In Small Business Advice

Often the first step for many businesses, choosing a website designer can be an arduous task. Aside from the various jargon, there’s also the consideration that many web design agencies are based online, leaving little chance of a face to face meeting. If you’re lucky you may find that your website is built in-house in the UK – unfortunately for many it turns out quite the opposite. Why you ask? It’s simple – price.

Website design is often treated like a commodity as since the mid 2000s, it’s transitioned from being a luxury marketing tool to a staple overhead cost and many small businesses make the mistake of treating it as one. There are many pros and cons to choosing a web design team based in the UK and the price will play a direct factor.

How much does a website design cost? As a small business ourselves, we have two divisions within the company – Cheap Web Design and Create Designs. Cheap Web Design is aimed at small businesses and start ups looking for a less complex web design package or eCommerce website design. We have a number of relatively high typical overhead costs to the business such as staffing costs, rent, council tax, software licenses, insurance, training, telephone systems and hardware – just to name a few!

Perhaps the highest cost to run a web design agency are the website designers themselves. With a typical junior graphic design or web designer salary  in the range of £18-35,000 per year, when you combine this with a sales person, project manager and support team you begin to see the true cost of having a website built.

For Cheap Web Design, we typically aim to work to an hourly rate of £35+VAT per hour and for Create Designs this is higher at £60+VAT with more senior employees working on complex web development projects. For a web design agency, an hour rate of £35+VAT is actually very very low when you consider the cost of the web designer’s salary alone. It’s important to bear this in mind when looking for web design prices as time is money and the less you pay, the less time the company will be able to allocate to the project.

Well why not opt for a company who isn’t based in the UK, I hear you say? The truthful answer is that you could. There are a number of important considerations to make before taking this route though.

The potential cost of using a web design agency based abroad

You may have considered looking for a freelancer or agency which are based abroad. Before you potentially make a costly mistake, consider some of the factors below before handing over any money:

Language barriers – If English is not the web designer’s first language, do you have the patience? or more importantly, the time? Given the amount of jargon in the industry, it’s extremely easy to mis-interpret requests and you may find that even after your second or third attempt, the company does not fully understand your request.

Lack of understanding of your business – this should perhaps be first on the list as it’s extremely important. If your website designer doesn’t understand your target market, they have little hope of creating a website which is going to convert visitors well.

Lack of support – a website isn’t the same as a word document. Unfortunately you can’t just leave it, just like a piece of software on your laptop, it needs updating with the latest security patches and fixes. It’s often forgotten that your website is at much higher risk of fault than your laptop simply because it’s being publicly displayed on the internet and everyone at some stage has had a problem with their laptop. Micro businesses, freelancers and other small design agencies will have little to no interest in providing ongoing assistance with your website as they’re looking to pay their bills at the end of the month with the next customer’s website project. Choosing a slightly larger agency who wants to build a relationship with you is crucial and you’re much likely to get better support with an agency who has a team.

Low quality – the less you pay for a website, the less time the designer can afford to spend. It’s true a web design team in a country with a lower working wage can potentially spend more time on the website, but there’s a limit to that and more often than not the designs look very dated and amateurish.

High Risk – how are you intending to pay for your website? Escrow or PayPal are great for physical products, but they don’t usually cover digital goods. This is why you may struggle to find agencies who offer PayPal as a payment method as neither side are covered. If something goes wrong and you’ve already paid a sum of money to someone abroad, you’ve got absolutely no protection. Be prepared if you’re willing to take the risk on an agency outside of the UK that you’re blindly trusting someone not to take your money and run. With our team based here in the UK, you have the protection of working with an long established, insured limited company with a comprehensive dispute process. You’re also able to use the Small Claims Court if there is an unresolved dispute.

A typical example on why you shouldn’t take the cheapest option when considering the cost of web design

The average transaction value for a recruitment agency in the UK is £2000. A reputable website design agency charges roughly £500 for your website to be designed and a cheaper alternative costs just £200. You decided to opt for the much cheaper option and the website is eventually completed and put live. It’s acceptable, but by no means perfect – there are a few areas on the mobile version which are off, the images are blurry, there are a few spelling mistakes and it loads pretty slowly. But it’s done now right, you can just leave it?! Wrong.

A potential client is looking for a local recruitment agency and they have been on your website and jumped straight off of it and onto your competitors instead. You’ve just lost potentially thousands in business and a client who would have looked great on your portfolio. Why? Because your website is often the first impression of your business as a whole. Having basic imperfections on your website is no different to having a dirty shop front, stains in your carpets and a pile of boxes by the front door. It looks unprofessional and gives a terrible first impression to a potential customer.

So, what is the true cost of a website design?

Below are our suggestions on the minimum you should spend on your website.

Basic single page website – £200 minimum

If you’re looking for anything more than a single landing or holding page, don’t spend anything less than £200. At an hourly rate of £35, your designer is likely to spend no more than 6 hours max. That’s including the time spent discussing your project, obtaining your requirements, creating a concept and then the time spend back and fourth with any revisions you may have. That’s not to mention the hour setting up your email accounts, putting it live and answering any questions you may have! At £200, don’t expect anything exciting. At Cheap Web Design for a 1-2 page website, we charge £375+VAT for a starter web design package.

4 to 8 page brochure website – £400 minimum

Often at this price, there’s a little more flexibility to include a logo design with the website. At this price, it’s likely your chosen agency will have roughly 12 hours to allocate to your project. It’s a common mis-conception that the number of pages directly affects the price. At CWD, we usually discuss the design requirements and find out the style of website you like or advise based on current web design trends. If you’ve got several basic text pages which don’t require any design flare, it doesn’t take much longer to add these in. We are currently running a web design sale which offers great value.

8+ page brochure website – £500 minimum

An 8 page brochure website should cost in this region if you’re working with a UK or European company. This allows enough time for a high quality design and several rounds of revisions to ensure that the website looks professional.

In conclusion…

A website shouldn’t be treated like a commodity if you’re looking to generate business from it or use it as a reference point for potential customers. It’s often the first impression that a visitor will have of your brand and if designed correctly should be an excellent sales tool. After all, if a visitor has read your website and made the effort to pick up the telephone and call you, you’re already half way to a sale!

If you’re interested in having a website built and simply need some advice, feel free to give us a call on 01252 759340. You’ll be put straight through to our team based in Surrey. Out of hours or prefer to converse via email? You can contact us here.

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