To give you a brief overview, websites can cost from £400 to £12,000+.
Website design cost is an expected and necessary overhead for any business wishing to thrive and survive in the digital age. Asking ‘How much does a website cost?’ is like asking ‘How long is a piece of string?’ – there are a range of variables which contribute to the cost of a website. The nature of your business, your target market, your competition, your size - these are all key variables in establishing the cost of setting up a website. And things don’t stop there. Websites should be constantly evolving tools of the trade, so often require ongoing input after the initial website design cost.
This can make for a complex process for business owners who don’t specialise in this niche. Knowing what you need from your website designers can lead you to worry you won’t get what you need, and potentially pay for services that are beyond your requirements. Cheap website design can lure you in, but could cost more in the long run. What’s more, as soon as you start researching you can be left with more questions than answers.
This guide aims to make sense of website design costs in the UK and provide you with an accurate answer to the question: ‘How much does it cost to set up a website?’ By the end you should have a clear understanding of your business needs, and the costs you can expect, and a precise understanding of website prices in your particular case.
We will also address the idea of creating your own site without help from website designers or experts. Templates typically cost very little, at approximately £25, and therefore can appear the ultimate cheap website design solution, but are they really?
How much a website costs needs to be evaluated within the context of return on investment (ROI). The aim of any website is to facilitate business processes. Therefore, investment in the cost of setting up a website, and the ultimate website design cost, should prove worthwhile in the long run.
Contents of page:
- How much revenue is lost by NOT having a website?
- Website price breakdown
- Small business costs
- Medium business costs
- Large business costs
- Bespoke costs
- Ecommerce costs
- Redesign costs
- Additional website costs
- Stages of web design
- UK website designer reviews
- Website FAQs
Website Costs and Return on Investment
ROI is the key driver in determining how much you should spend on a website. As a result, our website design experts at Approved Index have researched how much extra turnover businesses can earn by introducing a website.
Approved Index has revealed that a staggering number of UK SMEs function without a website and are losing billions of pounds of revenue each year.
The research investigated the number of small and medium sized businesses that are operating without a website and calculated the predicted uplift in revenue if they were to launch a new site by industry sector and business size. Despite living in a digital age where consumers’ first point of call is the internet prior to making any purchase, the results revealed that some 1.98 million SMEs currently have no online presence, costing the economy a mammoth £343 billion every year.
Our experts concluded that the introduction of a website would equate to an average uplift in turnover of £173,769 per business.
When broken down by business size, the report threw up some surprising findings, most notably that businesses functioning without a team of employees, i.e. sole proprietors with one self-employed manager or just one employed member of staff, are also the biggest segment of companies who do not have a web presence - some 1.5 million enterprises.
Small-sized businesses, i.e. those with 10-49 employees, stand to make the biggest additional contribution to the economy - Approved Index forecasts a staggering revenue growth of £106 billion per year in the event that these organisations introduced a website as part of their marketing strategy.
Whether a business is online offline, the majority of active customers will turn to the web first to help them find relevant companies. Reports have shown that consumers are far more trusting of brands that have a well functioning website. Our findings prove that businesses who continue to ignore the importance of a website as part of their promotional marketing mix run the risk of losing out on millions of pounds to competitors. Having a website gives customers 24/7 access to brands outside of working hours and provides them with the essential information they need to choose one company over its competitors.
To discover how much more revenue your business could earn after introducing a company website, whether you are small or large, work in retail or construction, our experts have outlined the extra revenue figures you could expect to make for all industry sectors and business sizes in the infographic below.
Share our infographic on your site. Please include attribution to:
Infographic data in full detail:
Note: These statistics detail a purely theoretical and broad representation of how much extra companies could earn after introducing a website
How Much Does a Website Cost? – Cost Breakdown
When considering which website designer or agency to use it is crucial to consider the type of website you need and the size. For example, if you’re asking ‘How much does it cost to build an eCommerce website?’, obviously you will need to factor in the shopping and eCommerce functionality that other sites won’t require. Similarly, different types of website designs will vary in costs. In particular, smaller more basic website designs will cost more than much larger counterparts with more complex offerings.
