your products and services, stock management, beta testing, photography and video, and a payment gateway.

What makes up these fees?

In order to understand exactly what you’re buying and being quoted for, it can be helpful if you have a basic understanding of the following elements. How many times have you zoned out with all the jargon when your mechanic explains why it’s costing so much to repair your car? I know what that can feel like, so I’ve made it my mission to ensure our customers never feel like that! So, here’s a basic explanation of the key elements you’ll need to consider.

Domain Names and DNS

What is it? In simple terms, this is your website address – often called a URL, which stands for Universal Resource Locator. It’s the bit that ends in “.com” or “.co.uk”, etc. and depending on the nature of your business and website you may want an international-looking .com/.net domain name, a more local one (like “.co.uk” or simply “.uk”) – or if you’re a charity you may want to go for something like “.org.uk”.

To protect your brand and guard against copycats, you might want to buy several different versions of your domain name, with redirects in place to point to your primary domain.

The DNS (Domain Name System) is the system which translates your nice and friendly, human-readable and branded domain name (eg. mywonderfulcompany.com) into the IP address of the web server(s) where your website lives and is served from, eg. 54.171.180.105.

Why do you need it? So that people can visit your website!

How much should you expect to pay? Not that much. Domains that end in “.uk” generally cost around £10-£15 per year, whereas “.com”, “.org” and “.net” might be up to about £20 per year. Sometimes you can get a discount by renewing for several years at once. DNS costs can sometimes be free (or more accurately, included in the domain name cost) but for mission-critical or very high-traffic websites, you may have to pay a little bit extra. We’re not talking loads; about £1 a month per domain name and about 50p per million visits to your website. Sometimes all these fees might just be included in your “Web Hosting” costs, down below…

SSL Certificate

SSL Certificates help ensure that your website is secure, and not having one can harm your rankings on Google search results!

What is it? This is an absolute must, ever since Google announced that it was to start using HTTPS as a ranking factor, back in 2014. SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer”, although you probably don’t care and don’t need to know that! A certificate verifies the identity of your website and enables it to be displayed with that all-important https:// with the “s” for Secure. 

Depending on the web browser your visitor is using, the address bar or an icon may go Green and visitors may see a padlock, to show that any information being sent back and forth between your website and the visitor is encrypted. You might think this doesn’t matter that much if your website is just advertising something like painting and decorating services, but as recent updates to Google’s search ranking algorithm have started to heavily penalise non-secure websites, as well as the introduction of a “Not Secure” warning displayed on Google Chrome, you really can’t afford to drop the ball here.

Why do you need it? First and foremost, to protect your website’s visitors and give them piece-of-mind. In return for that, Google won’t penalise your website for not doing that. Simple!

How much should you expect to pay? We provide basic SSL certificates free of charge for all our web hosting customers. For more advanced solutions, eg. where your company name is displayed in the browser’s address bar, expect to pay in the region of about £300 per year plus setup costs.

Website Design & Build Costs

What is it? This is the actual design and build of the new website, so should be fairly self-explanatory! You’ll meet with the web designer who will learn about you and your business plus what your goals and dreams are. You’ll discuss style and general design of your website, as well as looking at other websites that you like and dislike. The site will be designed and built, with SEO considerations in mind and ensuring that it’s properly “responsive”, ie. it works well on all screen sizes right from small smartphones up to large desktops. You’ll meet several times for progress and update meetings during the design process, allowing you to check the direction is on course and that you’ll be happy with the end product.

Why do you need it? See above 🙂

How much should you expect to pay? Anywhere from £500 to over £30,000! The cost of your website is directly proportional to the length of an arbitrary piece of string. See the section above for a rough overview – but obviously you’ll need a quote specifically for your project.

Web Hosting

This is what “the Internet” looks like in real life; lots and lots of powerful computers!

What is it? We love using metaphors in the technology world; files, folders and Desktop to name but a few. We do the same with URLs – we call them your website’s address. Well, if you think of the URL as the street address as it’s written on an envelope, then the web hosting is the plot of land on which the house (or your website) is built. Yes, that’s right – the Internet isn’t really virtual at all, it’s a physical place (or rather a collection of physical places, called data centres). I suppose you could stretch the analogy by saying the IP address that your website’s URL is translated into could be seen as the GPS coordinates, as opposed to the human-readable street address (yes, I did say it was stretching the analogy a bit!)

