HOW MUCH DOES A WEBSITE COST IN THE UK?
I spent six years at the start of my career working as a website developer. I’ve worked on websites that have cost £120,000 and ones that have cost £1,200.
Do I think the £1,200 website was good value for money? No.
Do I think the former was worth £118,800 more? HELL no.
Like almost anything that costs money, websites can be overpriced and can under-deliver. And when the price varies so widely, it can be really overwhelming trying to work out how much to spend on your website.
To help, I’ve pulled together this guide so you can cost, plan and complete a website project within budget.
SO, HOW MUCH SHOULD A WEBSITE COST?
The short but seemingly-flakey answer is that your website should make more than it costs – basically, it should turn a profit.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: this seems like a non-answer, and non-answers make you suspicious. It’s why FINALLY charge a flat fee of £12,000 for our starter websites. We like to keep our pricing transparent.
But, in truth, “makes more than it costs” is the right answer – “how much should a website cost?” is just the wrong question.
Let me explain…
Say you currently get 10,000 visitors to your website in a year and 10 sales can be attributed back to the website – your current conversion rate 0.1%.
(Total number of conversions ÷ total number of visitors) x 100 = % conversion
If the average order value is £1,000 and those 10,000 visitors generated 10 sales, your website ‘earned’ £10,000 that year.
Now, imagine your conversion rate increased to 0.3% and you get 30 sales that can be attributed back to the website. Improving the conversion rate earned you £30,000 – an increase of £20,000.
The question you should be asking is: how much would you be willing to invest in your website to achieve that 0.3% increase?
Thinking in terms of what you are willing to invest in your website to achieve a certain goal is a much better approach to budgeting. It keeps you focused on the aim of the project, gives a clear measure of success and ensures you aren’t left feeling disappointed with the end result.
If your website costs £10,000, but three years later you can’t attribute a single sale back to it? You spent £10,000 more than you should have (or you’re not properly tracking attribution).
OKAY, HOW MUCH SHOULD I INVEST IN A WEBSITE?
These four steps should work for any business to help you set a budget for your website project and stick to it.
Step 1 - Start with why.
Step 2 - Set your scope.
Step 3 - Don’t spend it all at once.
Step 4 - Choose wisely.
Step 1 - Start with why
We have conversations with business owners all the time who want a new website because they “don’t like” their current one. Either it feels dated, or they’re not happy with the design, or the content isn’t right.
The issue is that whilst these things are important, they are also subjective.
If your reason for doing the project is open to opinion, you are much more likely to feel that what you paid wasn’t worth it at the end.
Instead, you need a solid, irrefutable benchmark for success. A ‘why’ for doing the website project that everyone can agree has been met. Good examples would be…
Increase the number of leads by x%.
Increase the number of visitors by x%.
Increase the conversion rate by x%.
Improve the quality of the leads by x.
I don’t like the current website.
While good design and clear messaging is needed to improve the number of leads, it is the increase in leads that you are investing in, not the face lift.
Once you have your benchmark for success, decide how much you are willing to invest to achieve it. This is your website budget.
Step 2 - Set your project scope
Traditionally, the three primary forces in any project are time, cost and quality. If you want something done fast and cheap, then the quality will suffer. If you want it done fast but to a high standard, then be prepared to pay a hefty premium.
But if you assume that quality should never be compromised, and time and budget are also fixed, where do you go from there?
Enter… scope. Scope refers to the deliverables within the project – the stuff you’re going to get.
When scoping out a website project with our clients, we use a MoSCoW prioritisation technique – what functionality MUST the website have, what SHOULD it have, what COULD it have, and what WON’T it have.
Must have – Non-negotiable requirements that must be met in order to achieve your project goal.
Should have – Requirements that aren’t vital but could impact the project goal if left out.
Could have – "Nice to have” features that can be left out without really impacting the project goal.
Won’t have – Features that are not required to meet the project goal and therefore not a priority.
Think about the goal of your website project and review your full list of requirements against MoSCoW. The items that are not required to reach that goal? They are your could haves and won’t haves.
Stick within your budget without compromising on the quality or time-to-launch by cutting out the functionality you don’t need.
Aim for no more than 60% of your requirements to be must haves. Being clinical with your requirements stops your project from spiralling out of control.
Step 3 - Don’t spend it all at once
Which leads us nicely onto the next step… keeping some of your budget back.
Traditional web design is cumbersome. It requires large up-front costs, huge time investments and often runs over on time and budget.
It involves doing ALL of the things – think all of your must haves, could haves, should haves and won’t haves from the last step – before you can launch. And then doing nothing to the site after launch until the next big, expensive overhaul.
But, as we’ve discussed in Step 2, you don’t need everything all in one go.
We adopt an approach to website design called Growth Driven Development (GDD). GDD involves spending a percentage of your budget up front, and reserving the rest for incremental improvements. For us, these are “optimisation sprints”.
By making smaller, cheaper changes to start with, you’ll gain insights and data on how your site is performing sooner. This data will help to uncover high-impact actions you can make to the website to improve it
The overall goal you set might not be reached with the first iteration. However, by observing your website visitor’s behaviour – and improving their experience along the way – it soon will be.
Step 4 - Choose wisely
Working with a third party will always be a bit of an unknown – at least at first. When the budget is set based on achieving a certain goal, this can be an even greater leap of faith. You have to really trust that the company you are working with has the skill set to offer you the best advice, guide you in the right direction, and deliver on their promises.
To help you to make an informed decision about which digital agency to choose, here are some things you should ask:
Can I see some examples of other websites you’ve created?
What results have you achieved for your other clients?
How do you approach a website project?
Are my goals achievable within my budget?
What happens after the website goes live?
Will I be able to update the website myself?
How can I measure the success of this project?
SUMMARY: How much does a website cost?
Don’t get bogged down in website pricing. Use these four steps to plan how much you want to spend on your project and what you want to spend it on. Work with an agency that can guide you through those decisions and deliver a website that is worth the investment.
To make it easy for our clients – and for our own sanity – we’ve made our website pricing as simple as possible…
Kickstarter website = £12,000
Ecommerce + £5,500
Content hub + £1,900
Copywriting + £600 per page
Bespoke functionality - COA
Third party integrations - COA
Optimisation sprints = £3,500/ sprint
To find out more about what is included in our Kickstarter website book a quick call with one of our team.