Probably one of the most common questions from our potential clients is “What is the cost of a website for my business?”
In short, there’s no simple answer, this is not because web designers are secretive or like to keep you guessing. It’s simply because every project is completely unique and so the cost of every site is different.
It all comes down to the time required to build your website. A large eCommerce website, for example, can takes several months to complete and normally involves many complex elements and a vast amount of content. These sites will normally be very expensive, but as they are effectively the online shop-front for your business, the investment is normally more than justified. On the other hand, if you have a small, simple business (such as a mobile hairdresser); your needs will be far less and therefore the cost to create a professional looking site will be much less. This is all assuming you’re using a web design/development company or freelancer.
However there are other options available. Let’s look at the main options, their costs and pros and cons when considering the cost of a website for a small business:
Option 1 – Professional Website Build
This is using a professional, such as ourselves, a web design agency, a freelancer or any other web professional to build your website.
- Design and development fees: £350 – £5,000+
- Hosting £5 per month upwards (although sometimes this may be included)
- Domain registration £10 or more per year
- Save time – You will save a vast amount of your personal time, by delegating this technical project to someone who does it for a living. Freeing you up to focus on what you do best – building & running your business.
- Less Stressful – Business is already stressful enough, so add late nights trying to fix a problem you don’t know how to solve into the mix, and you’ll soon realise how stressful building a website can be.
- Better quality – Assuming you use a good professional, then the final project will almost always be of a much better quality. Website professionals have very good attention to detail and have years of experience knowing what works from both a design and user experience point of view.
- Faster delivery – Trying to learn how to build a website, creating your own content and then negotiating the tech pitfalls takes a lot of time, we regularly take over projects form clients who tried to build a website themselves and became overwhelmed at the process. Professionals will normally work to a deadline so you can rest-assured your project will be live by a certain date.
- Safer & More Secure – Homemade websites often lack in essential security architecture and therefore can be very easy for hackers to exploit. Whilst no website is 100% secure, a professionally built site will definitely be built to industry-standard levels of security.
- Cost – If you pay someone else to do anything, then it’ll always be more expensive. The upfront costs will be higher, however you’ll often find that in the end it works out more cost effective. As you’ll face less issues getting it right first time and your site will perform better.
- Communication – You know what you want and you can envision it on the page, but communicating that to a web professional can be difficult. That’s where finding the right web professional can really help.
- Trust – Trusting someone you don’t know with the creation of your website is a big thing. Thankfully most good professionals will have several good reviews and you can always contact the owners of their previous clients for their opinion to ensure you’re dealing with a trustworthy professional.
Option 2 – Geeky Friend or Family Member
A lot people start with this option, relying on a friend or family member, who is good with computers, or maybe has some experience building a few websites.
- Design and development fees: free to very little
- Hosting: £5 per month upwards
- Domain registration: £10 or more per year
- Cheaper – Normally people will help each other for free or for very little money.
- More relaxed – A bit of a double-edged sword, but it can be quite nice to deal with someone you know in a more friendly, casual manner.
- More availability – Normally the person helping won’t have any other commitments (other than their job), so they may potentially be able to respond more quickly.
- Less professional – Whilst it can be a more relaxed interaction, you also have to deal with someone on a personal, not professional, level. This can sometimes make it hard to get what you want without emotions running high. This relationship also makes it harder to push the person to do what you want.
- Lower quality – Unless the person you know is a web professional, then the quality of the site is likely to be much lower.
- Slower delivery – The chances are the person will be learning on the go and so they’ll likely make more mistakes and take a lot longer to get your website live. It’s also much harder to chase someone who’s doing you a favour.
- Less accountability – The person building your website probably won’t be insured and if something major goes wrong, there’s a strong chance you won’t be able to hold them accountable if they’re just helping you out.
Option 3 – Do it Yourself
Many of our new clients start with this option and soon realise the stress and hassle it can be. Whilst there are some very good DIY website builders nowadays as well as some good all-in-one hosted solutions, it’s still quite an involved process and not as easy as the web-builder companies would like you to think.
- Design and development fees: Free
- Hosting: £5 per month upwards
- Domain registration: £10 or more per year
- Tech support & help: Unknown
- Cheapest – If you are trying to grow a business from nothing, with almost no budget, then this may be your best option. Just be cautious of hidden costs and monthly charges.
- Direct Control – You can’t get any more hands on than DIY, so if you want to have absolute control over when it goes live, how it looks and how it’s built, then DIY may be better.
- Learn – Building your own site is a big learning process, which can be fun if you enjoy technical tasks and problem solving. It also means you’ll know your website inside-out.
- Time – If you’re a busy person then building your own website really isn’t a good idea. Generating the content in itself is a huge undertaking, let alone the time it takes to set-up the site on the hosting, get everything working correctly, learn the platform, perform graphic design tasks and then any custom code you may need.
- Stress – The technical problems that pop-up when building a site can be infuriating. You tend to encounter more problems the less experienced you are. The support that comes with online builders is often slow, non-existent, or you need to post a question online and hope for a helpful reply.
- Design – It’s hard to look at something of our own creation in an objective way, we tend to get emotionally attached to a concept or idea and this can inhibit the final result. We see this all too often with self-built sites, where they look exactly as the person who built it wanted, but nothing like the actual user would want it. This severely affects usability.
- Hidden Costs – Website builders and self-build platforms have come on a long way, but they still come with certain costs and often particular features/functions will have hidden costs. Also you’re normally committed to a monthly fee of some sort, unless you host and build a site entirely yourself using a platform such as WordPress.
So, here’s our thoughts. Obviously we’re biased towards employing a web professional and would prefer that all websites were built this way! However, in reality there’s a lot more options nowadays than ever before. If you’re starting a new business and really have little to no budget, have the time, are technically minded and patient. Then a self-build is probably your best bet. Just be mindful that the final result will show and if your business relies on having a very professional identity (solicitor, professional or business services etc) then it will probably be wise to invest in a professionally built site from day one.
If you’re experimenting with a business idea or an online side hustle, then there’s no reason not to do it yourself. Equally if you know someone who could do it for you, then this could be a good option for entry-level businesses. Just be sure to keep an eye on your own expectations, the result you get may not be as good as you hoped and the conversations with someone doing you a favour can be difficult!
If you need any help with a self-build, we offer free advice and have helped a lot of people out of difficult situations when they go down the self-build route. Or if you’re finding it all too difficult and want to discuss other options then get in touch.