How much does web design cost: A rough guide

Thinking about a new website but unclear about the costs?
Read this straight-talking guide and arm yourself with some insider knowledge on what to ask and what to expect throughout the process…
It’s a well worn analogy when thinking about a new website, but it works, so I’ll stick with it: The car.
A Ferrari and a Fiat both do the same thing. They’ll transport you from A to B and keep the rain from falling on your head. However, there are key differences.
The Ferrari will get you there faster, it will feature premium components, it will have a premium paint job and a luxury interior. The Fiat will deliver you safely to your destination, but if we’re talking about your business here, wouldn’t you rather travel in the Ferrari?
What tools will you need?
If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll require a few basic components to get a website up and running. These include:
Domain name – this is the www bit. You can purchase domains from various vendors online, pricing ranges from around £5 – £50 depending on the domain names required.
Hosting – this is the server space that your files will live on. These files will make up your site, the code, the images and the words on the webpage. Costs for hosting range wildly from literally £1 to several hundreds of pounds.
Now, keep in mind our car analogy here, some hosts keep several hundred sites on the same server. Some of these sites will have a larger drain on the server resources than yours. This will slow your site down.
Some hosts will also host your site on hardware that has been running for years, with no upgrades and it could now have been superseded. We’re very much in the Fiat here. Very much so.
Ferrari hosting companies will offer you fewer sites on each server – in most cases tens of sites rather than thousands. They’ll offer state of the art hardware – solid state discs instead of old fashioned platter tech and they’ll offer you hardware that’s regularly maintained and replaced.
They will however charge you more, but surely that’s worth paying for? Would you really want to host your company’s great new site on a hosting package that cost £1 and is shared with potentially thousands of low quality sites?
Planning, design and build
So, you’ve got your domain name and hosting taken care of – how are you going to hire an agency to plan, design and build your site?
I’d recommend writing a web brief. This is a document that explains:
• Who you are and what your current website situation is
• What you require from your new site
• Any special features you need – ecommerce for example
• What your timescales are
• What your budget is
Once you’ve written your web brief, your next step should be to select a range of web agencies to distribute the document to. Feel free to pick a range of agencies from small one or two person teams to large ‘big-window’ firms – they’ll be well used to proposal documents landing on their desks.
Do some research into your shortlisted candidates – who have they worked with before? Do they have experience in your sector? Did they come with a recommendation?
As your responses start to roll in you’ll notice that the prices may vary. This is the difficult part and I’d recommend meeting with the agencies at this point, face to face, to go through their responses line by line.
Feel free to ask as many questions as you like and at least one of your questions should be around their pricing. Ask the agencies you interview to justify their pricing – you’re in charge and they want you as their client.
So how much will it cost?
Ultimately a website design and build can vary wildly in price, however the important factor here is insuring that you as a business owner are delivered a product which meets your criteria at an affordable price.
If you follow this guide, you should be able to realistically achieve this, unless of course, you’re expecting a Ferrari for the price of a Fiat!
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Ross Steedman heads up Design33, one of Scotland’s Top 10 WordPress agencies. From humble beginnings, starting as a bedroom business, Design33 has grown to be respected as a leader in WordPress development in Scotland, with a client base ranging from sole traders to corporations and a bit of everything in between. Thriving on new technology and with a desire to always build better things, Ross has carved out a niche for himself in Edinburgh as a ‘go-to’ expert on all things digital.