How much does running a website really cost in 2021?

Having a website that works correctly and represents your brand has become one of the most important aspects of any business in recent years. With many business owners overlooking the importance or put off by the potentially high costs of employing someone to design and maintain it.

The truth is that a website doesn’t have to be expensive and can be maintained at a reasonable cost. The confusion and mystery around how much a website should cost have been around for a long time. The question you have to ask yourself is does your site have to cost thousands, or can you get away with building it yourself? Whichever route you take what will be the ongoing costs?

We understand that starting the journey with a website can be confusing and many different searches online can give different results.

We have set out the following guide to help you to understand the average costs associated with websites of all sizes.

Domain.

First off is your domain name, usually yourbusinessname.co.uk or .com. These can range from £2 to £100 per year for the registration or renewal. Please be aware, you do not “own” a domain name, find out more Here

Hosting.

Now that you have a domain name, you need somewhere to host your site. There are many different types of hosting which can often cause confusion. Check out our blog on choosing a web hosting company Here.

Free hosting. Just as the name suggests there are platforms still out there that will give free hosting. These are only suitable for very small family style sites and not for business sites of any kind.

Shared hosting. This is the cheapest form of paid hosting available. You share a hosting platform with potentially thousands of other sites, each competing for resources. The biggest downfall of shared hosting is shared bandwidth, meaning if your site gets a lot of traffic there may not be enough resources available to allow your visitors to use your site. You can expect to pay £5 to £15 a month for shared hosting.

Virtual Private Server (VPS). A VPS server can be a good middle ground between shared hosting and a dedicated server. Each VPS shares an allocated amount of space and resources on a server, sharing with a lot fewer sites than shared hosting.  You can expect to pay £15 to £50 a month for a basic VPS.

Dedicated server. Having a dedicated server is by far the most efficient hosting option. However, this is reflected in the price. These servers are ideal for large or complex sites that require lots of resources with high levels of data security and high traffic sites. Not sharing a server with other sites means that your site will perform at its best. You can expect to pay £60 to £400 a month for a dedicated server.

Cloud-based hosting. This type of hosting is a blend between shared, dedicated and VPS hosting. Virtual machines that use multiple physical servers located all over the world share resources to provide a shared hosting like experience. The advantage of cloud-based hosting is they can easily accommodate surges in traffic such as seasonal sales etc. Often you only pay for what you use, which can be beneficial but can also be shocking if you get a sudden unexpected surge in visitors. You can expect to pay £15 to £400 a month for good cloud hosting.

Handy Tip: Web designers will often have VPS or dedicated servers which they “resell” space on for your site. Remember, good web designers will include maintenance with your hosting so expect to pay a little more.

Design.

Now that you have your hosting we can explore the costs of building your site. Once again there are several options to choose from. Let's start with the basics.

Build your own. By far the most cost-effective for a start-up, build your own sites have become more and more popular over the last few years, giving a simple space to create a basic website. The only real cost to using one of these is time. You can have a functional basic site in a few hours. Be aware that these sites also have their limitations. As your business grows these will become less and less suitable.

Web Design Agency. Design agencies are typically very reliable and experienced. After all, creating websites is their whole world. They can often have a team of developers who work together.

Freelance developer. Using a freelance web developer can be a good option if you require a bit more of a personal service. They will often work with you to create something right for both your brand and your customer's needs. Check out our blog on how to hire a designer Here.

Offshore web company. Using an offshore web designer is certainly one of the cheapest ways of having a website built, however, they are a lot less reliable than any of the other options. Always be wary of offers that sound too good to be true. From experience, we have seen business owners thinking they are getting a great deal, but if they didn’t like something or wanted something changing the designer has their money and has gone, never to be heard from again. Leaving the business owner with a partially built site that they have no idea what to do with.

Remember to avoid agencies and developers that use the build your own type sites, locking you into service with them unless you want to rebuild your site somewhere else, and avoid those that charge extra for mobile optimisation. This should be standard practice to build a site as mobile-first.

Remember, when employing a designer/agency to build an e-commerce store, if you require them to add all of your products including pictures and descriptions etc, the cost can increase dramatically to cover their time.

As we have experienced over the years, each website tends to have its individual needs and there is very rarely a “one size fits all” solution, hence the variety in pricing. It is important to give your designer/agency a clear description of what you want your site to do for your business. Often to accomplish your goals for your site you will need to consider additional costs such as content production, Imagery and SEO/marketing. A good designer/agency will be able to work with these goals in mind and produce a website that meets your needs.

 

How long does it take to build a website?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get when speaking to business owners about websites. As you would expect the answer will heavily depend on the size and complexity of your site as well as the availability of the designer/agency.

Most designers/agencies book work in for 4-6 weeks ahead, so you can expect to wait a few weeks before a good designer can start your site. Then depending on what is required it could take anywhere from a week to a few months to complete your site.

It will come as no surprise that building your own site is by far the quickest option.

Remember, a good designer is worth waiting for.

If you are at all unsure about where to go or just need a little guidance, we are always here to help. You can get in touch Here.

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