Creating a new website can be a daunting task, especially for small business owners. You have to choose a domain name, design the site, create content (and keep it up to date), and then promote it to get visitors. But it’s worth it – a well-designed website can be an extremely valuable tool that plays a vital part in growing your business online and reaching new customers. But a website that can achieve all this requires investment. A great website goes way beyond ‘looking nice’! It has to create a flawless customer journey that guides and converts its visitors when the time is right. Sounds expensive, doesn’t it? Let’s look at how much a website costs.
In this guide, we’ll look at what SHOULD go into designing and developing a website, which pitfalls to avoid, and of course how much it’s likely to cost.
What factors go into website design costs in the UK?
How much does a website cost in the UK? web design prices vary depending on a number of factors, including web designer experience, the size and scope of the project, custom development requirements, and more. For example, eCommerce web design will generally cost more than a brochure website.
Website Discovery Session
The first step in web design is the discovery phase, where the web designer gets to know the client and their business. A good web designer will never skip this section. Without it, they would be designing blind and have no understanding of your goals and vision. They should ask you lots of questions about what you’re trying to achieve and why. They’ll want to know about your target audience and perhaps create customer avatars if you don’t have them already.
Once they have all the information they need from your website discovery session, they will likely want to create a visual sitemap. This is a simple but vital document that will guide the rest of the web design process. It clearly shows the website and page structure, along with content expectations for each page. Here’s an example of a visual sitemap.
The next step is prototyping, where the web designer creates a visual mockup of the website. This helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page before moving forward with the design. A website prototype is a tool that will help you see how the website will work. But, importantly, this is not the time to focus on the design. That comes later. The prototype allows you to interact with (the future website) and see how it functions without the distraction of design elements clouding judgement. The prototype should include all the key features and pages that will be on the final website.
The cost of prototyping will depend on the complexity of the website. A simple website may only require a few hours of work, while more complex websites may take several days or even weeks to complete. Once the prototype is approved, the web designer can move on to designing the actual website.
Once the prototype is approved, the actual website design can begin. Depending on the complexity of the project, this can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Finally, once everything is approved by the client, the website can be delivered and launched.
All these factors play into how much a website will cost in the UK. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but in 2022 web designers typically charge between £2000 and £6,000 for small business websites that are built from scratch.
Larger businesses or those with more complex requirements may need to budget for custom development work, which can increase web design costs by £5,000 or more. Ultimately, it all depends on the specific needs of your project.
How to budget for your website
In order to budget for your website, you need to consider both your requirements and the return on investment. Will a basic website suffice or do you need a bespoke website with an online store? How much money are you willing to spend on your website? How much do you want to make from your website? These are important questions to answer before you start spending any money. Once you know how much you’re willing to spend, you need to consider what you want your website to achieve. Are you looking to generate leads? Sell products? Build brand awareness? Once you know your goals, you can start to allocate your budget accordingly. For example, if you’re looking to generate leads, you’ll need to invest in SEO services and digital marketing. If you’re looking for sales, then you’ll need to focus on designing a user-friendly eCommerce platform. And if brand awareness is your goal, then social media marketing will be key. By considering the return on investment, you can ensure that you budget for your website effectively and achieve your desired results.
Factors that affect website design cost
The scope, size and complexity of the site are some obvious factors that have an impact on website design costs. Also, you’ll find that costs differ depending on if you choose to hire a freelance web designer or a web design agency. A web design company is likely to cost more than freelance web designers as they will often have staff to pay and higher overheads (but with this should come an expectation of high-quality work and trusted web designers with extensive knowledge). But there are additional factors that you may not have considered. Read more about this here: How much do websites cost in the UK?
Software – Plugins
Software powers all websites. Here at WDM we use the WordPress CMS (Content Management System) for all of our website development which is free. But, WordPress websites use plugins to add whatever functionality is required for each site. Some of these are free but many require either a one-off or monthly/annual payment. Although this may seem frustrating it’s actually not a bad thing. If a software developer charges ongoing fees for a licence, then they generally keep it properly updated and provide support. Free plugins (especially smaller unknown ones) are often abandoned as they generate no revenue for the developer.
