What Should You Pay For A Website?
From agencies to freelancers, let us guide you to get value for what you pay for a website
Like it or not, today’s average consumer expects a business to have a website. Even if you don’t actually do business online, consumers are becoming increasingly tech-savvy and like to research companies, products or contact details on the internet, before they contemplate a purchase.
For this reason, getting your business online is a crucial investment to give your business the maximum exposure possible. However with the extreme price range of online solutions available, it’s easy for small businesses to get stung.
Read on to hear our guide to what you should pay for a website.
Types of websites
If you’ve had a look yourself, you’ll know that the cost of getting your business online ranges dramatically. This can be affected by the type of website you’re looking for – whether it’s a do-it-yourself free website creator, a site that uses a standard template design, or typically the most expensive: a totally customised site. Other factors affecting price include the complexity of the functionality you require, the level of service provided, and the time spent on the project.
The work you’ll require when you pay for a website
The services included in the price of getting online will vary company to company – and therefore it is important to understand the services you will require in order to accurately judge website pricing, and avoid never-ending hidden costs.
The first two key services you’ll need to get are design and development – i.e. someone to create the look of your website, and someone to build the way it works. If a web company only offers development, bear in mind you’ll be expected to provide the design of your site – great if you’re a graphic designer, but not if you’re a business owner who needs a complete solution.
In addition to design and development, you will require hosting, maintenance, and you’ll need to buy a domain.
In order to get your website live on the Internet it must sit on a special server that is known in the business as a hosting solution, of which there are many to choose from. Hosting is typically priced per calendar month, or year, and on average will cost £20-30/month, but you can pick it up from as little as £2.50/month, for 10GBs. It can vary hugely and really depends on the size of your site and what is included. For example, the hosting companies often include your domain (your website address e.g. www.yourcompany.co.uk) and will offer some time in online support, should your site stop working.
Understanding who will maintain your site if something goes wrong, for example, if your site is hacked or your site speed slows to a halt, is something you should be sure to discuss with your web developer as part of what you pay for a website – and could be an extra monthly cost. Specifically we’d recommend looking for a “managed” service whereby either the developer or the hosting company will manage and fix any of the above issues. It doesn’t really matter who does it so long as someone does
Lastly you could buy your domain separately. Again there are lots of providers and you will typically pay between £5-10 for a .co.uk domain a year and £15-£25 or more for a .com, .net or .org domain. We recommend that it’s probably easier to see if your developer or your hosting provider includes your domain in what you pay for a website. Just make sure that it’s registered to your business if they buy it for you, and know when it needs renewal – usually 1-2 years later.
Though there are cheap solutions available, above all you need to ensure your hosting provider is quality for money, as this is what will protect your site from crashing. Check your provider’s servers are backed up regularly and protected by a firewall, to protect against viruses. Also ensure that your hosting provider’s servers are based in the UK, as this will help your website to load faster for your UK customers – which may encourage them to make a sale. Plus, picking a company with managed support will guarantee that if something does go wrong, you have quality customer service to focus on putting it right for you.
Overall, if you’re not comfortable with the technical side of website building, you’re better off looking for a company who include development, maintenance and hosting in the cost of a website.
Available website solutions
There are many free, or extremely cheap, website solutions around waiting to take your spare change. In our experience these can be great if you’re technically competent and proficient in html code to manipulate your site yourself to perform as you wish. If this isn’t the case however, you may be better off looking for a more complete solution. Free websites can be a quick solution if you have the required skills. If you want to attract a targeted, engaged audience you may need to look at a more professional site, tailored to the needs of your users.
A website agency
If you commission an agency to design and build your site, you can usually expect to be given a total project cost once you have submitted a detailed brief. An agency charge is likely to start at £1-2k depending on your requirements, and is likely to charge more if using creative or development third party partner agencies. You can expect a higher level of service and experience, and agency professionals will almost always have additional expertise in other marketing areas, such as branding and e-commerce. This may be the best solution if specialist offshoot technology, such as mobile-site design and integrated app development, is of interest to your business.
The downside? You will have a bespoke website most likely built on a bespoke platform that cannot be moved anywhere else, meaning you are tied to that development company for the life of the website.
An online design and development service
If using an online service especially designed to help small businesses, you could pay anything in the range of £100 – £2000, depending on your requirements. Many of these solutions still operate on a bespoke design and development basis – so you can get a unique website for a great price. Make sure you look carefully at the portfolio and most recent sites that have been designed as the quality varies hugely. Some of these companies will have developers outside the UK to keep their prices down, if it’s going to be important for you to talk to your designer, make sure you check you can before paying for the service.
These solutions are designed for new small businesses, will be used to working with start-up companies and you can get a quality website for a small amount of money.