Are you looking to launch an online business with a website in 2023? Have you ever wondered what costs are associated with building a website for your business? This article can help you plan your budget and understand the various costs involved in setting up and maintaining a small business website.
From web hosting costs to design fees, this comprehensive guide will provide detailed breakdowns of all the expenses you’ll incur to get your own site up and running. We’ll also discuss the importance of website maintenance and optimisation so you can make sure your online presence will remain successful for years to come.
Read on for more information about website costs in 2023.
What Affects the Cost of Building a Website?
The cost of building a website can be influenced by factors such as complexity, size (number of pages, functionality), required expertise, and the website type.
A simple website with basic features will generally cost less than a feature-rich, complex one. As more advanced features and website elements are added, such as e-commerce or membership systems, the development costs will rise.
The website size, such as the number of pages, also affects the cost, as larger sites need more design and planning time, leading to higher expenses for both initial build and ongoing maintenance.
Expertise plays a role too; hiring a freelancer who’s just starting out might be cheaper, but you’re compromising on quality since they might not have a lot of experience, whilst a bigger agency would definitely have more experienced web designers and developers, however, big agency means bigger overheads, which naturally are passed to the client.
Now that you know what may affect the cost of the website, let’s jump to the essential cost.
1. Essential cost of a website
Building a website comes with certain essential costs that you need to consider when planning your project. These costs include the domain name, hosting, and choosing between a content management system like WordPress or website builders such as Wix or Squarespace.
A domain name is the web address that users type into their browsers to access your website. Purchasing a domain name is essential for establishing your online presence. There are many places from where you can register a domain, such as 123-reg.co.uk offers domains starting from around £9.99 per year, while Fasthosts has pricing starting at around £6.99 per year.
However, we personally use Namecheap for its competitive pricing, starting at approximately £8.00 per year, user-friendly interface, and excellent customer support. Namecheap offers a wide range of free domain name extensions and additional features, such as domain privacy and email hosting, making it a top choice for many website owners.
Web hosting is the service that stores your website’s files and makes them accessible to users online. Hosting providers offer a range of options to cater to diverse needs and budgets, we will explore various types of hosting services, discussing their pros and cons, as well as providing recommendations to help you make an informed decision.
Shared hosting is a type of web hosting service where multiple websites share the resources of a single server, making it a cost-effective option for smaller websites where the prices can start from £4 per month.
As good as it sounds, going with shared hosting for your website is not always a good option, due to its potential for slow performance and limited resources. Since you share your resources with multiple other websites, this can lead to slower loading times and reduced overall performance, which can negatively impact the user experience and your site’s search engine ranking.
Customer support can also be limited, with the majority of shared hosting providers offering support only for their product/service, the hosting, which means, if the issue is related to your website, they won’t be able to help.
If you choose to go with shared hosting, our recommendation is Krystal Web Hosting – Amethyst package (Web Hosting) for £4.99/month or higher, depending on your needs.
Another good option we came across is Guru, which has similar prices.
A shared hosting solution can be a good option for small business websites that are very simple with little to no traffic. The moment you start getting more traffic, more people start visiting your website; that’s when your site will start using more resources, and you might run into some of the performance issues mentioned above.
VPS & Dedicated Server Hosting
Using a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or a Dedicated Server is another way to host your website.
A VPS is a virtual server, that has allocated resources, e.g. 1 CPU + 2 GB RAM, and these resources are yours to use; you don’t have to share them with anyone else. Whilst a Dedicated server, is the next level up, the main physical machine.
Compared to shared hosting, this approach offers improved website performance, flexibility, and reliability, as it can easily handle traffic spikes.
There are various VPS providers like DigitalOcean, Linode, etc.. with prices starting from £5 for a VPS with a 1CPU and 1 GB RAM, which is more than enough to get you starting for a simple brochure website.
While using a VPS offers several advantages, it may not be the best choice for everyone, particularly those with limited technical knowledge. Managing a VPS can be more challenging than traditional hosting services.
That’s where a platform like Cloudways or Runcloud comes in, offering an easy-to-use dashboard, that connects to your VPS, and allows you to manage it much more easily, and also bringing some other benefits to the table.
