Cost to build a business website

What is the Cost to Build a Business Website?

Typically a small business owner might ask three website development companies to submit a proposal to design their company website. In one trial a business owner supplied three web firms with the same “statement of requirements” that listed the website’s goals and functions. No real surprise, but each of the three web developers came back to the client with different estimates.

The first one had priced the project at £2,250, the second had priced it at £6,500 and the final web developer estimated the project at £18,500.

Why do you think these estimates are so wildly different and which one represents the most realistic and reasonable budget for the customer? How hard is it to make a decision on these and is the most expensive really £16,000 better???

This is not uncommon and what makes it worse, is the poorly written quotes in some cases which don’t break it down properly.

Please note: When we say “small business website” we are talking about an informational website consisting of approximately 10 to 20 pages with some basic content management and social media widgets.

Case Study: This year, we quoted a client £5,300 + vat for a multi-lingual website solution in WordPress. This involved a lot of work as it was translated into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Polish and hardest of all, Arabic. We thought long and hard about our quote and we had seen the other developers quote… It was the biggest we have ever seen and came in at a staggering $83,000……

So what makes the difference and why do costs vary SO much?

You ready for this …. Yes, there is a skills difference and two people quoting the same amount won’t necessarily deliver the same quality of work. It’s NOT all about price… The more expensive quotes come for two primary reasons

  1. OVERHEADS… if you have a lot of staff and overheads, your quotes must go up to cover it … logical
  2. EGO …ahem, REPUTATION … If you have a good name, you can charge a premium.

The latter is fair enough but when it comes to quotes being excessively high just because their overheads are high, should you pay this. NO!

Basic Website Components and Costs

On average, the following figures can be applied to estimating the cost of a small business website (if you’d like a custom estimate for your website, call us at 0800 756 9975):

  • Domain Name – £5 /year
  • Hosting – £59 – £349 a year (depending on traffic and hosting services)
  • Web Planning, Design and Development Time – 60 hours upwards
  • Security Patching & Maintenance – £100 a year for security maintenance and patching
  • Ongoing Website Maintenance – £60 a month upwards (depending on time allocated for maintenance/page edits etc
  • Marketing Your Website Online – £150 a month upwards

Important Factors that Contribute to Website Cost

When preparing to budget web design costs, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this a brand new site or a redesign of an existing site?
  • How prepared are you to ask for quotes? Have you prepared a detailed requirements document?
  • Do you need a blog or a content management system (CMS)?
  • Have graphics already been created for the site?
  • Do you want the site to automatically resize for mobile and tablets?
  • Do you need multimedia elements (HTML5, Video, etc.) on the site?
  • How much content do you currently have and how much will need to be created?
  • Do you need other special features such as social media channels, SEO (search engine optimization) or ecommerce?
  • Who is going to maintain the site after it has been launched?

Below we go into these items in greater detail and provide an estimate of how much you should budget for each. The prices listed are estimates based on our experience designing and building business websites since 1999. Prices will vary depending on your specific requirements. Be sure to contact us for an estimate.

New Sites Often Cost More Than Redesigns

Remember, when you are starting a new website from scratch, so is the web designer. With no existing elements to work from, the designer can’t look at an existing site and study your current online brand nor can the design team examine the features and functionality that will be carried over to the new website and improved upon.

Discovery and Documentation

For the best outcome, all new websites projects should begin with a required “discovery and documentation” process.  This process helps define three important elements:

  1. Online brand
  2. Website structure
  3. Website functionality

We think this process is critical because it helps set expectations on all sides and reduces potential frustrations. When it comes to building simple websites, it isn’t always essential but for larger websites, a detailed scope of the project along with wire frames can make a big difference, ensuring speedier development and less delays due to the client ‘not realising the implications of their earlier choices’. Wireframes allow a visual layout in basic form to ensure all parties agree on the format before beginning development.

Interface Design

Interface design — also referred to as visual design or the site’s “look-and-feel” — incorporates your branding, all your photos and images, even your page layouts. Don’t assume that if you already have a pre-made template you won’t need images or layouts re-done. Interface design is usually an iterative process, meaning that the designer will show you several options and then modify them based on your feedback to arrive at an approved design. For a small business website, budget £1,000 to £2,500 to get you from concept through to the final design that will be handed off to the developers for programming. Do not skimp on the interface design; if you do, today’s sophisticated visitors won’t give your website a second glance.

Images and Graphics

Budgeting website graphics is tricky because images can range from £1 each for cheap stock images to hundreds of pounds each for custom or high-end stock images.  Incorporating compelling and appropriate graphics can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your website. On the low-end, budget at least £50 for stock images.  Remember that a good designer can make a cheap image look like a custom one.