To assess these variables it is useful to look at the different types of websites required, and then ask ‘How much does it cost to make a website?’
|Website Type||Best Suited to||Cost|
|Basic Websites||Individuals to small businesses||£400 - £800|
|Advanced Websites||Small to medium businesses||£1,000 - £4,000|
|Complex Websites||Medium to large businesses requiring 3rd party & database integration||£2,000 - £7,000|
|Bespoke Website Applications||Large businesses requiring custom website applications||£2,500 - £12,000|
|Ecommerce Websites||Any business that sells online||£300 - £2,000 (Additional to website cost)|
|Website Redesign||Any business that needs to update an existing site||Dependent on requirements|
These costs can be further broken down to give an overview of website design costs by the hour with the different stages involved in both the site creation, and ongoing fees that you may require.
|Domain Name||£3 - £10 per annum|
|Hosting||£10 - £60 per month|
|Site Design & Creation (and Programming||£5 - £130 per hour|
|Content||£10 - £50 per hour|
|Images||From £0+ depending on source|
|Ecommerce Functionality||£300 - £2,000 one off cost|
|Mobile Responsiveness||£200 - £2,000 one off cost|
|On-going Maintenance||Anything from £0+ depending on requirements|
|Marketing and SEO||£100 - £500|
For more information on the different types of websites, the costs, and which website you need take a look at the sections below.
Basic Website Costs
Typically, basic websites cost between £400 - £800.
Basic websites are limited to custom domain, hosting, and design. You can then choose to pay more if you want ongoing maintenance, content or other elements Generally, the cost of basic websites often equate to cost of cheap website designs.
A basic website is really a stepping stone – perhaps for your first online presence or suitable for a start-up. With these websites you need to take care to consider not just getting cheap website template design, but whether the design is scalable for growth in the future. Adding additional services and products may cost more in the long run if you don’t have a good basic starting point.
Website designers catering for basic websites vary from extremely cheap overseas freelancers and agencies, to UK website designers operating on a freelance basis, or through an agency. A freelancer will typically charge you per hour, an agency is more likely to offer a fixed website design cost. You will be looking in the region of £5-£20 per hour for a non-UK based freelancer, through to £130 per hour for a highly skilled and reputable UK option. Our experts strongly recommend paying for a website through a UK supplier.
Be open minded but sensible in your choice. Select someone who has excellent reviews, and a verifiable portfolio of previous work. Despite costs being given in hourly rates, ensure you have some understanding of the total cost of creating your basic website, as well as what is included – for example: testing, edits, and revisions.
Advanced Website Costs
Advanced Websites will cost between £1,000 and £4,000.
A step-up from a basic website is an advanced website. These websites are usually around 10-20 pages long, provide minimal eCommerce functionality and are best suited to small or medium sized businesses that require more functionality and flexibility than basic website designs offer.
Although the functionality of these sites is greater than those of basic designs, the functionality will still be fairly limited – but of course, this totally depends on your requirements. For example, if you require a website to have custom features such as a cost saving calculator, or need the site to integrated with an email database then a complex or bespoke website design will be the best option for you. However, if you need more functionality, different page layouts and other design options then an advanced website will be ideal.
You should ensure you consider how you will be able to adapt and develop the site further in the future – you don’t want to revert back to your original start point if you want to make additions, such as developing or adding ecommerce functionality.
Also an extremely important issue to address for all website types, and especially advanced websites, is mobile responsiveness. Businesses now need to be available from smartphones and tablets just as much as via laptop and PCs. As a result, responsive designs are crucial for all online businesses. The price of this functionality is reflected in the costs.
Before you begin approaching website designers you need to have a clear understanding of what you need and are looking for. Without this, quotes are going to be hugely variable, and will not necessarily reflect the final product you need. When drawing up your brief consider the number and type of pages you need, what is important functionally (for example shopping facilities or page design templates), and how you envisage the business growing and changing over time.
For an advanced website you are looking at advanced programming skills on top of basic design, domain and hosting costs. You should also expect some ongoing costs.
Complex Website Costs
Complex website designs typically cost between £2,000 and £7,000, depending on the size and functionality.
For businesses that expect a high degree of web traffic, or predominantly ecommerce businesses, you will be looking at a more complex website. Functionality here is of a much higher standard.