You should take some time to consider whether you want to provide your own content or pay a professional to create it for you. It’s great to have a stunning website with fantastic images, but if the content doesn’t engage your visitors, your website will fail. If it’s within your budget and copywriting isn’t within your skillset then it’s worth getting your website copy professionally written.
Ongoing Care and Website Maintenance
This one is often forgotten. Just like your phone, your website runs on software which is constantly updated. Because of this, in addition to upfront costs, there will be ongoing fees that you may not have considered. If you don’t look after your website and keep it up to date with proper care and maintenance it could end up costing you in the long run. Poorly maintained sites run the risk of speed reduction, bugs and errors, poor user experience, and (worst of all) website security issues. This could lead to your website being easily hacked or, in a worst-case scenario, compromise user data and leave your customers vulnerable!
There’s also web hosting to consider. You may find a hosting service that charges £5 per month but have you stopped to consider why it’s so cheap? A Good quality web hosting provider could help you save money in the long run. Fast and reliable service is extremely important. Expect to pay around £400-500 per year for good quality hosting for most small business websites.
TIP: Find a web design agency that offers good hosting as part of an overall “pay monthly” care plan. They can usually offer better deals than you’d get direct as they buy web server space in bulk. You’ll also benefit by having all the technicalities managed for you so you can focus on your business, instead of having to run your own site.
Remember the old saying “Build it and they will come”? Well, you can forget it!
If you’re serious about using your website to grow your business then you need to invest in marketing. Paid advertising such as Google or Facebook Ads is an obvious solution to quick traffic.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is another option. Many people think that SEO is about optimising your website then waiting for results. If only it were that easy. A good SEO strategy relies on regularly updated website content (such as a blog) and a strategy to show Google and other search engines that your website deserves to be above your competitors. This is a huge topic and you can find numerous SEO articles here.
Website Design Tips For Small Businesses
For small businesses, having a well-designed website is critical to success. Not only does it give potential customers a way to learn about your products and services, but it also allows you to build credibility and expertise. To help you get started, here are four essential tips for small business website design:
1. Keep it simple
When it comes to website design, less is often more. Avoid clutter and confusing navigational elements, and focus on creating a clean and straightforward user experience.
2. Use high-quality visuals
First impressions matter, so make sure your website includes high-quality images and videos. These days, there are plenty of free stock photo websites that offer professional-grade visuals.
3. Make it mobile-friendly
With more people than ever using smartphones and tablets to browse the web, it’s important to design your website with mobile devices in mind. This means ensuring that your content is easy to read and navigate on smaller screens.
4. Work with a professional
Designing a high-quality website takes time, effort and experience — things that most small businesses don’t have a lot of. If you want to ensure that your website actually works as a tool to grow your business (as oppose to just an online business card/brochure), then working with a professional web designer or developer will greatly improve your chances of success. The only time you shouldn’t hire a professional is if you’re on an extremely tight budget. In this case, save your budget for marketing and use a self-build options (i.e a website builder like SquareSpace or Wix) until you can afford to upgrade.
How to get started with your website today!
If you’re still reading this then you’re probably considering commissioning a website, congratulations! A website is an excellent way to increase your visibility online, reach a wider audience, and achieve your business goals. But where do you start? First of all it’s important to know what you’re getting into and to be prepared. This will help ensure your project runs smoothly and become the success you’re hoping for.
Define your goals
What do you want your website to achieve? Without a clear goal, it will be difficult to measure success. Be specific and realistic in your targets, and make sure they are achievable within a reasonable timeframe.
Consider your budget
A website is an investment, and like any investment, it requires a certain amount of resources to produce results. Make sure you have a realistic budget for your project, as this will ensure that you can hire the right team and give them the time and resources they need to create a successful website.
Your developer may be doing the work but it requires input from you (or a dedicated team member) too. Somebody needs to be available to respond to requests for information, feedback, or any agreed deliverables in a timely manner. This is the number one reason that projects get delayed.
Make it happen
If you’re ready to get started and would like to tell us about your project then we’d love to hear from you. Just click here to get started.