26 Jul Website design prices – Part three: building and maintenance
Having covered general cost considerations of a new website (Part one) and some key features to consider (Part two), in this final part of our website design prices blog series, we look at the costs associated with building a website and ongoing maintenance.
Building a website
There are many options available to build a website, ranging from WYSIWYG page builders to fully bespoke website developments with maintenance support. But making the wrong decision when it’s too late can result in costs spiralling out of control or starting the whole process from scratch.
Whilst it may be tempting to do it yourself using one of the many online website builders available, this option skips over some of the fundamental core processes, skills and knowhow involved in creating a successful website, which will result in a poorly executed result.
Unless you have the experience in what it takes to plan, design and build a website that not only works exactly how it should, and is designed in a way that accurately reflects your brand, then it is highly advisable you hire a professional service to help you create the site.
Professional website designers will work with you to develop a solution that meets all your requirements in terms of the user experience (UX) and design a bespoke user interface (UI) that includes all the functionality you need that truly reflects your brand. This will lead to a website that delivers exactly what it should and gives you freedom to make choices on automating certain processes, having access to make updates and changes yourself, and integrate with third-party resources to make things work more efficiently.
The cost of having your website created professionally varies significantly depending on how large the site is and what functions and features are needed. But as a general guide, a starting point for a very small information only website is usually in the region of £5,000 to £10,000, and the larger and more complex the website gets, the higher the costs are going to be.
Apart from the general design and styling that gets applied to your website, you may need to include professional imagery or video content to help elevate the way your business looks, or how your products or services are presented.
Stock photography and video is the most common way to incorporate these visual elements, and are usually quite affordable on a royalty-free licence – with costs varying between £5 to £20 per image.
You may also need to photograph your products, or may wish to include photos of your office, staff or activities. In which case it is wise to hire a professional photographer to take these photos for you, as they will usually produce images that are much better than what you can achieve yourself. How much professional photography costs will vary on the photographer you use, time needed and other factors such as the photographers travel costs, hiring of make-up artists or studio/venue etc.
Keeping things up to date
One of the most important factors to keep your visitors returning and raise the likelihood of your site being found by search engines, is to make sure you regularly update the content. Google, in particular, favours ‘active’ websites, as opposed to ‘stagnant’ sites that rarely get updated. Your visitors, too, would get bored if nothing changes every time they return.
New and relevant content such as blog posts, news and case studies will keep visitors interested. And unless you have the time, or staff, to prepare and add this content, you will need to budget for a copywriter or marketing company to help you. Good copywriting is essential to communicate with your visitors as well as help with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to ensure your website gets found on search engines.
Regular website maintenance, upgrades and ad-hoc adjustments are part and parcel with the ever-evolving technology that powers the internet. Whilst your site will launch with everything doing what it should, it is important to ensure that any updates made available, for compatibility with upgrades to web browsers, CMS platforms (such as WordPress), plugins, security patches, etc. are regularly kept up to date. Avoiding this may result in things starting to go wrong in the way your site looks and functions and may also make it vulnerable to security threats.
If you are concerned about handling this yourself it would be wise to agree to a monthly or annual retainer fee with your website team to keep things up to date and fix things if anything goes awry. This is often a better option than waiting until something breaks, as sometimes it may be too late to simply run a plugin update (for example), as the damage inflicted may require a partial rebuild to get things back to how it was.