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How much does a website cost?

25th April 2017

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As Design Inc’s latest website portfolio is released, we thought it would be a good time to talk about the question we get asked most but which is one of the least simple to answer: “How much does a website cost?“.

Of course, the response really should be “it depends upon what you actually want!” but the problem here is that, for the most part, many people enquiring do not really know what they want. Let me put this another way, they do not really know what they can get. All they seem to want to know is how much does a website cost.
And, quite often, people are not aware of the real difference in results between a cheap website and a more expensive website. But as yourself, which would you rather have: a £100 website that looks terrible, keeps breaking and never brings in any enquiries OR a £10,000, great looking and secure website that pays for itself within the first week?

I caught up with Design Inc’s Head of Digital, Dan Moe to get more information.

 So Dan, how much does a website cost?
“One of the first things one should know about costs for the design and development of a website is that they vary wildly. There is no magic formula and no one will mail you a suggested rate list if you decide to go into business building websites for other people. That said, there are a few ways to determine what kind of rates are fair based on the client’s needs, your skills, and a number of other factors. Design Inc have built web solutions from hundreds of pounds to tens of thousands of pounds.”

How does Design Inc go about providing a cost for a website?
“We are able to build websites from a simple one pager to a highly complex, multi-platform solution. Our team are highly experienced in all aspects of web and can turn their hand to any request. However, it is important that we only provide solutions that are right for the client’s needs. And, whilst many clients are not fully aware of the extent of what they can have, this is where a dedicated conversation is required. Here, we can talk to the client and discuss their business model, their services, history, goals, wants, needs, clientele, risks, timelines, etc. We certainly do not underestimate the importance of talking to our clients. It is only through this that we can build up an image of what web solution options are really needed and, from that, we will be in a better position to truly answer that question: how much does a website cost?” 

Can this conversation be over the phone or does it need to be in person?
“Most of the web conversations we have are over the phone, and that works well for us. That said, if the client is within traveling distance, we are happy to arrange a face to face meeting with them. Ideally, we need some time to ask a series of questions. This can be easily done within 20 minutes.”

What do these questions cover?
“We would want to discuss a number of areas. These include:

The Company: what do they do? What is their current position? What plans are afoot? What is/isn’t working for them? What makes them unique?
History: what marketing/solutions have they provided historically? How has this worked for them? What has led them to want a new website now?
Clients: who are they? Who is the ideal client for the future? How has this changed?
Competition: where are they in the ‘competitor landscape’? How do their clients perceive them? What are their competitors doing (differently)?
Website: what do they want a new website to achieve for them? Is it more sales / better sales / more enquiries / client education / product introduction?
Functionality: does the website require soft or hard-working SEO? CMS? e-commerce? database? security? client area? hosting? etc
Design: how should the design work for them? Does it require copywriting? photography services? translation? etc.”
Resources: what are their limitations in terms of design style, timescale, budgets?

What if the client asks for something unusual?
“We like ‘unusual’ – especially when the request is actually relevant to the project. The more we can learn about it, the better positioned we will be to implement a plan to incorporate it into the web project. However, the majority of requests we handle are for things that, for us, are commonplace.”

Do you offer a pre-made solution?
“We do not believe in a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Mainly because we have never come across a client who is exactly like another. Every business is unique with their own unique solutions, values & clients. And so are the websites we build for them.

There are plenty of companies who will gladly offer a basic solution. They set up a hosting account, install WordPress, and slap a £50 WordPress theme on it. But that’s all. No design, no personality, no functionality, no SEO, no security, no support. These are not web designers or web developers and we would strongly ask that anyone considering this type of solution, should find out what successes their clients have had before. Yes, its a cheap solution but you really do get what you pay for.”

How do you handle clients if they are simply looking for the cheap solution?
“Design Inc do not offer the cheap solution. And we would explain the reasons why. We pride ourselves on the build of strong-working websites which deliver real results to our clients. To do this takes real investment. Of time, resources and cost.”

