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03 Aug

What determines the cost of a website?

The cost of a website varies dramatically as there are so many factors that go into how much companies charge for website design.

In this article, I cover some key areas to consider when getting a quote for a new website; it should give you some idea on what you may be charged, and why.

Choice of Design Agency

The company you choose will have its own general price brackets and hourly charges, so it’s always a good idea to shop around and get at least 3 quotes from different agencies  of different sizes if you can. Then, you’ll get a good idea of what's an average price and the spread of costs from different firms.


A freelance web designer won’t have many (if any) overheads, so they’ll be able to offer very competitive prices but may not have a totally rounded skill-set or offer the on-going support services that a larger company would offer. They might not be VAT registered so this could, potentially, be a big saving point for smaller non-vat registered businesses looking for a website.

Prices could start from as little as £500.

Small to Medium Agencies

A small to medium sized web agency will have various overheads and staff costs, so they’ll need to make sure that their pricing structure and hourly rate reflects this. Although prices will be mostly higher when going with a web agency over a freelancer, they’ll most likely be able to offer a broader service offering as they’ll have a team of experts each with their own particular skill set.

Prices could start at £1500.

Larger Agencies

A large company may be more expensive still, especially if they are based in a city such as London and have lots of larger companies as clients. They’ll have a higher price starting point generally, but the quality of work they’ll provide will most probably be of a high standard.

Prices could start at £3000.

Whilst it’s unfair to always categorise those three types of company in this way, I’d say this is generally a good way of gauging what you may get charged, depending on who you approach for a quote.


One of the first things that you may be asked when seeking some prices for a website is ‘how many pages do you need’. Although, in my opinion, the number of pages shouldn’t ultimately dictate what it is going to cost (as there are many factors to consider), it does generally give companies an idea when providing some ball-park figures, as they’ll likely have some rough pricing brackets to refer to. Some companies will charge per-page and that can become very costly!

Pages will take different amounts of time to build. For example, you may have a page on your website with an image and some text – that’ll take 15 minutes to build; then, you’ll have another page with text, imagery, a contact form and perhaps an image gallery. That page may take an hour or more to build, so it’s really important that you have a good idea as to what content you want to feature on your site when looking for an accurate price.

The more information you can provide to a web company on the size and content complexity of the site, the more accurate the quote you’ll get.

Mobile Friendly

All websites must be mobile friendly – it’s a required standard now. So, these days, not only do web developers need to design your website to look great on PC and Laptop, but it also needs to look and work well (if not better for many, particularly consumer-facing, industries!) on mobile and tablet devices. You could argue that you’re getting a multifaceted website good for PC, Laptop, Tablet & Mobile – that’s a lot of design work to consider. So, this will be a big factor in the cost of a website, as the bigger and more complex it is, the more work will be required to get it looking great on mobile devices.

Design Spec

The specification of the design will affect the price of the website. If you want something fairly ‘standard’ – perhaps a neat and tidy small business website, then, generally speaking, the website designers won’t need to spend as much time building your site. However, if you want something different, totally original, wacky or 'out-there', then the designers will need more time to put together different designs, layouts and features.

Are you looking for a website for a high-end product or service – perhaps a luxury clothing company or posh interior designer? Don’t forget that when looking at a website costing, it generally takes longer to produce a minimalistic ‘less is more’ design, so you’d expect a higher price for a high-end product or service.

CMS (Content Management System)

Depending on what type and features of a CMS you need, this may play a part on what you’ll be charged. Many CMS systems are free but some developers may use their own platforms, or use paid-for licenced products, so it’s worth looking at what CMS they’ll be working with. Popular CMS systems are Wordpress, Joomla!, Drupal and Magento but there are a lot out there.

If you want to update your website yourself then you’ll need some CMS training on how to maintain and manage your site. This will vary depending on what the company offers (user guide, online training or 1-1 training), so this will be another factor to consider in the overall cost of the site.


This is a biggie – imagery (the photos and illustrations chosen for your pages) is really important to think about and can get expensive, depending on what route you want to take.

You can either purchase stock-imagery for your website, where the cost will generally be around £5-10 per image but will vary depending on which stock-site you use. Or, you can get some professional photography done for your website, which could give you some great and unique visual results. Perhaps you already have a library of imagery that you own – that won’t cost you anything. Just make sure you ask the web company what is and isn’t included when it comes to imagery and web graphics, so that you don’t get any unexpected additional charges at the end of the project.

Features & Functionality

What does your site need to do? Perhaps it’s a small, compact ‘brochure style’ site with text and imagery, or maybe the site has a few neat features such as a database feed, customer login and online store. The more features and functionality you have on your website, the more it’s going to cost to design and develop.

Most companies will give you a price for the ‘core’ website build and then quote the various features as ‘extras’. This is a good way to quote as it’s nice and clear to the customer and will give you the options to pick and choose from, giving you only the features you want and leaving out the ones you don't need.

