Launching a new business and need a website? Or perhaps you’re looking to take your existing business online.
Whatever situation you find yourself in, getting your first business website can feel confusing.
What features will you need? What about a domain name and web hosting? And of course the most important question of all for any business: how much does it cost to build a website?
In this guide we’ll provide you with an overview of the most important considerations when it comes to getting your business online, and a rough idea of how much you should be paying for your website, so you don’t get ripped off.
Let’s get started.
The basic building blocks of your website
Every website is formed of three basic building blocks.
The first of these is a domain name. You’ll have typed countless domain names before, even if you don’t know what they are. Maybe you’ve called them “website addresses” or similar.
Choosing the right domain name is vital, because it will become an important part of your business’s identity.
In terms of price, the cost of your domain name will depend on the domain extension you pick (.com, .co.uk and so on are examples of domain extensions), but you can expect to pay around £20 a year for your domain. Though there are special offers that can bring the cost down, and some domain extensions can cost much more than that are year.
The next basic building block of your website is the web hosting. A website essentially consists of several different computer files and all those files need to be stored somewhere, and that place is a web server.
A web server is essentially a computer that is always connected to the internet and always switched on.
Now you could build your own web server for your website, but that would be too expensive for many businesses.
That’s why web hosting exists. Essentially, web hosting involves paying a company such as GoDaddy to host your website on your behalf.
The cost of web hosting varies greatly – currently at GoDaddy the costs are between £5.99 and £74.99 a month, although there are special offers that can make set up costs for your site lower.
Web hosting prices vary so much because of the different types of package on offer, and the package you need will depend on your business requirements. We’ll talk about that later.
If you want to learn more about web hosting, you can check out this guide.
The third building block of your website is the content. Exactly what content you need will vary depending on the kind of business you’re running and the functionality you want for you site.
For simple sites, it’s likely you’ll be able to create all the content yourself. But for more complex sites, you may need to hire someone to write copy for your website, and maybe even take images.
It’s a good idea to plan what content you need for your website before you decide what kind of site you’ll be creating, as knowing what you need on your site will help you understand the best option for you.
What kind of website will I need?
No two websites are the same, but there are some common types of website, one of which is likely to be suitable for your business. Let’s take a look at the different kinds of sites.
Some businesses don’t need to have hundreds of pages. Sometimes a few core pages details your services, details about you and your happy customers, and your contact details will do. You might want a few added extras, such as a blog or links to your social media accounts, but nothing too fancy.
This kind of website tends to be suitable for tradesmen, freelancers and other kinds of businesspeople who will be generating leads from their site but not looking to attract customers through the door.
If you’re running a cafe, restaurant, bar or similar business you’ll have a couple of main priorities. The first is to let people know what you serve, and the second is to let them know where you serve it.
Clearly, including things such as a menu page, photos, comments and reviews, a map and directions, as well as a way to contact and perhaps even book with you will be your highest priority.
You may also want a blog or news section to keep your customers updated about events and special offers.
Small-scale ecommerce site
Maybe you have an existing real-world business that sells products and you’re looking to branch out online. Or perhaps you’re setting up a dedicated ecommerce business.
Either way, it’s clear that the main focus of your website will be on the products you sell. You’ll also need supporting content, such as contact details, a returns policy, a blog, support pages and anything else that fits with your business.
And if you’re also running a real-world business, you’ll want to include a map and directions too.
Large-scale ecommerce site
If you’re planning on selling hundreds of different products, then although your needs will be similar to a small-scale ecommerce site, you’ll need a more powerful site. And as you’ve might have guessed, that will cost you more.
Large, bespoke website
Looking to launch the next Facebook? If you’ve got big plans, you’ll need a big website and the cost will reflect that.
You’ll certainly have to hire a web designer, and you may end up employing one (or more) on a full-time basis.
How much should a UK website cost?
By now you should hopefully have a good idea of the kind of website you need for your business. And you can use that information to work out how much you should be paying for your website.
Here are the options available to you:
Using a website builder
Website builders are a great option if you don’t have a large budget and want complete control over your site.
GoDaddy’s Website Builder includes an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, making it easy to build your own site without having to pay for a designer.
Recent advances in technology mean that website builders are now suitable for all but the largest of websites. So if you’re looking to build a brochure-type website, a hospitality-sector website or even a small ecommerce website, then you should strongly consider a using website builder tool.
Prices for GoDaddy’s Website Builder start at just £4.99 a month, and as this price includes web hosting you’ll be hard pressed to find a cheaper option.
Another bonus is that you won’t need to contact your web designer whenever you want to make a change to your site.
Cost of building a website with a website builder:
Monthly subscription: £4.99-£19.99 a month (With GoDaddy)
Domain name: Aprox £15 a year.
Basic yearly cost: £74.88-£254.88
Possible additional costs: Costs for the creation of your website content
Using a web designer
Web designers can create websites of any size with any functionality, but they often charge a premium for their skills.
That means that while it’s possible to ask a web designer to build you a small site (a brochure-type site, for example) it might not be the most cost-effective option.
After all, you’ll have to pay the fee for the site to be designed, then a monthly fee for your web hosting and perhaps even a monthly maintenance fee to your designer so the site stays in good condition.
Web designers come into their own when it comes to more complex websites, such as large ecommerce websites and complex, bespoke projects.
Cost of building a website using a web designer:
Web designer’s fee: £150-£10,000+ (Depending on type and scale of project)
Domain name: Aprox £15 a year
Hosting cost: Aprox £100 a year
Possible additional costs: Costs for the creation of your website content, a monthly maintenance fee.
You can see that over all hiring a web designer is likely to cost you much more than using a website builder.
If you do need a designer for your project, don’t forget to ask for multiple quotes before agreeing on a price. (And bear in mind that sometimes a low price can be too good to be true.)
If you’re building an ecommerce website, you can read our dedicated guide on how much an ecommerce website should cost.
Creating a website doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. The advent of modern website builders mean that it’s something the average small business owner can do themselves.
If your project is large enough to require the skills of a pro, you can check out a directory of web designers here.