A couple of decades ago it was still fairly common for a business not to have a website.
It took a while for some companies to ditch the Rolodex of contacts and a company phone book listing to finally see that there was just no getting around the 21st century way of marketing yourself.
Then Facebook arrived and some businesses then thought that maybe just a Facebook Page was enough (a website within a website?).
But now, not having a website is unheard of. You simply don’t exist as a business if you can’t be found online.
There are few people left on the planet using a phonebook to find a business, and it’s unlikely they’re looking for yours.
Your website says a lot about who you are as a business.
It’s often your very first impression.
So, if a visitor struggles to find the information they need or are confronted with cluttered content, confusing messaging and a visual assault of a neon colour scheme, it’s likely that they’re also quickly exiting the site and doubting whether you can solve their problem in a professional way.
Are there different types of websites?
The short answer is yes.
The long(er) answer is that a website is a website. But there are lots of big, obvious and small, not-so-obvious differences between them.
If you approach an agency for a website quote, then they will ask you what type of website you are looking for, and what you will need the website to do for your business.
But first, let’s look at the most common types:
- Portfolio websites
These are websites that are specially designed to showcase work, like a brochure would before the internet age. These are generally used for strong visual design items like artworks, photos illustrations, web designs.
Portfolio website costs are generally not too high as the only action required will be for a visitor to get in touch, and sometimes that isn’t even necessary if it’s used for job hunting to show prospective employers your previous work.
- Business website
With so many different types of businesses around, this is a broad category, but a business website can be as simple as having a couple of pages telling people what you do and how to contact you, or one with all the fancy moving parts. The cost of a business website will depend on your needs and your budget.
An e-commerce website means an online shop. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a car, a therapy session, a spa voucher for you and your cat, or tickets to the theatre. If there is an online exchange that involves payment, it’s referred to as e-commerce.
This requires technical skill and a clear understanding of payment gateways and security.
Back in early days of e-commerce, these were expensive to build. Today, they still require technical skill, but there are platforms like WordPress with more limited inventories and Magento used for larger companies to scale their business as products are added.
If you have a lot of complex plugin requirements, then this is where you might find a jump in the cost to build a website. These are still priced higher than a simple landing page website, but an e-commerce website where your requirements are simply to sell some products, then a quote for a sleek website can still come in at much less than you might think.
- Magazine and content websites
The idea behind this type of website is to publish news items like blogs, news articles, case studies, etc.
This type of website is usually built as a pre-designed template that can be easily populated with new content. This could be one a week or hundreds of published items a month.
The cost for a website like this depends entirely on your needs.
What does a website cost?
As the common phrase goes, “how long is a piece of string?”
Getting a quote to build a website is not as simple as offering a menu price list.
You can build a simple website yourself for free.
Reputable Content Management Systems can offer templates that you just add content to.
Or you can get a professional developer to build new functionality via coding or plugins to design a site that is uniquely yours, and that does everything like
- manage your SEO
- build e-commerce
- create detailed contact forms,
- add poll and quizzes
- help with site speeds (so your visitors don’t fall asleep waiting for your pages to load!)
- website backups
- chat support
- website analytics
- comment features
There is such a wide variety of options available to you for a website and all of these vary in technical design and buildability, which will affect your cost and the quality of your website.
A simple template without any manual coding requirement is easy to set up at a relatively low cost and with minimal knowledge of web design, but you’ll be limited by way of impressive features and functionality.
This can also be time-consuming if you’re doing it without any understanding of HTML coding or how design elements can positively or negatively affect a customer journey.
Also, if you’re using a free template, it’s highly likely that hundreds of businesses are using the same one which means you lose the necessary element of uniqueness that helps you stand out among your competitors.
On the other side of the scale of website designs are those built by professional agencies.
These websites will cost more to build because a website quote will include all or some of the following, depending on your requirements:
- project managers
- content writers
- search marketers
While your initial spend might be higher than if you did it yourself using a CMS template, you’ll almost certainly see a return on that investment if you can dedicate extra marketing budget to getting a website built by a professional agency.
What else will a quote for a website contain?
There are few costs that you need to be aware of that sit outside of the design and building of a website.
Actually, even if you build your website yourself, you’ll need to take these into account.
- Hosting: In order for your website to actually be seen it needs to be hosted by a server. Some hosting services are free, so why pay? Because everyone knows by now that nothing is free. A free hosting service is paid for the 100s of ads that will be cluttering your website and this includes the name of the host in your URL making it lengthy and unprofessional looking. You’ll also be plagued by downtime or slow speeds that you can (mostly) do nothing about. This leads us neatly into the non-existent customer support. It’s worth paying the monthly subscription, especially as a business. Any one of these issues can severely affect your customer’s online experience and a customer once dissatisfied is usually almost impossible to win over.
- SEO: Your website is designed and published. Great! So, where is it? Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is as important as having a website. Without an SEO strategy, your website will be buried along with that body. And no one will ever find it. You need to market your website as a way of marketing your business. There are likely to be millions of people searching for what you’re selling. That’s really exciting! But there are also a million other business with websites offering the same thing.SEO helps you to rank high on search engine results pages when certain keywords are entered relating to your business.
- Technical support: Even with a high-end website, things can go wrong. And as we’ve mentioned, the quicker you fix anything that goes wrong, the better from a customer experience perspective. So, your website quote might include a retainer for ongoing technical support that can add elements, manage performance analytics or quickly fix glitches.
- Social Media: Social Media Marketing adds an extra opportunity to market to and impress potential customers. Having a good social media strategy and integrating these channels with your website is smart in terms of creating a strong omnichannel approach to your marketing strategy, and this could be added as an additional, optional cost to your website quote.
- Newsletters: This may not sound like it has anything to do with web design, but a website is a perfect place to collect valuable customer data and lead generation. Once you have existing or prospective customers details, this offers the perfect opportunity to nudge them further down the sales funnel with direct marketing like an interesting newsletter or welcome email.
But systems that do this, like Mailchimp, would be added as a separate item on a quote for a website.
Get in touch with us If you’re looking for a new website and would like to get a quote or just to chat about the best solution for your business. We’ll have an initial chat with you just to get an idea of what you’re looking for, in design, and also what you’d like your website to do for your business.
We understand that everyone’s needs and budgets are not the same. So, no hard sales. That’s a Lilo promise!