And what is the meaning of life? And how long is a piece of string? And what’s your budget?
Not helpful. Sorry.
But the truth is that your website can cost as much or as little as you want it to. You could DIY the whole thing from start to finish using a “free” website builder, or you could spend thousands with a design agency building a fully bespoke site.
Perhaps it would be more helpful to rephrase the question and ask not how much it costs, but…
how much should I spend on my website?
Or better yet…
How much should I invest in my new website?
Because your website is one of the most important investments that you are going to make in your business. If you get it right, it will continue to bring value ~ attracting and converting your dream clients ~ long after it has paid for itself.
Your website doesn’t have to be all singing and all dancing, in fact, for a small one-woman business, a single well-structured, beautifully designed homepage could get you up and running very quickly.
As long it does these 3 things:
- Looks beautiful ~ you only have seconds to make that first impression
- Speaks directly to your potential client’s needs and concerns and shows how you can help them ~ letting them know that they’re in the right place
- And functions properly ~ enabling your visitors to find what they want and do what they want to do on your site
A one-page site might be enough to get you started or your business may require more.
What you choose to invest depends on your business, your budget, your technical knowledge and how much of your own time you have to invest in a web design project.
It’s a high-ticket item for your business
… that pays for itself… you can’t say that about an expensive pair of boots, can you? Although they do bring value every time you wear them.
When considering what you want to spend, you could ask yourself:
“How many [treatments/readings/bookings/products] do I need to sell to pay myself back for this website?”
or you could take a step further and ask yourself:
“How much of an investment do I want to make in this website to ensure that it brings in more than enough [number of treatments/readings/bookings] to pay for itself in [number of weeks/months] and continues to support my profitable business, and therefore my lifestyle, far into the future?”
The value of a well-designed and fully functioning website is not just in the cost of the hours that it took to build it plus the price of your domain and hosting.
The true value of your website is in how it serves your clients, supports your business and future growth, and ultimately brings you the success and the freedom to live your life how you want to.
That may sound a little dramatic, but isn’t “having the freedom to live your life how you want to” the truth and the reason behind all your business decisions, including the decision to go work for yourself and do what it is that you do in the first place?
Here are some ballpark figures
Because I do need to answer the original question. And because blog posts should do what they say on the tin, right? OK.
But, if it’s ok with you, I’m going to make a few assumptions in order to simplify the task:
- You’re building or redesigning a website for a small business (5-10 pages max)
- You’re not building an e-commerce site with an extensive product range
- You’re considering outsourcing some, if not all, of the technical and design work to a freelance Web Designer or small Digital Agency
Here are some ballpark costs for 4 different website build options from full WordPress DIY to the comfort of hiring a small agency. These figures are meant to provide a rough guide only and while it’s fairly simple to nail down the costs of domain and hosting, design and development costs can vary wildly depending on the provider.
DIY WordPress ~ buckle-up & enjoy the ride
If you are quite tech-savvy, and you like a challenge, you could dive straight in with WordPress. Once you have your domain and hosting paid for and in place you can install WordPress for free and a theme (free or premium) and get to work.
A note on choosing your host: Beware cheap hosting ~ as with many things, you get what you pay for and if you are going DIY with little experience, sooner or later you’ll need a bit of extra customer support. This comes at a premium but is so worth it when you are facing a problem on your site that you can’t fix.
Upsides: No coding required, if you keep it simple. It’s open source, so free to use, and endlessly extendible with plugins for design, functionality and performance.
Downsides: It is a steep learning curve/roller coaster ride, satisfying but steep, so how much time have you got? You have to run all the background updates yourself ~ WordPress, Theme as well as configuring your security, SEO and other functional plugins
Domain ~ Avg £7-£12 /a
Shared hosting ~ Avg £2-£15 /m
Theme ~ £0-£80 /a
Plugins ~ £0-£100 /a
Hidden costs: your time and your sanity (joking. not joking) and the potential cost of seeking technical help if you get into trouble or just run out of time.
