How Much Does a Website Cost?

How much does a website cost? This is one the most frequently asked questions we get asked at Canny.

Alongside that, we also get asked “how much does a logo cost?”, “how much is branding?”, “how much does this cost, and this, and this?”

People love to talk about price!

We do too.

It’s annoying when you want to know the price of something, but all you get back are more and more questions. We get it.

But, it’s also hard to give an accurate answer to the question “how much does a website cost” without knowing more information about your project.

There are a lot of different ways to build a website. Your website will be very different from eBay for example. eBay is very different to Amazon. Amazon is very different to Facebook. And the list goes on.

So just like our answer in our How Much Does Logo Design Cost? post:

“How long is a piece of string?”

We want to dive into this and try and find out exactly how much a website is, how much it costs to maintain a website and more.

Let’s get started. First off:

You’re Asking The Wrong Question

How much does a website cost is a very basic and generic question. And we need to get more specific than that if we hope to answer it.

A website very much like buying a house.

How big a house? How many rooms? Does it have a garden? A driveway? And so on. There are tiers of types of website, just like there are tiers and types of house.

The first thing to ask is: “What do I want my website to do for my business?”

And sharing that goal and vision with your design agency, will help you build a great relationship with them.

Once you’ve got your goal/vision clear, it’s time to move on.

Next, ask yourself…

Do I Need a Website?

Realistically, this is the first thing you need to ask yourself. Do you actually need a website?

At Canny, we’re advocates of everybody having a website – there’s nothing better than the internet for spreading the word.

People often fall into the trap of thinking “My business runs solely on Facebook, I definitely don’t need a website!” But you couldn’t be more wrong.

We wrote about this earlier in the month, but the long and short of it is, relying on platforms you don’t control to market your business is a flawed plan.

What happens if Facebook shuts down? Highly unlikely I know. But:

What happens if they slice “organic reach” like they did a few years back. People went from having lots of organic traffic, to not much at all. And you don’t want that to happen.

And that’s why having your own website makes sense. It’s a platform that you control, and will only change when you want it to. There should be no nasty surprises!

Then, you need to ask:

What Type of Website Do You Need?

Website design cost will vary depending on the type of website you need, and what you need it to do.

For example:

IKEA’s website is massive, and would cost a lot more to design and build than your local takeaway website.

I know that’s a bit of an extreme example, but I’m trying to make a point here!

For a more realistic price comparison, think about these two scenarios:

  1. You run a small shop that sells 200 products, and want to start selling them online.
  2. You run a small coffee shop, and need a website with 4 or 5 pages outlining your services.

Naturally, the first website in this example is going to cost more. And not only because they have 200 products.

Sure, the products could take a little while to enter and setup. But on top of that, you have to integrate payment options, account for deliveries, product specifications, variables and so on.

As you can see, there’s quite a wide range of websites.

So, let’s take a look at the different types of website you might need for your business:

A Single Page Website

Single page, or one page, websites are often used to promote the launch of something. Perhaps an upcoming event, or a larger, more built out website.

However, some companies are now using single page websites to showcase what they’re all about. Especially app and SaaS (Software as a Service) companies.

Now, whilst we aren’t big fans of the single page website at Canny, they do tend to be significantly cheaper. That’s because there’s a lot less work involved.

One page, designed, and built, no fuss.

They’re a lot easier and take less time to make. However, they do come with there drawbacks.

For example:

  • They’re harder to get ranked in search engines, as they tend to have a lot less content.
  • The navigation can be clunky and confusing, especially if you’re expecting it to take you to a different page.
  • A single page containing a lot of information can be too long and boring.

Like I say, we’re not big fans at Canny, but some people do use them, and they’re at the cheaper end of the website design pricing spectrum, that’s for sure.

A Brochure Website

Brochure websites are a significantly better solution than single page websites. This is usually the type of website that most businesses want (providing they’re not an ecommerce business or website.)

A brochure website will have more pages than the single page site. And they’re used for informing website visitors about your business, and what it is that you offer.

Brochure sites typically have between 10 and 50 pages. Smaller companies usually have less to say. Larger more established companies tend to have more content.

Another consideration with a brochure website is the fact that they will usually contain a blog or news page.