A web server is essentially a big and powerful computer just like your laptop, just (usually) without a monitor plugged in. It has a hard drive, processor and memory – and it’s connected to the Internet with an IP address (translated from your domain name by DNS) so that when people “visit your website”, the text and images etc. are “served” to your computer from the “server”. Depending on your website, it may share a server with several (or even hundreds and thousands) of other websites, or it might have one big server all to itself.

Why do you need it? Your website needs somewhere to live online and run from. Depending on its complexity, or if it uses a Content Management System, it probably also uses a database which may be on the same physical machine or might be a separate physical machine altogether. It may also use a Content Delivery Network.

How much should you expect to pay? The price varies greatly depending on the quality of service, features available and how much support you can expect to get. Factors such as security and speed of your website are also intricately linked to your web hosting, and as these can have such a huge effect on your SEO, they can mean the difference between a business that thrives or one that goes bust – it’s as simple as that.

We don’t offer cheap-as-chips low-quality hosting because we believe this can cause huge harm to our customers and their businesses, and we’re interested in long-term and fruitful business relationships! Our Premium web hosting packages start at £25+VAT per month and can be supplemented with a Content Delivery Network if required, or even a dedicated server. The beefier requirements aren’t a one-size-fits-all so this is where you can expect to receive a custom, bespoke quote.

SEO initial and ongoing

SERP Star Rating
No-one will search for your business by name; they’ll search for the product/service they’re after. Make sure yours is the website they see first!

What is it? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and it’s the process of optimising your website and general business presence online so that when someone searches for the products/services you offer (NOT your company name directly), your website and pages on it appear as high as possible in search results on Google and/or other search engines.

This is a hugely complex process which is made up of many elements, and we’ve even written a few blog posts dedicated just to this topic;

Bear in mind that there are many things you can do which will have a NEGATIVE effect on your rankings, because if Google thinks you’re playing the system (eg. cheating) then it’ll penalise you and maybe even remove you from results altogether! So don’t be tempted to do the online equivalent of slapping blatant lies and untruths on a side of a big red bus, or getting round spending limits by setting up bogus “separate” entities – Google is smart and it won’t have the desired effect! If only the same were true in the real world, eh?!

Another note: beware of SEO agencies that offer guarantees and promises which seem too good to be true. There are only 10 results on Page 1 of Google for any given search, and there are usually more than 10 companies all vying for users’ attention, so logically there’s no way that anyone can GUARANTEE that you’ll be on the first page – let alone the top spot. We think it’s pretty dishonest to offer those sorts of promises and guarantees unless you’re going to pair them with a money-back guarantee (which just means we might end up doing loads of work for free – which, unfortunately, won’t buy the kids their shoes).

So we take a more honest and transparent approach: we’ll do everything we can to do the best we can for your SEO. Hopefully that’ll mean the first page of Google, and we’ll continually work with you to get as close as possible to that goal, but ultimately there’s no guarantee and we believe it’s better for everyone if client and agency appreciate and acknowledge that!

Done right, SEO can make your company’s sales figures look like this!

If you think that’s unreasonable, ask yourself this: would you expect to see a web design company guaranteeing that with a new website you’ll see a 10,000% revenue increase in the first year after launch? Of course not – there are so many variables and factors at play, many of which are down to the client. So why expect an equivalent pie-in-the-sky promise for the SEO?

Why do you need it? So that people find your website! If you don’t budget for this, then you’re wasting your time paying for a website. It might be lovely, but it’ll be like a beautiful princess locked in a castle’s dungeon – no-one’ll ever see it.

How much should you expect to pay? A lot of work will be done upfront, so expect to pay an upfront fee of between £1,000 and £2,000. To keep things going and improving on a continual basis, expect to pay between £250 and £1,000 per month depending on what elements you agree on with the agency. That’s far, far less than a full-time member of staff and could achieve much more for your business!

Website Copywriting

What is it? The “copy” is the text that appears on your website and other marketing material such as physical leaflets/flyers and social media posts. This is what prospective customers read, and it’s how your business and its products/services are described. It needs to be informative, enticing and clear. If it does all those things, then it will help to sell for you and bring in revenue!

