Spend a few minutes online and you will see that the cost of UK based website design services differ dramatically from designer to designer and agency to agency.
This is because there is no guideline rate for website design and development, how much you will be quoted will depend on what the company or individual considers a viable value for the level and quality of the services they provide. With that in mind, we thought it might be useful to put together a quick breakdown of the options available if you were looking to get a website created by a UK based supplier.
Before we start, it's worth noting that there are a few alternatives to hiring a professional designer, studio or agency:
Non professional or a favour by a professional website designer:
We can't give you a price range for a website built by someone in their bedroom, or someone with a little knowledge doing a favour for a friend. The reason is that these websites tend to be done as favours, or for a few pints or £100 in the back pocket. The reality is, if you run a business and want to get online successfully you should avoid this option, unless the person doing the favour builds websites for a living.
Investment: It could be free, a few lagers, a new PS4 game or £100, the options are unlimited.
The first stop for many small businesses and start ups is to get a page on Facebook. It costs nothing if you don't use the paid advertising options, you can add a decent amount of business information to it, and you have a ready audience of friends and families to market too. As a first step it's useful, but works better as a lead in to a company website or as a way to additionally promote news or special offers.
Investment: Free, although if you want to market your business page across Facebook it will cost, the amount of which would be up to you.
Self build via a website builder:
You get all the basic tools to build a website, and then get charged a monthly or yearly rental fee which includes hosting and a domain name. It's a price priority solution, where the user can build their own website by drag and drop means for the lowest possible cost.
Quality is a bit up and down, but for a very limited budget, they can't be faulted. We can see the logic, it's low cost, and the websites look reasonably professional, and we have added it to our list because whether web designers and developers like it or not, it's an option.
Investment: Free to £200+ a year depending on the rental agreement.
Self build using an Open Source Content Management System (CMS):
A great alternative to using a website builder is to use an Open Source (free to all) CMS such as Wordpress or Joomla. Wordpress is especially good for the non website literate, and all CMSs offer more freedom for SEO and marketing. Once you factor in the cost of hosting and domain name rental, the prices work out the same for a website with more flexibility and business potential.
Investment: Free to £200+, the software is free, but there is hosting and domain name rental to consider, and the purchase of any additional elements such as slideshows, contact forms etc. if you decide to use them.
Now to those who make a living from website design and development:
Professionally designed but possibly outsourced:
We have added this as it is a valid business practice within UK website design. The companies involved maybe UK based, but the majority of the design workforce might not be. Companies outsource the labour to a country where the rate of pay is significantly less than in the UK. As for quality, you have as much chance of getting poor service in the UK as you can abroad. One difference might be the time to delivery, as this may be longer due to the extra level of involvement added to the process.
Investment: £200 to £1,000+.
Freelance professional website designer to small design agency:
At the lower end it will be a predesigned website package built on a recognised content management system (CMS) such as Joomla or Wordpress. Typically it will be limited to a few descriptive pages and a contact form. As the price increases so does the size, complexity, available team and services and usage options, with the designer or agency offering bespoke design, professional copywriting, on site and off site marketing and management as well as some e-commerce functionality.
Investment: £500 to £25,000+.
Small to mid-sized design agency:
At this level a freelance professional website designer will still be in the mix, but you are probably working with a small design or creative agency that has the staff and technical skill needed to manage larger websites or systems that are by their nature more complex.
Investment: £5,000 to £100,000+.
Mid to major agency:
Once again, the bigger the client, or the bigger the project, so the size of the agency will grow in most respects. They will be comfortable building complete online presences for small corporations, but the final price may easily double or triple what went before as not only will project complexity be a factor, so too will be the brand reputation/price ego of the company involved.
Investment: £25,000 to £1,000,000+.
International brands, large corporations, market leaders, enterprise and government builds that require a lot of everything, these will be built by heavy hitters for heavy hitters. Here are a few examples, and please bear in mind that the amounts spent will be based on a lot of factors beyond the actual design and development:
£27 million to get the NHS Choices website up and running.
£40 million investment to revamp and maintain the Selfridges website.
£60 million to revamp the B&Q website.
£105 million or £35 million a year for 3 years for the UK Government website Business Link.
Investment: £100,000 to multiple millions.
The above is a very simplified overview, and is based solely on looking at UK designers, studios and agencies. If nothing else if gives you an idea of how much a website can cost and how prices are determined by a varied range of factors including:
The creative, technological and post build services involved.
A designers or agency's idea of value and worth.
Their experience and skill set.
The time to delivery and any time pressures in place.
The agency location, size and costs of trade.
Many prices will overlap, so will the types of company offering the service, for example a mid level agency with 50 staff may still build a £10,000 website, and a small agency will have the capacity to manage a £100,000 project, just by bringing in a few specialists to help with the process.
One final thing, price is just the price, it's what you pay depending on who you choose to work with and what you need done. The cost can't always guarantee quality, but when matched to a portfolio and client testimonials it can signify whether the individual or company involved has a decent reputation.
We are not high or low price advocates, but we do spend a fair bit of our time explaining the realities of website cost, and we hope that in some small way this blog post helps explain things.