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How much does web design cost?

If you are in the process of looking to hire someone to design a new website for your company then chances are you have received a few quotes and it’s really likely the prices have varied enormously. In this article we’ll break down the work involved, estimates on the required time and some typical hourly rates to illustrate web design costs.

Selling time

Generally web agencies will base their pricing on the amount of time to plan, design and build the website – they are essentially selling their time. Therefore prices will be based on an hourly or daily rate. Depending on the sort of company you approach the hourly rate will be based on their overheads, below are a few examples with approximate rates:

  • Offshore web company: £10 – £25 ph
    Cheap labour, lower cost of living
  • Freelance web designer: £25 – £50 ph
    Low overheads, no commercial office
  • Small web agency: £50 – £75 ph
    Commercial premises, wage bill to cover
  • Large web agency: £75 – £150 ph
    Premium commercial premises, high number of highly skilled staff means a large wage bill

Choosing which type of company you want to work with will really depend on your requirements for the project and the type of support and skills you need long term, multi-person agencies will have more skills in-house that you can benefit from (branding, marketing, search optimisation, custom programming).

What are your objectives?

Knowing what sort of website you want to achieve will impact significantly on cost. Web design includes a wide range of services and an agency would generally offer the following:

  • Planning: Project management, meetings, consultation and advice.
  • Research: Definition of objectives, audience, content and strategy
  • Design: Wireframes, designs and iterations
  • Build: Development and custom programming
  • Content Support: Content layout, copywriting, photography, illustrations and video
  • Handover: Training and documentation
  • Testing and Launch: Browser testing, hosting setup and go-live.
  • Maintenance: Ongoing programming of reviews and updates

It could be that you just want to get a basic website on-line as quick and as cheap as possible, with the explosion in popularity of WordPress you can purchase a ready made theme that gets you setup very quickly. This might be a good option if this is your first website and you are just starting out however the end result will not be unique nor in character of how you want to be seen. Web design generally includes a lot more than some software and a generic design.

Example Custom Website Breakdown

Provided you want to hire an agency to design and build a unique website that is custom made to your requirements the following is an example of the time taken for a small business website engaging a small web agency charging £50 per hour:

  • Planning: 4 – 8 hrs, £200 – £400
  • Research: 4 – 8 hrs, £200 – £400
  • Design: 6 – 12 hrs, £300 – £600
  • Build: 12 – 36 hrs, £600 – £1,800
  • Content Support: 8 – 16hrs, £400 – £800
  • Handover: 2 – 4 hrs, £100 – £200
  • Testing and Launch: 4 – 8 hrs, £200 – £400

Total example: £2,000 – £4,600.
You will also need to factor in VAT ontop of this.

A larger agency charging out at £100 ph would be: £4,000 – £9,200. But you will be benefiting from a bigger team, with specialist staff for each service.

In Summary

Boiling it down the end delivery is getting a website but the way you get there can vary enormously. The two differentiating factors are the type of company you choose to work with and whether you want a ready made website or if you want to go through the process with objectives, audience, company ethos and ongoing marketing and support in mind.