Lots of things we buy fall into the "how long is a piece of string" category but website design pricing probably has an even bigger range than most. Prices for a simple web design here in the UK can start in the low two figures but they quickly work their way upwards and, before you know it, there's a slew of add-ons that take you higher above your budget than you'd ever bargained for.
A simple website design could be something like one of the free pages offered across the internet. Whilst some of these designs can look OK-ish, most of them shout out loud that you're a cheapskate. Especially if you haven't even splashed out the price of a cup of coffee to own your domain name.
Free is usually too good to be true and worth avoiding.
Having ruled out free, we're still left with the question of why website design pricing ranges all over the place.
Buying a domain name and getting hosting is relatively cheap. Sometimes you'll get hosting offered by your website designer but it's up to you whether that's a good idea or not. There are pros and cons with it.
The design itself is one of the biggest variables. An off the shelf template can cost anything from zero up to a hundred or so pounds. Some of these template designs can look all right - it's up to you to decide whether one is right for your business.
Then there are the semi-custom designs that involve tweaking an existing design to better suit your company's look and feel. Maybe changing the images or some of the design elements.
Above that, designers can charge anything from a few hundred pounds up to the thousands. You'll get best value if you can be very clear on your website design specification. It often helps to sit in the same room as the website designer and literally breathe down their neck until the first draft is done!
Putting content on your website pages can be easy if your website designer uses a publishing system such as Wordpress. Or it can get more complicated - meaning you'll probably have to go back to your website to get any changes or additions done. Find out what is involved in maintaining your website before you sign a contract, especially if you're on a tight budget.
Writing the content for your website is another expense to consider. You'll need more content than you put on your business card. At a minimum I'd suggest a side or two of A4, typed. If you can write the first draft yourself, so much the better. Otherwise hire in a writer - they can be found quite economically on the web although it's best to get a recommendation from someone who's used them for a project as quality can vary considerably.
Any photos you use in your website design will probably cost money as well. Whether you use stock photos and run the risk of your website looking much the same as everyone else's or you hire in a photographer - the choice is yours. For the small extra cost of an hour or two session, you'll be pleasantly surprised what you can get in the way of original photos which will help your website stand out.
That gives you a clue as to why website design pricing is highly variable. And we haven't even touched on the promotion you'll need to do once your site is alive and viewable!