How much should a website cost?

There’s no simple answer to the question posed by this post, but read on for a few hints as to how you can work out what cost is right for you and how you can work out whether you’re getting good value.

Websites vary hugely in cost, depending on how big they are (how many pages), what functionality is required and who you get to make it. A pretty good general rule of thumb is – like anything – you get what you pay for.

I like to say that web developers are a bit like home builders – there’s plenty of them around, and the finished product will differ considerably depending on which end of the market you are in.

Like a first home buyer, a company or person wanting to get their first website built has very different needs to someone who is more experienced. There are lots of developers who can make your first website, which will tend to be an “out of the box” solution with minimal customisation and basic functionality.

As with a first home, your first website built like this is not just restricted in customisation, but also in “finish”. The design quality of a cheaper website will always be less than a more expensive one.

As your business grows, it’s pretty inevitable that you will outgrow your basic website. It’s limitations and / or lack of sophistication will start to conflict with your brand identity, make life a little more difficult than it has to be, or simply seem so old and tired that you just can’t stand it any more.

If you have a little more budget, a more sensible option – and potentially more cost-effective in the long run –  is to get a better website made in the first place.

Though it will cost you more out-right, a more expensive website will be better designed, both to meet your needs and to present a professional, high quality touch point to your customers or clients.

This would be like going to a home builder that allows you to go off-plan to individually customise, and who leaves you with a product that has a higher quality finish. If you invest the extra money now, you won’t be left in regret in a couple of years’ time when the handles start to fall off the cupboards and the chrome is peeling off the taps.

I have come across more than one client who have opted for a cheaper quote, only to come back to me within a year and ask me to remake their website as they’ve been unhappy with the results! This is obviously the most expensive route to take, as you end up paying for two websites to be made.

Of course, everything needs to be measured up against your budget. Every home buyer may dream of the top quality custom finishes, but at the end of the day if the first home builder is all you can afford, then it is the only sensible option to take.

However, if you can budget to make it work and you are deciding between a few developers, do remember that price isn’t the ultimate consideration. A cheaper price now does not necessarily equate to value for money in the long run.