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11 Insider Tricks to Plan Website Design Costs

Written by Fransisca Smith

Plan website design costs

  1. Level of complexity of website design or development
  2. Number of pages needed
  3. Populating website content
  4. Quality of website content
  5. Level of customisation
  6. E-commerce functionality or technical requirements
  7. Level of skill of the web developer or agency
  8. Domain and hosting fees
  9. Web design and development fees
  10. Content creation
  11. Maintenance and support

Having a professional website is essential to establishing an online presence, but what are the costs involved? Website design costs vary greatly depending on several factors, so it’s important to understand what can affect your budget. A web design budget can be overwhelming to determine but in this blog, we’ll break down the different costs involved and some key factors to consider.

Searching for web design

Assessing website design costs

Website design costs can vary widely depending on several factors. These include:

⭐️ The level of complexity of the website design or development needed

#️⃣ The number of website page types required

🙋‍♀️ Who populates the website content

📈 The quality and type of website content

🔍 The level of customisation required

💰 Whether you need e-commerce functionality or other technical features

🚀 The experience and skill level of the website developer or agency you partner with

⛳️ Domain and hosting costs

💻 Web design and development fees

🎁 Content creation and management costs

⚙️ Maintenance and support charges

1. The level of complexity of the website design or development needed

One of the most significant factors involved in costing a website project is the level of complexity of the design or development needed. A simple website with a few pages and basic functionality will cost significantly less than a complex website that requires many types of pages and advanced features.

2. The number of website page types required effects website design costs

Having many pages doesn’t automatically mean higher costs- this is a common misconception. What will impact costs is the variability of the pages themselves. For example; an organisation may need to showcase over 100 case studies, which they may believe will result in higher website design costs. However, this isn’t necessarily the case as this can easily be a duplication of just a one-page template designed for case studies, just with different written content. However, if each of these case studies was very different and their content display requirements complex, this would impact costs considerably.  

a woman using a calculator at her desk

3. Who populates the website content?

A caveat for the above is that while it is possible to duplicate 100+ pages for specific case studies, it is important to consider who will populate this content and how. There are many variables that can impact the cost of this such as:

Migrating content within the same CMS

A simple and straightforward migration is moving content within the same CMS, for example, if you are moving from an old WordPress website to a new WordPress website. If this is the case with your website project, you can plan to have relatively low costs for content migration as this will be automatable. 

Migrating to a new CMS entirely 

On the other hand, if you require a migration to an entirely different CMS, this can cost significantly more as transitioning your data and content may be a manual process. There will also be additional technical requirements and protocols to ensure its success.

Migrating internally

If you’d like to keep the process of managing your migration and content preparation internal, it’s worth considering the potential total costs of this – after all, while you may not be paying agency fees, your company will be paying your colleagues’ salary for the time they spend working on the migration. If the migration is projected to take 3+ months of dedicated time from an internal team member, this could mean significantly higher costs than outsourcing, as it would remove a potentially valuable team member from other internal duties.

4. The quality and type of website content

The quality and type of website content can also impact the overall cost. High-quality content that is well-written and engaging will require more time and resources to create, and the cost impact depends on who will create this content. Similarly, if your website project requires rich media that needs to be integrated (e.g. if you are looking to incorporate large files such as videos) then this will also have an impact on costs.

5. The level of customisation and design required

The level of customisation required for your website will be a significant cost factor to consider. Think about the type(s) of design you require and compile examples as references. If you are partnering with an agency, they will be able to guide you on the costs associated with your chosen references. At Crucible, we work closely with our clients and provide a range of references that represent every budget. Using this as a guide, you’ll be in a better position to establish if spending less will ensure your website remains competitive.

Similarly, it’s important to consider how modern the approach of the website is. Larger companies often consider their website as a long-term investment. For example, Google didn’t just build the world’s most-used search engine in 1998 and call it a day! If anything, once the site was built, they increased the size of the team working on it and continued to invest in order to keep their product cutting-edge. We encourage organisations to look at a website as an annual investment – an upfront design & build budget and then ongoing annual budgets will mean your website stays competitive for far longer.

6. Whether you need e-commerce functionality or other technical features

If your website project requires e-commerce functionality or other process-based features such as user accounts, this will impact the cost of your site. E-commerce websites require highly skilled and experienced developers that understand the nuances of e-commerce, such as integrating payments, UX, and higher levels of security. Another factor to take into account is your chosen web builder for your e-commerce site. A custom e-commerce site will be significantly more costly and web builders such as Shopify or WooCommerce require skilled developers with experience working with these systems. 

Additionally, if your website requires integrations with any third-party platforms via API, you’ll also need to factor this into costs. Costs for API integrations depend on the complexity of the integration and whether an integration needs to be custom-built (if an API doesn’t exist). Most commonly used SaaS applications will have APIs to allow developers to integrate with them effectively, and the largest, such as Hubspot, Salesforce & Marketo will have pre-built plugins for use with most CMSes. If the system(s) don’t already have an API, a custom-built integration to solve for this could increase costs significantly. However, consider your specific website and business needs when deciding how you would like your data to move across your tech stack. It’s often the case that third-party software requires integration via API to function effectively.

ecommerce website development

7. The experience and skill level of the website developer or agency you partner with

Another cost to consider is the experience and skill level of the developer, freelancer or agency you partner with on your website project. The experience of the agency is equal to the level of specialisation they have. For example, an agency that specialises in Healthcare website design will recognise the value of their experience to that sector and their fees will be more expensive. This is because they have something to offer that other agencies can’t. 

