This is a great question, and something we get asked a lot. So how much does it cost to build a website?

Much like the cost of a car, or a length of string; it all depends. Let’s look at the car analogy as there are a lot of parallels. You can get a car for £500, £50,000 or one for £500,000 – it all depends on:
  • How soon you need it
  • How long you want it to last
  • How quickly you want it to get to your destination (or goals eg. leads for a website)
  • How appealing it is to you, and the envy of your friends
  • How comfortable a ride you want
  • How reliable you want it to be
  • How much time you want to research it / do some bits yourself (kit car or doer-upper, anyone?)
  • If you want someone to take care of and guide the experience for you.

If you can imagine, for example, the experience in a second hand car garage / budget car compared to that of Porsche or Ferrari. Picture the triple frothaccino and delicious cupcakes served to you on a leather recliner at Porsche, – your whole experience will be different to the vending machine weak tea offered at a second hand showroom (edit: I’ve never been to a Porsche showroom…) – you of course know that the cost of your experience will be reflected in the overall cost of your car/website.

So let’s say you want to go middle of the road. Reliable – perhaps a Ford, or maybe put a bit more in to the budget and go for a VW or Audi. They’re all known for reliability, but luxury pushes the price up. Add on your sports trim, entertainment upgrade, better alloys. Do you need a roof rack or tow bar? None are essential, but may be more comfortable / more desirable if you’re planning lots of trips.

Let’s break down some of the components of a website, and think about how these also impact the users of your site:

Delivery time

Choosing a freelancer to design and build your website may well be cost effective in the short term, but how quickly can they turn it around? A larger web agency will likely have more resources if you’re needing a faster turnaround.

Longevity of a website

Of course, higher fees *generally* equate to longer lasting, but on average the lifespan of a website is 3-5 years, and can last longer if actively maintained and managed. The more thought and care going into the planning and delivery of the site, and long term roadmap, the longer it will last.

Website Speed

You need a fast performing site to rank well on Google and prevent your visitors from leaving the site. There are many factors here, from good web hosting to well optimised code – all things that a good web development agency will take care of for you.

Website performance

This will depend on a number of factors, and an experienced agency will help advise on this. Typically, you’ll have some goals in terms of visits (your web traffic), leads and goal conversions. Set some goals and monitor them regularly.

Appearance

Spoiler: looks do matter, especially in the fickle and fast paced world of online selling! E-type Jaguars still turn heads some 60 years after they were launched, but can you describe the shape of the latest Hyundai? (Edit: Hyundais are excellent cars, but they aren’t designed to turn heads and be desirable). Investing in an agency with a great design-led team with sharp headlines makes all the difference, especially as so many businesses are competing in the same space. Be memorable for all the right reasons.

Usability

This is two-parts: how easy it is for your potential customer to use and navigate, and how easy it is to for you to manage and add content. A well built Content Management System (CMS, e.g. WordPress) makes a light job of this, and be clear with your web designer / web developer what you want from it. Equally, make sure you choose an agency that has a focus on User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) to ensure a a seamless experience.

Reliability

Yes, brand new cars can break down or be recalled. But it’s rare, and you’ll be covered by warranty! Using a well established web design company helps to ensure your site is well built, secure and future-proofed as much as possible. You don’t want your site bombing every week, or failing to deliver leads.

DIY websites

This is a classic for start ups – you have a bit of time to explore and have a go. But this is time you should be focusing on your skills and building up your business. It’s always good to learn a little and know what you’re paying for – but just as anyone given the time, resources and knowledge could build a car from scratch, is that really what you want to spend your time doing? And would you trust it at speeds of 100mph? Speak to an expert!

Your website roadmap

A LOT goes into building a website. Design, build, content creation, mobile optimisation, speed optimisation, testing, QA. Project management is essential too, and it’s important to trust the process with your web agency. They’ll advise and guide you along the way, using their experience and process to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. And this is all factored into the overall cost of a website.

Should I use a Freelancer or a Web Agency to build my website?

Freelancers are typically less expensive than digital agencies in terms of hourly or daily rates, but this isn’t always reflected in the final cost. It all depends on whether you have a time limit, a limited budget, a larger budget, and so on.

A freelancer will typically charge between £25 and £50 per hour, or between £200 and £300 per day.

A digital agency will typically charge between £50 and £200 per hour, or between £300 and £1000 per day.

Looking at the prices above, it’s clear that a freelancer is less expensive than an agency on paper, but they may be more expensive in the long run. Because a freelancer is only one person creating a site, the time required will be significantly longer than that of a team of people. Because of a larger client base and a wider range of websites, an agency will typically have more experience. This allows an agency to have more skills to create the site you want, especially if you need bespoke components.

OK, so how much do I need to spend on a website?

Again, like a car, there are options! You can get a website for £500, but it will be basic. Some agencies offer ‘rent to own’ models whereby you have a downpayment then a monthly fee to cover costs. You can of course buy one outright and some companies will offer a discount in that case.

  • Think about:
  • What is the cost of a lead worth to you
  • What can you afford (many agencies offer plans or finance)
  • How long do you want to reap the rewards of your website

As a rough guide:

The average cost of a professional business website in the UK in 2022 is between £2,000-£10,000 including design, development, testing and project management.

A high performing, high end website will be £4000 upwards – usually including imagery and content creation.

eCommerce sites are anything from £4000 upwards.

£500 will buy you either a template site (often basic and with limitations) or can be a downpayment on a plan for a well built, bespoke website.

Adding extras like Blog, Case Study, Resources modules (that are great tools for your website) can add to the cost, but will reap long term benefits.

All of them will need longer term plans for maintenance (again, think of servicing and MOTs on a card to keep it performing well). You can be looking at anything from £500+ a year to host and support a site, so it’s worth bearing that in mind too.