How do you think your website costs compare against your competition?
“Wouldn’t it be great if all web agencies worked & charged the same as each other based on a common brief? But that is not the case. Each agency is different. From their hourly rates (a one-man band may charge £20 per hour. Others £80. Saatchi & Saatchi may be £350!), to the specialists they employ (a senior developer is typically more costly than a junior), to the way in which they work (some companies build from scratch, others use pre-made solutions).
Because of this, it is difficult to work out what the ‘average’ rate is and how we compare.
That said, over the years, we have carried out some competitor benchmarking ourselves and comparing between website agencies in Surrey, website agencies in Middlesex and website agencies in Berkshire, Design Inc would compare much more favourably than most.”

What would you expect to pay someone else for the same quality website solutions that Design Inc provides?
“When I really think about the level of knowledge and skills that my inhouse team have, the value we provide to our clients, the problems we help them solve and, more importantly, the results their websites now give them, I know we are charging much much less than perhaps we would if we went elsewhere.
Recently, we went up against a very similar level web agency for the build of a dynamic, e-commerce website. We won the account and were happy with the figure we quoted. Half way through the project, the client showed us the other agency’s proposal. Their cost was just under twice the amount we had quoted.”

Would your client have paid the higher amount?
“Good question. And, one we actually asked them. Yes, even if our price had been higher, the client would still have paid that amount. Not that they thought is was a great price but because they would have trusted us to give them the honest answer. This does not mean that all clients would have done that, but it is interesting nonetheless.”

Can you tell me some of the web services your team offer?
“Of course. The list is wide and varied and we can split this into the following:
Products: websites, intranet, apps, eShots, databases
Types: mobile, responsive, parralax, ecommerce, content-managed, 

Design: creative, photography, illustration, video, animation,
Coding: HTML, CSS, PHP, ASP, JavaScript 
Security: Hosting, authentication, form validation, SSL certification
Functionality: CMS, Responsive, e-commerce, accounting, Blog, social media
SEO: Keyword research, site optimisation, inbound linking, PPC/AdWords, Google Analytics, LeadForensics, Reporting”

How many websites have Design Inc built?
“We have been building websites for almost 20 years. In that time we have built & delivered hundreds. We have clients from many varied industry sectors and our websites reflect this diversity. As I mentioned earlier, no two websites are ever the same but, typically the websites we build can be placed into one of the following categories:

Product website: marketing & educating the public about an individual product or event
Brochure site: a website promoting a company, its services and solutions
E-commerce website: a website selling a product or multiple of products
Comparison: a website that enables the visitor to compare one product/service/solution against another
Training: a website that provides the user with online education services
Sharing: a website that shares content between users 
Recruitment; a website which promotes a list of job opportunities
Directory: a website which provides a list of information”

And what would you say to someone considering having a website built?
“It really is a minefield out there and everyone wants to know how much does a website cost. Anyone asking around for quotes should expect to receive a variety of different website costs as well as completely different solutions. Expect to be confused.

However, I would suggest that the more information they can initially provide will help narrow down the answers they will receive. In the film Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner, you will hear the line “build it and they will come”. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about websites. Just having a website built will not guarantee anyone visits the site let alone finds it professional enough to make an enquiry. The harder a website works, the more resources need to be used. So, they need to ask themselves what is important to them. What do they really want a website to do for them?
It is crucial that they feel they can trust the web designer they are speaking to. These providers want your business so let them do some work to get it. Ask to see some examples of the websites the suppliers have delivered, see if they have any case study/results they can share with you. Will they even let you speak to a client of theirs to hear an independent voice?
And please ask the web designers whether they build websites from scratch, what security solutions they put in place, what ongoing support you will get for your outlay, whether it is all done in-house or outsourced to another (foreign?) supplier.
Of course, if someone simply wants some honest advice, my team are happy to give it. We do not charge for a chat and there is no commitment from either side.”

Should they call you Dan?
Our first point of contact is our Client Services team who will have an initial chat with you and provide the initial advice you will need. Including, of course, an idea as to how much does a website cost. Our Client Services Director is Frank Norman and he can be contacted on 01784 410380 or email him at frank.norman@designinc.co.uk

Thank you Dan for all your help here. Finally, can we see some examples of your work?
“I was hoping you were going to ask me that. Please find a link through to our latest web portfolio.” 

 

So, if you were wondering how much does a website cost, we hope the above provides some initial answers. Why don’t you contact us now to discuss your own web requirements further. Please contact our Client Services Director, Frank Norman by email or by calling 01784 410380.