There’s a question that I frequently get asked and that is how much will a website cost me? If you search “web design uk” in Google you’ll be presented with plenty of sponsored listings titled things like: “web design for only £249? or cheaper.  For small businesses or individuals this’ll no doubt be a pretty tempting offer.  Trouble is not many people understand how much work is involved in decent web design.  Here’s a quick, very basic breakdown of everything required to get a complete website launched:

The Design Stage:

  1. Recieve brief for new website
  2. Send over a quote/agree on a price for the project, recieve deposit
  3. Look at the content, and sketch out a plausable layout/wireframes which works with the given content for each page
  4. Mock these up in Photoshop/other image editing program
  5. At this point we haven’t even started ‘designing’, we’ve just layed out a usable presentation of content
  6. Design an inital mockup which gives us the general ‘look’ of the site which compliments our wireframes [consider any current branding, or create new brand image folloing logo design]
  7. Some clients will require 1-3 or more designs to choose from.
  8. Send over initial first mock ups
  9. If client is happy design each page following the same layout and design based on chosen design mockup
  10. Add finishing touches send over to client for further approval before HTML conversion

Coding Stage:

  1. Start slicing up the final designs and building into HTML
  2. If targeting specific keywords, which are known build to enforce these
  3. Upload to a testing server make sure al rollovers etc are as client expected
  4. Test test test – in all major browsers, amend until the coded site looks exactly like the PSD sent to client previously.

Development Stage:

  1. Depending on whether the client required a CMS/e-commerce or static HTML site progress to the development stage
  2. Code in using PHP or chosen language
  3. Setup all databases
  4. Test test test again to make sure all code is functioning as expected

Setup Stage and Maintenance:

  1. Upload to clients server, or setup server for them if they’re not sure how
  2. Send instructions how to use CMS/setup meeting explaining everything
  3. Most web designers should offer some form of maintenance, this doesn’t come free.

As you can see a  lot more goes into a complete website than most people think, and this is accounting for font selection, copywriting, SEO, javascript implementation and various other extras.  A high quality website should contain all of these and if you think it sounds too cheap, it probably is!  You get what you pay for.

As a UI/frontend designer I maybe slightly biased, but I hear of lots of people who think they can design too.  Because design is so subjective everyone has an opinion and therefore they believe they could do better, or it’s easy.  I beg to differ, it takes years of practice and experience to be able to produce a quality, workable design.

So next time you see cheap web design, ask yourself why is it so cheap?  What have they cut out of the above to bring the price down? A good way to look at it is as an investment, what ROR will I get if I go for a higher quality build?