This is something that does usually end up adding to the price, as several extra templates have to be designed and coded.

Brochure websites are more expensive than the single page website, but they’re still not too expensive!

(I know we keep teasing with the prices, but we’ll get on to actual figures later, promise!)

An Ecommerce Website

Now we’re moving into the more expensive type of website. And that’s fine.

A good agency won’t rip your eyes out, they’ll do what’s right for you. We’re not all about making a quick buck!

Ecommerce websites come with a unique set of challenges.

Here’s a brief overview of some of the things that need discussed when building or pricing an ecommerce website project:

  • How many products are you selling?
  • How many categories are your products split into?
  • Who is responsible for uploading all of the products?
  • Which payment provider are you using?
  • What happens with returns, cancelled orders, failed orders, and more?

As you can see from the five points above, ecommerce websites generally have a much bigger scope, and therefore they do tend to start creeping higher in price.

A More Complex Website or Web App

So, there’s another type of website that doesn’t fall into the three basic categories above. And that’s the “complicated website” category.

Booking systems, membership websites, websites that talk to other websites, login systems, data recording websites, the list goes on.

The stuff nightmares are made of! (Not really, with the right scoping out and planning, even these complex websites can be ironed out and developed.)

However, depending on exact requirements, when you’re getting into this exciting territory, the website pricing does tend to escalate quite quickly.

For example:

We recently finished a project that was a fully functioning web app. There were a lot of moving parts and nuts and bolts.

That project cost the client well over £50,000 in total. And that’s not uncommon when you’re creating something that’s never been done before.

Now that you understand the different types of website design projects, it’s a good idea to start thinking about your budget.

What Is Your Budget?

Once you have a clear picture picture of the type of website you might need, you need to start thinking seriously about your budget.

As you already know from above, the website pricing hierarchy is going to look something like this (with the first being the cheapest):

  1. A single page website
  2. A brochure website
  3. An eCommerce website
  4. A more complex website or web app

You need to think about what you can realistically afford, and what you’re willing to pay.

If you can’t afford at least £1000, I’d say you need to save your money until you have more in your budget to put towards the work.

To set a website design budget, try this:

Think “What will my website make me in one year, two years, and three years?”

If you’re looking to “just have a website” then you can afford to invest less. But if you want to make big returns from your website, the initial investment is going to need to be higher.

Forbes have a great article about setting a budget for your website.

Payment Plans and Options

A lot of agencies will be willing to work within your budget (providing it’s not silly low) in order to build a strong relationship that lasts well into the future.

But let’s talk about payment plans, options, and how we operate at Canny. Most of our projects tend to be in mid-four-figure category.

This means we split our projects into either 3 or 4 payments. Usually start, middle and end.

  • Deposit Payment – This covers the website planning, kickoff meetings, and visual discovery session.
  • Midway Payment – This is due on presentation of the initial website design.
  • Completion Payment – This payment is due before the website launched to the live server.

Where we can, we try to keep the three payments even, but we’ve been known to help clients out by backloading the payments. Or even break things down into smaller chunks.

We’re happy to help our clients out providing there’s a level trust between both parties. Trust and transparency goes a long way in the web design business.

Some agencies operate on a different price model, where they bill their clients a minimal amount to “launch an MVP” which is a minimum viable product.

From there, they bill out to build it out and maintain it. This is what’s known as The Agile Approach to billing.

However, at Canny, we much prefer to things simple, and that’s why we bill on a per project basis.

You need to reach out to design agencies about your project, and find the right fit for you.

Another important question is.

Who Are You Going to Get to Build It?

There are several options when it comes to having your website built.

In an article earlier this month, we covered the difference between hiring a design agency, a freelancer, or a student.

But, there are a few additional options, so let’s cover all of the bases:

Building It Yourself

It’s not uncommon to try and build your own website. However, we do whole heartedly recommend against it.

Just like you wouldn’t tile your own roof or plumb in your own bathroom, you shouldn’t be building your own website.

Sure, you can pick up some tutorials on HTML and CSS, and throw something together.

But is “thrown together” the way you want your website and therefore business or brand to appear? I highly doubt it.

Website Builders

We’ve all seen the adverts:

Wix, SquareSpace, Weebly, 1&1 My Website, Cheap Websites For You.com, the list goes on and on.