8. Domain and hosting costs

You’ll need to purchase a domain name (e.g. www.yourwebsite.com) and a hosting package to securely store all of your online content. A domain name can cost anywhere between £20-£500 depending on the name you choose. You can estimate the cost of your domain name by checking its availability here. Some premium domains can sell for millions.

Website hosting services range from as little as £5 to £400 per month, with enterprise hosting sometimes costing thousands depending upon international content delivery requirements. Costs will also be dependent on the types of websites needing hosting. For example, a site like Youtube will have an enormous content delivery infrastructure behind it and therefore hosting fees will be far greater. If your website is designed for playing games or hosting many videos, then this will impact your hosting costs. Similarly, if you are an international organisation and require hosting in several other countries, this will also impact your hosting costs. 

When it comes to web hosting services, there are a range of options available but it’s important to choose a reliable provider with good customer support and security features. It’s beneficial to get recommendations from your agency as they will have extensive experience working with several web hosting services so they can offer valuable insights and better prices. 

9. Web design and development fees

Web design and development fees can vary widely depending on the scope of your project and the factors that impact the overall costs of website projects. If you choose to work with an agency, fees can vary between £80 per hour to £300 per hour, for top-performing agencies. On average, you can expect the top 10% of agencies to charge anywhere between £114 – £200 per hour, on average. 

When choosing a reliable agency, it’s important to look at their case studies and have an understanding of their experience working in your industry or project. You’ll need to work closely with your agency for several weeks or months so spend some time with the team and get to know their internal processes and structures. 

We’ve written a comprehensive guide to choosing the right agency for your organisation that you can read on our blog.

10. Content creation and management costs

Creating and managing website content can also be a significant expense. Costs can range from a few hundred to several thousand pounds, depending on the quality and quantity of content needed. 

Certain factors will impact these costs, such as who will be creating the content and the type of content required. Whether you opt for internal staff members to create, upload, manage and update content or for an agency to do so, there will be costs associated with each. The fees for this depend on how much content you require, the level of complexity and any technical considerations. We dissect this further above at insider trick number 3; who populates the website content?

When assessing technical considerations for content creation and management, consider any integrations that might be required. For example, integrating your CRM with your CMS will save you significant time in the long run but will run up website design costs in the short term. 

It’s also important to have a plan for managing your website content to keep it relevant and up-to-date. A reliable CMS helps make managing website content easy and fast. Several CMS options are available; some may work better for your project than others, so it’s important to discuss this with your agency before beginning your website project.

11. Maintenance and support charges effects web design costs

Finally, remember to consider ongoing maintenance and support charges. This can include website updates, security patches, and technical assistance.

Regular website maintenance is essential to ensure that your website is functioning properly and is secure. This can include updating software, fixing broken links, and backing up your website data. Your agency should be able to provide you with ongoing support and technical assistance after your project has launched.

Setting your budget expectations

It’s important to balance the factors that may impact the overall costs of your website project plus your own organisational needs and goals. Consider how much you are willing to invest in your website and how much value it will bring to your business in terms of return on investment (ROI). Remember to be realistic about your expectations, as a high-quality website is a significant investment and results may not be seen immediately.

When setting your budget expectations, consider the long-term benefits of a well-designed and future-proofed website. A website that is designed to be user-friendly, visually appealing, and optimised for search engines can help you attract and retain customers, increase your online presence, and ultimately drive growth for your organisation.

Something that we often come across as an agency are organisations setting tight budgets that have a specific set of requirements attached to them. If this is the initial approach, agencies can only provide you with ‘Yes we can do that’ or ‘No we can’t’ as there isn’t room for manoeuvre in your costs. We recommend a different approach; consider your budget or specification and find a partner you trust. Do give an indication of your budget but allow for flexibility. A trustworthy partner will be able to guide you within budget and specification, alongside their professional and honest recommendations. 

Choosing the right website design approach

DIY website builders

DIY website builders like Wix and Squarespace can be a cost-effective solution for business owners on a tight budget. These platforms offer drag-and-drop tools and pre-designed templates, which can save time and money. However, keep in mind that these solutions are limited in their design and often lack the functionality needed for more complex websites.

Hiring a freelance web designer

If you have more of a budget to play with and need a bespoke website, hiring a freelance web designer could be the best option for you. Freelancers typically charge on a per-project basis and can provide a range of web design and development services. However, it’s likely that freelancers will be working on several projects at the same time and may not be less flexible with timelines and capabilities.

Partnering with a web design agency

For complex and bespoke website projects, partnering with a web design agency may be the best solution. Web design agencies offer a range of services from strategy to design, development, and ongoing maintenance and support. They will be best to provide you with detailed website design costs. While this approach can be more expensive than the other options, it offers a high level of customisation and support that pays off in the long run.

Find out if you’re ready to outsource to an agency in our recent article or get in touch with the team at Crucible, a creative digital agency, to chat about how we can help you with your website project. 

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