Website Development is vital to any and every website, but you cannot create one or update an old one if you don’t have some idea about the cost involved in doing so.
This is where we can help. If you’d like to find out more about the prices you can expect to encounter, then keep reading; if you’d like to start comparing prices using Approved Index’s quick and free quote compare process then just fill in the form at the top of this page.
How Much Do Web Development Services Cost?
One of the first questions you may be asking yourself is: how much is this going to cost me?
Website development costs will depend on the complexity and size of your site, as well as on the developer themselves. A normal starting cost for a basic two-page site will be around £195. This will get you a unique, simple design with minimal graphics so your site loads quickly on everyone’s browser. A contact form is likely to be included in this price, allowing your customers to get in touch with you directly through your site without ever having to leave their browser. If you want one or two extra pages on the site, it’s likely that a professional developer will offer you a per page cost, starting at around £90, depending on the complexity.
Some developers may also bundle hosting and maintenance into the web development costs, though it’s worth noting that this will probably be for a time-span of one or two years, after which you will have to pay a monthly/yearly fee for hosting at the very least. The base price may also include search engine optimisation, visitor tracking, and a custom email address for your domain, but ask your developer for the specifics of what they’ll give you.
For a mid-range site, you’re looking at a starting cost of around £450. This will be for a 5-page website, potentially with more complicated content such as animated elements and more images. You’ll be able to get far more information about your business on there, further increasing the likelihood of customers coming to you instead of one of your competitors. Many professional developers will also offer you a custom banner design and a free domain name but, again, make sure you check with them first what they have to offer.
If you want a fully comprehensive website for your small business, you’ll probably be looking at a website development cost of £795 and up. If your business has a lot to offer, you’ll want to be able to showcase that fully and leave your customers in no doubt that you are the right company for them. You’ll be looking at around 10 pages for this kind of pricing, so you would be able to go into each aspect of your company in detail, giving it its own dedicated page. Examples might include embedding a searchable copy of your menu if you’re a restaurant or takeaway, or including a cost estimator for the services you offer, if you’re a garage or similar.
Speaking in terms of ‘pages’ is a good way to give a rough idea of how the cost of the site will change dependant on the content you’d like, but with modern web development trends, the number of pages you have may end up being completely irrelevant. It’s likely that you’ll have seen sites that are entirely on one page, with navigation items that allow you to ‘jump’ to different sections, often with elements that’ll subtly animate into place. Provided it’s also been adapted to work well on smaller screens, a single-page site like this may actually showcase your business far better than a multi-page site, as users have to do less work to find out more about your business.
The site you want made may not fit into a defined number of ‘pages’ and may require a lot more complexity. For sites that are out of the ordinary like this, web development costs can vary widely from £800 to £5000, or maybe even higher. If you’re paying this sort of money for a website, you need to know you’re going with the right business, so don’t just settle for the first web development company you find. You’ll want to make sure the company you go with has friendly staff, has produced good sites before, and is very clear about how they will go about designing and developing your site. These points also hold true for the most basic of websites – your website may end up being one of the most important aspects of your business so you’ll want to go with a company or developer that you can trust.
Factors Influencing Web Development Costs
We’ve talked about how the size of your website and the amount of content can affect web development costs, but what about the other services and layers of complexity you might want to be integrated into the development of your site?
Web development is very expensive. It requires a highly skilled individual (or team of highly skilled individuals) who have to be constantly honing their skills and adapting to a landscape that is constantly changing and improving. Because of this, the daily rate of a professional web developer may fall into the £300-400 mark, or perhaps even higher. There are so many different ways to approach building just one website, and these approaches all have their advantages and disadvantages, including how they affect cost.
There are many challenges that your web developer may have to encounter, so it’s worth thinking about exactly what features of your site are absolutely necessary, and which ones you could probably live with out. Some will have pre-made solutions that can be tailored to your needs, whereas others may have to be developed from scratch, which will cost a lot more.
Here’s a list of some of the most common extra features that can cause an increase in web development costs, though it is by no means exhaustive:
- making it possible for you to edit content
- social media integration
- ecommerce payments
- database/customer relationship management systems
- secure user login
- allowing user-generated content
- API creation for your own app or for 3rd parties
Agree On a Price
Now that you’ve got an idea of what can affect the cost of web development, you should be in a better position to evaluate the quotes from professional web developers or web development companies. Make sure the give you detailed, comprehensive quotes that include:
- a timeline for development
- phases of the project
- the technologies that will be used and how they will benefit the site
- a breakdown of costs for each part of the site
If you feel that any of the companies’ quotes don’t include all the information you need, make sure you ask them for it. If they refuse and cannot provide a reasonable explanation for why not, you can confidently strike them off your shortlist.
Be wary of any ‘special’ or ‘bargain’ offers that companies may be offering you. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Your site may end up being developed entirely from a pre-made template that has not been created to suit your needs. Because of the low costs, they may not be spending nearly as much time as necessary to make your website entirely reflective of your company. Make sure you find out why their price is so cheap and what you might be missing out on if you were to pay more.
