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 highly likely the prices have varied enormously.

Unfortunately, this question has many parameters but by understanding what goes into building a website we can start to get a decent idea.

In this article I’m going to break down the costs involved in a getting a custom website designed, built, populated and launched.

This is what we’re going to cover:

  1. What goes into a website
  2. Hourly rates for web design
  3. Custom design vs bought themes
  4. Writing content for website
  5. Images and other media assets
  6. Domain names
  7. Website hosting
  8. Example custom website breakdown costs

It is also worth checking out our article about the cost of website maintenance.

What goes into building a website?

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:

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

Hourly Rates for web design

Generally web designers 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).

Custom design vs bought themes

It could be that you just want to get a basic website on-line as quick and as cheaply as possible, with the explosion in popularity of WordPress you can purchase a ready made theme that gets you setup very quickly or you can use a hosted solution like Squarespace or Wix.

The downside to using a tool like this is that it will be up to you to put it all together and figure out all the technical steps. We find that the businesses we speak want to handholding through the process and have a reliable person or team to work with on the project. They also want a professional looking website that can scale as the business grows.

So if you are just starting out and you have the time and determination this might be a good option.

Writing content for websites

It is easy to forget how import content is on a website. After all, your visitors are coming to your website to get information and answers to their needs. However much you flower up your website the content will be the determining factor on whether you convert a visitor into a customer. Search engines also need decent amounts of content to be able to rank your website.

So you will have two options (1) you write the content internally or (2) you seek professional help with a copywriter.

Copywriters will commonly charge by the word or by the page and will be commissioned to write a certain set of pages. A starting point could be the homepage, about, contact and service pages. But this could easily go on into case studies, team biographies, projects, articles and white-papers.

Depending on whether you use a freelancer or an agency would need to budget £50 – £100 per page.

Images and other media assets

Content and layout will only get you so far at some point you will want some well taken images to support your content and add colour to your website.

Ideally, you will want to take the photography yourself so that it is personalised and unique to your business. This is so important when presenting your services to a potential customer.

Unfortunately, a badly taken photo can really standout and make your company instantly look dated. So you may want to consider hiring a professional photographer to run a photo shoot so you have a good set of assets to use across your website. This can cost between £150 and £500 per day.

You can also fall back to stock photography. Used sparingly, stock photography can work quite well. There are many resources for images and indeed videos, such as Shutterstock, iStock, Unsplash and Stocksy.

Domain names

Your website will need a domain name. Domain names are essentially rented for a period of time, commonly a year or if you buy 2, 3 or 5 years you may get a discounted price. You will need to decide if you want a .com or a .co.uk (for the United Kingdom) domain name extension. Each extensions will have a different cost. Many people also register multiple extensions to protect there presence online.

Every provider will be slightly different but at the time of writing here are typical yearly costs:

  • .co.uk – £12
  • .com – £17
  • .net – £17
  • .org – £17
  • .info – £18
  • .store – £50

We would recommend heading over to 123Reg to search and register domain names. They are very reliable and give you all the configuration access you will need.

Website hosting

Website hosting is the physical server where your website needs to be installed for it to be accessible on the internet. Like the domain nam, hosting is an annual cost and paying upfront for multiple years will get you a discount.

There are many options with hosting and we have another whole article where we go into all the differences in detail, read more here.

But in summary you get what you pay for with hosting. Do not be fooled into paying for really cheap hosting or you are quite likely to have your website offline or without backups and little to no technical support.

As a starting point we would highly recommend the following companies: SiteGround and FastComet. We use both of these extensively and trust them to look after hundreds of clients.

Example custom website breakdown costs

Having gone through all the details and options let’s look at an actual example to quantify:

You have decided that you want to hire a small reliable local agency to design and build a custom website that will make you stand out and present you in a professional way for several years to come. Based on the agency rate of £500 per day:

  • Project management: 1/2 day, £250
  • Research: 1/2 day, £250
  • Design: 3 days, £1,500
  • Build: 3 days, £1,500
  • Content: £750
  • Handover: 2 hrs, £125
  • Testing and Launch: 2 hrs, £125
  • Domain Name: £50
  • Hosting: £240

Total example: £4,500 + £290 ongoing yearly fees (you will also need to factor in VAT on top of this).

Going to a larger agency charging out at £750 per day would be closer to £6,500 + £290 ongoing fees but you will be benefiting from a bigger team, with specialist staff for each service and perhaps also a whole marketing campaign to support the website.

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 are prepared to build a DIY website or if you would prefer to go through a professional process with planning, design, build and ongoing marketing and support in mind.

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