This will, however, incur some additional costs. With Runcloud, you will need to pay for a subscription, the Basic plan starting from $8 per month + you will also need to separately purchase/rent a VPS directly from a provider like DigitalOcean, Linode, Upcload, etc..
Whilst with Cloudways, the prices might be a little bit higher, but it already includes the costs of the actual VPS, so you don’t need to purchase that separately.
Managed WordPress Hosting:
The top tier in the hosting industry is a Managed WordPress Hosting solution. These platforms are optimised for WordPress, they provide additional website security, regular WordPress backups and their customer support is also very knowledgeable in WordPress, allowing them to assist with certain website issues if they arise.
All this is to give the business owners the piece of mind that their website is in good hands, so they don’t have to worry about resource management, servers, etc.. and instead, they can focus on creating content and managing their site.
Prices are usually higher than the other hosting solutions mentioned above, normally starting from £25-£30 per month, and going up depending on your needs.
There are plenty of Managed WordPress Hosting providers, all having their pros and cons; however, we personally recommend Kinsta or Rocket.
WordPress vs Website Builders
When creating a website, you’ll need to decide between using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or using a website builders tool like Wix or Squarespace.
While website builders like Wix and Squarespace are user-friendly, they may be limited when it comes to customisation and flexibility.
Wix offers plans starting at £5 per month for a most basic, website builder, while Squarespace’s pricing begins at around £18 per month. These costs can increase with the addition of premium features or e-commerce capabilities.
It’s worth mentioning that if you choose a website builder like the 2 mentioned above, you don’t have to worry about hosting your website, as they will do that for you; it’s like a 2 in 1 solution.
The biggest downside is the fact that if, later down the line you decide that you need more functionality than what you’re getting out of your website builder, there is no option of migrating your website to a different solution. You will need to rebuild the whole website from scratch.
That’s why we prefer a more independent solution like WordPress, which can be migrated to different providers, and also it’s very flexible, allowing you to start small, and add more functionality later on as needed.
WordPress is a powerful, open-source platform that is free to use. However, you’ll need to account for the costs of hosting, themes, and plugins, which can vary depending on your needs. Many themes and plugins are free or low-cost, allowing you to create a unique, customisable website with a potentially lower overall investment than website builders.
In summary, while website builders offer straightforward pricing, WordPress can provide a more cost-effective solution with greater customisation and flexibility, making it a better choice of web builder for those seeking a unique, scalable online presence.
So, these are the essential costs of a website, but what is the cost of actually building a website? Let’s have a look.
2. Costs of building a website
When it comes to building a website, you have various options to choose from, such as creating a DIY or using a website builder tool, hiring a freelancer, working with a small web design agency, or engaging a large agency. Each option has its pros and cons, and understanding the differences will help you make an informed decision based on your needs, budget, and desired level of support.
DIY: Building Your Own Website
Creating a DIY website can be a free option, especially if you do not have a tight budget or enjoy learning new skills. Pros of going the DIY route include almost no costs, total control over your website, and the satisfaction of building it yourself.
However, the cons include the time-consuming nature of the process, the potential lack of professional quality, the steep learning curve for those not familiar with web design & development principles, and other potential roadblocks you might encounter. At the end of the day, you don’t know what you don’t know.
And whilst this might seem like a solution, time is money, so if it takes you 20-30 hours to build a website, depending on how much you value your time, let’s say £50 per hour as an example, that would still cost you £1000-£1500, and due to the lack of website design knowledge, with all this time investment, the website might still not look as good and professional, as it should.
Freelancer: Hiring a Professional web designer on a Budget
Hiring a freelancer can be a cost-effective alternative to DIY websites. Freelancers can provide professional design services at a lower price, typically starting from £500-£1000.
However, you need to be extra diligent about who you decide to hire, because:
- there are a lot of freelancers who are just starting out, and they might not have a lot of experience
- OR freelancers who do this as a hobby on a part-time basis, which means, it might be harder to reach them, should you need some additional support, projects can take longer,
- or they might decide to quit their work and focus on something else.
So make sure you always check out their work portfolio and reviews before hiring them.
Small Web Design Agency: The Perfect Balance
Working with a small web design agency offers a perfect combination of experience, price, support, and overall value for money. With prices starting at around £1500, small agencies can provide personalised services and a high level of expertise.