Why do you need it? Unless you’re very gifted with the written word and marketing speak, you should really get a professional in to help you with this. You want to make sure that your website copy is strong, focused, easy to read and understandable. You’re an expert at what you do, but your customers probably aren’t – so having it written by someone who’s NOT an expert could pay dividends as it’ll be written from your customers’ perspective.

How much should you expect to pay? This will vary depending on your needs and the quality/experience of the copywriter you use. I would suggest budgeting between £50 and £100 per hour.

Content Delivery Network (optional)

What is it? If you have rich media on your website such a video clips and audio (eg. for a podcast) then the actual web server often isn’t the best place for these assets to reside. This is even true for some images, especially if you have larger or full-screen JPEGs in use around your website. A CDN makes use of very fast online storage and can even be duplicated around the world so that if you’re in the UK, for example, and press Play on a podcast episode then that audio file will be coming from, say, London – so be nice and fast. If you’re sat in Sydney, Australia, though, and press play then it might serve you that audio from a server somewhere in Australia which will be much quicker (ie. have lower latency) than serving it all the way from London to you. This can also potentially save on bandwidth costs – copy the file to Australia once, and then serve it locally each time someone there requests it. Plus, you won’t be filling up your storage quota on your web hosting package with large files which aren’t really a constituent part of the website itself.

This can drastically speed up your website’s loading time and the time it takes to deliver content to your users, too. Who wants to wait ages after pressing play? They’ll probably leave and go somewhere else. All this adds up to a better user experience, which in turn will really help your SEO – which means your business will thank you for it!

Why do you need it? To cut costs, improve user experience and make management of your web hosting account better.

How much should you expect to pay? The cost varies depending on the filesize(s) of the content you’re storing and how often it’s requested. 

Photography, or fees to buy stock photos

Getting a professional in to photograph your space can make a huge difference!
Image credit: Paul Freeman-Powell, Innobella Media.

What is it? The internet today is a visual experience. People buy with their eyes, and yes – I’m now going to pull out the age-old cliché that “an image is worth 1,000 words”. Or is it 10,000? Anyway… good, high-quality imagery will do much more for your website than good text will. It breathes life into an otherwise lifeless website. It oozes authenticity and trustworthiness.

If you can, you should be looking to budget for bespoke photography of your business, venue or product. For some things, you might be able to get away with stock photography but avoid it if you can, instead opting for genuine imagery.

Why do you need it? This is your business we’re talking about – so don’t take any chances and settle for anything other than the best. If you take a rubbish photo on your smartphone (even if you think, “but my phone’s got a really good camera!”) then you can’t reasonably expect to get good business because of it.

A professional and experienced photographer will have an eye for angles, styles and other things in the frame. She or he will then process and “develop” the RAW photograph to turn it into a true work of art. Don’t make the terrible mistake of thinking the camera does all the work, so if you have a good camera you can produce photos that are good enough. Complimenting a photographer’s work due to their camera would be like complimenting a chef on having a really sharp set of knives, or a superb frying pan!

Would you compliment a chef on the quality of his or her knife?
Don’t think the same of photographers!

How much should you expect to pay? Some stock photos are given away free on websites such as Pexels and Pixabay. For bespoke and professional photography services, look to pay between £300 and £500 per day (cut in half for a half-day shoot) for the visit and around £300 a day for post-processing.

Ongoing maintenance and changes, updates etc. as retainer

What is it? A website is never “finished”; if you think it is, then you’re allowing your business to stagnate, grow stale and stop growing. Your website doesn’t necessarily have to “grow”, ie. get bigger, but it shouldn’t stand still either. It should update and evolve as your business does. An out-of-date website really turns customers off, plus if Google notices that your website hasn’t changed at all for yonks, then it tends to start demoting you in search results because it thinks your business might have folded or at least become less relevant. 

If you have a retainer agreement in place with an agency, then they will generally be quite flexible as to what you can use this for. Extra SEO work, perhaps or some new graphics to go on your social media? Don’t just think your website itself – there’s the whole of the puzzle to consider.

