How much does a website really cost?

Part 1

As the “need” for a website continues to grow, the question of “how much does a website cost?” continues to be thrown around. Businesses and individuals alike are continuously trying to gain an online presence. However, not everyone knows where to begin, those that don’t, will struggle to understand the principles behind a website and the online market. Struggling to understand the market will likely cause you to have no real idea about the cost of buying or running a website. If you have never purchased or run a website how are you supposed to know how much they cost, right?

Simply put, you won’t, and why would you? Much like all goods and services being sold in the world, they are worth only as much as you can gain in value from them. Be it personal gain or financial gain, everything is given a value in monetary terms in pretty much the same indexable fashion. In many cases websites are a business tool and can generate far more revenue / exposure / leads than they may cost to build. And here is where we as design agencies add value. Just like BMW would boldly state its car was better than a Morris Minor or a Ford Fiesta. We’d state that our website is beyond and more than a £19.99 website. Get where were heading with this?

Why are websites are so hard to put a price on?

Websites are difficult to put a price on because they are very often built to spec, each additional thing will have a monetary cost already decided by agencies like ourselves, but how many etc of each and to what extent they are being used is decided by the client (you) each time you come along.

Specifically tailoring anything to anyone’s needs in any industry, takes time and guess what folks, people in any industry will want paying for their time. Differing levels of complexity is often another good reason for the difficulty in cost.

Not only that but peoples time will be valued higher depending on the level of service, experience and implementation you feel you require. In the website world, you could pay a young freelancer £250 to make your website, or pay a professional company with alot more experience £1,000 and in alot of cases (no offense or generalisation intended here) the professional agency will (or at least should, if you have picked the right one) do a better job. Now don’t get me wrong that is by no means meant as slander to a freelancer, their are and will always continue to be some absolutely fantastic freelancers out their, we know first hand, we work with some of them. But you get the point right? Professional services carry professional prices.

Think of buying a website as an investment in a similar way that buying a house or a car would be. And much like the latter, the larger or more complex the requirement, the higher the cost. There are varying levels of websites which have differing levels of complexity. This level of complexity has an overall effect on the cost of the website, the higher the complexity of the site, the more man hours required to build it and thus the higher the cost. For example a company website which consists of 5 information pages, is much less complex than a e-commerce website, which is selling thousands of items each day. And that slippery scale of complexity can spiral out into almost any direction, with particular areas of expertise being needed for different projects.

That wasn’t difficult to differentiate I hear you say. Well thats not all! Having a website created with your information on is fine, but what happens in 2 years time when your office address changes? Or you change the focus of the company slightly which needs to be reflected on the website? Then what do you do? Always think longterm.

The answer is change it yourself, but in order to do that your website needs to be built as a Content Management System (CMS). A CMS is designed to simplify the publication of web content allowing the client to keep his or her website up to date whenever and wherever they want. This would therefore enable any novice user with basic computer knowledge, to adjust the companies address or edit a paragraph of text on the homepage, without the need for the web developer (us).

I have seen a website for sale for £19.99?

There are a number of companies in existence, which offer the world but deliver nothing, therefore you need to be careful and wise (think yoda) about your choices. Be sure to investigate a number of different options and compare them, look at their portfolio, read any testimonials and view the websites they have created. You will soon build up a picture of who they are and what they offer, and whom offers the best service. If your still unsure, find a local website design company (just like us) and pay them a visit to discuss your needs.

The more planning you do regarding your website the easier it becomes to convey your idea to the development team / agency responsible for building it. By planning in advance you will avoid any additional costs and delays in getting your website live.

Much like buying a car make sure you do your homework, don’t walk into an interview empty handed and if you do be prepared not to commit to anything on the first fly by.

Ok, I understand, now how much does it cost?

There really is no clear cut answer to this. It completely depends on what you want, which will determine the complexity of the website, which in turn produces the cost. It will also determine the sort of agency you need to go to and what agencies are around that can provide the service that you seek. Here at Bytewire we try and remain transparent with our costs, keeping you informed every step of the way. We try not to have any hidden costs or fees and try to always produce our finest work. We feel this is important especially if it is your first website venture.

You can take a look at our services, as a design and development agency we offer anything from E-Commerce websites to Content Management Systems right the way through too Search engine optimisation and Logo Design.

We take of our clients every step of the development process, from the initial meeting all the way through to the after sales service, we’ll be helping you and your website venture make a difference.

We are aiming to write a small series about the costing of website design over the coming weeks, if it interests you, keep a look out for part 2.

Blog written by Dave

I am one of the Directors of Bytewire and I like to blog about lots of different and interesting stuff surrounding the website design and development world.

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