The lure is “get a free, professional looking website, that you can update yourself, in an instant.” And sure, some of the templates they use, look good.

But, they’re also in use by thousands, if not millions, of other businesses.

The reasons not to use a website builder go on and on, and would probably make for a full blog post on their own, but here’s a quick summary:

  • The templates are in use by lots of other people or businesses.
  • A template isn’t the best solution for your business. Your business has it’s own needs.
  • The price, when you add in all of your “pro” features (that you will need), isn’t that cheap!
  • Building a relationship with a professional design agency will help your business grow.

So what are your other options when it comes to having your website built?

Essentially, you have three further options:

  1. A Design Agency
  2. A Freelancer
  3. A Student

Earlier in the month, we posted an article exploring the pros and cons of each option. You can check that out here:

Should I Hire a Design Agency, Freelancer, or Student?

Being the founder of Canny Creative, I’m in favour of working with professional design agencies.

I feel that building a relationship with a professional design agency will help your business grow in the long term. As while you’re off running your business, they can help you grow your online presence.

Another thing to keep in mind is…

Where in the World Are You?

Website design pricing around the world differs greatly.

If you’re based in India, the chances are, you’ll be able to find a reputable design agency to build your website for a lower cost, than if you were based in the UK or USA.

The reverse is also true.

If you’re in the UK or the USA, website design pricing in your country will be higher than if you decide to use an offshore firm for your project.

That’s because pricing and cost is relative.

The cost of living in India is lower, and therefore, what would be considered a high price there, could seem low to you.

However, this opens up the whole “offshoring” debate.

Do you want to be placing your website design project with an offshore agency, just to shave a couple of pounds or dollars off your website price?

Kissmetrics have an article exploring hiring an “in house” vs “offshore” developer. If you replaced “in house” with “design agency” – they make some great points!

What Do You Want Your Design Agency to Provide?

Once you’ve entered discussion with a design agency, you need to work with them to define a brief, deciding exactly what you want them to provide.

Not all website design prices or quotes are created equally.

If two quotes for a website design project look miles and miles apart, it might be worth asking for an exact breakdown of costs.

When creating a brochure or eCommerce website at Canny, our projects include the following stages:

Research

Research is key to any website design project. We need to understand your business, your customers, the marketplace you’re operating in, and your competition.

Alongside that, we begin pulling together visual research to create a moodboard and visual direction for your business.

Then, we’ll analyse it together, discuss ideas, eventually distilling down the visual research into one or two primary directions.

Wireframing

The first thing to do in the wireframing stage, is to ask about your users, and understand what you want your website to do for them.

From there, we’ll begin planning out wireframes and rough user interface designs. We’ll piece them together and then there’s a discussion between both parties, to ensure everyone is on the right track.

Oftentimes, we’ll use a tool like InvisionApp to create an interactive website prototype. This way, everyone can gain a clear understanding of the direction.

Design

Once the wireframes are in place, we’ll begin fleshing out the design.

In the wireframe stage, it’s likely we’ll start to gain an understanding of how we might want to use type and colour throughout the site.

In the design stage, we begin building on that, and flesh out key pages of your website.

Build

Once the visual direction is agreed, it’s onto the build.

This is where we take your website research, wireframes, and design, and piece it all togehter, turning it from a series of screens to a full functioning website.

And that’s where we draw the line for our standard website quotes.

However, there are several additional things you might want to consider when it comes to the price of your website.

Written Content

Many design agencies (ourselves included) don’t include written content creation in their core service offering.

However, like most other agencies, we’re more than happy to either work with you on this, or include this in your quote as a separate item.

Written content takes a long time to create, and realistically, you know your business better than anyone else.

We often find that it’s best for the client to create a mass of content, then have the Canny team run through and distill the content into something usable!

Illustration

You might be looking to have a series of illustrations or icons created for your website.

As this varies for every single client, it’s best to have a separate discussion regarding your illustrative requirements. Therefore, we don’t include this as a base level requirement.

SEO / Digital Marketing

All web practitioners should be setting up website code with best SEO practises in mind. And that’s exactly what we do here at Canny.

However, we do tend to over extend on the SEO side of things and include basic SEO research in most of our projects from the offset.

