As you begin to contemplate a new website for your business, one question is likely at the forefront of your mind: What is the price tag? 

Let’s establish something upfront: determining a single, fixed cost for a website is unfortunately not straightforward. Website development doesn’t adhere to a one-size-fits-all model. 

Although this might initially seem unsettling, delving into the intricacies of website cost estimation equips you to make informed decisions about your website’s needs and your financial parameters.

It’s important to be aware that some providers might cut corners to offer cheaper options, but these choices often lead to complications down the road. 

In this article, we’ll explore a range of factors that determine the cost of a website project. 

Key factors influencing website costs

In a broad sense, website costs tend to correlate with the size and complexity of the project. This is primarily due to the amount of labour involved, as well as potential expenses for advanced features.  

At Distl, the factors contributing to the final cost of a website can be categorised into five key areas: 

  1. Discovery and planning 
  2. SEO foundations 
  3. Design 
  4. Development  
  5. UAT and project management  

1. Discovery and planning

In the beginning stages of a website project, our focus is to connect with the client and understand what they want to achieve with their new website. This involves having an inception meeting, which is sometimes split into two parts.  

The inception meeting is like the foundation of a building. Think of it as a conversation where we learn about what the website should do, who it’s meant for, and what actions people should be able to take on the site.  

We ask questions like:  

  • How do you envision the website contributing to your overall business goals? 
  • Are there any unique features or functionalities you have in mind for the website? 
  • Could you provide more insight into the core message or branding you want the website to convey? 
  • Are there any specific design elements or colour schemes that align with your brand identity? 
  • What kind of user experience do you want your target audience to have while navigating the website? 
  • Can you elaborate on the primary CTAs (call to actions) you want visitors to engage with on the website? 
  • In what ways do you expect the website to differentiate you from your competitors? 
  • Are there any specific websites or design styles that inspire you or that you feel are relevant to your industry? 
  • What are some potential challenges you anticipate in terms of user engagement or site functionality? 
  • How do you see the website evolving in the future to accommodate changes in your business or industry?

We transform these gathered insights into a comprehensive “project blueprint.” This acts as our compass, keeping us on course and within the project’s defined scope, ensuring that we meet all expectations. 

2. SEO foundations  

In the absence of search engine optimisation (SEO), your website risks being relegated to the lower ranks of search engine results on platforms like Google. 

Regardless of whether SEO stands as the client’s immediate priority upon engaging our services for a website, we make it a standard practice to incorporate a comprehensive SEO component into every website project we undertake. 

Some clients may already be immersed in marketing activities that lead them to recognise the necessity for a new site. On the other hand, entirely new clients might approach us with a limited understanding of SEO. Irrespective of the scenario, we treat all new websites with the same dedicated approach. 

Our team of SEO specialists dedicates a phase at the project’s outset to establish a solid SEO foundation for the website’s construction. 

Here’s a glimpse into the key tasks we tackle during the SEO phase:

Strategic sitemap: We chart out a website sitemap (you could call it a skeleton) aligned with our keyword research, capitalising on what potential customers are actively searching for online. 

Content optimisation: Every page benefits from optimised content that strategically targets the right keywords, leading to higher rankings on search engines like Google. 

On-page enhancement: We weave in on-page optimisation techniques such as fine-tuned meta tags, URL structures, and headings.  

Technical: We ensure website load speeds are ninja-fast, mobile-responsive, and employ behind-the-scenes SEO techniques such as XML sitemaps, all contributing to an enhanced search engine visibility. 

3. Design 

The design phase frequently stands as the most exciting part of the project for clients. It’s the juncture where we take the initial concept and transform it into a tangible visual experience. The specifics of this phase, including cost and duration, can vary based on whether a client chooses a modular design with predefined boundaries or a fully custom design.  

During this phase, our design team takes the spotlight as they unveil concepts. They work closely with the client to refine a design that captures the essence of the brand. Once this design is solidified, we transition to the development stage. 

4. Development

During the development and coding stage of a website project (the most substantial phase) our web developers play a crucial role in turning the approved design and concept into a fully functioning website.

Here’s a breakdown of what our web developers typically do during this phase:

Backend development: Work on the behind-the-scenes aspects of the website, including the server-side logic, databases, and overall functionality. We use programming like JavaScript (with Node.js) to build the core structure of the website.

Frontend development: This involves creating the user interface that visitors interact with. Our developers use HTML for structuring the content, CSS for styling, and JavaScript for adding interactive elements. They ensure that the website looks and works as intended on different devices and screen sizes.

Content management systems (CMS): We integrate a CMS called WordPress. We customise the CMS to match the design and functionality requirements, making it easier for non-technical users to manage the site’s content.

