How much does a small business website cost?

Posted by Rob Kendal on 22-Feb-2017 15:57:03

There are largely two camps of people who need a small business website: those starting out and in need of a web presence; and those who need their website refreshing/redesigning in line with new goals, business direction or to keep things up to date.

But just how much should your small business website design cost you? £200 or £20,000? Well it's complicated...We're going to take a look at why web design services cost what they do and how you can get the best value for money.
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How much does a small business website cost?

There is no simple answer here but you should be looking in the region of £1500 upwards for a custom-designed website, depending on features, functionality, design and who you choose to build it. 

For a more complete answer, we'll dive into the details below.

Small businesses need a web presence

Actually, just about everyone needs a website in one form or another, even if it's a highly visible social media account. Even more traditional business industries, such as trades and other word-of-mouth establishments like solicitors should have some online 'shop window' that at the very least highlights their services, who they are and some contact and location details.

However, I think all businesses should take that extra step and make sure they have a fully-optimised web site that helps get them found, especially within their local surroundings.

Now, this doesn't have to cost the earth, but you will find that if you ask ten different web design or marketing agencies, you'll likely get ten different quotes back. 

So, exactly how much should a small business website cost you? The answer really isn't straightforward as websites aren't an off-the-shelf product, but let's answer as best we can by highlighting the different factors that affect website production costs.

1. It depends on what you want it to do

You'll here the term feature-set or perhaps functionality banded around when it comes to talking about what you want your website to do. The important thing to remember here is that what functions your website performs will greatly affect the cost to produce it. 

It might be that you're thinking about having a simple website with a handful of pages that just convey information to your prospects and give them a means to contact you. Great, that's a good example of a simple website and it should be at the lower end of the budget scale. 

However, here are some common features that we get asked about that will cause costs to increase:

  • Online store or ecommerce/payments
  • Booking or diary/calendar management
  • Videos or animations
  • Complex navigation or page layouts
  • Stockist/clinic/location finder and Google Maps integration
  • Large, custom forms and interactions
  • Forums

2. It depends on other marketing services on offer

This will vary from provider to provider but some websites are simply developed and left in the hands of the client. Others are bundled up with a host of additional services, such as social media advertising or search engine optimisation.

For example, here at CreatedRed Media, we design and develop each of our websites to be mobile-friendly, provide an SSL certificate and have a solid level of search engine optimisation built in. This allows you to start your web presence the right way, fully optimised for your marketing campaigns and hopefully get found above your local competition where possible.

It's important to ask your chosen web development provider some questions about what they offer and how they'll deliver your website, so make sure they give you a good understanding about what you'll get for your money.

3. It depends on who you use

As well as a million different prices, there are a million (well, maybe not that many) ways to get a website these days, whether you want to build it yourself using a service like SquareSpace, go with a freelancer or use a digital agency.

Each option has it's good points and bad points, and we've written an article to help you choose the right provider to build your website that explains them all.

The key point is to be clear about your end goals, your wants, needs and nice-to-haves. There will always be a compromise around your budget vs. your feature wish list, so think about the outcomes you want from the website.

Remember, your website is there to sell you and your company to your prospects. It's largely for them, not you!

4. It depends on how it's built

Again, this will vary by supplier but it's useful to know how your website is being built. Don't worry, you don't need to know the ins and outs of the detailed code, but some handy bits of information might include:

  • Is it a proprietary platform or in-house solution?
  • Can I edit the content myself?
  • Is it open source, e.g. WordPress?
  • How do we update it?

Bear in mind that a proprietary system will offer the greatest customisation, but will also limit your choices down the line if you want to move it or make changes. Therefore, it's likely to cost more.

5. It depends on how big it is

You'll see a lot of small business website design services broken into tiers, something like base, pro and enterprise. Within those tiers, you'll also come across some explanation of the number of pages offered as part of that package.

The problem this creates is that it binds the idea that more pages equals more money. Really, this is a bit of a misconception as it's largely to do with the number of different styles of pages, rather than the bottom number. It could be that having a website with five very different pages costs more than a website with 100 pages based on the same layout/design.

But again, it's complicated...

For example, we design our websites on top of the WordPress CMS platform. We sit down with a customer at the beginning of a project and work out what features they need and the number of different types of pages they need.

So, a blog listing page and a blog article page will be two separate designs, but the client could keeping adding blog articles to their hearts content and that wouldn't change the price because they're adding content into a template that's applied to each unique page of content.

Of course, there are limits: if you have a huge amount of content that needs adding to the website, this will probably incur additional costs.

Don't forget about an existing website

Another gotcha here is if you already have a website that needs redesigning. If there are a lot of existing pages out there, they'll need to be carefully migrated to keep their search engine rankings, and someone will have to enter all this existing content into a new system. 

This migration process needs to be carefully handled and carried out, which will add to the final bill.

6. It depends on how it's tailored to your business

There are two main costs associated with a web design project, namely design and development. If you can cut either one of these down, then you'll lower your costs. 

One popular way to do this is to use a template website. Think of a template as a pre-built shell that you can plug your content into and usually customise a little when it comes to colours and images. This removes the need to design the website, but it does require some development work to set up and configure. 

The drawback to using templates is that they're available to every man and his dog. This might not be a big problem to you, but you run the risk of many other websites sharing the same design as yours. 

However, if you need heavily customised integrations, designs or other bespoke features then your costs will naturally be higher. 


Do the research, make the right choice

If you're thinking about redesigning your business website or you're part of a start up and need your first website creating, think about what you want from your website. It's the cornerstone of your online marketing and needs to convey who you are, what you're about and what you're offering. 

Think about the absolute must-haves and priorities and then speak to a few different freelancers and agencies about your needs.



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Topics: Website & Graphic Design

Written by Rob Kendal

Rob has enjoyed a rewarding career in technology, from IT infrastructure through to software development, working with clients such as Virgin Holidays and the NHS. He understands the needs, challenges and logistics involved in making technology work for business and how to market it effectively.
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