Don’t Spend Too Much on Website Design!

Written By Paul Skelton

On 5 Dec, 2022
Yep, we said it!
Dont spend too much on website design - woman working out a quote from a local Mansfield based web design company

We’ve also said before and we’ll say it again, every business needs a website, however, the cost to build a website is a tricky one without having all the details.

Without one, it will be impossible to concentrate your advertising endeavours, build enquiries and leads or scale your business. 

Your website should always be at the core of your business, it should be kept fresh and always reflect your company, its values, products and services. 

But if you have a really old and outdated site it may be time to go back to the drawing board and get a new one developed.

How much should you spend on website design?

It’s a common question that we get asked on a daily basis.

Depending on your objectives, you could make a site around £0-£500 if you do it yourself using a free web builder. 

Whilst many other typical businesses using a website developer could spend on website design, anywhere upwards of a couple of thousands into the tens of thousands of pounds.

Although the average cost of website design for small business can vary dramatically, the website design cost UK should really be what you can happily afford.

It may be obvious, but the majority of the cost comes in due to the complexity of the site and the time taken to get the site in a state that you’re happy with and your user’s experience is spot on.

So in theory, the bigger the site, the more complex the functions, and the more it will cost if you pay a web design company. 

The goal is not to spend too much on website design due to bad planning.

But, how do you know whether what you’re being quoted is fair or vastly over charged?

Free do-it-yourself with a web builder vs getting a web designer to create you a website

Nowadays, if you have a computer and access to the internet you could try and build a ‘free’ website in-house.

However, the word ‘free’, normally comes with a few strings attached!

Towards the end of your journey in building your own site, you will possibly start noticing, that although you can build a site for free, costs will start to creep in.

For example:

  • You may have to pay for hosting 
  • Paying for email can be additional 
  • The domain name may be owned by them not you
  • Your online sales may have a commission attached that you have to pay
  • The bandwidth of the server may be really limited to ensure you soon hit limits to be cornered into going on a paid tier
  • Plugins and functions could cost you or have an annual subscription free

There are many other ways that ‘free’ web builders try and slip under the cost radar to charge you.

Realistically, think about it. 

Why would any profit-focused company offer you everything for free for good, how would they survive as a business?

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. 

dont spend too much webdesign developpement image 1 - Midas Creative

So a web developer is best?

Not in every case, if your budget is very limited, to begin with, and you want to get online as cheaply as possible, free web builders can offer an incredible way to do this.

Although web builders generally use sales methods that restrict your site. Trying to lure you into using their paid offerings. 

That’s their long-term goal, they aren’t a charity.

Let’s use a quick imaginary scenario. 

You have been quoted £2100 by a web developer to build a website. 

You feel that is too much and opt to use a free web builder. 

Without naming the web builder (one of the most trusted) their basic ecom package starts at £15 per month and they charge 3% of any transaction you make. 

So let’s assume you sell £25k in your first year, you would pay £180 in monthly fees and £750 transaction charges, that’s £930 in year one alone. 

You don’t have to be a mathematician to realise that in a few years that will soon add up to a lot more than paying a web developer. 

Now, of course, you’re probably now saying “you’re a web company you’re going to say that”. 

That is true, however, most if not all free web builders, like to charge you a monthly cost that you can swallow, for the long term. 

If that wasn’t the case then why do the majority of web builders offer a “build a website for free” offer and then on their sites you will see a page dedicated to pricing?

The final thought or more like a word of warning here is that, once you opt to use a ‘free’ web builder, you’re basically tied to them. 

Should you want to leave, everything you have done with your website will need to be scrapped and start again elsewhere.

Remember their goal is your long-term use of their services!

So are there pitfalls with using a web developer?

Absolutely – no sugar-coating it here!

Here are a few things to be aware of.

Trust and whitewashing you

Now, most web companies will know you’re approaching them for a new website, as you probably don’t have the knowledge and skill set to do it yourself. 

Building websites can be complex and they know that. 

Something that could take a developer, let’s say three hours maybe get quoted to you as two days worth of work. You probably wouldn’t have a clue. 

Something straightforward tasks could be exaggerated.

They could have a cut-and-run approach

Some companies, don’t necessarily care about you and your business. 

They want to make a fast amount of money and cut and run. They may use a template that has been used 100 times by them and bang the website together. 

Ta-dah your new website is ready but they haven’t really been bothered with how it helps your business achieve in the long term. 

Be really mindful of any company that asks for full payment upfront, a sensible deposit of around 25-50% is the industry norm to get a project started. With planned stage payments made at significant milestones. You pay as you can see the project moving forwards. 

Very loose quotations or a price without knowing your goals

If you get a quote that has little detail or is very ambiguous, start asking questions. They could add, extras on down the line and costs for more work that wasn’t expected.

Also if you find a company that charges a set fee without even understanding what you need and the web brief involved, they are also ones to watch. 

For example, let’s say you need some architectural plans drawn up and you see an offer for £999 for the complete service. 

Would you seriously expect that to be true if you wanted 100 bedroom hotel designed as opposed to a small kitchen extension?

The same goes with getting a website built by a web company, if you see offers like this, delve much deeper into them.

The websites are either put together extremely fast or come with lots of restrictions.

