If you are a new business, the added cost of a website might not be something that you think you can afford. However, you shouldn’t look at a website as an expense; it’s more of an investment. The first thing people do these days when they want to find a company is a web search. If you haven’t got a website, you won’t be found online missing out on a big market. Not only that, a website will give your potential customer their first impression of your business. Well designed, professional and functioning website will leave a lasting impression, but what does it actually cost to build a website?
The importance of a website
A business website is essential because it makes a big difference in how people find you. It’s estimated that in 2020 there was an active 46 million people that used the web in the UK. Most of them will go straight to their smartphone and search on Google when they are trying to find a business, service or product or even a restaurant. If you haven’t got a website, you won’t appear in search results and therefore missing out on leads that could convert into customers.
The different types of website
There are lots of different types of websites. What your business does will decide what kind of website you need, for example:-
- Brochure Websites – These sites are to provide a showcase of your services. They’re where customers can find out all about you and your business.
- eCommerce Websites – Looking to sell products online? You’ll need an eCommerce site to showcase products or services.
- Membership Sites – Do you need a members-only area, perhaps to sell online courses or services with a subscription model. Then a membership site is the best bet.
While these are specific examples, some sites are a combination of all three. It really does depend on what you’re wanting to achieve. You can pretty much have whatever you could imagine.
There are some excellent sites out there; having one of your own can give your business an advantage over your competitors.
How much does it cost to build a website?
Well, first of all, it all depends on what you need to achieve.
To start, you’ll need a domain so you can be found online. You can pick up typical domains like .co.uk or .com fairly cheaply (our .co.uk domains start from £8.99) or if you want a more unique one like a .construction or .design for a premium (.construction is £28.99 for example). You’ll also need to look at the small print. Registrars like 123reg will offer a cheap first year but then hike the cost when you renew. We are a fully-fledged domain registrar, and we don’t hike costs for when it’s time to renew. You can search for a domain here.
The next step is finding a hosting provider. A hosting provider owns the computer (called a server) where your website is stored. There are loads of different hosting packages on the market, and our newbies guide to hosting covers the most common. You can pick up hosting for as little as £2 a month but be careful. Cheap hosting may be slow, affect your search rankings, and you might not get the proper support. It is like everything else; the more you pay, the better your service.
The final step is building a site. There are several free website builders from companies like Wix, Google and Yell.com that will allow you to create a website. Unfortunately, you are limited in the look and feel because you have to use their templates. Ultimately all websites built by their builders look the same, and you’ll struggle to stand out. You’ll also find it challenging to add metadata (data that Google can see) to your website, so you’ll have trouble ranking in search listings.
If you don’t feel comfortable building a site yourself, you can pay someone to do it for you. The costs will vary dramatically based on how complicated your site is, a brochure site might be a couple hundred pounds whilst an e-commerce site might go into the thousands.
Google has recently implemented a new algorithm change which means that Google will be scoring websites by how relevant they are to the search query. If your website contains information people are looking for, you will be scored highly. These days Google and other search engines heavily rely on user experience. In addition to that, you must think about SEO (search engine optimisation). SEO is the art of finding key terms that relate to your business that people are searching for. As habits change, terms will need to be continually reviewed. Most people like us offer SEO services, and you may be looking at a cost between £50 to £400 a month, depending on the type of site you have.
You might also opt for a maintenance plan. Having a website is like owning a car. To keep a vehicle on the road, you have to put fuel in it, pay for new brakes, tyres and insure it. Websites need ongoing maintenance too, to ensure everything keeps running. Maintenance plans look after things like software updates, security patches and web page updates.
What should you consider when buying a website?
When building your website yourself or hiring someone to do it for you, there are many aspects to consider. While cost is an essential factor, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor.
If you decide on going it alone, you’ll have a steep learning curve. You’ll need to decide on the best hosting, what platform to build your site on and most of all, the time.
If you choose to hire someone, you’ll then need to decide whether you look for someone who provides both web design and hosting services as a package or look for the services independently.
If you go for services independently, you might be stuck in the middle between your hosting company and your designer when things go wrong. However, the cost may be cheaper in the short term.
Hiring a company like us that does both hosting and web design in the same place has the advantage you’ll only have to deal with one entity. That means they’ll be able to advise you on the best platform and hosting to suit your budget. They’ll also take care of any technical related issues for you.
One of the most significant factors you need to consider is the relationship between you and the company or the individual. If you have a good relationship with the company, it’ll pay dividends in the long run.
Once you’ve decided on the route you’re going to take, the next step is deciding what you want from a website. In most cases, that will depend on your core business, but you’ll also need an idea of what you would like your website to do. You’ll need to think about how you’d like your website to look too.
An effective website is not only an essential component of any digital marketing plan. It’s also vital in building a stronger relationship with your customers and letting new ones find you.
You really shouldn’t think of a website as being an expense. It is really more of an investment that, in time, will pay for itself. That’s why cost shouldn’t be your only deciding factor, and you should equally look at the business relationship between you and your chosen supplier. We’d always suggest seeking advice and hiring someone instead of building your own.
If you haven’t got one yet and are keen to get one, you can book some time to have a no-obligation chat with us. We’d be happy to give you some advice.