Preparing for future maintenance
It’s very unlikely that you’ll want your website to stay the same forever. Businesses are constantly changing and adapting to the market and you’re going to want your website to follow suit. Not only that, but web technologies and customer expectations will also change over time, at quite a fast rate, and you’ll need to stay up-to-date in order to keep ahead of the game.
Websites can also malfunction. Your site may relay on external libraries, fonts, or images, the links to which could easily break if the external site goes down. There may also be certain bugs that surface or security flaws discovered (such as the recent Heartbleed vulnerability in the OpenSSL software library which meant thousands of websites had to be updated) and you’ll want to be able to respond to these quickly for the sake of your business and your customers.
On a more positive note, you might also be receiving a large increase in the number of people visiting and using your site. This can often require upgrades to your server as well as the underlying code of your site to make sure it can cope with the extra traffic. It’s important that you can quickly update your site to deal with this so that you’re not losing out on the extra custom.
For most people, the best option would be to have your site designed and created by a company or professional that will offer a support package that continues after the site has been completed. If anything goes wrong or if you want any changes, you’ll be able to get in contact with someone who already knows your site intimately and would be able to implement any necessary alterations far quicker than an outsider just joining the project. You’ll also know what you’re getting in terms of communication and capability as you’ll have already worked with them before.
It’s also worth noting that, if something goes wrong with the site and it was due to a bug in the company’s code, they will often fix it for you without charge as it was their fault. If, however, you have modified any of the code yourself, it is less likely that they will do so. Think of it like a warranty on a computer – they’ll fix it if it goes wrong, unless you were tampering with it yourself, in which case the error is more likely to have been caused by you.
Another option for future maintenance is to hire an in-house developer to look after your site. If you’re a large company and your site requires constant or immediate maintenance, a developer dedicated entirely to your site can be an invaluable resource. You’ll have the reassurance that there will always be someone on-hand to deal with any problems that arise and, as they are only working for you, they will become very familiar with the workings of your business and your site, so will be able to identify problems far quicker than anyone else. If you want any changes made, you’ll also be able to have them implemented without worrying about the extra expense of hiring or re-hiring a professional developer. The main downside to this is the overall cost – you’ll have to pay someone to work for you full or part-time which could prove to be very expensive. If you have a mostly static site or an e-commerce site that is unlikely to require much maintenance, an in-house developer would probably be unnecessary.
A third option, which will probably suit the majority of people, is to use a service that will fix any problems you have with your site for a fixed monthly fee, almost like insurance. If something goes wrong, you just need to notify them and they will fix it. Depending on the package, they may also have automatic alerts, so if your site goes down they can go straight in and fix it without you having to lift a finger. These sorts of services start at around £50 for a relatively basic site, and will increase depending on your site’s complexity and the turnaround time you would need for an error to be fixed. A higher-end package would mean that you would get 24/7 support for your site, should anything go wrong. This is a far cheaper option than an in-house developer, though they may not be quite as familiar with your site so it’s possible that errors won’t be fixed quite as fast.
One final option is to get in touch with a freelance professional web developer with whom you can get in contact should anything go wrong. It might be a slightly less reliable option, should you need anything done quickly, but if you don’t have many problems with your site, paying for fixes or changes on a case-by-case basis could work out being the cheapest option for you.
Can I make changes myself?
If you’re unfamiliar with HTML and CSS, altering the content of a website may seem like a daunting task. As a general rule, it’s best not to touch any of the underlying code for the site unless you really know what you’re doing. As mentioned earlier, if you make changes that break the site, it’s likely to cost you money to get someone else to fix it.
For many types of site, such as ecommerce or property, you will want to be updating the content on a regular basis and you don’t want to have to get a professional web developer in to do it every single time; it’s inefficient and not at all cost effective. If you have such a site, you’ll want to ask your developer to create a content management system (CMS). A CMS provides you with a back-end system that you can log into which would allow you to alter content such as text and images, as well as adding extra pages or uploading files.
There are many pre-existing CMSs – such as Wordpress and Joomla – which, if they can be made to suit your needs, a developer may build your site on top of to keep costs down. If these won’t work for your needs, your developer will be able to create you a custom CMS that is tailored specifically to you. Even if a pre-existing CMS could be made to suit your needs, you might still want to get a custom CMS made for you so there aren’t so many features that you will never be using. It’s worth having an in-depth conversation with your web developer to work out exactly what the best option is for you.
It’s also worth noting that, if you use a CMS (especially a custom one) any structural changes to the site will definitely require a professional web developer who already understands your site, or who can take their time to learn exactly how the site works. A site running on a CMS has so many inter-dependent parts, that making changes in one file completely break the rest of your website. You may not want to have to pay extra money to make changes, but if you try to make the changes yourself and things go wrong, it could end up being a lot more costly for you.
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