Custom functionality: Depending on the website’s purpose, our developers might need to implement custom features and functionalities. This could involve creating user registration systems, e-commerce functionality, interactive forms, and more.

Optimisation: We ensure that the website loads quickly and efficiently. We optimise images, scripts, and code to minimise load times, providing a better user experience.

Security: We implement security measures to protect the website from vulnerabilities and potential attacks. This includes measures like data encryption, secure login systems, and protection against common web vulnerabilities.

Responsive design: With the increasing use of mobile devices, we ensure that the website is responsive, adapting seamlessly to different screen sizes and orientations.

Integration: If the website needs to connect with other services or APIs (application programming Interfaces), our developers will handle it. This could involve integrating payment gateways, social media feeds, or third-party tools.

Version control: We use version control systems like GIT to keep track of code changes, collaborate with other team members, and maintain a history of the project’s progress.

Take a moment to explore some of our recent web projects, where you can dive deeper into the various stages of development.

5. UAT and project management

While it might constitute a small percentage of the overall project, its significance cannot be overstated. A project manager acts as the compass, guiding every facet of the process from inception to completion. They oversee timelines, resource allocation, and communication channels, ensuring that every component aligns with the overarching vision, timeline, and client expectations.

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and project management play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of a website project. The process involves subjecting the website to a battery of tests and compatibility checks, a rigorous regimen that guarantees optimal functionality across various devices and platforms.  

Our developers thoroughly test the website on various browsers and devices to identify and fix any issues or inconsistencies. We also perform debugging to catch and correct any coding errors that might affect the site’s functionality. 

While it’s true that thorough testing demands time and resources, the investment is justified by the elevated quality assurance.  

Additional factors to consider

Content creation and migration

A successful website involves more than just coding and design – it’s also about the strategic use of words, images, and videos. High-quality copy and compelling visuals play a pivotal role in making an impact. It’s important to consider the source of your content. Will you be transferring content from an existing website, or are you planning to create new material? Additionally, think about whether a photoshoot is necessary. Will you be utilising images from your current collection, or do you need to invest in stock imagery? Check out our recent guide to investing in photography and videography here

These decisions hold the potential to influence the overall project cost. Your choices should align with your objectives and available resources.

At Distl, we’re well-prepared with a team of proficient copywriters and experienced art directors who can tackle these tasks effectively. To provide you with the best possible website, we offer a separate quote for such services, considering them as distinct from the core website project itself.  

Integrations and functionality

It’s important essential to be open to the potential of additional integrations, features, and functionality for your new website. This is normally established in the initial inception meetings, however it’s not unusual for fresh ideas, new requirements, or industry shifts to come to light as the project unfolds.  

A reputable website service provider recognises the fluid nature of website development and will guide you through all opportunities, evaluating the advantages against their impact on your project’s timeline and budget. 

Here are some popular integrations that we often come across:

Payment gateways: Integrating payment gateway APIs like PayPal, Stripe, or Square allows your website to securely process online payments, enabling customers to purchase products or services directly through your site. 

Social media: APIs from platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram can be used to embed social media feeds, share buttons, or even enable users to log in using their social media accounts. 

Google maps: By integrating the Google Maps API, you can embed interactive maps on your website, helping users locate your physical business or providing directions to events or places of interest. 

E-commerce: Platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce offer APIs that allow you to seamlessly connect your website with e-commerce functionalities, such as product catalogue management and order processing.  

Analytics: Services like Google Analytics provide APIs that can be integrated into your website to track user behaviour, traffic sources, and other valuable insights. 

Email marketing: APIs from email marketing providers like Mailchimp or SendGrid enable you to synchronise user data and automate email campaigns directly from your website. 

Cloud storage: Services like Amazon S3 or Dropbox offer APIs to integrate cloud storage solutions, allowing users to upload, store, and access files directly from your site.  

Authentication: OAuth or OpenID Connect APIs allow users to log in to your website using their existing accounts from platforms like Google, Facebook, or Microsoft, streamlining the registration process. 

Job boards: Integrate a job board API such as Indeed, LinkedIn, or Glassdoor to display real-time job listings directly on your website. This allows visitors to search, filter, and apply for job opportunities without leaving your site.

Looking for a custom website proposal?

At Distl, our team comprises skilled website developers, copywriters, graphic designers, and digital marketing specialists – all under one roof.

If you’re keen on getting a more detailed understanding of the costs for your upcoming website project, feel free to get in touch with us. We would love to chat.

Jelena Giglia

Web Team Lead & Senior Web Project Manager

Emily Smail

Senior Marketing Account Manager