We get asked this question a lot, and over the years, my answer hasn’t really changed. How much does a website cost? How long is a piece of string? The reason I say this is, buying a website is a lot like buying a car. If you just want to get you from A to B, it’s not expensive. If you want it to be fast, look incredible, have leather seats, sat nav and Bluetooth, it’s going to cost you a lot more.

When you’re looking for a new website, the most important first step is to have some form of a plan. To answer ‘how much does a website cost?’ you also have to ask:

  • Who’s it for?
  • What’s the website’s main purpose?
  • What features do you want it to have?
  • Do you want something out of the ordinary?
  • How will your brand be reflected in your new website?
  • What domain name do you want? (If you want something really sweet and simple, you might pay more for the domain than for the website itself!)
  • What additional tools and integrations are going to be involved to get the functionality you need? These might be monthly or annual subscriptions, but it’ll affect the initial setup and coding costs, too.

Now, the answer to all of these questions will impact how much your website costs, but that doesn’t mean it’s 1995 and a website will cost you tens of thousands of pounds. The world has changed so much since then, and there are now so many options available to build a website, for all budgets.

How to Keep Website Costs Down

Today, you can build your own website, relatively cheaply and easily. As long as you’re happy to put in the time and effort to learn the basics of a “DIY” website builder online. You can do this with platforms like Squarespace and Wix.com.

This will keep your costs down to a minimum. But it’s with a tradeoff. This can sometimes mean limited features, a basic layout, and some frustration as you try to figure out why something won’t work.

There’s usually a level of compromise to be had, between building your own website and paying someone to create a website for you. When you’re in the early stages of any business, options can often be limited by resources available, like capital. But don’t forget, your biggest resource is, in fact, your time. The more time you spend trying to build a website, the less time you can spend on building your business.

A simple website, made by professionals, shouldn’t cost too much. The cost should be in proportion to your gains. And the result should be a website exactly the way you want it to be, and optimised to get results.

Time for Professionals

Just like with our car analogy, you could service your own car. Most people don’t, and there’s a reason for that. To service your own car, you need to learn how. Now there are people who simply love to learn and get their “hands dirty” and do things themselves. But the trade-off is time.

If you are happy to use your time to do this yourself, then you can service your own car, or, in our case build your own website. But ultimately that is the trade-off. If you’re just starting a new business, chances are, spare time isn’t a luxury you have. Spending valuable hours to get a website up and running, which might not even end up the way you wanted it, can result in needing to bring in a professional web design team anyway.

So, it’s time for you to focus on what you do best, running your business, and let a marketing company, like Social INK, build your website in a professional way, that will work seamlessly with your social media channels and be ready for search engines too.

So how much does a website cost? Depending on the agency, a simple “brochure” website will cost you anywhere from £500 – £2,000 on average. But be careful about which provider you choose. Be sure your website is set up for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) from the get-go. (Don’t know what SEO is? We explained SEO for small businesses before.) And, you’ll want previews and meta descriptions to show correctly so that your content is shareable on social media. Even if you aren’t promoting all of your pages, someone might share a link. So you’ll want it to look good!

How Much Does It Cost To Build An E-commerce Website?

For an e-commerce website, you can still go down the “DIY” route if you’re inclined to do so. You will find a fair few options for the build it yourself style e-commerce platforms, Squarespace, or Shopify, are very popular starting choices. They’re easy to get used to and to start developing from scratch.

Again, as with any website project, there are a variety of factors to consider before you choose your platform:

  • What product are you selling, how many products, are their product variations?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • How will you accept payments?
  • Does the build-it-yourself platform you want to use allow your product?*

* Some systems, such as Shopify, won’t allow products like electronic cigarettes or CBD/Hemp products for example.

Once you’ve decided on the basics, we would suggest you start talking to a web design agency about your project. There will be a lot of things that you potentially haven’t thought of yet, and a good agency will help you to plan out the details, and we all know the devil is in the details.

E-Commerce Components Things to Consider

Once your e-commerce website has been built and it’s up and running, there are some things that you will want to know. To be able to run a successful e-commerce business, you should how these components work or how to do them yourself:

  1. Products
    How easy will it be to modify products, add new products or remove products in the future? Will you be able to do this yourself in the future? Or do you need a maintenance contract with your agency? Will there be additional costs each time you want to change something?
  2. Orders
    How will you be alerted for orders on your website? Is there a fulfilment requirement that needs to be added? How do you complete an order, on your website, once it has been dispatched? How will your customers be updated when you process and dispatch the order? Can you refund an order if there is an issue with it? If the products are digital, how will the product be delivered?
  3. Payments
    Where can you track payments? How do you get the money? In what intervals – is it instant, within 30 days, etc? If you need to refund a payment, can you do so easily?
  4. Users
    Can users create an account on your website? If so, can they see their previous orders? Can they store payment details? How are their personal and payment details kept secure? Do you have their permission to send them marketing materials after, and can you provide that information as per GDPR requirements in Europe?
  5. Ongoing Digital Marketing for your e-commerce website
    How does your website connect with your digital marketing channels, such as social media, email newsletters, analytics, conversion tracking etc? Always remember, if we can’t measure the success of something, then we can’t improve it.

When choosing an agency, or when deciding to build your own website, you’ll want to keep these things in mind. There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes on a website, and it isn’t always clear how all these things work.

Finding a partner, an agency you can trust, to help you build your e-commerce website is invaluable for a business, especially at the early stages. Knowing that you can pick up the phone and ask them a question for example, without expecting a bill in return.

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

Some providers will offer amazing deals. You might have seen it before: an ad will say something like, e-commerce website from £497.00! Please note the “from”. Chances are, as you ask for additional features, more changes, technical or performance related requests, you’ll find your bill starts to get bigger and bigger. Worse, is if you find out the additional costs after the project has already started.

You’ll want to find an agency that will take into consideration all the factors, your requirements, the technical requirements on the back end and more. There will be things that you haven’t even considered yet, and an experienced agency will include them in a comprehensive brief. That means you know exactly what you are paying for.

How much does an e-commerce website cost? Well, with us at Social INK, an e-commerce website will cost you a few thousand pounds depending on features. But here’s something to consider. When you talk to an agency, like ourselves, we will work with you to develop a plan for your website that fits your overall digital marketing strategy. You’ll have a website that’s ready to take advantage of all the digital sharing, review, and advertising options out there.

You see, as far as we’re concerned, your new website is just like a shop window. When you first build it, most people won’t come in. No footfall means no customers. So as you get found by more and more people, you need a shop front that you love, that you can easily modify, and that will grow with your business.

If you would like to discuss a website project or an e-commerce project, feel free to contact us directly on [email protected]

Chris Bruno
Chris Bruno

Chris, founder and CEO of Social INK, has devised and consulted on more digital marketing and social media marketing campaigns than you can shake a stick at. He’s also got a bit of a thing for online advertising and social media advertising.