Again, if you’re wanting to get advanced or ongoing SEO and digital marketing support, that should be looked at as a separate project altogether.

Photography / Video

A lot of design agencies won’t include any photography in web projects at all.

However, at Canny, we often include a number of stock photos within each project. So we at least have some idea of the type of photography that will work within your website.

The next option is to work with us to develop a unique set of photos for your website.

The same goes with video. We have access to some stock, but more often than not, custom video and photography is required.

Just remember when you’re comparing website design prices, you’re more than likely comparing apples to oranges. Not apples to apples.

If the quotes you receive aren’t clear enough what is and isn’t included, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification!

Who is Going to be Responsible for Updates?

This is one of the key decisions when it comes to price.

Most respectable design agencies will build your website on a CMS system. CMS stands for content management system. Some examples include WordPress and Craft CMS.

If your website is built on a CMS by a reputable agency, you will have the ability to make most of the changes and updates yourself.

More often than not, you’ll want to add blog posts, and most respectable CMS systems have that functionality built in.

If you’re going to want to do more than add articles and change text and images, you might want to consider a retainer.

Retainers work great for both parties.

For you as the client, it means you can have your agency or web designer “on call” – depending on what you agree to pay them for.

For us as the agency, it means we can plan our workload and cashflow. It also allows us to bring in additional staff if required, in turn, allowing us to serve you better.

The retainer model is nothing to be scared of, and the right web design agency should be adding revenue to your business.

It’s important that your web design agency are working for you. They’re a partner in growing your business.

And that’s why we love what we do at Canny. The more we can help you grow, the higher the chance of repeat work, or retainer work, allowing us to grow alongside you!

The right agency working with the right business will be a win win for both parties.

What Are the Additional Costs?

There are several “hidden costs” when it comes to website pricing.

As we’ve already covered updates, photography, and digital marketing services, let’s talk about two “must haves” for every website.

  1. Website Hosting
  2. Domain Names

Without either of these, you’ll not be launching your website any time soon.

Website Hosting

Website hosting is the space your website lives in online. Essentially, it’s the house for your website.

Your website needs space on the internet to live in, without it, nobody will be able to visit.

Website hosting prices start from insanely low and range to the absurd, depending on your requirements.

Unfortunately, just like websites, not all web hosting space is created equally. However, for you as the end user, as long as you can access your website, you might not be able to tell.

You can get free web hosting, which is terrible. Cheap hosting, which is also terrible. Affordable hosting, which is acceptable. And premium hosting, which we recommend.

Cheap hosting exists with companies like GoDaddy and HostGator who charge a minimal amount, sometimes as low as £2-£5 per month for hosting your website.

With cheap hosting, the old saying “pay peanuts, get monkeys” rings true. You really do pay for what you get.

Affordable hosting is available through companies like Vidahost or Krystal, who might charge somewhere between £10 and £20 per month.

Premium hosting can be purchased through a company like WPEngine (if your website is built on WordPress) and could cost around £30-£60 per month.

The differences are vast and again, could do with a blog post of their own.

Essentially, cheap hosting isn’t worth the hassle. If you’re really cash strapped, affordable hosting is workable. But premium hosting wins out every time in our opinion.

Domain Names

Your domain name is the .com, .co.uk, .net part of your domain. There are many domain extensions.

And they don’t cost a lot of money, unless you’re trying to buy a “premium name.”

For example:

canny-creative.com costs me £10 per year (+VAT).

However, canny.com is “parked” – which means someone has bought it to sell on at a later date. I enquired about buying it, and was told:

“To buy canny.com, don’t bother replying unless your offer is over £10,000.”

Another example is our friends over at Change Creator.

They paid a small amount for the domain changecreatormag.com – but recently acquired changecreator.com. Needless to say, their bank balance took a bit of a hit.

You can buy your domain on a per annum basis, or you can buy several years at once and get a small discount.

.com seems to be expensive, as does .co, but .co.uk and other localised domains can often be picked up for very little cost.

When buying a domain, you’ll probably find that the one you want is taken. You need to get creative!

Try using adapters such as:

  • mybusinessname.com
  • businessnamerocks.com
  • getbusinessname.com

Or if you can “afford to get funky” try spelling your business name differently.

When Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income couldn’t get the domain name FoodTrucker.com – he removed the e, and bought FoodTruckr.com – problem solved.

Important Considerations

Now that we’ve been through most of the key points, let’s take a look at some further important considerations.

Web Design is a Service, Not a Product

Your website is the product, but web design and development is a service. Requirements change, ideas develop, business progresses etc. Therefore, putting a single price to a website can be extremely difficult.

There is a Lot Involved in Building a Website

Building a professional looking website that services your customers is no easy task. Often, website projects will take between 8 and 12 weeks to complete, and that’s with a team of 3 or 4 people working on it.

Pricing for your website will often depend on the level of detail, as well as the amount of time that we estimate needs spent on different features.

Per Page Pricing Never Works

Often, you’ll see cheap web design companies quoting “£1000 for a 10 page website.” Which is absurd.

Here’s a real life example:

Recently, we quoted for a new project. In our proposals, we include a rough number of page template that need created, we included “up to 10 page templates, than can be reused for X amount of pages.”

The client wrote us back “we only need 5 pages, can the quote be reduced?”

However, there’s always more than meets the eye. Most websites normally have the following pages:

  • Home
  • About
  • Services
  • Blog
  • Contact

Great, that’s 5 pages, 5 page templates right? Wrong.

The blog itself can be responsible for more than 5 on it’s own. For example, what does it look like when:

  1. You visit the main blog page to view all posts
  2. You click into a single blog post
  3. You click the author’s name
  4. You click into the date
  5. You click a category or tag

That’s 5 unique scenarios right there.

The long and short of it, is pricing per page doesn’t work. It’s an outdated model, made for people building websites with Microsoft Frontpage.

There’s more to a website than the number of pages you see. You need to take into account what’s going on behind the scenes too.

Quotes and Proposals Are Subjective

Like we mentioned earlier, quotes or proposals often vary greatly. You’re not always comparing apples to apples. Sometimes you’re comparing two very different things, and you need to be mindful of that.

If you get one quote for £1000, and another for £50,000 – you need to be asking questions of both agencies.

There Is More Than One Way to Pay

Some agencies work on a 50% downpayment, 50% on completion. We work on milestones, breaking things down into manageable chunks. Others will work hourly, others will bill monthly.

The best way to handle this is to have an open and honest discussion with your agency, and see if you can work out a payment plan that works for both parties.

Standards Vary

Just like quotes and proposals, standards are not equal. Companies differ in the way they build websites. Some use frameworks, others use pre-built themes. At Canny, we build our own themes based off of a framework.

Quality

And honestly, some agencies are better than others. Just look at their work. Is it creative? Does it work for you? Do you like the people you’re communicating with?

If you’re getting a bad impression, or a wary feeling, sometimes your intuition is a good a check as any.

You have to be comfortable with your agency, it’s a big financial outlay, and can have a huge impact on your business.

Here are some things to be careful of…

Be Careful With

The world of web design isn’t highly vetted or at times, the most professional place. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Honest designers have been given a bad name by scammers and tricksters.

Here are a few things to look out for:

People Offering Website Design Packages

We’ve already talked about this. “5 or 10 page websites, for X price.” It just doesn’t make sense.

Companies offering these sorts of website design packages don’t have an understanding of the web industry and how things work in this day and age.

Also, most companies offering website packages are often “cash grab” type of companies. Taking a lot of small projects to covers bills and make a wage, and that’s it.

And that’s not what you want from your web design agency! We like to think and act like an extended arm of our clients business. This helps them grow, in turn, helping us to grow.

Friends and Acquaintances Telling You They Got Their Website Cheaper

So your friend got a cheap website? Great. But does it do what you want yours to do? How does it look? How does it function?

This goes back to the comparing websites or website design quotes not being equal. Your friends website has nothing to do with yours.

Sure, if they have a recommendation for a good agency or designer, hit them up. But try to leave the costs out of it, because their website and business will have a different need to yours.

Cheaper Isn’t Better

As always, cheaper isn’t better. Cheaper is cheaper. And, you pay for what you get.

People will build you a website on a CMS such as WordPress (which we also recommend.) But, they’ll use an off-the-shelf theme, and when that happens, WordPress isn’t much better than Wix.

