Web design is the most often-used term for ‘new website design and development project’.
Because of this, a whole new website project can cost a little more than you may think.
You see, many people don’t fully appreciate the range of skills and strategic considerations that together determine the price of a new website.
There’s often a perception (often driven by offshore businesses and web hosting companies pushing themes) that a new website will be a quick and easy job using an ‘off the shelf’ template, so it shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred pounds.
Cards on the table: yes, you can source a theme for £150 from a theme provider. But before you do, ask these questions:
- What do I want my website to do?
- How will it meet our objectives?
- What is included in the project price?
- Which elements will I need to do myself?
- What happens when I want to make changes to the site?
- Can I maintain it myself?
- How will my requirements be different in 6 – 12 months?
Why a website may cost more than you might think
Ask any web design consultant “How much do you charge for a website?” and you’ll almost always get the response “It depends…”
It’s a bit like asking “How much is a car?”
Here at C4B Media we say that a website is a marketing responsibility.
A designer alone can’t do it.
Neither can a developer.
Nor is it a job for an IT professional.
In fact, few individuals have all the skills to create a top-performing website alone. The key words there are ‘top-performing’.
If you want your website to perform and support your business goals, there’s a lot involved. So, if you ask us “How much is a new website?”, we’ll ask you the following questions:
1. What kind of website do you need?
What job does your website actually need to do?
Do you want it to sell or just showcase your products and services? Should it include private password-protected areas?
The scope of your website may be influenced by your ‘buyer journey’ *see our recent blog. Ask yourself:
- Who are our target visitors?
- What are they looking for and why?
- How will they find our website?
- What do we want them to do when they arrive on the website?
- What are our strengths and weaknesses compared to our competitors’ websites?
At C4B Media we recommend a formal website scoping workshop before doing anything. By doing this it helps focus the client’s mind on some difficult questions which they may not have thought about.
The plan also provides a useful document to refer back to in the rare event that differences in opinion arise about what was meant to be included at the outset!
2. What marketing offers, calls to action do you want?
You need to define what you want your website visitors to do on your website i.e. the action you want them to take.
What will tempt your visitors to “get in touch” or “submit their details”, to request a sample, subscribe to a blog, or download a free trial of your software? You might also have gated content on the site, only available to visitors who complete a sign-up form.
Whatever your conversion offer is, it needs to be something valuable and compelling to visitors. You’ll need ‘Calls to Action’ (CTAs) around the site – usually in the form of buttons or icons.
These will be vital in driving conversions or leads from your website.
3. How much bespoke development is needed?
Many people believe that ‘web design’ covers the whole shebang. But truth be told, design is only one element of it.
Depending on the scope and purpose of your website, you might be able to buy a cheap, off the shelf template. Or you might need bespoke programming.
Often, the functions that a new WordPress website needs can be provided through plug-ins.
Sometimes a site will need bespoke development and coding to turn it into something that exactly meets client needs.
4. How will the website be structured?
The structure of your website will need to be mapped out before any design or build can begin. The website structure (i.e. the menu and site map) is key for navigation – and will play a huge role in the usability of the site.
The user experience of your visitors when they arrive on your website should be immediately intuitive and engaging. They must be able to find the key information they need fast.
Your site will need to guide visitors quickly to the key page you want them to see – the destination or goal page – in order that they can be persuaded to complete a “conversion action” i.e. fill in a form for a download, make a purchase or some other action you defined in (2) above.
5. What will the design look like?
The design of your new website should be consistent with the rest of your corporate branding.
This brand consistency will help potential buyers identify you and is key to developing trust in your business services, products and expertise, so that visitors feel confident to take the next step towards becoming a customer.
The look and feel of your site can also tell the visitor a great deal about what sort of experience they are going to have if they buy your product or service.
6. Who will write your website content?
Writing is easy. But writing quality web copy in the right brand tone of voice may require professional input.
Less is more with web content, yet it requires a great deal of skill to get key points across succinctly – and in a style that sounds honest and open.
Your website content should also be formatted for SEO, for example by incorporating carefully researched keywords and headings. Above all, your website content must clearly address the questions, problems and requirements of the visitors and target customers who are visiting.
7. What images and graphics do you require?
The number and style of images on your website is very important.
Do you need bespoke photography? Or will library or stock images suffice? Or do you want bespoke illustration and graphics?
What about icons and buttons? Should they be branded?
These visual elements are vitally important. Shoddy product shots and shaky videos are not going to convey the professionalism that will persuade potential buyers to engage with your business.
Ultimately, many of our clients opt for bespoke photography. This is the best option to convey a truly unique view of what your business is all about.
