Is 2021 the year to invest in your website?

Is 2021 the year to invest in a new website or redevelop your existing site? Here is our guide to what you need to consider and what you can expect it to cost.

Nowadays, a website is critical for businesses. Your prospects and clients will expect to see a credible and professional online presence, even if this is not a major part of your lead generation strategy. But, where do you start? It can be difficult to unravel the plethora of options available when looking to build a new website or redevelop your existing online presence.

What is involved in developing a new website?

Developing a website can broadly be broken down into the follow key elements:

• Discovery/scoping
• UX & design
• Web development
• Testing and launch

How involved each stage is, will vary based on the complexity of your requirements and your chosen digital partner.

What are key features of a website?

The features will depend on specific requirements, goals and digital strategy. Below are just some of the fundamental features of a website that inevitably impact the cost of a website, but should be considered all the same:

• Intuitive navigation and information architecture to ensure that users can get to relevant content quickly
• Professional UX and design to give a positive impression of your brand and make it easy to interact with your business online
• Strong calls to action, making it clear to users what you expect them to do next in order to maximise conversion
• Testimonials, providing social proof is really important in building confidence with your prospective clients and increasing conversion
• Blog/news, providing up-to-date and valuable content to your audience
• Mobile responsive is critical to ensure your website functions well across different devices and browsers

What is it likely to cost?

Expectations on website costs vary dramatically, partly because there are so many different offerings. With the likes of household names offering simple template solutions, as well as more bespoke enterprise solutions on offer, this guide walks you through the factors involved in determining website cost. There are choices that organisations need to navigate through, that’ll help determine what you are looking for.

We’ve narrowed down some examples of typical website costs below, based on various offerings and scales of projects:

Self build web design tools
Some of these self build platforms are free to start with, but are usually geared towards encouraging an upgrade to paid plans in order to unlock features that you will likely want or need. For example, being able to use your own domain name.

Even on the paid plans these can be very cost effective, from as little as £3 per month for a small starter business and including hosting.

Web template solutions
Off the shelf website templates have come a long way and this can be a very cost effective way of getting a professional looking website for a relatively small investment. There are literally thousands of templates available for platforms such as WordPress and Drupal. There are companies offering these services from as little as £200 up to £1000 + depending on the amount of customisation they are offering.

At the lower end, you can expect to get the template as is but simply swap the content and imagery. At the other end of the scale the themes can be customised in line with your branding, elements added/removed to create a hybrid solution tailored to your needs. Although it requires more technical know-how than self-build tools, at a basic level, setting up a web template can still be done by a non-web developer. This results in a wider range of capabilities on offer. Some templates might look great but without the right expertise, suffer from poor performance, security issues or an inconsistent experience across different devices.

Small business bespoke websites
In this space, there is significant variation in website design costs and there are a lot of choices available. Being bespoke you would expect to see website visuals, which in simple terms are just image files of what your website might look like. You can’t click or navigate the site at this point because the clever behind the scenes coding has not taken place. These visuals are refined based on your feedback before progressing into website development, the process of turning those visuals into a working site.

The price will vary based on a number of factors including (but not limited to):

• How many different page types/designs you need
• Content management choices: Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, Plone, Umbraco
• E-commerce requirements and again platform choice: OpenCart, Magento, WooCommerce, DrupalCommerce
• Features you require; blog, portfolio, testimonials, contact forms, social widgets…
• A bespoke business website could vary from £1,500 to £30,000 and if e-commerce is required this might be anywhere from £5,000 – £60,000.

Enterprise bespoke website
An enterprise site would usually be a larger scale more complex software solution, as opposed to a simple external facing website, although that still forms a part of it. It is likely integrated with one of multiple core business systems such as:

• CRM
• Marketing automation
• Accounts if e-commerce
• Inventory management if e-commerce

There are quite possibly teams of people that manage the site requiring more complex workflows and permissions in order to restrict who can do what and ensure that published content has gone through a quality control process.

Organisations may choose to invest in personalisation technologies in order to tailor experiences to individual user preferences and interests, driving conversions, increasing customer engagement and loyalty.

Infrastructure and high availability hosting services will be more important with a potential need for 24/7 monitoring and support to ensure resilience and uptime. Although hosting would typically be an entirely separate cost from the website build, this will be an important consideration in your choice of digital partner.

Enterprise websites may cost anything from £30,000 – £200,000 and beyond depending on the scale, complexity and required integrations.

How much should you spend on a website?

In a nutshell – it depends on what you’re looking for.

Of course, the type of supplier you choose will play a big part in the cost of a website. Are they a sole trader, a small agency or a large agency? There is no right or wrong here, it depends on your specific needs and how well suited your chosen partner is to meet those.

If your website is not business critical to you and price is a key determining factor then a sole trader may be the most suitable choice. Usually, one individual does not possess all the skills needed and they might rely on other third parties to deliver aspects of the project for you. However, you could benefit from cost savings and still end up with a positive outcome.

A smaller agency likely has a range of skills in-house including design and development and can deliver a professional looking and well-built website.

A larger agency may have a wider range of skills in-house that could benefit your project, offering more strategic thinking and being more capable of delivering and supporting complex enterprise solutions. They are more likely to have dedicated project management and testing teams who help you to plan and deliver a successful project.

Versantus are an award-winning digital agency that help businesses and organisations solve complex technical challenges and exceed commercial objectives, with award winning web design, web application development, custom software development, and mobile apps. New startup, major expansion, fixing your website or just want to find out more about us? Give us a call on 01865 422112 or visit www.versantus.co.uk

Versantus

Versantus is an Oxford-based agency that delivers digital product strategy, design and development services to businesses across all sectors using websites, e-commerce and bespoke software applications.

David Vallance

Business Development Manager

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