DIY Website Builder ~ the same ride but with training wheels
You can create a professional-looking website with one of the low-cost drag-and-drop website builder platforms like Squarespace, Weebly or Wix. This can be a great place to start if you have little or no technical knowledge and you can always upgrade your plan when your requirements change.
* These prices are paid annually. Not included are the free and some of the cheaper packages that include the platform branding/ads
Upsides: No coding required. Hosting and domain included. All security and updates handled by the hosting platform.
Downsides: It may limit your site in terms of design, complexity and function
Squarespace ~ £13-£35 /m
Weebly ~ £9-£18 /m
Wix ~ £7.50-£21 /m
One-stop-shop pricing is quite transparent. However, you may end up hiring a developer if you struggle to get the visual results that you want
Freelance Web Designer ~ snuggle-up & collaborate
If you have the budget, working with a web designer to create your dream website is a great investment that’ll pay off in the long run if you find the right person. Well, I would say that, wouldn’t I?
It’s really important to find someone who you can work with and who understands your business. Cost shouldn’t be the only factor so be sure to check out a few different options and take a look at their work and testimonials to see if they are a fit for you.
*Your designer may also offer a monthly hosting and maintenance package
Upsides: You’ll get a personal and professional service. Flexible & versatile.
Downsides: Depending on the individual, it may limit your site in terms of design, complexity and function. Project scope and expectations should be carefully managed and any extra resources, skills and outsourcing accounted for upfront.
Domain & hosting ~ as above*
Development & Design ~ £1,000-£2,500
Depends on location, experience, expertise, reputation, number of other clients, how hungry/busy/ballsy they are, overheads, and other life commitments.
Hidden costs: project creep… which is generally a result of a poorly scoped project and could just as easily disadvantage the designer as the client.
Small Agency ~ meet your new popular best friend who knows everyone & can get you into all the best parties
This is the high-budget option but, all things being equal, you really should get what you pay for. A small agency will offer a great deal of expertise in-house and you’ll benefit from the scale of their operation. They will bundle in an impressive number of licenses for premium themes, plugins for security, SEO and social media PLUS the design and web development options should be extensive.
Upside: Benefit of scale, resources & in-house expertise.
Downsides: You may not always feel like you are their #1 client, especially after go-live. And if you part ways, you may find that some of your site functionality and design will have to be adjusted or you’ll have to pay for various software licenses to maintain it, which can be costly. Not a deal breaker, but a consideration.
Development & Design: £3,000-£5,000
Domain ~ as above*
Hosting & maintenance ~
Depends on reputation, location & overhead
Hidden costs: project creep.
A great website is never once & done
Or as I like to say:
Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance
Having made this investment in your website, it’s vital that you continue to maintain and develop it.
It’s your most important marketing asset and the channel through which you engage with your dreams clients, past, present and future ~ presenting your offers, receiving enquiries, scheduling calls or sessions, arranging bookings, taking payments… the list goes on.
So, it’s crucial to the success of your website, your practice, and for your peace of mind, that it’s online and available to your audience 24/7… no interruptions.
To ensure that you website remains fast, functioning & efficient, it requires security, frequent updates, and maintenance. Neglecting to care for your website puts it at risk… which is no good for business.
That’s where I can help
So, when your site is all done and dusted, I’ll be your partner, making sure your site is healthy and secure. And your website will continue to shine and bring you value.
***Full disclosure. I totally stole the words to express this thought from a famous quote relating to the old argument about short vs. long-form copywriting. It goes something along the lines of “you should use exactly the number of words that you need, to sell your product or service (or whatever), and no more”. But I can’t remember where I read it… and I must be misquoting horribly as a Google search has not been forthcoming.
Sophie is a London-based Web Designer & Writer with 15 years’ experience creating websites and content for small businesses, therapists, coaches, and non-profits.