For complex websites you ideally need to be working with dedicated, specialist website designers. You need a designer who will take the long term view into consideration, not just the initial website design, but the ongoing support and maintenance. It is strongly recommended that you consider agencies who specialise in website design for complex sites. They will be able to understand your needs and requirements and will be able to guide you using their expertise and knowledge from previous projects to ensure all areas are covered. Complex website designs will require - and provide - a much higher attention to detail.
Although cheap websites will provide an effective ROI, the cost of a complex website design and programming will prove more cost-effective over the long term. These type of sites also take longer to build, test, amend and launch. However, the longer process is beneficial overall.
Make sure you can establish the cost of setting up a website, from start to finish, as well as ongoing costs, before you start to prevent ‘signing a blank cheque’. Nonetheless, the types of agencies that build complex usually offer competitive website design costs and clear website prices.
Complex designs are best suited to medium and large businesses that require 3rd party and database integration, i.e. integrating the website with external software that your company is currently using, ranging from email to product stock databases.
Bespoke Website Application Costs
Bespoke website designs and applications typically cost between £2,500 and £12,000, depending on a number of variables. You also need to consider the costs of ongoing management and maintenance.
Some businesses, typically large businesses, will require bespoke website applications which are uniquely programmed apps just for their business. They aren’t restricted in any way by pro forma, or trying to get your business to fit an existing programme model. By developing bespoke website applications your users get a highly individualised interaction with your business, via your website. Businesses looking for bespoke website applications are ones who are fully-driven by their web presence – the business simply doesn’t exist without it.
Whilst bespoke website applications tend to incur higher upfront website design costs, they usually offer excellent return on investment in the long run. Flexibility and functionality are key, and mobile responsiveness is imperative.
Running behind what you see as the front face of the website will be a developed database that allows for continual revision and updating. Creation of this costs considerable time and money in the short term, but pays off longer term when you have a site that is easy to scale, manage, and keep pace of at all times.
When it comes to bespoke website applications, you also need to give due consideration to hosting. It may be prudent to consider having your own server. You need highly experienced website designers in the UK to be dedicated for such websites. They will also be able to ensure migration between your existing site (if you already have a site and need development) and your new site so that customers experience minimal disruption.
Examples of bespoke website applications range from customised dashboards where customers can use software-as-service products to intranets for your employees and staff.
Website Redesign Costs
Website redesign costs are totally dependent on your specific requirements. The cost of a redesign will increase in price as the extent of the re-design grows.
Considering your options when you’re looking for a redesign is essential. It’s also one of the main reasons you need to give careful thought to how your site is developed in the first place. Making revisions and redesigns down the line can vary between starting again, and a small amount of ‘tweaking’.
If you are restricted to a set template then attempting to move radically away from the original design can be a tall order, and usually requires a fresh start. If, on the other hand, you’ve opted for an advanced, complex or bespoke option in the first place then redesigning elements will be easier.
Remember that in the world of the web, customer expectations are high, and as internet users become more tech savvy they will expect the latest functionalities. As a result, your site needs to be future-proofed for this reason.
If you are unsure whether your site can be re-designed, and if so, how much it will cost, then seek an expert opinion through our webform.
eCommerce Website Costs
Ecommerce functionality will typically cost you an additional £300 - £2,000, depending on the size of shop and capability you require.
The cost of setting up a website for ecommerce is going to require some additional functionality. Typically, you need a website designer, ideally in the UK and familiar with UK eCommerce requirements, who specialises in platforms such as Shopify or Magento.
Obviously, for the wellbeing of your business, this is something you can’t afford to get wrong. If you have a website which is user friendly, secure, and reliable, then customers will choose you over your competitor. Consider ecommerce website prices in this context.
Additional Website Costs
When seeking quotations, and searching for website designers, it is helpful to have a clear idea of what you are looking for. That way there shouldn’t be any hidden cost surprises down the line. Quotations should be detailed and you should check to see if they include the following:
- Content and Images
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Mobile Responsiveness
- Software and Database Integration
- Multi-Language Features
- Shopping Cart Integration
Content Production Costs
You can expect to pay between £10 and £50 per hour for content production
Don’t assume content is included unless specified. Some web designers focus very much on the design but the content is left to you. The functionality of the site is all very well, but if it’s not user-friendly in terms of content then you will quickly lose traffic. Great content can be the make or break of your website development.
