Exploring the Factors Behind Varied Web Design Prices
The cost of having a small business website designed and built depends on many variables and this guide aims to provide a summary to help businesses understand the different price structures and what they should reasonably expect to pay.
The first thing to state is that not all websites are created equal and this helps to explain the wide range of prices you will see quoted for this type of service. I often equate it to the automotive sector to help explain this wide price differential. You could think of a car as a standard product but the reality is that it breaks down into categories such as budget, mid-range, and premium (there are far more than this but for simplicity, we will assume these 3). The price difference between a budget and premium brand is huge and even within the same category and brand, there can be different versions of the same model, leading to additional significant price differences. A car is still a car, but there are differences in quality, features, capabilities, performance, and desirability. This is also true in the world of websites.
You could use a simple website builder software where you design the site yourself, or you could have a pre-designed template-based system where you only have to add your text and images relevant to your business. You could ask a web designer to build a site using a template and ask them to add all of the content or you could ask a designer to create a bespoke design. The time taken to create each of these websites is significantly different and as a result, so is the cost. Also, as with cars, the capabilities, features, performance, and desirability will be at a different level.
Some of the factors that contribute to this broad spectrum of web design prices are listed below.
The complexity of a web design project plays a pivotal role in determining its price. Simple, straightforward websites with basic layouts and minimal functionality will cost significantly less than intricate e-commerce platforms or large corporate sites that require custom features, database integration, and extensive testing.
Customisation is a major driver of cost in web design. Pre-designed templates are more affordable, as they require less time and effort than creating a unique design from scratch. High levels of customisation, unique graphics, and branding elements will naturally increase the price tag.
Skill and Experience
Web designers come in all skill levels and experience. More experienced designers typically charge higher rates due to their expertise in creating well-structured, visually appealing, user-friendly websites and importantly, websites that convert. Additionally, seasoned designers tend to have a better understanding of SEO, user experience, and mobile responsiveness.
Your own requirements and expectations will influence the final cost of web design. Clearly defined project scopes and a willingness to provide necessary assets (such as images, logos, and content) can help keep costs in check. However, frequent revisions and ongoing adjustments can add to the bill.
Web design often involves ancillary services like Search Engine Optimisation, content creation, and ongoing maintenance. These additional services can substantially impact the overall cost. The more comprehensive your requirements, the more you can expect to pay.
The simplified price guide below is split between some of the main SaaS (Software as a Service) web design platforms and WordPress, which is the most common web design platform available.
SaaS (Do it yourself)
With the SaaS model, you pay a monthly (or annual) license fee. The website can be self-built or you could employ a web developer. Your website remains for as long as you pay the license fee, however, you are not able to move your site to another platform. This type of platform can be useful for new business owners who are looking to get their business online at a low cost and in a short timeframe.
The prices shown are for the business plan offerings and do not include the website build cost as it is assumed to be a self-build. There are lower-priced plans available, however, these either come with restrictions or ads and are therefore not deemed to be suitable for a business website.
|Platform||Monthly cost (cost depends on the plan selected)|
|Squarespace||£17 - £35|
|Shopify (e-commerce)||£19- £259|
Professional looking sites
Quick to build with ready-made elements
Initial low cost if you do a self-build
More limited customisation
Restrictions in flexibility for future changes
Unable to move to another web design platform
WordPress (done for you)
Due to the market share of WordPress, there are a large number of developers out there with the relevant skill set. The guide prices below are to give you an idea of the price range of a typical site. Whilst you could use WordPress for a self-build, the learning curve is such that it would probably not be cost-effective for a business owner, with limited website knowledge, to undertake.
|WordPress||Build/design cost||Hosting cost monthly|
|Template design||Less than £500||£5 to £50|
|Bespoke design||Less than £3500|
|Bespoke e-commerce||Less than £4000|
Largest market share with a huge volume of online help
Very flexible with almost unlimited features and capability
Open source and ability to move website to another developer
Requires ongoing maintenance for updates (however, this should be part of the hosting support)
Can have speed issues if too many plugins (and a theme) used
The above costs are to be used as a rough guide and some companies will be outside of these ranges. However, always keep in mind that a custom business website will take in the region of 2 to 3 weeks to design, build and test. A typical web designer will charge in the region of £30 to £40 per hour and some agencies can charge over £100 per hour. A templated design should take about a day to complete. Also, take into account that websites vary in both size and complexity. For example, a site could have 3 pages or 12 pages. The features could include a booking system such as for a hairdresser or a holiday cottage. It may have a quotation system or it could be a membership site where page access is restricted to approved members. As the complexity and features increase so does the time and cost to create these.
A couple of examples are shown below for the pricing of a business website
12-page website cost
2.5 weeks to complete, using an average hourly rate of £35/hour, would give a cost of £3281
3-page website cost
3 days to complete, using an average hourly rate of £35/hour, would give a cost of £788
When you get a bespoke website creation, specifically designed to meet your requirements, you are paying for the time and expertise of an experienced professional. Any quote you receive can be sanity checked by using the time and rate figures above to check the value and validity of any proposal.
There is a wide range of hosting services (and costs) and it is important to understand what you get within any particular package. Check here for a detailed summary on web hosting and the associated costs.