How is website pricing done? What should you consider when getting your website built?

This blog post talks about how a website is priced and exactly what the price means for your website.

Mihaela author avatar
MihaelaMon Apr 12 2021
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When purchasing a website, there are so many things to consider that it's hard to break it down into a single blog post, but we're going to try. We have a completely transparent pricing model and you can control the cost of your website easily with us. 

This is not always the case though,

and even if you're not working with us, we still want to give you the information and knowledge to control your pricing.

So what goes into the pricing for a website? It's just time and the cost of any assets, or software that is used in creating a website.

Take this simple example. You receive two quotes for your new website. One is for £200, and the other for £2000. What is likely to be the difference?

Bargain websites anyone?

We all love a good bargain. Purchasing a used car is a great example here. If you had to choose between a car for £30,000 that was brand new, or the same car for £20,000 that was 1 year old with 5,000 miles, you have all the information you need to make the decision. The car is cheaper because it's used, and it already has 5,000 miles on the clock. You need to decide if it's worth it to pay the extra £10k, to get a brand new car.

With the pricing of a website though, I think to most business owners it's not as obvious why there is often a large difference in pricing.

Getting the right analogy

The way I like to explain it is like this. You're looking to purchase a car. You've decided on a VW Golf and that you want brand new because you need the car built to your specification, much like a website. You go into a VW dealer and they say they can build the car for £25,000. This is coming from VW, so you know that it's going to be a great car.

You're approached by another company. They say that they can build you a VW Golf for £2,500. If it costs VW £25,000, and this company can build an equivalent for £2,500, what would the difference be? How would they keep the costs so low? What would they have to skip to deliver it for that price? Would you feel safe driving that car down a motorway?

In a car that feels scary. Maybe they use cheaper parts, cheaper labour with less precision, maybe they skip safety testing. All of those things would steer us away because, at the end of the day when you're driving 70mph down the motorway, you want to know for sure that you're as safe as possible.

Bringing the analogy to websites.

So I've talked a lot about cars but not much about websites. Hopefully, you can see where I'm going with this. With the cheaper websites, things are being skipped to deliver for that price. In a car that brings a clear issue with safety, but with website design, the issues are not as clear.

I think the first clear difference in pricing is how websites are built. If you are working with an agency that uses themes, templates or website builders in general, for the most part, these will be a lot cheaper. Website builders are created to allow anyone to build a website. This lowers the barrier to entry hugely, but also the output and quality of the product. We won't talk much about this category. It will be suitable for some businesses with a lower budget, but we do not cater to this type of website creation.

Time is money

When building a website, the initial creation cost can be broken down loosely into research, design and development time. The higher amount of research and design that goes into a website, the more refined the end product that comes from the website development. The more research, the better we can focus your website, whether that is relating to SEO, your target audience or to fill a potential gap in the market that you can exploit. Designing a website takes time, patience and a great feedback loop between the designers, and the client.

Research and design will make up around half the cost of your website, with the other half going into development, in an average project. Of course, we will discuss some of the complexities and decisions to make around the development of your website, which could largely shift this balance.

Development costs

This is a huge variable, depending on the complexity of your website. The simpler the website, the lower this cost will be. For example, a simple informational site that won't be updated much and only would need updating by the developer can be developed quite quickly.

When you add a layer of complexity, for example, a content management system so that the client can change and update the website, this adds significant complexity to the development. Depending on the frequency and amount of changes the client can make, this could multiply that development time exponentially. Not only would we create the CMS, but we would also need to make sure that the client is not going to be able to upload anything that may impact the website's performance. An example is ensuring images are sized appropriately, they have ALT tags etc. We would need to include data fetching methods into the website, and ensure this is thoroughly tested for every possible scenario. What if there is too much data, what if there is none? What if the backend CMS goes down, what does the website do then?

If your website is mission-critical to your business, you need to ensure stability and the most uptime possible. You need to know that every change that you make is going to go through flawlessly. We would end to end test the website before any changes made are going live. Configuring automated tests when developing will increase the development time two or threefold, but this is a necessary step when developing mission-critical websites. Imagine how it would impact Amazon or Netflix if their website was not available frequently.

It's easy to see the complexity layers building up. What if we needed our users to interact with the website? For example, we are currently developing a recruitment website that is completely dependent on users creating jobs, and applying for jobs on our platform. Every single interaction a user can have with the website is tested. Every piece of data that is sent from the user to the database needs to be validated on both the front and backend of the website. Every interaction needs to be fully accessible, and useable by all platforms including a screen reader.

It's this type of project where you see website quotes in the hundreds of thousands as it takes a full team of developers months to complete a project of this scale and complexity, to a high standard.

Conclusion

I think that you can see some of the factors that can quickly increase the cost of your website. We do everything we can to keep the costs of our websites down. One example of this is having the projects guided by senior developers, but most of the time spent on coding the website is done by junior developers. This code is then reviewed by senior developers to ensure that it is to the highest standard. This creates a great learning environment for our teams, along with delivering projects at an extremely competitive price.

We will advise and recommend the correct amount of research, design and allocation of development resources to suit your business and your budget. Over the years I have worked with and bootstrapped many start-up businesses, along with smaller local businesses. This is what our whole team is passionate about and we will make it work for you by making sensible decisions, and reducing costs in a sensible, transparent and scalable way, which will still deliver the desired results for your business.

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