Content can be provided within the overall cost of your web design price, or alternatively you may be looking to pay for this service on top. You can select to use an agency or a freelancer. Check portfolios and reviews to ensure the quality of content you will receive.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Costs
Ongoing content refinement, evaluating and improving your search engine ranking, and boosting traffic will typically cost a minimum of £100 per month.
Do not assume all web developers include SEO in their web design costs. Also do not assume that all SEO freelancers or agencies are created equal. The scope for difference is enormous and therefore you need to do your homework and ensure you choose a marketing specialist who has a proven track record for excellent SEO.
It is extremely important to consider SEO during the first stages of web design as it can influence the way that the site is built and structured.
Website maintenance is crucial and will typically cost around £60 per month.
We cannot stress enough the importance that websites are dynamic and can easily respond to change. It’s one thing to design an incredible site that serves you well for a few months, it’s another to ensure it’s still serving you well several months down the line.
Check your initial website designer quotation to see if an ongoing contract is included. It is usually in your best interests to use the same designer or agency for both the original creation and the ongoing maintenance.
Responsiveness and Mobile Friendly Design Costs
Responsive mobile design prices range from £200 to £2000 as a one off cost.
Be specific at the consultation stage about what is included in a proposed website cost. Internet users are increasingly accessing websites through mobile devices so you are missing out on huge opportunities if your site is not mobile friendly.
Your site should be responsive, meaning it can respond and change to different sized screen and resolutions without any faults.
Software and Database Integration Costs
For larger and more complex businesses it is unlikely that your website will work in isolation from the rest of your business. For example, do you need contact forms that feed to different departments? Do you need your website to collect data and feed this you’re your email database? The costs of these types of integrations will vary based on your requirements and should, ideally, be built into the initial website design.
Multi-Language Features Costs
If set up at the outset, creating a website that is user-friendly in more than one language shouldn’t be a huge additional cost. However, it becomes trickier if you decide you want this later on. Therefore, consider asking for it to be included in initial website prices, especially if you serve non-English speaking markets.
Shopping Cart Integration Costs
Ecommerce functionalities typically cost an additional £300 - £2,000.
We strongly recommend that if your website will be used for ecommerce purposes that you get an experienced ecommerce website designer. Often this functionality is supplied through specialist platforms such as Shopify or Magento.
Stages of Building a Website
Knowing what to expect from your website design process can help you understand both the website costs and timescales, and can keep things on track. Several different variables come into play when building a website, most notably, the size and complexity of your website, and the supplier you are working with. Website designers should be willing to give you a clear idea of timescales in advance of a project, usually alongside a quotation or website price breakdown.
Creation of a website will follow a set pattern: proposal; wireframe; site structure; design; development; testing, and launch.
Stage 1: Proposal
The proposal is the starting blocks for your new site. Get off to a good start and this will help lay solid foundations for the entire project. Rush or skip things here and you’re opening the entire website development process up to trouble. Broadly speaking, the complexity of the proposal will reflect the complexity of the proposed site. A ‘showcase’ website that is roughly equivalent to an online brochure is going to have a considerably simpler proposal than a complex ecommerce platform.
A detailed brief is essential for approaching different website designers, and understanding their pricing in terms of your specific project.
An excellent proposal spells out what you are expecting from your website. It will state what is important and what is desired. It is the base from which quotations will either be useful, or confusing. It is essential you invest time and thought in this stage.
Stage 2: Wireframe
Wireframes are the term given to visualising the websites foundation design. It’s the overview of the design structure - how the website will look and work. In effect it’s what is behind the scenes of a website without the finishing details. It’s the blueprint for the site structure, much like architectural drawings used for building property.
Stage 3: Site Structure
The site structure overlays the wireframe and forms the basis of the content that will be created for the site. This is where functionality is established and you begin to understand and conceptualise how the site will work from the end-user’s point. Examples include sitemaps, which list how content will be categorised and structured on the website. In a nutshell, the site structure is your chance to decide how your content will fit within the site.