8. How will your pages engage visitors?
It’s amazing how many websites greet visitors with masses of complex, off-putting content.
Getting the balance right between written content, graphics and imagery that conveys your messages whilst at the same time engaging your visitors can be tricky.
To maximise visitor engagement on your website, you’ll need expert input to your user interface and usability, so that every page does its job of guiding and informing the visitor intuitively.
Pages full of text can alienate visitors – and they’ll simply leave.
9. Do you need your website to get found on Google?
There are over 1.5 billion websites in the world.
Among these, your website needs to be findable by the target customers and buyers who are looking for products or services like yours. So how can you make sure these buyers find your website?
These days Google is the default starting place for 85% of traffic to business-to-business (B2B) websites.
To make sure your website will attract visits via Google (and other search engines), you must ensure your website is developed, designed and written consistent with Google guidelines – in other words, you need to factor in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
10. Who will manage the website project?
With so many dynamic elements to consider, and especially if your new website must be launched to a deadline such as a product launch or event, the whole web design process will need close project management.
Which jobs need to be done first? How will you co-ordinate the many different inputs?
On larger websites, project management can be a whole role in itself. Whatever you do, do not underestimate the time needed to keep things moving and to co-ordinate all the elements.
11. Who will test and review all the technical components?
Testing a website prior to launch – and fixing any errors in the process – take anything from a few days to a few weeks.
It can be a laborious process, and many people skimp on testing, or skip it altogether, because they are in a rush.
A quick checklist should include:
- Proofreading each page
- Testing contact forms
- Checking your links including social media icons
- Ensuring metadata is in place for SEO including image alt tags
- Setting up redirects from old pages to new ones
- Running page speed checks
- Browser compatibility: Your website should be compatible with the main browsers – previous as well as current versions
- Responsiveness: It will need to be mobile responsive so that it provides users on a smartphone or tablet with a seamless experience
- Security: Your website, and all the links on it, must be secure.
We use a development site for most of our website projects, so the client can review progress at each stage. It’s always worth spending your own time reviewing your new website here to satisfy yourself that it does the job you want it to.
12. Will it be compliant with privacy and data protection rules?
Increasingly, business buyers look for compliance in these areas as a condition of doing business. The risk of a data breach is just not worth leaving to chance, so – like it or not – it must be factored into your website.
13. Will you arrange the launch and hosting?
Once your new website is ready, you or your web design agency will need to launch it on to your hosting service.
Hosting is a complex area – and one where you really get what you pay for. Ideally, your website should be hosted in the UK on a good quality hosting platform with plenty of resource to ensure that page load speed will never be compromised.
Uploading files and databases to a hosting server isn’t for the fainthearted, so if you don’t have the technical skills in-house, someone with the expertise will need to do it for you.
14. Who will manage and maintain your website?
Like any software, once your website is launched it will need maintenance as new versions and updates are released by the content management system provider (e.g. WordPress).
These updates ensure that the underlying technology of your website remains secure and compatible with any plugins that are used in the build, as well as with hosting platforms, operating systems and browsers.
Without this maintenance, the site will become outdated – and more importantly, at risk of a security breach.
15. How will you measure your website’s performance?
If you want to monitor how your website is performing, you’ll need an analytics programme such as Google Analytics. You might want to know how your visitor numbers change over time, what the most popular pages are, which blogs are getting read the most.
Analytics can also reveal the visitor journeys through your website from their entry page through to the point where they either ‘convert’ or leave the site. To do this, you can set up goals and see how they perform over time.
Your website now sits firmly in the marketing realm of your business. Measuring and monitoring its performance, and making regular changes to improve it, are all part of the website owner’s job.
16. How will you keep your website visible in search engines?
Search engine ranking is like a race. If you’re not actively trying to compete, you won’t get the result you want.
To keep your website ranking in Google for the products and services your potential customers are searching for, you’ll need an ongoing SEO programme.
A key factor in SEO is adding fresh, original content to the website at regular intervals. An ideal way to do this is by writing relevant blog articles on topics of importance to your target market.
Other content you should consider creating includes videos, infographics and premium or “gated content”.
Gated content or ‘assets’ typically sit behind a form on a dedicated landing page, where visitors are asked to complete a form to get access to them.
Examples include high-quality Buyer Guides, Research Papers or Strategy Templates. Because of their value, visitors are often willing to provide contact details in return for the ability to download them.
Web design and development isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ thing, nor is there any standard price for a website.
At C4B Media we scope every website project by asking the right questions. Not every web design agency does this, and few projects can be delivered by one person alone because of the range of different skillsets involved.
Speak to us on 01763 877110 about an assessment of your current website’s performance, or about a Website Scoping Workshop.
Let’s get your new website project moving!