How to Forecast Website Design Costs
The cost of a website involves more than simple text and graphic design. You’ll want to take into account your visitor and what they’ll expect from your website. What functions will they need? What platforms and integrations should you support? If you have a project in mind, a website design cost calculator like this one can provide you with an estimate for your build in just a few clicks. But if you are in the very early stages, there are some common website design costs you’ll need to account for. This includes whom you’ll contract to build the website, what functionality is needed, and your extras. You’ll also need to think about the ongoing hosting and maintenance costs. We’ll break down each one below into bite-sized pieces to help you forecast website design costs better.
Who Will Build It?
Who you get to build your website is the starting point for website design costs. And you have a lot of options to choose from. First, you could build it yourself. Now, there are so many easy website publishing tools, it’s simple to get a basic website up and running in a matter of hours. But if you’re looking for your website to represent a business, you probably want a professional, custom design. So, you could hire a freelancer. That’s probably the cheapest option, especially if they are overseas. A freelancer may only have a few limited specialist skills, so be sure of your requirements before contracting them. Finally, you could hire a professional agency. There are overseas agencies that are cheaper or agencies native to the UK. Those are your most expensive options. But they are the only real choice if you need a high-functioning website with a lot of interdependent parts. So, to determine who you should hire, think about your requirements next.
What Website Functionality Is Needed?
Your website must meet the needs of your company, project, or organization. The more complex your base requirements, the more expensive your website build will become. Here are some common website examples from smallest to largest cost:
- Simple. A basic brochure-style site with 1-5 pages, handy for starting your business or for a straightforward web presence.
- Small Business. A branded design that’s not from a template on a content management system (CMS), useful for a bespoke, brand-suitable website.
- Interactive Website. A branded design with animations and rich interactive effects to engage visitors. This also comes with all the attributes of a small business site.
- E-commerce Website. A branded design configured for product and order management, with the ability to categorize around 10,000 products.
- Web Application. An advanced branded website with custom tools for bookings, quotes, logins, and more, offering a high level of necessary features.
- Enterprise Website. A big, branded multi-region, multi-language, and rich content site for global businesses looking for a detailed, enhanced site with all the additions present in the interactive and small business websites.
Now, the website’s scope will have a huge impact on the number of pages you’ll have on the website. According to Webics, “10-30 pages of well-crafted content that showcase your products and services should be enough for most small to medium businesses.” But as long as the content is original, you can have as many pages as you like. General guidance is that your copy should reach at least 300 words per page or post. But more is better, usually. Most high-quality pages are 1,500 words. However, each page adds to the web design cost.
Initial and Ongoing Website Design Costs
You’ll definitely have hosting costs, SSL certificate charges, software licenses, renewal costs with any website, and domain registration. The costs for using domain names can vary between £5 to £30 every year, with one year being the minimum required length of time. You could, however, look into buying a high-end domain from a previous owner, though the price increase for this can be significant based on the specific domain in mind. If you’re looking to market your site and have it ranking highly in search engines online, you’ll likely have costs associated with SEO, PPC, email, and other digital marketing.
With a complex website, you’ll probably have IT support on retainer. For content creation, you may regularly hire graphic designers, videographers, photographers, copywriters, or buy stock assets to populate your website. Oftentimes, instead of employing code to allow for certain functions to be accessed on a site, it can be a much more efficient process to make use of plugins. These more often than not will require a charge. Lastly, if you’re looking into eCommerce, then you’ll need to take into account the possibility of payment processing fees.
What CMS Should You Use?
The cheapest way to make a website is to use an out-of-the-box theme from your web host. But that’s not recommended, especially if you’re looking to develop a brand. So, (ignoring templates) there are three ways to manage website content. If you know HTML and CSS, you can save costs with direct front-end design coding. Next, you could go with a traditional CMS. Here your design is built on a self-contained CMS like WordPress without using their API to decouple the content. This would restrict you from using another platform in the future without big porting costs. But for most companies, this is just fine. Lastly, a headless CMS provides better scalability, performance, and security as the content is delivered via API; independently. Choose this if you want to repurpose content over multiple channels or will need to scale quickly while being software agnostic. Just remember to account for these extra ongoing SaaS costs in your website design forecasts.
Who Will Write It?
While search engines like Google can’t actually read your website per se; they do know if your content is relevant and original. So, you’ll need unique content that’s informative and relates to common searches for your business, product, or service. You could definitely try to write it yourself. There are great tools like Copywritely that can help you with grammar and keyword density. But it’s still a huge task. Yoast recommends that every page and post exceed 300 words to help search engines know what your content is about. So, you could hire a freelance copywriter or content agency to write this for you through direct agency websites or portals like LinkedIn, PeoplePerHour, and Fiverr.
It’s very important to hire an experienced writer for your website’s geographic language, however. Because of nuances in speech, local regulations, culture, and lifestyle; website copy is probably not something you should outsource overseas unless you can devote a fair amount of time to editing what is created for you. On the low end, native copywriting services are billed at £5 per 100 words. For a top-rated copywriter, expect to pay double that. Whomever you hire, a good copywriter should ask you about your target audience, keyword strategy, and brand tone. From there, they should produce a draft and allow for a few rounds of edits to ensure they’ve hit the mark. If you find someone you can work with long-term, they’ll be able to produce content consistently in your tone of voice for faster web publishing.
Who’ll Do Graphic Design?
If you’re working with a website design agency, they will already have design resources in-house. But if you’re hiring a freelance designer yourself, look for someone who has experience with other clients within your same target audience. Ask for samples of their work and ensure it aligns with your brand guidelines. Understand what type of content you will need. Is it images? Animation? Video? Ask for their ideas based on your brief and brand documents to see if they align with your vision for the website.
Website Design Costs – Do You Want Any Extras?
While extras do come with an added cost, they can go quite a ways to personalize your website content. From training to live chat, here are some popular extras you should consider:
- SEO optimization for ranking
- Enhanced training in website management
- Tracking for marketing & website analytics
- Social feed integrations for authenticity
- Share integrations for external reach
- GDPR-compliant policies, tracking, and documents
- Blog tools for content marketing
- Newsletter signups for email marketing
- Domain registration plus DNS configuration
- Rich media like portfolios, calculators, quote generators
- CRM integration for lead generation
- Live chat for rapid sales and support
- Digital marketing for website traffic & reach
- Keyword research for copywriting
- Multi-language support for geographic localization
- Priority or fast track design services if your timelines are tight
Example Website Design C0sts
On the lowest end, for a simple website of fewer than 5 pages using an off-the-shelf template, you’re looking at £1,500 to £2,000 and around 4 weeks of build time. For the mid-tier, a branded e-commerce website with payments, shipping, headless CMS, and 10,000+ products; expect website design costs between £6,000 to £10,000 and 8-12 weeks build time. Lastly, a global enterprise website with dozens of pages, full interactivity, multi-language support and more will take 12-26 weeks to build and cost between £10,000 and £100,000. The range is so large because a build of that size is totally bespoke and highly complex with specific goals and in-depth briefs to meet.