Stage 4: Design
Once the wireframe and site structure have been agreed, your website has the foundation required to begin the design. From here come all of the features that will make your website speak volumes about your brand: the colours, the page layouts, the typeset, images, content, and more, are designed. It is imperative that you have chosen a website designer who fully understands your brand to ensure that the website reflects your business and the services you provide.
Stage 5: Development
Now the site needs to be built. This involves taking everything from the stages above and making them work in reality. You may have heard of ‘front-end’ and ‘back-end’ developers.
The front-end developers will be working on what your site users are going to see and experience. The back-end developers are the ones doing the nitty-gritty programming that makes things work such as shopping cart integration. This is usually the stage of the process which takes the longest. Your feedback here is important, but it is also likely to involve a great deal of background work you can’t necessarily see. Don’t rush this stage, as for the long-term health and user experience of your site you want it done well.
Stage 6: Testing
Testing is vital to ensuring launch happens smoothly and you aren’t fire-fighting problems once the site goes live. Testing will involve three stages: on-page testing (does everything work as it should?); user accessibility testing (does it work as the user will expect?); and improving or feedback. This final stage should be continual, well after launch, to ensure you are always offering an excellent user experience with your website.
Stage 7: Launch
Once all of the above stages have happened, you’ll be ready for launch when your new website goes live. Be realistic that there is a need for continuous improvement, even after launch, as technology develops. Even with the best-laid plans, some problems may not appear until the site is actually in use, but this is why an excellent relationship with your web developer is imperative, as it should last the course into the future.
Recommended UK Website Designers
To start you off on your quest for expert and high quality website design at a reasonable cost, take a look at the following four recommended website designers. You can also request free quotes from these suppliers by filling out the form at the top of the page.
With a Trust Pilot rating of 9.8, you don’t get much better in terms of peace of mind. Based in the UK, and focused on providing small businesses with the very best in website design, they are a friendly, professional agency who will take the time to understand your brand as well as your website requirements.
Customer service is considered key to their design service and you’ll receive regular updates on progress, and your input will help to drive the final website product. Toolkit Websites focus on bespoke design at affordable prices, they do not use pre-prepared templates, so you can imagine it and then realise it.
Toolkit Websites have over 15 years’ experience in website design, over 2,000 happy customers and remain ahead of the times in terms of functionality and programming knowledge. Each client is assigned a designated Project Manager who will keep the project in-line, constantly making amendments to suit your exact requirements.
Additionally, Toolkit Websites are industry-renowned for their Content Management System, which really is one of their unique selling points. For Toolkit it’s not just about the website you receive on launch day, but about the ongoing relationship and management of the site for the future.
With the brand recognition that everyone knows, there’s a certain amount of guaranteed goodness when it comes to choosing Yell for your website design. After all, they really are industry leaders when it comes to advertising and showcasing businesses. The same principles apply to their web design offerings. You also get a ‘big name’ which for some businesses is a selling point in itself.
Expert website designers are on hand to hear your brief, and then work with you to design the website you require and then go on to manage it in partnership with you. Yell Business are a Google Premier Partner which is their method of logistics behind SEO as well as mobile responsiveness so that your website will be easily found and you’ll realise a great return on investment with traffic to the site.
Also included within a Yell website design package you can get analytics which can prove powerful for the future. Furthermore, free amendments and support is included, and ongoing training is provided should you need it. In other words, you benefit from a big-name business.
Yell offers three different levels of website design: Premium; Premium Plus; and Elite. The Premium package at £299 for a 10-page site with ongoing monthly support, and additional page building is a great basic website design package using set templates. Premium Plus is available for £999 and offers advanced website design with customised design. They also offer their Elite option which is a truly bespoke service.
Web.com isn’t just about website design, but about maximising your web presence. They are ecommerce pros, and have the tools and designers at their fingerprints to deliver excellent quality websites. Their services go beyond this to include lead generation, and both web design and lead generation can be approached together with them creating a holistic web presence, and business solution.
Web.com have been building and designing websites for 20 years and have an enormous client base of 3.4m active customers. Nonetheless, you still get a targeted and reasonably personalised service. They wield some power in the business and are a Google Premier Partner, a Bing Advertising Partner, and have worked directly with Facebook, meaning if you want to be seen then they are going to achieve it for you.