Video & Media

Like imagery, you’ll want to consider what other media you may want on your website, such as video. Video production could be as simple as some neat ‘interview style’ videos simply taken on your phone, or it could be a full-blown professional video shoot over a few days. As you can imagine, these two items vary dramatically in cost! If you’ve got in your mind to have a professional video produced for your site, it is possible that this could cost more than the core web build itself!


Make sure you get some comprehensive, secure and reliable web hosting for your website. There are loads of hosts to choose from but I’d recommend going with whomever your web company uses and hosting through them; you’ll almost always get a much better and more efficient on-going support service if your web design company is also managing the hosting of the site for you. If you don’t have the technical knowledge to maintain a website on a hosting environment, it’s best to leave it to the experts… yes, you may pay more but you’ll be paying for a well-managed service that won’t take up any of your time!

Domain Names

Domain names (web addresses) are generally pretty cheap but there are a few that can get expensive over time. Think about what you need for your website and, if you can, grab a set; for example, purchase and register mybusiness.com, .co.uk, .uk and .net so that you stop anyone else grabbing them. Don’t go mad though – there’s no need to collect ‘em all, just get the most widely recognised domains such as those stated above (for UK-based businesses), otherwise you’ll have 20+ domain names that you won’t use but could cost you a fortune.

Another point to note when considering domain names – be careful as many domain providers will offer the domain name very cheap for the first year, perhaps 80% off, but then, you’ll be paying full price the year(s) after. Watch out!

Digital Marketing Tools

What digital marketing tools do your require as part of your web build? Perhaps you need integration with an email newsletter program or your CRM such as Salesforce. The more marketing integration the better, but as you can imagine, the more sophisticated the website becomes, the more time needed to develop it and that will put the price up.


Another biggie! Do you require your website to be optimised for search engines? The answer to this should be YES and you need to make sure that, if a web company is quoting for this, that you fully understand what you’re getting. Generally, SEO on a new website should include all the basic SEO practices such as SEO-friendly URLs, meta data, correct page mark-up (h1, h2, h3, p etc.), internal linking, keyword research, and may also include things such as 301 redirects, fetching as Google, XML Sitemaps, Analytics integration, Search Console set-up and more. Whatever you’re being offered, just make sure that it’s been done as promised at the end of the project and, if you’re not sure, ask!

Site Performance (Page Speed)

The performance of a modern website is very important and will continue to be a huge part of a successful business website. What we’re talking about here is how fast the site loads on different devices. Sites can be tested by tools such as Google Page Speed for an insight into how they perform. The better the speed, the better chance your site will have getting ranked in search engines, especially when it comes to mobile search results which are treated very differently to desktop results. Generally, developers will need to put more effort and design consideration into your website when they build it, so a better performing site will probably mean a higher cost in this area.

Existing Site?

Do you have an existing site? This may actually make the project a little more expensive, as a good web agency should be able to put together a Website Transition Package for you to make sure that the new site can launch seamlessly when it replaces the old one. Key things that should be carried out with care are domain DNS switching, hosting set-up, URL redirects, URL formatting, meta data transfer, and keeping a close eye on the tools on offer within Google Search Console before and after the new site is launched.

Time Frames

How quickly do you need your new site? Companies will have different time-frames for website builds, from a few days to a few months. Generally, if you are happy to go with what the web company estimates the project to take, you’ll get a fairer price. But, if you’re a little pushed for time and need the site live in, say, under 2 weeks, be prepared for a hefty price increase as the agency will have to potentially put all other work on hold whilst they work on your project, and this will generally put more pressure on the development team.

On-Going Services & Support

When getting a quote for a website, make sure you understand what on-going support services the company offer and how much these are going to cost. It will be important to develop a good relationship and stick with your web company for as long as you can (assuming they are doing a good job, of course), as this leads to trust, understanding and efficient working on both sides, so it’s worth knowing what they offer over the long-term!

Remember, a website is never ‘finished’! It should always be a work in progress, with new content, features and functionality being added over time – it needs to be alive and kicking, just like your business, so you’ll need some really good on-going support services in place to help keep your site up-to-date and fresh.


I’d say that the key take-away from this article is to make sure you cover the following points when looking for website quotes:

Be prepared. Have as much information ready and as detailed as possible on your project – know what you do and don’t need.

Ask questions! Make sure you fully understand what you are being quoted for.

Shop around. Get a few quotes from different companies to compare prices and service offering.

Think ahead. Be confident that the web company you choose can have a good on-going relationship with you and your business into the future.

Don’t go too cheap. As with anything, ‘you get what you pay for’. Don’t go in too cheap as you’d probably not achieve the calibre of site you hoped for.


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Dolia Design Ltd
The Old Coach House
The Avenue, Farleigh Wallop
Basingstoke RG25 2HT

01256 536 080



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