In a long and varied career, I have spent a couple of decades in sales, sales training, sales management, IT and running my own businesses.
In my day job as a website designer, the question I get asked most (and usually first) is, "How much does a website cost?" Most businesses, small or otherwise, understand the reasons to have a good website, but, particularly if you are just starting out in business, you need to keep an eye on your budget.
The Short Answer and the Long One
Websites and the businesses or organisations that need them are all different with different customers and different objectives, so, as such, all websites will be fundamentally different. A church organisation might require a website to promote its upcoming events; an entrepreneur might want a website with a shop incorporated into it; a multi-million dollar company might want a whole raft of specialist pages with training videos to ensure its customers are kept up to date. So, since all websites are different, the short answer is always “That depends on what you need.”
There is, however, a slightly longer and hopefully more useful answer and that is what this article seeks to address.
An Example of Costs
So imagine you are starting a new business/organisation/club, and you know that for people to find you online, you need a good website.
Your first question (of course) is: How much does a new website actually cost?
So what we're going to do here is give you an example of how much you might spend on your new business/organisation/club website and what that may include. Obviously, other companies may do things differently, but I'm going to show you what I do.
The following example is based on a simple five-page brochure type website, which might include a homepage, about, services and contact pages, etc. It'll be designed to be mobile-friendly, that is, it looks good on laptops and on phones so that no matter what device someone accesses it on, they will be able to read the information okay (we've all come across those dreadful websites where the text is tiny on a phone screen, and you have to spend your time enlarging it and moving it around just to read it).
All Websites Need Some TLC
First of all, let's get rid of an urban myth about websites. All websites need maintenance; that is, they will need work on them to keep them up to date and working properly. Often, new website owners think they can get a website built and then just forget about it – that is not the case.
All websites need some management as they go through their lives; otherwise, eventually, they will break down. I'm sure you will come across websites where you click on a link, and it just goes to a blank error page. All websites need some TLC (tender loving care).
What We Are Including in Our Example Website
For this example, I’ll include optional maintenance in the costs because generally, you would have someone maintain your website or do it yourself.
Also, for our example, I’ll include the following in the website design as a given (which I normally do):
- Standard search engine optimization for Google
- Support by email and phone
- Inquiry form
- Links to other places on the internet (e.g., Facebook)
Two Types of Costs
Okay, so let's get down to costs.
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Costs for a new website are broken down into two areas, you have 'ongoing' costs, which you continue to pay for the life of the website, and you have 'one off' costs.
So let's do the on-going costs first.
So, your first ongoing cost is for hosting.
Hosting is the place where your website lives on the internet; you effectively rent some space on a hosting company’s server, and that is where all the files/programs that make up your website reside. You would often pay a ‘hosting’ company directly for this service.
Hosting companies are not all the same, and they differ on how good they are, what their backup is and how much they charge. But generally, you would currently pay about £70 annually for hosting. It could be a little more or a little less for our example website; it often depends on what deals are on at the time.
A Domain Name
Your second ongoing cost is your domain name. Your domain name would be the name of your website. So if your business was called 'Rita's Pet Photography', for example, the domain name you might buy could be www.ritaspetphotography.com or something similar. Again, you don't actually buy a domain but 'rent' it year by year. Usually, unless it's a very specific domain name which is in high demand, you will pick up a domain name for about £12 annually. So you pay that every year.
You would go to a domain name company for this, or maybe even the same company you use for your hosting. A quick Google search will easily find dozens of these.
As mentioned earlier, websites need a little continuing care if you want them to function optimally. So your third ‘ongoing’ cost might be maintenance – for our example, I’ve made this an optional cost because you may not require it as you may decide to maintain the website yourself (especially if you are tech-savvy).
I can’t speak for other web design companies, but I would currently charge around £12 per month for maintenance on our example website (but as I say, this is a totally optional cost). Other web designers may charge more or less.
Website Design and Build
Okay, your final cost is a 'one-off cost' for our example website, and that will be the website build. So if I were to build your example website, it would currently cost you around £300 pounds (for a brochure type of website with five pages or so). This is a one-off cost you would pay for the designing, building and launching of the website onto the internet.
Review of Costs
|Ongoing & One-Off Costs|
Hosting (per year)
Domain (per year)
Website Maintenance (per month)
Website Design & Build (One-off cost)
Remember, the above are just example costs (but they’re based on what I currently charge for a simple website build). So, if you are a new business/organisation, this would give you a rough estimate of your initial and ongoing cost for your website. This is obviously useful for planning your budget when setting up your business/organisation.
Other Ways of Getting a Website
Of course, there are many ways of getting a website on the internet, so here's a couple of other options.
Do It Yourself
If you are tech-savvy, have the time and don’t mind learning new stuff, then you can always take the DIY option and build your own website. Some of your ongoing costs will remain the same, in that you will still need hosting and a domain, but you could use a content management system such as WordPress to build your website and maintain it yourself, which would save you the design and build cost plus the maintenance costs.
Website builders such as Wix often bundle hosting, domains and the ability to build your website all into one package, so they are often tempting for anyone new to websites. They offer a variety of monthly paid plans to suit budgets; for example, Wix’s current ‘favourite’ plan works out at £9.50 per month.
Free plans are often offered to newcomers from these types of companies, with the option to upgrade to a paid plan later (which you would definitely have to do if you want a professional-looking website).
Note also, that most often with paid website builders, you still have to do the work, you still basically have to design the website, they will offer you templates to start you off (you can do similar if you DIY with WordPress), but you will have to add text, photos, graphics, videos and format everything so it looks good and works properly – so there is still a learning curve to climb, again it all depends how tech-savvy you consider yourself. Be wary of ‘upsells’ you neither need nor require.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Jerry Cornelius