The 10-step website design process used by Web.com ensures that every element of your website design is exemplary. They utilise keyword research very early on in their process to ensure your site drives valuable traffic. Their in-house copywriters will make sure that your content reflects both SEO objectives as well as reflects your branding. Once your site is launched, their work doesn’t stop there and they continue with quality control and ongoing support.
With a small business focus, bOnline are experts in their niche. You are assigned an expert designer who is your central port of call for guaranteeing your website is designed with every feature you are looking for and more, as well as communicating to you regarding progress and ongoing support. They are justifiably proud of their Number 1 spot on Trust Pilot, and they have a raft of positive reviews.
bOnline website designs stand out from the crowd. They do this by really getting to know your business branding, and translating this into a consistent and striking online image. They invest over 300 hours in each of their design elements and have their own internal, highly detailed checklist to confirm that every facet of the design meets their high expectations. Collaboration and consultation happens from the very earliest point to ensure the website stands out from the crowds and is highly functional.
As well as creating beautiful design they also make sure this in on a firm foundation of the latest available technology. They use HTML5, CSS3 and as well as optimising their sites for all devices, they host the sites on Google App Engine.
bOnline are keen that the finished website product should be future-proof. Therefore you gain access to their easy editing tools, and on their site they have a large number of tutorials as well as customer support, should you need assistance.
Website Design FAQs
Why Do Website Costs Fluctuate So Much?
Let’s go back to the beginning of this guide – when it comes to designing websites, estimating costs can seem like asking “How long is a piece of string?” However, when you look beneath the surface it is possible to understand why the costs vary so enormously. Lack of understanding about why the prices vary so much, can lead you to believe you should simply opt for the cheapest website design cost that you can find. However, it is in your interests to understand why prices fluctuate, so that you aren’t faced with other costs down the line, and, in fact, end up spending more than you would have done at the outset.
Firstly, there are your expectations versus those of the web designer. Making sure you get a fair price and a safe quotation will depend on getting those expectations aligned early on. Then there is the complexity of your site. Obviously, getting a realistic price for this involves an upfront and honest approach from you to prevent surprise costs down the road.
Furthermore, sites vary enormously in terms of content amount. Again, it is worth ascertaining that you and the designers you are seeking quotations from are on the same wavelength here. Are you looking for snappy and punchy with minimal content, or does your brand require more in depth content, as well as SEO?
You can also expect website design costs to reflect the timescale in which you want your new site turned around. Understanding the different stages involved can help you have a realistic expectation here. Also, if you are seeking a particular designer or agency you will need to understand where you fit in with their time capacity, which will be affected by their size. You will also pay a premium for a reliable, highly regarded and experienced designer over a less experienced, riskier option.
Other factors affecting fluctuations in costs will include whether you’re needing to start from scratch, or have a site in place that just needs some re-design, whether you’re using UK website designers or abroad designers.
How long will it take for my website to be designed and launched?
A good ballpark figure is around 3 months, but it can be longer than this.
How long a website takes between conception and launch, and the design process itself, varies enormously - depending on a multitude of factors including the size of the site, its functionality, the testing process, the website designer’s capability and support, and more.
Will I be able to edit the website?
When you start short-listing website designers it is important to pose this question. A good website is one that is dynamic, and will therefore either have an ongoing maintenance and support package in place, or have a setup that will allow you to make edits as needed - often through a content management system.
Should I use a free online website builder instead of paying a professional?
It is tempting, for price reasons, to consider the cheap website design option of an online website builder tool. However in practice these website builders tend to be highly restrictive in terms of both design and functionality. Furthermore, they are unlikely to be dynamic designs that you can easily adapt over time as business needs change. In reality they can end up being a ‘fool’s errand’ costing you more in the long run and not representing a good return on investment.
How can I reduce the cost of a website?
There are two key ways to reduce the cost of a website: having a very clear brief before seeking quotations, and who you select to do the website design. These should also be viewed in the context that website design costs are offset against the power they bring to the business overall. A good website design will bring you valuable sales leads and traffic that soon pays for itself.
Make sure you are clear on your expectations of the website and the quotations you receive will be more accurate. Also, by choosing reputable website designers you can be sure you’re getting a good service for the cost.