What is the difference between a £1k and £100k website?

Tomasz Kwiatkowski - Senior Developer

Websites. In today’s world, pretty much any B2B or B2C business needs one. It’s considered a hygiene factor now. If you don’t have one, customers can think you are not established, not serious, perhaps a fly-by-night.

Whether you have a new business and you understand the need to exist online, you want to improve your brand recognition, or your eshop is not performing as well as those of your competitors’, you’re probably considering getting a new website. And there are so many options!

There are do-it-yourself tools like Wix where you can seemingly create a website for free. There are small digital designers or independent developers who will quote you £1,000, and then there are custom, fully designed UX platforms that can range from £10,000 to pretty much any number you can think of, depending on which bells and whistles you want.

  • So, what really is the difference between that £1k website and a £100k website? 
  • A website is just a website after all, right? 
  • What justifies the higher investment point for a business?

Should you get a website for as little money as possible and invest your savings in other areas of your business or should you go all in? If you’re asking yourself that question, you’re in the right place! Keep reading to learn more about the differences between high and low value websites.


Not all websites are built the same.

The lower end budget website is usually based on ready-made templates for Wordpress or other open-source CMS platforms. There’s plenty available online for as little as £35, and they will have some subtle customisations so your website doesn’t look exactly the same as the one made two months ago for another customer. 

Of course, you need to add some different photography from Shutterstock or iStock to more or less fit your business sector and - most importantly - budget, and a day or two for installing and setting up some readily available plugins, and that’s it. Job done.

Perfect, right?

Not all websites perform the same

A website needs to do something for your business, other than serve as a beautiful static showcase. It should actively contribute to your marketing objectives, deliver in-bound leads, act as a primary source of lead generation or drive revenue. 

A critical part of any website build should be geared towards technical search optimisation.

Getting your brand in front of the right person at the right time in order to encourage the right behaviour are all aspects connected with Search Marketing.

How you build your website, how you structure your content, tag your images and consider your conversion goals all need to be properly considered. Search needs to be part of the build, not dealt with as an afterthought.

Many of the quick and easy website templates allow for basic Search plug-ins but there is much to be gained from custom, strategically implemented Search that has set goals and KPIs.

Investing in keyword research, technical site audits, analytics reviews and implementations, and giving thought to conversion optimisation all form part of the more custom website build and they can reap dividends in terms of generating results.

Ensuring a properly set-up Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager account can ensure a business gets useful website insights into its audience’s behaviour online, allowing a business to adjust, adapt and deploy effective marketing activities accordingly.

Okay, you might say, there are always PPC campaigns I can pay for... 

Let’s say you managed to reach your audience that way, but it turns out that your website isn’t easy to navigate, your users can’t find the relevant information soon enough and then leave without finding any call to action. Or let’s say you need to turn your PPC spend off or reduce it at some point, and then you watch your website traffic take a nosedive.

Either way you might end up losing more money. 

Not all websites allow for seamless integrations

Would you like to capture data from your website such as newsletter sign-ups, enquiry forms? How about linking your data straight to a simple marketing automation platform such as Mailchimp or Hubspot? Perhaps you need to manage online payments through your website?

If you want to integrate your website to those kinds of third party systems, you need the flexibility of API integration, which most off-the-shelf solutions don’t accommodate. Some CRMs or ecommerce platforms will allow for existing integrations but, very often, the basic functionality is all you get. 

If you need something more such as click and collect, printing shipping labels for customer returns or integrating some custom forms, then this all needs custom build work by developers.

A custom CRM is just that: custom to your needs and requirements. Off-the-shelf varieties can either be too restrictive, complicated, generic or you can end up with a host of functionalities that are just not needed. Custom functionality allows you to build what you need. 

And custom development opens up such a wealth of existing, audience engaging opportunities:

  • Virtual walk-throughs

  • Interactive gifographics, maps

  • Embedded videos, animations, illustrations

  • Custom enquiry forms

  • Social shares, feeds

  • Integrations to CRM, payment, marketing automation platforms

  • Insightful data and reporting

And so much more…


You get what you pay for

When choosing to invest in a higher value website, what you’re really paying for is years of experience and the expertise of people who may already understand your sector and who can help your business reach its full potential. 

You are paying to take your incredibly valuable brand and make it just as distinct and valuable in its online space. You need your website to reflect YOUR business needs and proposition, and answer the needs of your audiences.

It’s very important to choose the right company or agency to help you craft this platform; think of them as an extension of your team, since you’ll be working together for the foreseeable future. 

You’ll receive a clearly laid out timeline of the project, along with ongoing communication from the very beginning until the very end. You’ll end up with a polished product which was thoroughly considered from many aspects. The process makes all the difference.

Custom websites, such as the ones we build at The Escape, take a mobile-first, Google-compliant and best practice approach. They are informed by insight and audience-led UX, with functionality determined by needs and required websites goals and KPIs.

It’s not just a template made up to look like your brand. It is something that has been custom created to deliver measurable business value and ROI.

Process - the difference.

Here’s how we deliver successful, award-winning websites to our clients. (Pssst! This is our secret recipe so don’t tell anyone!)


  • Understanding the business, the audience, the industry, your competitors and the position of your business within the market (sector analysis). We invest time with our clients to truly understand their landscape and their particular needs and challenges

  • Crafting a brand purpose

  • On occasion we may advise to refresh your brand to improve your web presence

  • Project timeline and budget scope

Setting goals 

  • What problems should the website solve?

  • How can we measure the success of the new website (conversions, leads, brand recognition)?

User journeys

  • Sitemap and UX

  • Conversion rate optimised journey mapping

  • Interactive prototypes and user testing

Tailored design

  • Unique design, messaging and tone of voice based on your branding principles and your audience definition

  • We ensure people remember you by designing impactful and creative visual systems and narratives

  • Balance of brand and UX. The website needs to be easy to use and the brand must not be overpowering; we make them work together

Bespoke build

  • Our expert team of software developers will consider many different technologies and find the right one for you, from a custom-built CMS tailored around unique designs to off-the-shelf solutions with uniquely tailored templates and bespoke components

  • We make sure your website is secure and fast, can even work offline and, of course, delivers strong UX across mobile, tablet and desktop

  • We understand that the website should convert, so in all our builds the SEO is not an afterthought

Keeping you in the loop throughout the process

  • A dedicated Account Manager, to be your go-to point of contact throughout the project, will keep you updated with weekly status reports

  • The Project Manager ensures deadlines, milestones and overall project timelines are met and ensures a live client-facing Trello board so that there is complete transparency of day-to-day project process and progress


So, how much should you spend on a website?

An off-the-shelf, template build website isn’t a bad choice, if that is what your business needs. We cater to both the easy, ‘quick win’ website and the more custom, design-led website build project.

However, be careful and consider the long term view of what you need digital platforms to deliver for your brand over the weeks, months and years to come. This is why we will always encourage clients to workshop any digital project with our team before committing to a project build.

Digital is critical and websites are a powerful tool for businesses to leverage.

Whether building a platform from scratch, or needing to take a critical, honest look at your current platform, there is a difference in the value invested and the flexibility and results you’ll get from the website once it is live.

Do you need a website platform, or perhaps it’s time your current platform had a thorough spring clean? Get in touch with our Client Services team and chat to them about what you need from your digital environment.

Begin your move to more

We can build your competitive advantage and achieve your business ambitions through brand-led, multi-channel customer experiences