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How Much Should You Pay For A Website?  by Darren Strudwick

This is very much the eternal question, and depending on whether you are the customer or the web designer your thoughts on this will vary greatly. As a web designer, I've always believed the customer should hand over nothing less than their entire life savings, where as most customers tend to take the opposite view and would prefer to spend almost nothing!

In fairness a lot of people that come to me are business start-ups and their budget is limited, they don't have huge sums of money at their disposal, so they have no choice but to barter and negotiate down the price as much as they can.  I've been in that position myself. When I started I was counting the pennies with regards to every move and decision I made.  

There are three main types of website, basic brochure style, e-commerce/online store and complex/data base driven.  For a basic brochure style website you should expect to pay anywhere from £400 to £1000,  for an online store typically you're looking at £2000 to £3000 and for the more complex data base driven sites easily £5000 updwards.

On so many occasions, I've quoted a potential customer a price and my quote has been three or even four times as much as the figure they had in their mind. People seem to have absolutely no concept of what is involved. If they did they would realise not only are the above numbers justified but they are actually more than reasonable. I've lost count how many times someone with £500 to spend has come to me asking for a replica of Youtube or Facebook.  When I quote them a price roughly £1 millon more than their budget, it comes as a total surprise.

So, how are these figures arrived at.  Firstly there are a lot of costs involved - both direct and indirect.  Direct costs would include things such as the purchase of images for a website, domain registration, hosting set-up, perhaps some outsourcing might be needed, this can add up to a few hundred pounds.  

Then we have the less obvious in-direct costs. For example it's very difficult to make a website without a computer, electricity, a telephone, internet connection, and of course a roof to keep out the rain.

Of course the main cost is time.  Designing a website is very time consuming.  When a customer sees something on screen, very often they will have no concept as to how many hours of work has gone into creating what they are looking at.  The more technical or artistically brilliant the end result, the more talented and experienced is the person who has created it.  These types of developers are not cheap to hire. The going rate is £50 to £100 per hour.

In conclusion, you don't actually need to hire an experienced, talented web company to make your website, there are plenty of designers out there with no experience, no portfolio and no idea! There are also plenty of DIY services where you can go online, pick a template and do the whole site yourself, but if you go down the cost cutting path, people can see that's what you've done.  It's so easy to spot cheap amateur looking websites.  In the long run these types of sites will cost you far more,  they'll cost you your whole business.  Pay a little bit more, get it done right, get it done by a professional.