What we will cover
- How much does a website cost in the UK?
- How a website and digital marketing are connected
- Where does your website sit in your growth plan?
- Are you sitting on a gold mine?
- How efficient is your website development project?
- Other things that can impact the cost of a website project in the UK?
- The value of freedom
How much does a website cost in the UK nowadays?
In a way, asking, ‘How much does a website cost in the UK?’ puts the cart before the horse.
What I mean by that is you are likely imagining your website as a finished ‘product’ without thinking about the process of developing it. Yet it is only through going through that process that you will end up with the website you need – and that process will determine its cost.
So where does that process begin?
How a website and digital marketing are connected
Before asking how much does a website cost, UK businesses should first focus on their overall digital marketing strategy. This will help them to understand, or decide, where their website sits in the grand scheme of things, and allocate some value to it.
A comprehensive digital marketing strategy will clearly identify your target market, their preferred digital platforms and their online behaviour. It will also include a marketing budget tied in to your expected revenue.
If your digital marketing strategy lacks any of that, or you don’t have a formal strategy, we recommend you start there (and we provide strategic marketing planning workshops tailored to businesses in your position).
Once you have defined a target audience and created a revenue target you can take a percentage of that (say 10%) and allocate it towards your marketing budget for the year.
Where does your website cost sit in your investment planning?
With your marketing budget confirmed, you can then decide how best to allocate funds to achieve your goals. Developing your website(s) will be part of that picture, but the exact proportion will depend on your business.
If you run an e-commerce business, your website is clearly going to be of central import. So developing and optimising it will require a large investment. You can expect to pay into the tens of thousands for an e-commerce website built by a credible agency, but this is a very loose figure as every e-commerce business is unique.
On the other hand, a small business that generates most of its custom through word of mouth may only need a so-called ‘brochure’ site to ensure an online presence. Most businesses sit between these two poles, which is why asking, ‘How much does a website cost in the UK,’ is difficult to answer without context. You might get away with spending as little as a few hundred pounds on developing a static one-page site, but again, every UK business has different needs.
Why the choice of website Content Management System can impact website cost
The word “static” highlights a key differentiator in cost. Static means just HTML code that gets loaded when someone visits the site, you may wish to able to log in and edit the content of your website. This means your site will need to be built with a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, Shopify or Squarespace.
Depending which CMS you choose and how they are built, you may find varying expertise and prices when shopping around. If we take WordPress for example, the core files can be installed on any server, meaning speed and costs will vary for hosting straight away. Then there’s how it is built, non-tech savvy developers will require weighty themes for their functionality as they don’t have the skills to code them meaning you will have a site that runs slowly and is expensive to maintain.
Shopify or Squarespace are examples of closed systems, they are self-hosted which means areas of the code are closed off to developers – this can create limitations when optimising the site for quick performance or Search Engine Optimisation.
Are you sitting on a gold mine?
We are sometimes approached by businesses that think they need a brochure site, but after discussing their goals with us, they realise that their website could be used to significantly scale their business.
Even if you don’t sell online. Most people research online before buying nowadays. So even if you sell ‘real world’ products and services, by presenting the right offer to the right people at the right time, you can outsmart the competition.
For businesses that sell goods and services online, the sky really is the limit. Connecting carefully written and targeted landing pages to your digital marketing campaigns can lead to a significant uptick in visits, leads and then sales.
It’s only by breaking down your sales and marketing process and having a plan to measure and manage those metrics will you see a noticeable difference. An example could be:
Visits – Perhaps driven by google advertising campaigns or Search Engine Optimised copy.
Leads – Contact form enquiries & Phone tracked calls.
Sales – Follow up call/meetings where the lead becomes a customer.
Read some of our case studies to get an idea of some of the numbers involved, a good example is Kneebone Trees who get most of their work through their website and have grown their business from these consistently generated web leads.
In simple terms, a few digital tools and a spreadsheet can help you manage the above and turn your website into a part of lead generator, but many small businesses are overwhelmed by the idea (or doubting of its potential) and never take it further than just a credibility check.
How much does it cost for just a brochure website?
For those that just want a brochure website that serves as a credibility check then prices again can fluctuate. Important consideration should be given to the scale of the agency supporting you. A freelancer will be cheaper, but we have experience of them disappearing (for many reasons) and leaving clients without access to their websites.
A freelancer may or may not meet be able to meet your aesthetic or technical requirements as they are two totally different skillsets, so be very clear about what you need, they should ask you if you have built a brief, what your goals are for the project and for brand guidelines and content as part of an initial conversation.
The next key consideration is the process, most agencies will offer some discovery work if it isn’t clear what you are asking for. Then a design, build and launch phase. Consider your new site to be like an extension, the architects need to understand your dreams, and you want to see plans before you get the builders in right? Be sure that the process you are undertaking covers this and allows feedback loops for your input.
How efficient is your website development project?
Once you realise that a website is the end result of a process rather than a one-off capital investment, it is clear that efficiency has a big influence on overall cost. Delayed launches, bug fixes, redesigns and out-of-scope work all push project costs up.
We use a project management tool and a Gantt chart to manage a project’s timeline. This displays up-to-date information on a project’s progress, including the duration and dependencies of individual tasks for both us and you.
A complex website that has been managed in an organised way can end up costing much less than a simple website that has been developed chaotically.
Other things that can impact the cost of a website project in the UK?
It not being in the UK!
Offshore development has been popular with end users and agencies alike. Costs are much lower, as are working standards and it isn’t something ethically we feel we could ever do. Risks are higher around scams, quality of work and communication but it has to be said there are also some quality offshore companies that charge more and give their staff a really competitive wage.
The likelihood is that within whatever CMS you choose there is the ability to plumb in functionality, the magic of WordPress is that it can be a booking system one moment and a football betting site the next.
However, if you need something that doesn’t exist and you insist that it works that way then it will cost you. A website with complex bespoke functionality will require a highly competent developer or agency and a five-figure budget.
Website hosting and ongoing maintenance
Unless you run your own servers, your website will need to be hosted by a third party. There is usually a small monthly charge for this, and if you are being offered hosting for free, you really should be asking the question why.
You will also need to ensure important security updates are applied as part of your ongoing housekeeping.
Vu Online offer eco-friendly hosting and business-friendly maintenance packages.
The value of freedom
To make the most of the potential of the internet, you need full control over your website’s development. You need to be able to add your own branding, fine tune your layout, optimise for search engines, create as much content as you need, pick and choose features and host your files wherever you want.
The good news is that this level of freedom won’t cost you the earth. A WordPress website is usually the best tool for that purpose. Contact the Vu Online team today to discuss your business needs.
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