What's the average cost of a school website?
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School website options
It’s worth comparing all the various options you’ve found for creating your new school website - each will come with a different price tag.
1. Template website design
A website design company might offer you a range of templates to choose from (rather than a bespoke design service, which will obviously cost more). Generally speaking, this will be a selection of designs that can be branded up with your school logo and colours, giving you a school website that matches your school’s look and feel but without being particularly unique.
The downside with this approach is that your website is locked down in terms of what can and can’t be changed. Design elements like news feeds, banner style imagery and menus will be fixed so you’re limited by the design. That said, it may be that you find a template design that ticks all the boxes. So, as long you don’t mind sharing your website design theme with other schools - this may be a great balance of cost/solution for you.
2. Bespoke website design
If you want your school website to be as per your specific brief, then a bespoke school website created by an agency specialising in school website design is your best option.
A bespoke design means you’ll have a unique solution for your school. Depending on the agency, your website can also be bespoke in terms of the Content Management System (CMS), this means nothing is off limits and you’ll be able to have plenty of input into your school website design with a technical solution that fits your exact needs.
Going down this route should also mean you’ll have a dedicated account manager who’ll actually come and see you to assess your needs. This personal consultancy is really important for schools as each has unique needs with differing local factors coming into play (Ofsted report, competitor schools, demographics and so on).
3. Build your own
We’re not saying this is the best option and in our experience of the school sector, it’s certainly not. However, some schools do opt to build their own websites using an online website builder, or their IT team have some technical knowledge to create a website from scratch using an open source (free to use) or licensed CMS. What you probably won’t achieve with this option though, is a website you’re really happy with visually, as you’ll probably utilise a ready-made design ‘theme’ which is restrictive in terms of layout/design and functionality. This means you’re unlikely to achieve all your objectives for your school website.
Secondly, if you’re using an open source CMS you need to be on the ball with updates, patches and security – consider carefully whether you’ve the in house skills and resource to do this.
Thirdly, you’re unlikely to have any support during the development process and, crucially after your website is live.
School website design company or website design agency?
You don’t need to use a specialist school website design company, but there are benefits of doing so, such as:
- Ofsted compliant websites as standard
- Content management system built for schools
- Understanding of the school sector
- Extras like school branding, school apps, prospectus, signage etc
At Concept4, we offer both ‘themed’ and bespoke website designs and have attractive packages available for schools with bundled items like school prospectus design and photography included. To top it off we even have multi-year payment options. Choosing a school website company can mean some serious added value for your project, so it would be wise to at least include one or two in your Tender process to make sure you’re not missing out on something that can prove really useful.
What about the cost?
So, to answer the question of the average cost of a school website, it really does depend on the approach your school opts for. When you compare costs, be sure you have a ‘level playing field’ and your new website will tick all your boxes in terms of design, CMS, a ‘hand holding’ service (or not) and support during the design and build process and after ‘go live’. Realistically, you’re looking at options that can easily range from £1,000 to £20,000 – quite a swing!
Should cost be your number one question? It’s important of course, but no. Clearly there are a number of paths to get you from A to B. What’s right for your school is hard to assess as there’s a whole-school budget to consider and your website is a relatively small part in the bigger picture. Do give your school website the platform it needs though – it’s your key channel for marketing to prospective parents - an ageing or unsuitable website can do your school more harm than good!
If you’d like to talk about how we approach school website design, see a demo of Content4 (our CMS built specifically for schools) or ask the all-important question of the ultimate cost to you, then please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you and we’re confident you’ll appreciate what we can offer!