Why are bespoke websites so expensive?

Heather Tull

Who you use and the scope of your project will determine just how much your new website will cost.

If you’ve not worked on a website project before, the blog above is a definite must-read.

It’ll let you know the differences between a high-cost & low-cost website, and WHY there is such a difference in pricing.

The kind of bespoke websites I’ll be talking about in this blog

These are some important things to note, before reading on:

  • You can pay millions for a website, but I’m not going to be talking about those beasts
  • I’m going to be talking about websites for SMEs
  • Typically between 10-50 pages in size
  • With no e-commerce

Does the above sound like the kind of website you need for your company?

Please read on….. it’ll take you about 5 minutes.

TL;DR (Too long; didn’t read)

  • Bespoke websites are expensive, in our case (as a small web agency) typically between 15-30k
  • The quality of your copy is key to the success of your new website
  • It needs to speak to your target audience and their painpoints
  • Expect to pay between 1-4k for your website copy
  • Quality photography is essential for your website, avoid stock imagery where possible
  • Expect to pay between 1-5k for your website photography

You’re armed with your website quotes

You’ve got the quotes in for your new website – probably from 2 or 3 different agencies.

Your FD Brian wants to know why he’s having to fork out 15-30k for it.

Your Marketing Director Karen wants to know who you think is best for the job, and why.

As a Marketing Manager, the dream is quality leads coming out of your ears.

You want to smash your KPIs, get that promotion, and tick the next destination off your bucket list.

Am I right?

Emily in Paris saying lets get happy, ready to smash her next marketing campaign.


Your new website can help you achieve this, but before you let your FD know how much it’s all going to cost, you NEED to be sure.

It’s easy to overlook or underestimate elements of a website project, especially the content.

You don’t want to be approaching Brian for an extra 5k mid-project, that won’t go down well.

And, more importantly, you don’t want to sacrifice on quality, because you didn’t allow enough budget.

Boy sitting at computer with thumbs up, having seen a quality website.

The planning phase for your website project

If your web agency doesn’t talk to you about the planning phase, cross them off your list straight away.

Anyone who wants to get stuck straight into designs isn’t going to deliver for you.

We typically spend between 4-6 weeks on the planning phase of a new website project.

What’s involved in the planning phase?

  • Research (target market, industry & competitor)
  • Site Map Creation
  • Wireframe Creation

Now, I’m not going to go into each of these in loads of detail.

1 – because I’ll bore you

2- because it’s a blog for another day

BUT, the key point to take away from the planning phase is that it takes time. Time = Money.

And it’s time that is crucial.

Your strategy lead will work on all of the above, and this work will ensure we build you a website that delivers results.

If no one’s in charge of the strategy for your new website – it’s a recipe for disaster.

Your website content is going to cost you

I’m not going to sugarcoat this, because what’s the point?

I want to give you an honest insight into what content you will need, and what it’s going to cost.

For your new website to be successful, you’ll need the following main pieces of content:

  • Imagery
  • Copy
  • Videography (if you have the budget)

Now, you’re not investing in a new website because your current website is excellent are you?

Chances are, it’s a bit shit, and that’s why you need a new one.

It’s not bringing in leads, and you’re fed up with it.

With this in mind, you’ll need a full rewrite of your website copy.

It’s probably at least 5 years old and doesn’t speak to your target audience anyway.

And you’ll need brand-new imagery too, for the whole site (not just new team headshots)

Videography is expensive. There’s no way around that. But, if you’ve got the budget, I’d definitely recommend investing in a few quality videos.


Brian, keep your hands off the website copy!

Please, I’m begging you on this one. Invest in a professional copywriter.

It’s a collaborative process.

You know your target audience best, and your chosen copywriter needs to know all about them too.

No one within the business (and definitely NOT Brian) should be medalling with the website copy.

You can spend thousands on a beautifully designed website, but if the copy doesn’t speak to your target audience, it’s not going to convert for you.

What a waste of money that would be.

Your copywriter will make sure that your website copy does just this. Brian will not.

How much does website copy cost?

Copywriters are charging £45-£65 per hour, and £250-£300 per full day.

Professional copywriting services for websites (of the size and scope we’re talking about here) typically start from £1000 and go up to around £4000.

This is in the South East of England, costs will understandably vary across parts of the UK.

So, be sure to factor in a good budget for your new website copy.

Man sat at his desk counting out the pennies he has set aside for his low cost website.

Have professional photography throughout your website, always!

Finding the right photographer who:

  • Can deliver on your brief
  • Has experience with the type of imagery you need
  • Produces quality, edited images
  • Comes highly recommended
  • Is within your budget

Isn’t always an easy task. But, there are plenty of brilliant photographers out there.

Make sure the imagery on your new website is quality and represents your brand well.

All too often people don’t put enough budget aside for photography, and this will really show in the end result.

We find that clients sometimes focus too much on the professional headshots of the team.

But then less thought (and budget) is left for the remaining images across the website. Not good. Don’t do this.

How much does website photography cost?

Depending on how many headshots you need, and how many additional images you need for your website, you can expect to pay anywhere between £1k-£5k for your website photography.

Most professional photographers are very good at being transparent with their pricing on their websites. (Recruiters, take note)

Some price per image, some price based on their time.

Invest in a great photographer, and always consider if you need additional imagery for your future marketing too.

Designing your new website

Right, so we’ve planned out your new website.

You’ve got your finalised website copy.

You’ve got all of your imagery.

All of these things will make your designer VERY happy.

It makes his/her job so much easier if all your content is ready to go.

How much of the website cost is spent on design?

A massive chunk of your overall website cost is going to be spent on the design phase.

As a Marketing Manager, you’ll know that the creative elements of your role are time-consuming and hard.

Sometimes ideas take days to come to you, and it’s no different with designing a website.

Depending on the size and scope of the website, typically you can allocate anywhere between 3-10k of the total project cost to the designs.

Building your new website

With most projects, development is the longest phase.

Which is a good job really, as it gives you a breather to finalise your marketing plan ahead of launch.

Not only has your developer got to build the entire website.

He/she has also got to then test & fully optimise it for all devices too.

If you’ve got a 50-page website with a variety of integrations, forms & plenty of functionality, it’s going to take a while.

How long is a while? Typically anywhere between 4-8 weeks.

Included in that time is detailed checking and testing of your new website by your Project Manager.

They’ll need to ensure that every single page your developer has built, matches the design exactly.

How much of the website cost is spent on development?

This one is a bit harder to answer, as it tends to vary more than design cost.

However, I think it’s safe to say that you can allocate around a third of your new website cost to the development phase of the project.

So, this is why bespoke websites are so expensive

You’re paying for expertise.

A team of around 5 – 10 people will work hard to create your new bespoke website.

Your team will most likely look like this:

  • Project Manager
  • Strategy Lead
  • UX/UI Designer
  • Design Lead
  • Developer
  • Copywriter
  • Photographer

The end result is an awesome new website that will generate your business more leads, and provide you with a return on your investment.

Want to discuss your website project with our expert team?

Ryan would be more than happy to help, send him an email and he’ll be in touch within 2 working days [email protected].