What is the average cost of website design in the UK?

This article compares the cost of the various website design options in the UK. We'll look at building your own website, hiring a professional freelancer, or contracting a design agency. We'll weigh up the price and the level of service of each and give you the information you need.

Contributed by Molly Raymer and edited by Stephen Cleary

If you’ve had limited experience managing a website, the idea of building or designing one can seem daunting and expensive. It’s important to spend time doing your research, as with almost anything, getting a website built or building one yourself can differ wildly depending on who you use, what you want your website to look like and which functions you need. This blog post explores the average cost for web design in the UK, from all-singing all-dancing websites created by big agencies, to taking a DIY approach and making it yourself with a website building platform (e.g. Wix, Squarespace or Weebly).

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What functions does your website need?

The best place to start is thinking about what you’ll be using your website for. If you simply want a website to host basic business information, such as an overview of what you offer and how to contact you, you could get away with a basic brochure website you can create yourself. Platforms such as Wix or Squarespace have become increasingly popular over the past few years, as owners only need to pay for domain hosting which can cost anything from £0-1,000. However, what you save in money you lose in time, effort and creativity.

A custom brochure website is the next step up, and can host a fair amount of business information. You can showcase your product more professionally than a basic brochure website, and often can integrate with social media platforms and Google Analytics. For a custom brochure website, you will probably want to hire a developer, and again, although costs will differ (more on this in a minute) you need to be prepared to spend anything between £1,000-5,000 to build your website.

An e-commerce or custom feature website goes one step further and allows customers to buy from your website. With the number of people buying online sky rocketing during the Covid-19 pandemic, for many businesses a slick e-commerce website is a no-brainer. Because they have more complex functionality, this is reflected in the pricing for e-commerce websites. As a minimum you can expect to spend around £2,500-5,000 on a professional e-commerce website, with this climbing up towards £25,000 for a large-scale, website with a complex database and management system behind the scenes.

Website design studio Berkshire | Clear Design
Mobile view of an e-commerce website built by Clear Design

Who do you want to build your website?

Obviously the kind of website you want will play a part in who will create your website, as the more complex your website is, the more likely you will want a professional involved. We’ve previously written a blog post about the pros and cons of going DIY and using a website hosting platform by yourself. As we’ve already covered doing the work yourself, this article is going to focus more closely on the price of using a freelancer or a design agency.

A freelancer is most likely to take on the bulk of the work themselves, with expert knowledge in most fields. The benefit of using a freelancer is that you can often work very closely with the individual, ensuring they understand your business needs and create a totally bespoke website. However, as a freelancer is likely to be one individual potentially working on several projects at a time, your own project might take slightly longer to finish. That being said, several freelancers now operate at a faster pace through hiring temporary contractors for larger jobs so they can handle several client projects at once. 

Freelancers vary in price, and be wary of someone advertising their skills cheaply- if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Depending on the size of your website design you can expect an experienced freelancer to charge £200-300 per day, or £30-50 an hour. For an extra fee, some web designers will also be able to design logos and other graphics that can contribute to the formulation of an engaging, consistent brand identity. Pro tip, we also recommend you look out for freelance website designers with an understanding of in-built keyword search engine optimisation (SEO) so you can look to get your website high up in Google’s search results.

Freelance website designer | Clear Design
A website designer at work. Credit: Campaign Creators

If you are willing to spend more money, or have a complex website you need designing in a short space of time, you might want to work with a design agency. Agencies will often have more than one person working on a project, meaning it often can be made in a shorter turn around. They also tend to have a bigger, broader clientele, with plenty of experience, meaning you can be confident they’ll create a website that meets all your requirements. Agencies tend to be very knowledgeable when it comes to marketing and SEO, which will prove invaluable for your business. 

However, this additional experience and quicker working time is reflected in the price you can expect to pay. Depending on the size and reputation of an agency, you can expect to spend anything from £75 to £200 per hour, or £300 to £1,000 a day. That’s a lot of money, but agencies will often cover “hidden” fees, like hosting or ongoing maintenance- it’s worth establishing exactly what the costing covers before you agree to anything.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, the question you need to ask yourself is what matters most to you. If you want a bespoke website with high functionality, you are much better off working with a freelance website designer, or stretching your budget to a design agency. Although the initial costs might appear high, you are paying for invaluable expertise, and a service that will benefit your business for years to come.

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Stephen Cleary - Graphic Designer Profile
Stephen Cleary is an experienced Brand & Website Designer and the founder of Clear Design. He specialises in creating memorable brands and captivating websites that help businesses connect to their customers. View Stephen’s portfolio or get in touch.
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