How much should a website cost?

Main design, development and maintenance costs with building a custom website must include site design/layout (menus, blocks etc), features (eg, ecommerce, blogging) and content (text, images and rich media).
You also have to factor in domain name registration, server hosting; and - if needed - online payment processing.

Well, how long is a piece of string? It just depends...

The major influence is how much you are prepared to invest in your own enterprise - do you want to look cheap and cheerful, or do you want to be seen as reliable and prestigious? It's your call really.

From a more practical level, you have to decide whether you need a custom microsite (usually just a single 'about me' page), or whether you want a multi-page, content-managed site with its own custom template. It also depends on how much material you have already prepared, but also the level of functionality you need and amount of traffic (visitors to your site) you can expect. 

Estimated Costs

Site or Application Initial Design and Development

  • Page design. Usually a web designer will generate static mock ups, or sometimes prototype web pages with dummy content before a more detailed build. Some companies will offer you a handful of designs: we tend to give you the best, single design we can... and then iterate as required. Costs can be kept down if you have already developed your branding materials: expect to pay at least a few hundred pounds to engage a graphic designer if you need a logo, colour and typographic identity. Larger companies typically invest thousands for such a crucial design element.
    • Pages - for each custom page, including content, costs will typically be from £50 upwards for each page. A single page website usually has a lot more effort invested in it, so expect to pay at least a few hundred pounds.
    • Website templates - if you are building a more complex, multi page site, you'll usually need a homepage template, and at least one other template used throughout the rest of the site. Expect to pay at least a few hundred pounds for each template. Make sure you get a template that is responsive and will work just as well on a mobile device, tablet or desktop.
  • Site configuration. This is highly dependent on the functionality you need, so can add thousands to the cost of your site. A simple 'about us' type of website will typically add up to a few hundred pounds cost.
  • Content. In a templated CMS you could upload and edit all the text and image content yourself. It's straightforward in modern systems and you can paste directly from a word-processor of your choice... But it's worth engaging a web professional or copywriter to help you, at least for the launch of your site. This is so that the content is optimised for an online audience and - in particular - is accessible to the various search engines. The content itself should drive the structure of the entire site, and can sometimes be useful to generate prior to site/page design.
  • Photography and images. Unfortunately, you can't just rip images off the Internet - it's a breach of copyright and a criminal offence. Stock photography can be purchased for anything from a few pounds upwards (to thousands, alas), or you could commission your own.

Maintenance

  • Domain name. This has to be 'rented' by the year; some domain names (ie, web addresses - ours is cognimatic.com) can be registered for more than 5 years at a time. Typically, costs are between £3-20 per year - although some .com or speciality domains (eg, .scot, .tech) are madly expensive. Cognimatic doesn't have its own registry system, but we can register domain names on your behalf. You can research existing domain names at sites like whois.net and uwhois.com. You may also want to tie that in with usernames on the popular social sites by checking availability at sites like namechk.com.
  • Hosting. This is highly dependent on how busy your site is and the type of content you are serving up (audio and video can cost you a lot of server bandwidth). Cognimatic doesn't provide hosting directly but we can configure either shared or private hosting on your behalf. Typical costs are upwards of £50 per year.
  • SSL. It's strongly recommended that you use HTTPS for all websites: not only does it encrypt traffic for all users (essential for capturing personal or financila information), but search engines will demote sites in their rankings for non-HTTPS site. So you need to install an SSL certificate. Expect to pay £20-£300 per year.
  • Payment gateway. There are some low-volume payment systems that charge between 1% and 4% of each transaction and/or a fixed fee per transaction. Other systems - specifically those that handle credit cards - will add £10-£40 per month in addition to a transaction fee. One of the more popular ecommerce platforms, Shopify, currently charges a $29 monthly fee, plus a transaction chage. Your own website also has to be integrated with the payment gateway, which can add a considerable expense to your website.

So, in summary:

ElementMinimum cost
Page/site design£££s
Site build and configuration£££s
ContentAnything
Images£s
Domain name (per year)£s
Hosting (per year)££s
SSL (per year)££s
Payment gateway (per year)£££s

So you could launch a basic, custom website for less than £500 if you've done some work beforehand. If you want a large website or complex web application, be prepared to think in thousands of pounds.  

You should usually be able to negotiate a fixed price with a web designer/developer - although fixed price involves a fixed specification - so think carefully before asking for changes.

If you want a better idea of price, ask us for an estimate.