Website Design and Build Costs Demystified

When I’m speaking to clients there’s an inevitable point in the meeting when someone asks “ok, so how much is it going to cost me?”. Until a design agency can properly assess your requirements it’s very hard to say how much it will cost. This is the point where occasionally both parties realise they’ve wasted the past hour talking and now need to make polite excuses to leave.

Costs can be wildly different, at the one end of the spectrum you have cheaper bog-standard templates and on the other you have complete custom designs. Many places offer a fixed price website build, lets say you see a google advert: “Websites from £500 – all in”. Sounds great, but what’s the difference between that and an full-service digital agency who quotes a different price for every client that’s often considerably higher? In a nutshell generally the difference is in the degree of personalisation required by the client, and the VALUE that’s being added to the site build by the design agency. The more custom, and the more thought that goes in and the more ideas that are generated the more time it will take to produce the bespoke site.

A templated site as you’d imagine is one that has all the bones in place, the generic design has been built previously and you’re effectively paying a licence fee to utilise it using your branding. In the main it will work no different than any other website, provided it’s standardised HTML. Nowadays there’s lots of smaller tweaks under the hood such as better semantic markup which will better place your site and improve it’s shareability – be sure you’re having this included.

So, The more generic, the quicker the job, the lower the price. Now it may be that you get a some flexibility with the design but many times aside from colours and fairly clunky content positioning there’s not a lot you can do to make your site stand out from the crowd.

site design and html code

Design Takes Time

Some templated options are so cheap you wonder how it can possibly be done! the key here is automation and volume. Many hosting companies branch into ‘design’ we’ll call it design but really it’s just a form-filling exercise. On top of your hosting they are able to provide you with a simple platform that allows you to add pages, wording and artwork within extremely tight parameters, all without any intervention from their staff. All that’s happening is you’re uploading content to a database and that database is populating a template, it costs the hosting company virtually nothing and this is reflected in the price you pay.

The digital design agency who sit down with you, get to know you and your business, examine your branding and want to add value to your business are going to put all that love into your new website. So, you’ve guessed it – that time spent with you, talking, researching, advising, designing mock-ups all has to be paid for. It’s the same with custom functionality, chances are the template site won’t offer it (now or in the future) but a digital agency will be able to build anything (within reason!) to your exacting requirements. The final part of the jigsaw is support, a digital agency will always be at the end of the phone, they’ll use a specialist hosting provider and they will manage everything on your behalf solving any technical issues and freeing you up to focus on doing what you do best – growing your business.

As with everything in life, you get what you pay for. If you’re happy to maintain the site and aren’t too worried about using your identity with a branded experience then stick with a cheaper template site. If you want to invest and add value to your business, making sure you get it just the right, give a few agencies a call and have a chat with them. If you’ve had a few quotes and are still unsure about what’s being offered, give me a call, I’ll help you filter out the noise.