creating amazing digital stuff

Website design costs – part 3

Website design costs – part 3

Coding & development

Open source software has cut coding costs significantly for website design companies. Using platforms such as WordPress, Drupal & Magento enable website developers to put together complex & feature rich websites that run on desktop, tablets & mobile devices rapidly – which equals a development cost reduction.

Keep it simple to keep it reasonable

Simple websites can be coded in a day. But the risk to a brand can be high. How often have you visited a website and immediately gotten the impression that the website was put together by someone’s ‘brother in law’ or a student? Did you continue to investigate that business as a potential supplier? No.

So why take that risk with your own business? The small details of a website are signposts to the quality of coding. A well constructed, modern website is accessible (even if at the most basic level of users being able to set the size of the print), quick to load (but with the prevalence of broadband these days, an agency would have to be making some fundamental mistakes for the site to be slow to download), use CSS (making it easier to update the design across all pages of the website from a single file) and run a variety of devices effectively.

3. Coding Stage – ┬ú2,400

Writing good quality HTML coders do not rely on tools such as Dreamweaver. The job of these tools is to make writing code easy – but unfortunately, this is often to the detriment of the code quality itself – so ask the agency what tools they use to create their code. If the agency is writing code from scratch, then it is likely to write better quality code and to have a better understanding of how that code works.

For our fictional 15 page website, the cost of producing a quality website using an open source CMS (such as WordPress or Blogger) code would cost on average £2,400

  • 1 day to process website designs for use in code
  • 1 day to setup, configure & implement a ‘vanilla’ WordPress CMS
  • 1 day to create CSS & HTML structure
  • 1 day to apply the CSS & HTML structure into the website

4. Hosting & support – from ┬ú30+ per month

Website hosting is cheap as chips these days. It is possible to find hosting for as little as ┬ú5 per month. However, there are costs associated with setting the account up, purchase of domain name, putting the website online & testing. These costs are likely to vary depending on the complexity of your website but the whole process shouldn’t take more than one day.

Ongoing maintenance costs

Keeping the content on your website up-to-day is absolutely critical. Research indicates that after design, the most important factor in deciding the quality of a website is how often and how recently information on that website has been updated. People return to websites that update their content often and search engines ranking sites that update content often more highly.

The consultancy process should identify the best approach for keeping content up to date whether a content management system is recommended or if it is more cost effective to edit HTML or text files directly. This may sound like a technical process, but it doesn’t need to be. A couple hours of training, especially with a website that has only ten pages, is often all that is needed to put you in the driving seat – saving you on development & implementation costs.


The overall cost for a professional quality 15 page website constructed using an open source CMS can be broken down as follows:

  • Consultancy┬á- ┬ú1,200
  • Design┬á– ┬ú3,000
  • Programming┬á- ┬ú2,400
  • Setup & installation – ┬ú600
  • Ongoing maintenance┬á- DIY on content + ┬ú360 for years hosting / support
  • TOTAL – ┬ú7,500 without multimedia elements

Inevitably, the quality of your website and its business performance will be reflected in its price, but this does not mean that more expensive is necessarily better. We often hear of companies charging ┬ú10,000’s for websites that can be created for much less.

Larger agencies have higher overhead costs and work on larger margins than smaller agencies. There is a sweet spot in terms of website development cost that is unique to you, so make sure you get at the very least three quotes for your project (and ensure that all the website design agencies has the same understanding of your requirements), but ideally try to target five quotes, from around the country.