The Biggest Factors Affecting Web Design Prices
So you have two quotes for your five page website, one for £1,000 and one for £8,000; doesn’t make sense does it?
There’re lots of factors to consider but let’s firstly focus on the ones that have the biggest impact on the cost of a website.
#1 Factor – Who You Hire
The person or company that’s going to be creating or re-designing the site has a huge impact on how much you’re going to have to pay.
Estimates for building a website are nearly always given on a per project basis. So how do designers come up with their quotes?
Professional designers generally price their work on how long they estimate the project will take and then they multiply the hours by their hourly rate.
You won’t often get to know the hourly rate, it’s just a method designers use to give you an estimate of the price of a project.
UK freelancers generally charge between £20 and £80 per hour, although some “superstars” charge far more than that. Freelancers tend to charge more as their level of experience grows and their client portfolio includes some well known companies.
Designers at the start of their career often settle for charging less as they look to gain more experience and build their client base.
Digital agencies generally charge between £60 and £160 per hour, although many charge upwards of £300 per hour.
Average yearly earnings for agency designers are generally somewhere between £25,000 and £35,000; this leaves a very healthy profit for the agency owners.
With these undisclosed hourly rate in mind; it’s easy to see why such a disparity exists when you are inquire about an estimate. If you were to approach four or five different sources; expect to see some very inconsistent prices.
It would be easy to say you get what you pay for; but that’s not necessarily the case.
It’s perfectly possible to find a really good designer at the low end of the pricing scale and it’s equally possible to substantially overpay a moderate designer.
Some designers undervalue themselves while others are not so modest. Later in this piece I will cover what to look out for when choosing a designer.
As we go through the other big factors that determine how much you should be paying for a website; keep in mind that it’s the designers self evaluated hourly rate that can make one quote five or six times greater than someone else’s quote.
There are companies and individuals who don’t use the time multiplied by hourly rate method to give a quote.
These are the high flyers that seem to just charge whatever they like, I’m not including these guys because the difference between the low end and the high end of any of the ranges would be so far apart they would not be useful.
#2 Factor – The Size of the Project
As you can imagine, a complex site with lots of bells and whistles and hundreds of pages is going to cost a lot more than a simple site with just four or five pages.
In this section I’ve selected some common website types and provided the price range you can expect to pay.
Brochure or Portfolio Website (£600 to £2,500)
Brochure sites are often basic websites that provides information about your business such as address and telephone number. They generally have a small portfolio to showcase your services to customers.
Design agencies often have a minimum fee of £8000 even for a small site, so you probably need to find a freelancer that takes on small projects.
I realise £2,500 is a big chunk of money for most small businesses, but the reality is you will often get estimates much bigger than this from freelancers who only take on projects from businesses with larger budgets.
There are lower cost alternatives; you will see offerings of £299.95 with free hosting for 12 months included. For many start-ups this is a very tempting offer, all I would say is, you really do get what you pay for in this case; it’s cheap for a reason.
I also think there are risks in paying under £600 for a brochure or portfolio site. Designers don’t just design, they need to understand your business and what you want your site to achieve.
My advice would be to pay that little bit more than you wanted to do; you will get better results if you do.
If my budget was really tight and I wanted a really modern, professional site; I would consider approaching a designer to design you a “one pager”. The beauty of one page sites is that they combine your services, about and contact pages in a seamless design that really can bring a professional look to your business.
Another big advantage of these types of site is that you don’t have to do too much head scratching figuring what to say about your business. All that’s required is a few paragraphs of text describing what you do; plus your contact information, address, opening times and a Google map.
At a £600 price point, there may have to be some compromises somewhere along the line although that’s not always the case. There are certain markets that only need a few hours of analysis; typically these include local tradesmen sites and some businesses that only trade locally.
Feel free to email me if this is the limit of your budget; I can offer you some free advice on how can stay within your monetary limits and still have a great site. My advice will be completely impartial and I won’t be trying to push my services onto you. The only stupid questions are the ones you don’t ask.
Lead Generation and Informational Sites (£1,600 to £8,000)
Lead generation and information sites exist to initiate inquiries or generate interest in what a business has to offer.
The designer may be perfectly well equipped to produce a modern, responsive web design that matches the clients view on how it should look; but the designer won’t necessarily know the nuances of the clients business.
The client will be expected to be involved the project from start to finish and will have to provide the designer with information about specific aspects of the business the designer is not familiar with.
These types of sites take a significant amount of collaboration between client and designer. This “hands on” approach is not altogether necessary for a simple brochure site but it plays an important part in producing a successful lead generation or informational site.
Customer personas, keyword research and content planning need to be examined in detail before any thought is given to design matters.
Whereas with a brochure site, the actually design takes up most of the designers time, in more complex sites the planning and content strategy elements take up most of the designers time.
As we move up the cost ladder it’s important to keep in mind whether it’s a freelancer or a small design agency that will be doing the work.
Freelancers will often charge between £1,600 and £3,000 for these types of site whereas a small agency will charge between £5,000 and £8,000. Larger agencies generally won’t consider taking on a client for under £10,000.
The £1,600 to £8,000 budget typically allows room for a more custom website but don’t expect too much in the way of interactive features. In the world of web design, you are still shopping in the basement at this price point.
#3 Factor – Who’s Providing the Content?
It’s generally expected that you as the website owner provide the content, or at least the majority of it. It’s safe to assume that you know more about your business than anyone else, so who better to write about it?
Many designers do double as content writers but of course you are going to be charged for the time to produce the content. Specialist content writers or copywriters tend to charge by the hour or by the day. As a rough guide you can assume their fees are remarkably similar to that of freelance web designers and are just as variable.
Text is not the only type of content that’s required. At the very least you need to provide some images for a designer to work with. The internet provides an abundance of images but the task of finding something that is suitable is not a trivial task.
The best images are really the ones that you take yourself; stock images seldom portray your business in a favourable light. You may think they would look OK, but your visitors certainly won’t appreciate them
Will anyone believe the girl below is the girl that’s answers your phone?
I found 120 websites that use this identical image – before I stopped counting!. It has no copyright restrictions on it and is free to use; but I strongly advise you not to use free images. You want your business to look authentic, reliable and trustworthy; not just another website trying to do business on the cheap.
There are plenty of options for sourcing relevant and engaging images without busting your budget:
- ask your designer to source them for you
- take you own or enlist the help of a friend
- buy images; there are tons of premium image sites
To recap; the biggest factors that affect the cost of a website are:
- who you hire to do the design work
- the size of the project
- whether you create the content yourself or you hire someone to create it
There are other relatively small costs; namely:
- buying a domain to host your site
- hosting fees for your domain
Your domain name, the human-readable internet address for your website. This sites domain name is johnsutcliffe.co.uk; .co.uk domain names cost around £5 per year.
The top level domain extension is .com; if you choose to go with a .com extension you can expect to pay around £12 per year.
The hosting for this site costs around £4 per month. This price range is adequate for most small websites unless they are heavily reliant on having dozens of large images on each page.