How much does a business website cost?

How much does a website cost? There is no simple answer to this question. Websites come in all shapes and forms and do different things.

It’s a bit like saying ‘How much does a house cost?’. The answer to this question is, ‘Well, what sort of house do you want? Do have a very small budget? In which case you can expect a small flat. Or do you have a very large budget? In which case you can expect a mansion.’. But perhaps the important question that house buyers need to ask themselves, regardless of their budget, is ‘What sort of house do I actually need?’.

Exactly the same principles apply to web design. First you need to ask yourself how much you want to spend on your website. And second you need to ask yourself what sort of site do you actually need. A good website designer will ask you lots of questions about what you want your website do for you and will then analyse your needs and suggest the best sort of site for you. If you run a business, the key questions you are likely to get asked are:

1 Do you want your website to be a bit like a printed brochure for your work or business?

2 Do you want your website to actively generate new sales leads for your work or business?

3 Do you want your website to have a better ranking on Google than your competitor sites?

Now most people enquiring about a new website will want all of these features. But the hard fact is that more complex your site, and the harder it works for you in terms of generating leads, the more it is going to cost and many small businesses cannot afford to jump in at the deep end.

For example:

– A well designed brochure site with standard SEO will cost you between £500 and £1000.
– A site that has been well planned from the outset in terms of keywords and phrases that will generate leads and competitor research will cost you £2500 plus. If you want a site that accepts payments, you can expect the costs to spiral even more.

These costs often come as quite a shock and disappointment for small business owners who find that they can only afford a simple brochure site.

So, what can a small business owner do to get onto the website ladder? Well the first thing to do is look at your businesses accounts. What is your turnover/profit? What are your yearly targets? What improvement do you think owning a website is going make to your turnover? How much are you willing to spend to achieve your targets?

If you find that you only have a small budget to get online, you need to start simple but have big plans for your site. Commission a simple but well designed, self editable brochure site. WordPress websites are best for this. Start with the usual pages – home, about, services, pricing, contact and so on. Make sure that you have a statistics package attached to your site so you can monitor how well it is doing. Make sure your text contains the obvious keywords you are targeting. Put as much content on your site as you can – perhaps have a blog on your site and add new content each week. This will help boost your site on Google. Over time, probably several months, your statistics should show that hits to your website are increasing.  A starter site like this will cost you between £500 and £1000.

Once your website is achieving a steady flow of visitors, and you know that owning a website is worthwhile and that your turnover is improving as a result of your website, you can review your accounts and targets once more to see if upgrading to a larger, better optimised site is financially viable. If it is, you can commission a bigger and better site that has been well researched from the outset – keyword research, competitor research, copy that has been written specifically with SEO in mind and the site built in such a way that visitors are funnelled into making contact with you. This will cost you between £2000 and £3000.

Again, monitoring how many visitors your site gets and how many more leads you are getting as a result of your website is an important activity. Is your turnover improving? Could it improve more? If your website is becoming more and more central to your business strategy in terms of generating sales, it may be worth upgrading once more, and perhaps hiring the services of an SEO consultant who will boost your website’s performance so you are getting an even greater return on your investment. If you sell products, at this point you could consider commissioning a bespoke eCommerce website. Prices start at £3000 for a very simple eCommerce site and can cost a lot more.

In summary, a website can be a powerful tool for generating leads for your business. However, websites are expensive to commission, expensive to run and need constant attention. If you are commissioning a website, you need to review your business accounts and decide how much you can afford to spend. This will determine the type of site you can expect. For most small startups with tight budgets, the starting point will be a simple but well designed brochure site with standard SEO which will cost you between £500 and £1000. You also need to decide on an online marketing strategy for your business so that your website will grow as business grows. Only commission a larger, more powerful site if you know that it will give you a positive return on your investment. Bespoke, eCommerce sites are very expensive and should only be commissioned if you know that your are going to get a significant increase in your turnover that will cover the setup and running costs of your website.