How much does a website cost? Ahhhh, if I had a penny for every time I was asked that! In truth it’s like asking how much a house costs; it depends on size, quality of finish, etc. It’s no exaggeration to say that a website can cost anything from a few £100 to a few £100,000.
So, to give a meaningful answer, I’ll answer the question that I wish you’d asked ;-):
My budget is X, what sort of website can I get for that?
A Website For Less Than £1,000
For a rock bottom budget you’re best off going for a cloud-hosted DIY website builder package, such as 1&1. Using a service like this you can get a basic website online from a generic template for a few hundred pounds a year, without the need to know about any programming, designing, hosting, or any other confusing technical stuff.
A Website Costing Around £1,000
For those who want something more flexible but still on a budget you can look at working with a professional to deploy an open source solution using mainly off the shelf components. Doing something like this has an advantage over the super low budget option above because YOU OWN the source code; and therefore the ability to extend and modify it. By using a patchwork of off-the-shelf and open source technologies you ensure on-going support is readily available as website professionals the world over are well versed in these technologies.
Once you have produced your content, you can work in some stock photography to add the gloss. You’ll also want some basic plug-ins such as Yoast SEO Plugin and integration with Google Analytics to help drive your post-launch marketing efforts. A few hours of programmer and/or designer time will also be needed at this stage for minor tweaks / customisation to the site and to set up some basic hosting.
A Website For A Few £1,000
With a higher budget comes more possibilities to build on top of the basic WordPress platform above. However don’t make the mistake of getting too carried away with bespoke design and development if your budget is in the low £1000’s. Instead largely follow the design concept of your chosen theme with only minor colour / layout customisations; it will still look great and further investment in customisation of design towards your brand can be made when the £££ start rolling in from your great content; and as any digital marketer will tell you… CONTENT IS KING so focus your investment there.
Spend some money with a Search Engine Marketer and figure out what your optimal keywords are, at least for your homepage and drive your content production from this. Have your content reviewed by an online copywriter if you can afford it.
Exactly how your budget is used is ultimately up to you, but a good digital agency should advise where your greatest return on investment will come from. To balance what we feel is important from a digital marketing perspective with our clients needs we define a pre-specified website production package at around this budget.
A Bespoke Website Budget – The Sky’s The Limit
Going with a custom-built website / application is like deciding to buy a custom-made suit, you know it’s going to fit your business perfectly but you’ve got to pay to get it done properly. When developing anything bespoke online expect overhead; you will most likely need a project manager, technical architect, quality assurance engineer, designer and programmer all involved. The temptation will be to skimp in places, e.g. not test properly or outsource inappropriately; both of which are rookie mistakes and will cost your far more in the long run.
Does Your Budget Include Online Marketing!?
One more thing; if you build it they will not come. Website production is only half the battle so don’t forget to budget for some online marketing post-launch to drive traffic to you shiny new website.