Mobile and Responsive Design Costs

Because mobile devices have become critical to online success, your design should be at the very least mobile-friendly. The best designs are “responsive,” meaning they are designed to automatically adjust their layout to look good and function easily on multiple devices: smartphones, tablets, and desktop/laptop computers. Creating a responsive design is a standard practise with websites developed by W.E.B.S Ltd but not all developers cater for this, or test it fully. Be sure to look into this when comparing prices.

Costs for Content Creation and Insertion

When it comes to adding content, the least expensive model for small business owners is to create all the content on their end and insert it into the site via a content management system (CMS).  Most designers have no problem delivering a blank design template that the client would populate with text and images. But if you want the design firm to add your content and adjust the layout of the text, you should budget £50 to £100 per page.

Programming Special Features Often Cost Extra

Many extra features are available that web developers can integrate into your site to improve your business, but these extras can add up. Some features may be “included” in your website framework – but beware, just because they are “included” doesn’t mean that they look or work the way you would want. The estimates below reflect the general requirements we have seen, however, many factors can push these costs even higher. If you don’t see your add-on here, just give us a call and we can provide an estimate.

  • Custom Content Management Systems
    For clients who want to manage their own content the web designer can integrate and customize content management systems (CMS). We work with PHP-based open-source CMS solutions like Joomla and WordPress. Costs for integrating and customizing a CMS can range from £1,000 to £20,000.
  • Training and Documentation
    You will need a set of instructions and documentation explaining how to maintain and edit site content. Depending on how extensive the material is, expect to pay from $400 to $1,500.
  • For Blogs/News Pages
    Many clients request a blog (WordPress or something similar) within their website, customized to reflect their website’s branding and design. Adding a blog is simple within all packages developed by W.E.B.S Ltd
  • For E-commerce
    Shopping carts, catalogs, and payment processing add £1,500 to £5,000 or more depending on requirements.
  • Email Marketing Campaigns
    Clients that want to gather emails and send out branded email blasts for announcements or newsletters require an email management tool. We can integrate third-party tools such as Mailchimp along with an email blast template design. We can even manage your email blasts. £450 upwards
  • Branding/Identity Development
    We are often asked to design logos. On the low-end, we start with an eight-hour process that generates about six rough logo concepts. If one of these is chosen, we go through several rounds of edits to arrive at a final version. £250 to £2,500
  • Style Guides
    An online style guide establishes brand consistency and provides for compliance across all your print collateral and online marketing messaging. Basic style guide: £1,000
  • Targeted Landing
    Landing pages are pages that promote a specific product or service. They are usually part of an email, social media, or banner ad campaign. We can design and create these pages starting at £250
  • News feeds of both your content (outgoing) and adding content to the site (incoming): £200
  • Contact forms and surveys: £150 and up
  • Newsletters: £400 to £900
  • Advertising integration (Google AdWords): £200
  • Photo gallery: £250 to £500
  • Metrics (Google analytics, custom reports, etc.): £200 to £2000
  • SEO (on-page optimization, off-page optimization submission to search engines, etc.): £150 to £3000
  • Social media
    Create and manage social media network profile (Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.): £50 to £250

So How Much Does a Small Business Website Cost?

The majority small business websites that we design, develop and launch range from £1,500 to £20,000. Using the a la carte estimates above you can see how quickly elements and functionality add up. Another way to break the budget down is to assume:

  • 15% Planning
  • 25% Interface design
  • 40% Programming
  • 20% Project Management

And Don’t Forget the Maintenance Cost

Websites don’t just maintain themselves. The best websites change all the time as their strategy is tweaked and updated. Maintenance is something that most businesses forget to budget, often because they think that they can do it themselves. But the first time you delete your entire home page by mistake and lose eight hours of sales while you’re trying to get it back up and running, you’ll wish you’d spent the extra money on a maintenance contract. Make sure your web developer offers post-launch maintenance; many don’t because they can’t be bothered with clients calling with small requests.

Maintenance contracts vary greatly depending upon what you expect from the firm. You should budget a minimum of £150 per month to have a designer/developer on call if you have a problem that you can’t fix. And if you expect them to do additional work such as creating new images, adding new content, maintaining social media or newsletters, etc., expect the price to go up.  Executionists offers several customized, full-service maintenance plans.

A Final Note

If your website will be a significant part of your business DON’T SKIMP on design and development. If you would expect to pay £100,000 for a brick and mortar retail shop (inventory, interior design, furniture, rent, utilities, staff, equipment, insurance, etc.), then don’t complain at paying reasonable rates for the creation of your online business.

So, how much does a website cost?

For a small business website you can spend as little as £1,500 or as much as £20,000 or more.  Your budget should be based on the strategic needs of your business.

If you’ve read this far, you must be serious about your web business. Take the next step by clicking the button below to fill out our short inquiry form. We will get back to you ASAP with a recommendation. No obligation – you can also call us at 0800 756 9975 because we love to chat.


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