When considering a new website the first thing people ask is ‘what does it cost?’ This question comes up regardless of what their budget is, it’s important to know what the outlay is going to be.

Most websites will be priced individually, using a framework that works for the developer; they may price it according to the number of pages. Or it could be the technical functions of the website. Or in the case of a shop, the number of products.

Before you get a quote from a website developer, it’s important to know what the costs of a new website are. These are then broken down into the individual elements that make up the website:

Domain

This is the most important part of your website - your web address. If you’re in the UK you only need a .co.uk or .uk address, you don’t need .com. which is more expensive and more difficult to manage. However, if you are hoping to attract an international audience then a .com will be the right solution for you. Many people choose to own both, the .co.uk and .com versions of their domains.

You can buy your website domain at 123 reg.

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Hosting

Hosting is the terminology for the servers which ‘host’ your website. In reality that means they hold the files of your website and when people type your web address into Google, the files are pulled from the host.

The quality of hosting will have the biggest impact on the success of your website - how fast it loads, whether there are any server errors, how much access you have to your server. You can read more about hosting in this post: How to choose the right hosting for your website.

The costs of hosting vary significantly. Look for hosting which includes email management, staging sites and free SSL. If it includes introductory pricing, even better.

My personal recommendation for hosting is: Siteground.

SSL Certificate

Once you have your domain and hosting sorted you’ll need an SSL Certificate. This encrypts data that’s in transit on your website (think contact forms, online sales, anything where people have the opportunity to input their information). Whether you have these options on your website or not, Google made SSL Certificates compulsory back in 2017 so if you want your website to show up in search results, you’re going to need an SSL Certificate.

There are 2 options for SSL Certificates - you can purchase one through your host or you can get a free Let’s Encrypt certificate. Both are valid, both need renewing after a certain amount of time - paid for ones are annual or biannual and Let’s Encrypt can be renewable from 3 months onwards.

You’ll know when a site has a valid SSL Certificate because you’ll see the little padlock icon in the toolbar of your browser to tell you that the site’s secure.

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Theme

Once you’ve setup all your technical elements you’ll need a theme for your website. This is a set of tools that also gives you the framework for building the site. I build sites in WordPress so install that first then add a WordPress theme to build and style the website in.

Buying a website theme is one of the most important investments, alongside the hosting as how many tools you have, how well the website performs and how well the theme lasts are all dependent on the quality of the theme in the first place.

It’s easy to be taken in by themes like Divi who have an annual license, which, if you’re planning on building more than one website, can feel like a good investment but the reality is the tools are limited, you’ll need to know at least some CSS to get the full functionality and it’s more than likely you’ll end up purchasing add-on packages to end up with the website you really want.

Avada is almost always my theme of choice - with a full range of tools, fully integrated features like contact forms etc, it comes with a lifetime license so you only pay once and it gets updated regularly.

Elementor is also a popular theme. It has an annual licensing model so you’ll need to pay for it each year and again, you may need to purchase add-ons to get the website you really want.

Now that we’ve covered the technical elements, let’s look at the other website related costs:

Time = money

In the early stages of setting up a business a lot of people build their websites themselves. They’ll learn lots of new skills in doing so but there are pitfalls to this method: If you do it for free the time investment will far outweigh any savings you can make. You’re also unlikely to build a website which shows up in search engine results, brings in leads or makes sales. There are a lot of technical elements which go into a website build to make it successful and if you don’t work as a website designer, it’s likely you won’t know everything you need to do to make your website Google compliant.

Website designers prices vary according to how experienced they are, what results their website clients see, whether they’re using templates or are building the websites from scratch. This post will help you: why website costs vary across the industry.

Branding

Your branding will carve out your entire online identity and is made up of:

Logo

Colours

Fonts

Brand Elements

It is always worth working with a designer on your branding as they’ll be able to create your logo, design custom elements for your brand. They’ll put together a brand board which will show you the type of images to use, how to expand your brand across Social Media, your website and any printed materials. Which fonts will work well to express your business personality and they’ll give you the correct licensing so you’re legally compliant.

Some people may be tempted to create their branding themselves in Canva. This isn’t a good idea:

There’s no individuality - this means that you can’t license individual elements for your brand and therefore thousands of other people could be using the same logo/brand/elements.

Some of the Canva elements aren’t licensed for use in logos so you can’t use them. Of if you do use them, you’re leaving yourself open to being fined.

Images

If your website is selling a service or product you’re going to need to have a commercial or CCO license for the images used on the site. You’ll find lots of websites which offer websites with CCO licensing which means the image is free for commercial use but it also means that a lot of other organisations will also be using them and people will be seeing the same images applied to different situations, across the internet.

An alternative to this is to purchase stock photography. Less people will have the same images on their websites and Social Media and you’ll have the right license but stock imagery can become expensive, especially as you always need more photos than you think you’ll need.

Having a brand photoshoot is a great idea as it will be completely on point for your brand, the photos are personal to you. Your photographer will work one-to-one with you to get exactly what you want and you’ll own all the correct licensing for your website and Social Media.

Copywriting

I’m just going to say it how it is: copywriting is a skillset which you probably don’t have. After all, you’re most likely great at your job and that’s why you’re setting up a website about it but your skillset is your job, not writing about it.

Copywriters work off a formula which includes:

Identifying your ideal client.

Writing to acknowledge their pain points and offer your product/service as the solution.

Include Calls to Action as well as Calls to Attention.

Knowing where to use Headings, Sub Headings & Body copy.

Which keywords the copy should rank for.

Copywriters tend to cost from £150 per page upwards.

If you really can’t afford a copywriter then at the very least do a copywriting course. Or use a copy consultation service like this one from Gibson Copy.

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Conclusion

As tempting as it is to throw up a home made website that you’ve built yourself, home-made sites don’t make many sales and can be more of a hindrance than a help especially if your site gets a bad reputation on Google, it can take time and skill to undo that.

There are a multitude of designers and options available to suit all website budgets. If you’re looking for a start-up website then my Simply Sites range start at £297. For a Custom Build website which is 100% unique to your business, prices start at £2,500. If you’re not sure what’s the right fit for your business, book a call with me and I’ll help you get the right website setup for you.