This is probably the most popular question that we, as web designers get asked, and unfortunately one of the hardest to answer.
It’s similar to asking “how much does a car cost?”, which could of course vary from £100 for something ready for the scrapyard to several million pounds for a top of the range supercar. Before answering how much a car costs you’d perhaps have to decide what the car is to be used for, what budget you have, how new you want it to be, and from there you could find some cars to suit.
Well why should websites be any different?
You can pick up websites for free, but I’m pretty sure eBay would run in to millions of pounds.
Rather than asking a web designer how much a website should cost, you should be letting them know what your requirements are, what your business does, who your clients are, and roughly what budget you have, and letting them find a solution that fits you best.
This may seem a strange concept, but think of how you buy a car or a house; you certainly don’t walk in to an estate agent and say “how much does a house cost?”, rather tell them your budget and requirements and see what they can come up with.
A good web designer should be able to match a specification and budget accurately, or of course advise their client if they need to compromise somewhere.
The most important part of a website’s costing is what it will give back; How much are you going to spend, and what return is it likely to give?
Very generally speaking, a higher budget should get better results, but spending £10,000 on a website for a window cleaner certainly isn’t typical and is unlikely to make any profit, so this would be a bad idea. They are likely to need a much cheaper solution or, depending on their client-base, perhaps even a free DIY website. On the hand, a top solicitor with a home-built website is likely to look cheap and unlikely to give the best impression and could easily lose them clients.
A few years ago we made a website for a specialist contractor, costing in the region of £4,000. Recently we’ve been approached by a similar (non-competing) company who asked us how our client’s is ranking so well in Google, and what we could do to make theirs look better. It transpired that they’ve spent no more than £500 on theirs, it wouldn’t appear in Google, and didn’t convert any visitors to customers. When I said that a website similar to our client’s would be £4,000 they said that seemed high… until I asked them the value of having a decent looking website at the first position in Google for several years , and how much work that would have generated. With each project running in to several thousands of pounds it would have paid for itself in no time.
The question here would be, “what’s better value, a £500 website that doesn’t generate any work, or a £4,000 website that generates many times more profit that it originally costed?”
A final point worth considering is that even competing and seemingly similar companies may have different websites and market them differently. I know there are a couple of other web agencies in Salisbury that are obviously successful, but they market themselves in a different way to us. Who’s right? We all are, we’ve found our niche and are successful in it.
So it’s impossible to give a generic cost for a website, and even with a brief specification, such as ‘10 pages, mobile friendly, basic SEO, for an accountant’ it may still be unwise to ask a web agency to produce a proposal, because they could come up with a range of valid quotes and prices, each offering solutions that are not like-for-like. The more information you can give your web designer the better, and the best solution would be to sit down with them over a cup of coffee and talk about your business and clients, and both be open about what sort of budget you have and what you’d like to expect in return.
So in answer to the original question “how much should a website cost?”, well the short-term costs will vary but, in most cases, in the long term it shouldn’t cost you anything, and providing your web agency direct you down the correct path, it should make you money.
It doesn’t matter if you’re one of our corporate clients after an enterprise solution, an existing small business with a web presence, or if you want something new and basic, if you want a quote for a website that’s not necessarily the cheapest, but is likely to give a good return on your investment then please get in touch.