Why do you need it? For bigger updates and changes to your website that you might not be able to do yourself, and for on-going working together so that your web design agency can help your business to continue growing.

How much should you expect to pay? This will obviously vary from agency to agency. With us, if you sign up to a retainer package with a minimum of 2 hours per month, support and updates/meetings etc. work out at just £15+VAT for each quarter-hour credit. Without a monthly commitment, ad-hoc or pay-as-you-go support is charged at £50+VAT per half-hour credit.

Content Marketing

What is it? One of the most effective ways to market your business and promote your brand is to create compelling, interesting and useful content and then give it away for free! “Hang on!”, you may be thinking, “I can’t afford to create, or commission, content and get nothing back in return!”

Who said anything about not getting anything back in return?!

In fact, these days you can often get a lot more back in return that with more traditional forms of advertising. That’s because we apparently see between 4,000 and 10,000 adverts per day, completely overloading our senses and causing us to turn off. To stand out from the crowd you have to get clever, and that’s where content marketing comes in. Without being sneaky, you’re subtly advertising without it feeling like an advert. By giving away something of real value, in the name of your business, you’re creating the beginnings of a relationship with that person without any initial financial barrier or fear of being “sold to”. I’m doing that right now by writing this blog post!

A great example of this is the DigitalRev channel on YouTube. I’d never heard of this obscure, Hong Kong-based photographic retailer until they allowed two of their staff to spend their days making silly, irreverent and comical videos about cameras and photography in the style of Top Gear in about 2010. Fast-forward to today and the channel has approaching over 2 million subscribers!

Um, why? Well, who cares why… three quarters of a million people have watched this video and are now aware of the DigitalRev brand.

So, the moral of the story is to create regular, useful (or in this case, maybe not so useful – but entertaining!) content that potential visitors will not only appreciate but share with their contacts too, essentially marketing your business for you for free!

Throughout whatever it is you offer, you’ll need to make it clear who you are and what you do, and wherever possible (without going overboard) mention your products and services and include nice clear Calls to Action (CTA) for interested customers to investigate actually spending money with you.

The easiest thing to do is start a blog – like this one! – and provide value with the written word. Don’t stop there though, if you have a marketing budget then you might be surprised at the ROI you’ll see if you use some of that budget to start a YouTube channel, a podcast or even some useful infographics to give away. We can help you with all of these, so just get in touch!

Why do you need it? Because traditional advertising sucks! Get smart and get producing great content to promote your brand, not easily-ignorable adverts.

How much should you expect to pay? From FREE* – that asterisk means just your time. How long would it take you to research, plan and write a ~1,500 word blog post? If you can do that and keep it up monthly (or even weekly) with highly optimised – and appealingly shareable – content, then I bet your business will benefit. If you don’t have the time (or don’t feel you can do this) then expect to pay around £150 – £200 per post.

Video Production and Podcast production costs will vary depending on the complexity of what you want to produce – budget around £250 per half-day for shooting/recording and £150 per half-day for editing and post production.

Social Media management

What is it? This is where you work with an agency (such as us) to create a large bank of posts comprising of text and graphics. They can be general posts, posts that only go out on a specific day, or posts promoting regular and upcoming events. The imagery and tone of the text needs to reflect that of your business, and several times a day one of those posts will be selected and posted to all your social media accounts – keeping awareness of your band high and encouraging meaningful and positive engagement to increase your reach.

Why do you need it? There’s nothing worse than a stale, dead, silent social media account – people will assume you’ve gone out of business! You also need to make sure that people don’t forget you exist, by keeping up your brand awareness.

How much should you expect to pay? We have various Social Media Management packages to help you keep all your Social Media accounts active and keep your brand awareness alive. A useful ballpark figure for 5 daily posts across all your social channels is around £250 per month, with other services such as text writing, graphics creation and competition management available as either one-off billed extras or covered by a monthly retainer covering X hours per month. See our social media packages for more details!


The world of the internet, websites and digital marketing can be a confusing minefield at times, but hopefully after reading this you’ll have a better general understanding of all the key elements which make up a successful online presence and marketing strategy! If you’d like to discuss any of this in more depth with us, please don’t hesitate to give us a call – we can’t wait to work with you!

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