Web development market is currently oversaturated. The number of companies, both in the UK and abroad grows exponentially. Yet, every person who has ever faced the need to build a website will agree that it might be very difficult to find a good provider, especially if you have a limited budget.
So let’s imagine a situation. You need a website, be it a simple corporate website, an online store, or a full-featured web-based product. You open Google and search for local companies that can help you with this task. The first thing you consider is the cost. The price range might be quite wide, based on the agency itself, the services they offer, and the complexity of the project itself.
As any smart businessman, you don’t want to put the quality of your future website at risk. Yet, you don’t want (or simply can’t afford) to spend six-figure budget on a website either. So, how do you get good quality at a reasonable price? Is it even possible?
Let’s take a closer look at what you will be paying for and try to calculate approximate cost of building a simple website.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website in the UK?
To be honest, there is no right answer to this question. Website development is not a product you can put a price tag on. Instead, you think of this process as a set of services.
Working with a web development agency, you basically hire its employees for a certain period of time. So the final price for having your website built equals to the hourly rate of each team member multiplied by the number of employees and the amount of time each of them spends on the project.
Hourly Rate × Number of Team Members × Number of Hours
In its turn, the hourly rate includes all possible expenses, related to the process of website development, such as salary and perks, administrative costs, potential risks, and, of course, profit margin.
Yet, the amount of services different companies can offer within the same price range might differ. Some will simply put your requirements into code, without spending much time to analyze your business needs or optimize the end product for better performance, both operational and business.
In this case you might end up with a website that is perfectly fine, yet somehow it does not seem to convert the visitors into customers or, even worse, it simply has zero traffic.
To build a website that sells i.e. has a positive ROI, you need to invest additional effort into proper business planning, target audience and competitors’ research, thorough usability optimization, prototyping, UI design, marketing, and even content writing. The process includes dozens of small details, typically overlooked by the business owners who have no tech background. That is why you need to specify what exactly you will get for the price.
On average, UK-based agencies charge from £40 to £130 per hour. Local freelance developers’ rates are slightly lower: about £15 – £70 per hour depending on their experience and tech stack.
While hourly rates and the number of team members are quite easy to understand, another aspect that has a major impact of the website development cost is the amount of work and its complexity. To calculate at least an approximate project cost you need to know how long does it take to build your website/app. Typical software development projects can be roughly divided into three groups, based on their complexity, and thus, duration.
- Small projects – 300 – 600 hours
- Midsize projects – 850 – 1,360 hours
- Large-scale projects – 2,500 – 5,000+ hours
(The given estimates are very rough. The exact time needed to build each specific website might differ, based on its scope, complexity and the team.)
Additional expenses which we won’t discuss in this article might include hosting (£10 – £60 per month), domain name purchase, and any third party integrations you might need, etc. Moreover, you should consider the support and maintenance costs: after the product is launched you might need occasional help from your developers.
One of the most common mistakes in software development is adding too many features to the product from the very beginning. If a company doesn’t have the budget for such a project, this might lead to hiring the cheapest providers and, as a result, poor quality of the end product. Even if you want to build a large-scale project, start small: Implement only the most important functions first. You can add more capabilities later if you need to.
Another popular solution for those who want to save on website development is to use ready-made solutions or website builders. Despite being fairly cheap, these tools are often limited in terms of the available functionality and customization opportunities. And the worst thing is that desired automatization of the processes won’t be achieved.
Onshore vs offshore:
Another popular choice is to outsource the web development to offshore companies. Judging by our experience, for the UK companies, some of the most popular outsourcing destinations are Eastern European countries. Usually considered to be a cost-effective option, agencies in Ukraine, for example, charge on average £30 – £40 per hour for web development and related services.
Despite some criticism, outsourcing is a viable option for businesses that want to keep the costs reasonable, while maintaining high quality of the end product. A dedicated project manager and a local point of contact in the UK will help you overcome any potential drawbacks of outsourcing your website development.
Moreover, with a remote team, you have more flexibility and can focus on your core business, leaving software development activities to specialists.
As for the communication, small time difference allows to sync the work both in-house and offshore for better performance. Thanks to geographical proximity and convenient flight connections, you will be able to visit your development team often for better communication and supervision.
Have you ever invested in software development project that turned to be a complete waste of time and money? Imagine that you have spent months working on a new website for your business. And now it’s the day X: Your website goes live and… nothing happens. Neither today, nor in a month. There is no traffic, no conversion, no ROI.
That kind of a nightmare keeps many business owners up at night. If you want to avoid this disaster and sleep well at night, you should first of all find a reliable technology partner.
Experienced team of professionals can guide you through all the stages of building a profitable website and consult you on how to reduce its cost without sacrificing the quality of the end product.