What’s a fair price to pay for a website?
What’s a fair price to pay for a website? I get asked this a lot (with slight variations to the theme, but you get the gist), and if I’m to answer honestly (which I will) I’m not sure that’s the question you should be asking. Obviously, the price is a big factor, but the eventual cost, no matter how much, will have little bearing on any potential success you’re likely to have. I think you’re better off starting with “What am I going to need from my website, in order to be successful?”
Think of it like this – You’re an aspiring restaurant owner, and you know all you need to know about managing a restaurant. You’re ready to take the next step, and having secured your premises and raised a marketing budget, you want to invest in your online presence.
At this point, It’s important to remember your role (within this scenario). You’re a restaurant owner. You are not a developer, a front-end web designer or a UX specialist, and having never owned your own restaurant before you have no historical data or experience to call upon. This means that without professional guidance from digital marketing professionals, the best you can do is deliver an online presence that you ‘think’ will resonate with your target audience.
It took me a while to accept what I’m about to say, but (hold onto your hats)… You can’t be amazing at everything 😉 and when it comes to web design and development, there are many, many elements to consider. From hosting & maintenance, site structure, and accessibility, to best practice implementation, user experience, and brand perception… To maximise the potential of your site and produce a return on your investment, you will need to deliver on all of these points (and more).
The key here is to identify your strengths (in this instance, managing a restaurant) and weaknesses (in most cases, digital design & marketing) and, to ensure you’re able to deliver the best possible user/customer experience, outsource the latter to a professional(s) who knows what they’re doing.
I’m going to list a few of the essential baseline requirements, that should be applied to all websites. This should help you to understand how quotations are formed, thus enabling you to better manage your expectations, when it comes to budgeting for your website.
Hosting and maintenance
It’s pretty simple really… Up-time and speed are crucial to the success of your business. These factors are determined by server location, bandwidth, security, and site maintenance. Managed hosting and maintenance (if you don’t know what you’re doing) is the best way to safeguard your user experience. This ensures high-performance, 24hr monitoring, website protection, CMS maintenance and local support. As you would expect, this option will cost more than a mainstream hosting company, but what you get in return should be worth every penny!! It’s a little like having your own IT department – but for a fraction of the cost.
MWS Agency charge £725 p/a for secure, dedicated hosting and maintenance, but this is often free for the first twelve months with our website design and development packages.
If you’re capturing and storing user data, via any kind of web form(s), you will need to ensure an SSL certificate is installed. In short, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer – HTTPS) encrypts information sent between the user and web server, making it practically impossible for hackers to steal your information. Since October (2017) Google’s best practice guidelines stipulate that the implementation of SSL should be mandatory for all sites, capturing user data. Non-compliance can result in the blacklisting of your website. Our advice – make sure you’ve factored this into any prospective budget!
SSL implementation, from MWS Agency, starts from £99 per year, but this is often free for the first twelve months with our website design and development packages. An SSL certificate (without installation) can be bought from around £50.
CMS (content managed system)
To ensure you have full control over your page/post content and the necessary permissions to make higher level changes, safely, your site will need to be developed using a content managed system. A CMS can help you avoid unnecessary developer charges by putting you in control of your content. It is, however, important to carry out routine updates to core files and plugins, to ensure your content is secure and your user experience unaffected. Implementing these updates can often create code-based conflicts, which can cause certain elements to malfunction. Pre-emptive measures, such as managed hosting and maintenance, help to guarantee uptime and avoid the potential expense of diagnosing & fixing issues which may arise, as a result.
As mentioned above, MWS Agency charge £725 p/a for secure, dedicated hosting and maintenance, but this is often free for the first twelve months with our website design and development packages.
Fixed costs aside, the bigger and more complex the project, the longer it will take to complete. Ask for an hourly rate and request a detailed breakdown of the quotation, to help you understand how your budget is being spent.
MWS Agency’s project rate is currently £75 per hour. However, startup and small business websites, although subject to specific development guidelines, benefit from heavily discounted rates and premium features.
So… Now you know how important the aforementioned elements are, and how much they’re likely to cost, you should be able to approach your project with a more realistic set of expectations.
Good luck!! And, should you have any questions about a potential project, we’d love to hear from you 😊