Your website, and the way it looks and functions, should be built around your business. It shouldn’t be shoehorned into a theme that was designed to be sold to the masses.

And always remember…

Your website is often your biggest selling tool. It’s at work when you’re asleep. Therefore, it needs to be top notch.

First impressions matter, and when someone lands on your site, you don’t want to risk losing the chance to convert them into a lead or a sale.

Your website is often your first brand touchpoint, and therefore, you need to make it the best it can be. Make it work for your business, and it will help you grow.

Some Actual Prices and Figures

By now, you’re probably wishing we’d just jump to the figures and get on with telling you the cost of a website.

But as you’ve probably figured out, it’s really not that straight forward.

However, I would hate to leave you hanging – so here’s our rough guide to website design pricing:

Building It Yourself

If you’re going to build it yourself using something like Wix, which we strongly suggest you avoid, here’s how the figures are likely to break down.

Wix’s pricing starts at as low as $5 per month. However, assuming you don’t want your website to be riddled with banner adverts, and actually usable, you’ll be paying $25 per month.

That’s $300 per year, or £225 if you’re based in the UK.

But that’s purely for costs to Wix alone. That doesn’t include your emails.

And one of the main things it doesn’t cover, is the time it’ll take you to figure out the Wix platform and build your site in the first place.

Imagine if you spend 10-20 hours creating your website, but you bill out at £50 per hour. That’s an additional £500-£1000 right there.

So in year one, you would be spending £775 minimum. And that’s without fiddling, tweaking, and updating.

If you then go and try to work out how to install Google Analytics, or, you require more than the 20gb storage limit, the cost will be getting higher and higher.

Then you need to factor in working out SEO, and how you can use that to your advantage.

Because you don’t have a design agency to hand, you’re in it on your own, with an average looking website, and realistically, you’re left paying for a less than average service.

Think about this too:

What happens if you want to move your website from Wix in the future? You can’t. Big red cross.

You’ll need to pay for the web design agency then anyway, so just do it straight away.

The value of design cannot be understated. A good agency will help your business grow and make money.

Hiring a Professional Design Agency

The best way to get the cost of a website, is to reach out to a professional design agency who will offer their thoughts on website design pricing.

However, here’s how a very rough guide on how we price websites at Canny. These figures shouldn’t be taken as definitive, but are here to give you a ballpark figure.

A Single Page Website

There’s less work involved in a single page website design and build, than any of the other types of website.

That said, the research, wireframing, design, and build, still needs to happen. And, there’s still a lot of work that goes into a single page website.

On average, we would be looking at a website design cost of £1500, plus hosting at £15 per month, and your domain name at £10 per year.

A Brochure Website

A brochure website requires all elements from the above stage, plus the building out of several additional pages and templates.

There’s a high chance that a brohcure website will feature a news, blog, or media section, as well as a gallery, individual service pages and more.

The cost of a brochure website from Canny is usually somewhere in the £2500-£5000 range. Obviously that’s quite a wide range, but it really does depend on the specification and requirements.

An eCommerce Website

An eCommerce website takes everything from the brochure website, and adds on a shop.

This means there needs to be a shop page, individual product pages, a whole back end system created, payment gateways integrated and so on.

eCommerce websites are not cheap, and usually cost our clients somewhere between £8,000 and £20,000. Again, that depends on exact requirements, and how much work is involved surrounding the products.

A More Complex Website or Web App

Web apps are usually huge projects, and we partner with an external company to deliver complex websites and apps at Canny.

We’ve worked on web app projects that started at £15,000 – but we’ve also been involved in web apps and platforms that cost all the way up to £100,000.

It’s impossible to even start putting rough figures on this type of project.

Conclusion: How Much Does a Website Cost?

So there you have it, we’ve broken down the complications of website design pricing.

We’ve also tried to answer “how much is a website” by providing some very rough ballpark figures.

Unfortunately, there’s no website design cost calculator, and the average price for a website really isn’t relevant.

Each business has it’s own set of needs and requirements when it comes to its website and online presence. And therefore, costing this type of project in a blog post doesn’t work too well.

What do you think? If you want to get an accurate cost for your website design project, then get in touch.

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