A web designer should be able to a rough website price list on a typical site design, e.g. e-commerce website design starts from £2500 for example.

Charging an hourly rate

This follows from the above point. 

Now we know above that we have said that time is mainly what you are paying for, however, if you are simply told that they charge £x per hour with no full estimation for the project you won’t have a leg to stand on. 

Will it take, 10 hours, a week, a month? 

Scope and costs could easily spiral.

After speaking to your web design company and they fully understand what you need, they will have a very good idea of how long it should take and what the costs are likely to be. 

They should give you this figure on a quote broken down with everything you will actually get.

As we mentioned earlier, the average cost of website design for small businesses in UK will vary but with a good web design brief the costs shouldn’t spiral

Control and ownership

Try not to fall into the trap of control and ownership of everything they do. 

Ensure you own the domain, you understand the hosting of the website and how updates, improvements and general maintenance will be handled post-launch. 

We have seen many times, that customers have come to use it when they have used other companies that have gone bust and they can’t access their website or their current company won’t allow them to access the admin side. 

Also, make a point of asking if changes need to be made in the future to the site, how will they be done and how will they charge you if you can’t do it yourself.

dont spend too much webdesign developpement plan image 1 - Midas Creative

How to keep costs as low as possible when using a web developer

There are a few hints and tips we can give before you select a web developer and also whilst working with your chosen supplier. 

Do your homework

Before you pick up the phone or send an email requesting contact do some research. This is probably the most important point.

Check out online reviews of the companies, and look on places like Facebook, Google Business Profile or Trustpilot to name just a few. If they have a lot of mediocre or bad reviews, scrub them from your list.

Visit their own websites, if they have a portfolio page, find who the clients are and give them a quick call to find out how the design company are in real life. 

Doing initial research it won’t necessarily save you money, however, you have a much better chance of finding a trusted company that won’t try and pull the wool over your eyes from a cost and work perspective. 

Speak to a few companies

Do this for a few reasons really, when we say speak, actually speak not just email them. 

You really want to talk to them to get a feel for them. Are they interested in your business? Do they ask you questions? Could you work with them?

Also by speaking to a company you will hopefully get a lot of ideas and input from them. Possibly things or problems that you hadn’t thought about, also an idea to improve what you want the site to do. 

Once you have spoken to them, ensure everything that you discussed and want is emailed and also their responses are documented too.

As a final note on this point.

Before you even pick up the phone, have a document of what you want the site to do. It doesn’t have to be in our terminology.

For example, you may want a brochure website for your accountancy business however the site may need to be able to allow a customer to reserve spots in your diary or have a live chat function.

Having this info handy will help give your web designer more background and help them provide you with a firm quote.

Engage with a few web design companies

Now, this is similar to the above point and it’s a basic one. 

It may seem like a laborious task but when initially looking for a web designer, contact three or four to begin with. 

Weed out anyone you get bad vibes from. Also if their quotes seem higher than what you had in mind, talk to them…..we don’t bite!

By doing this you should get a feel for them and like most good web design companies, they should be able to tell you if your budget is unrealistic.  Perhaps they will be able to offer you other ways to achieve a similar goal to what you had in mind at a lower cost.

Understand the companies skills

When working with a developer, try and figure out what additional services you may need and whether they offer these. 

A few examples would be 

  • If you need some photo work done to your images are they able to offer photo editing?
  • Can they offer you copywriting services or content services?
  • Do they offer SEO help and advice?
  • Can they help you maintain the site and what are the costs?

It’s better that you find a company that can do most of what you need in-house. When working with the same company they should understand exactly what you want as they know you better and what your needs and goals are. 

It will help keep costs lower working with one company than getting multiple companies to work on various elements

Compare quotes

Again, this may sound like an obvious one, however, there is a bit more to it. 

Don’t just look at the final price quoted. Investigate what the quote includes in the details, if other estimates don’t mention something, go back and ask questions. 

The point here is, like all businesses we all work in different ways and may include things as standard and possibly not mention them in the quote. Some companies may include everything to blindside you so you think “oh they offer a lot more for the price”.

Remember to actually compare the detail not just the price and ask questions. 

Doing this now will ensure you don’t end up with any nasty price increases down the road. With  you expecting something that was included but your designer didn’t know or understand this.

Understand how payments are to be made

As we mentioned earlier, paying a deposit is the norm to book time with a web company before the project starts. 

Staged additional payments (depending on the size of the site and quote) are also usually expected when parts of the project are delivered. 

For example, you could be asked for a payment when the initial design of the website is delivered. These payment stages should be made known to you before you even work with a developer.

If a company asks for full payment upfront be very wary!

Also, as a final cost-saving point, don’t be scared to ask for a discount or a less expensive way of achieving a similar outcome. 

Most of us are skilled professionals with years of experience and should be able to help you approach the site in a different way if your budget is stretched. 


We have tried to give you some ideas and tips that should help you keep the costs lower when working with a web developer. 

 Depending on your business and budget, we may not be the right option, to begin with. A free web builder could be a great starting point and give you exactly what you need. 

 We don’t want to get all gushy, but some web companies, like us, will even be happy to offer you some feedback and advice, even if you’re not going to work with us. 

 If you have any thoughts or comments we would love to hear from you.



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