How Much Should I Pay for a Website?
How much should I pay for a website? This is the most common question we are asked by our clients who encounter prices ranging from £500 to £10,000. Add maintenance contracts, hosting charges, domain renewals and two week lead times to change a menu item. No wonder people are confused!
There are a three different things that will significantly impact price.
Add to that a couple of factors that will indirectly but usually significantly impact price.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Design is the touchy-feelie lovely part of a web site and it is the bulk of where the money goes. Once your branding is done, a logo for the website and a ‘mark’ for social media plus a style bilble laying out the fonts and colour schemes of the site, there are broadly three options.
- A Template driven site
- An E-Commerce site
- A fully customised site
Template Driven Sites
This kind of site is usually used as a business card or brochure site. There are a number of vendors such as WordPress.com, Wix and Squarespace that offer a website builder, usually in return for a monthly fee. These represent reasonably good value at first, but the fees add up and you won’t be able to move your website to another provider if you ever decide to.
We recommend using WordPress and a theme to deliver the look and feel that you want. A good designer will be able to modify the theme using a child theme, in order that you can update the theme in line with wordpress updates without breaking the theme itself. Beware of companies offering to build you a theme from scratch – usually it’s a rebranded theme they have already written for themselves that will effectively lock you into a maintenance based relationship forever. A simple site built on WordPress using a standard template with your branding and content should take no more than a couple of days to actually build. Add the time it takes to assemble the words, pictures and branding, select and buy the webspace, domain name and configure. You’ve agreed the theme, you’re looking at around a week to get to first viewing.
This type of site offers products, directly to your customer. Unsurprisingly they are more expensive to build. Solutions like Shopify and Big Commerce are the template driven equivalents of WordPress, Wix and Squarespace offering an easy to build e-commerce experience with varying degrees of sophistication and cost. WordPress offers the very popular plugin WooCommerce and at the expensive end of the scale Adobe offers the very popular Magento e-commerce platform.
Fully Customised Sites
Unless you have very specific requirements that cannot be addressed by the solutions we’ve covered here, I would steer well clear of a fully customised site. Clever people can do clever things with cutting edge technologies that will be yesterday’s chip wrapping tomorrow. Your decision should be based on your requirements, not the business model of your designer.
Maintenance & Technology
Your web site exists on a technology platform that needs to be kept up to date from top to bottom in order to mitigate against hackers and unintentional impact on code.
The hardware will be provided by your hosting solution and provided it is kept up to date you shouldn’t need to worry about it. The Software stack is another matter. PHP is the scripting language used by 90% of web solutions and the version maintained by the host is important. WordPress is notorious for the number of updates required by plugins. Ideally you would test updates on a development server before they are installed on a live server in case of unexpected incompatibilities. Your Design company should be doing this for you as part of a maintenance contract. These vary from a couple of hours a month to days and should ideally contain some website updates. Unused time should be rolled over from month to month.
We should also mention Domain names. The Domain name is important for your business, ideally it will be the same as your business name. Most people buy their domain name as part of the hosting package, but be aware that they need to be renewed periodically and that can be expensive once you’re in the fold. You can transfer domain management at any time, to a better provider.
Lastly there is the business of SSL Certificates. Google prefers your site to use SSL even if you are not doing e-commerce. SSL encrypts any information passing between browser and host so it’s a good thing that prevents your passwords from being intercepted by hackers. You can buy an SSL certificate from your host if you need to go the high end route and there are solutions such as LetsEncrypt that are free. One major benefit of all SSL solutions is that they prevent the browser from issuing a “Untrusted website” warning. Instead you’ll see a nice, friendly little icon in the location bar indicating that your web site is secure. If you’re building a mailing list that is vital in building a good relationship with prospective clients.
There are a bewildering number of hosts, all offering deals that cannot easily be compared. Essentially, you want a host that uses the best technology, that offers regular backups, security, email and domain management. If you’re a small business looking at a WordPress site you should be considering either Siteground or Bluehost. Declaration of Interest: We are affiliated with Siteground for our WordPress solutions and if you want to know more about them as a hosting company we’d love you to use this link.
At Helter Skelter Design we can cover your entire project from beginning to end. We can recommend your host, set up your technology, configure your SEO and build and maintain your website. We bill transparently meaning there are no hidden extras and no nasty surprises. We don’t entrap you in heavily customised sites that only we can maintain and we can transfer the ownership, lock stock and barrel of any site we build to our clients at any time they want. That makes us practically unique. Give us a call and tell us about your project, we’d love to help!