Whether you are a small start-up business or an established brand, it is essential for you to have an online presence. It might be that you are a retailer, for whom a fully functioning e-commerce website is essential to the success of your business, or it may be the case that your day to day operations happen away from the World Wide Web; in which case, it is still important for your business to have a website – a destination that people can go to in order to find out more about your company, something that adds value to your brand and is essential aspect of your marketing message. How much does it cost to build a website? Here is some information about the things you will need to think about and some examples of costs that businesses typically face when setting up a new website.
Content and structure
What will your website say and how will that information be presented? The text that is featured on your website, and the way in which it is broken up into different sections and pages is crucial for the success of your website. Another important aspect of this is the optimization, so that your website will be picked up by search engines like Google and, hopefully, rank highly. Very often, small business owners decide to do this work themselves, with varying degrees of success. If you are serious about making your website a valuable and competitive marketing tool, it is well worth budgeting for a professional to write the copy, to plan the structure and to plan for the website’s search engine optimization.
Design and layout
Good design should go hand in hand with quality content in any website, particularly one that represents a brand. Web design is not just a case of making the page look good, although that is important, but it also ensures that the layout and overall presentation of the website allow for an intuitive and enjoyable experience for the visitor. Again, this is something that is best done by a professional with a proven track record of quality website designs.
Functionality and compatibility
A well written and good looking website still won’t work if it takes too long to load or things don’t run smoothly. Any functional features, such as allowing for online payments or drop down boxes or online forms, need to work – and they need to work well. If not, people will leave your website and visit one of your competitors instead. Paying to get these things right from the very start is always worth it in the long run.
Hosting and maintenance
A website has to have a name and it has to be based somewhere. Paying for the domain name and the hosting of your website can be expensive, but they are both essential for the success of your website. Having the right domain name for your website is a must if you want to appear professional, and the amount you agree to spend on the hosting is an important ongoing concern for duration of your website’s lifespan. There are also other things to factor in to your budget for the website after it has been launched. Google Analytics and Webmaster tools are necessary costs if you want to be able to understand how your website is doing and who is visiting it.
The next question then, is this: How much will it cost? The amount you end up spending on the initial design and build of your website will depend on how large, and how elaborate, your online presence needs to be. For a basic website, in which the copy is supplied by you, with only a minimal amount of functionality, you can expect to spend between £1000 and £3000 on the design and build.
A more high quality approach to design, with an emphasis on branding, may well cost up to £5000. Above this price, and going up to around £10,000, you start to use the services of professional copywriters and SEO consultants, and you can also expect your website to feature more useful functions such as photo galleries and online forms.
Over £10,000 will see you be able to negotiate for a lot more detailed content, optimization and functionality, that is likely to be perfectly adequate for the needs of a new website that is not an ecommerce platform. Hosting is an ongoing expense, and can cost as little as a few pounds a month, although be careful: it’s worth spending a little more on the hosting if it means that you can be confident of a secure service that won’t let you down.
It is always worthwhile talking to a few different web design firms and getting a selection of quotes. Listen to their advice and suggestions, but don’t rush into any quick decisions. Think carefully about what you business needs from its website both now and in the future, and make sure you only end up paying for what is necessary.