An agency is usually a sign that the business has been doing this for a while, so they have plenty of experience to help with your project. They will be more knowledgeable and will have more resources available compared to a freelancer, and most likely they are doing this on a full-time basis.
For example, at the time of writing this article, we’ve personally been building websites for about 8 years, so we know a thing or two about what works and what not and how to take a website to the next level.
A small web design agency, being small, means it will have lower overheads compared to a bigger agency, which means it will be able to provide web design services at much more affordable prices compared to bigger agencies.
To make websites even more affordable, here at Brilliant Digital, we are offering Pay Monthly Websites. Basically, instead of paying everything in one go, we can split the costs into an upfront payment and 12 affordable monthly instalments.
Big Web Design Agency: Large-Scale Projects and Higher Costs
For those with more complex projects, a big web design & development agency might be a good choice. Prices will typically start from £4000-£5000 for a simple website, and going up depending on the exact requirements.
The main advantage of working with bigger agencies is the fact that they have more staff, with a bigger variety of people who can get involved in a project, depending on the project requirements.
And they are usually a one-stop service for everything you would need website or digital marketing related.
However, as I mentioned before, all this comes at a cost, more staff, bigger offices, more overheads, which means their prices will be a lot higher compared to a freelancer or a small agency, whilst the quality of the service might actually be the same.
You don’t know, maybe your website is being built by an apprentice whos just starting out?!
3. Cost based on website type
The cost of building a website can vary significantly depending on the type of site you require. Different website types have distinct features, complexity, and functionality, which can influence the overall development cost. In this section, we will explore a few common website types and the typical costs associated with them.
We are a small web design agency, so we’ll show what we would normally charge for these types of websites.
Brochure Sites Cost
A brochure site is a simple, static website that provides information about a business, its products or services, and contact details. These sites typically have a limited number of pages and do not require complex functionality or e-commerce capabilities.
As a result, the cost of creating a brochure site is generally lower, ranging from £1500 to £2500, depending on the design and features required.
Ecommerce Website Cost
E-commerce websites allow businesses to sell products or services online and require additional functionality, such as shopping carts, payment processing, and product catalogues. These websites are more complex than brochure sites or basic websites and usually involve more time and resources for development.
Consequently, the cost of building an e-commerce website can range from £2000 to £5,000 or more, depending on the number of products, customisation, and specific e-commerce features needed.
Membership Websites Cost
Membership websites offer exclusive content, products, or services to registered users or subscribers. These sites require additional functionality, such as user registration, login systems, and access controls for different membership levels. As a result, membership websites are similar to an E-commerce website.
The cost of creating a membership website typically starts at around £2000 and can go up to £5,000 or more, depending on the level of customisation, features, and the size of the member base.
4. Additional Costs to Consider When Building a Website
Aside from the essential costs and the price of building a website, there may be additional expenses that you may encounter during the development process. It is important to consider these potential costs when budgeting for your website to ensure a smooth and successful project.
In this section, we will outline a few common additional costs that you may come across.
Plugins & Add-ons
Website designers often use WordPress plugins and add-ons to enhance the functionality and features of a website. While many of these tools are included in the initial development cost, there might be instances where you require specific plugins to achieve your desired results.
In such cases, you may need to purchase these plugins separately, which can range from a one-time fee to an ongoing subscription, depending on the tool.
Visuals are a crucial aspect of a website, and while many designers have access to copyright-free images or subscriptions to image libraries, there may be times when you, as a client, want a specific image that is not available for free.
In these situations, you may need to purchase the desired image, which can vary in price depending on the source and licensing requirements.
Typography plays a vital role in the overall design and user experience of a website. Although there are many free fonts available, you may want to use a unique or premium font to differentiate your brand and create a custom look.
The cost of premium fonts can range from a one-time fee to an annual subscription, depending on the provider and licensing terms.
Compliance & Privacy Tools
In today’s digital landscape, ensuring compliance with various privacy regulations, such as GDPR or other regional laws, is essential for any website. To achieve this, you may need to invest in tools or services that help you manage user consent, privacy policies, and cookie notices.
5. Website Maintenance & Updates
Maintaining your website is essential to ensure that it continues to perform well, remains secure, and meets the evolving needs of your business. While website maintenance is not mandatory, it is highly recommended to keep your site running smoothly and effectively.
A website maintenance package is there to help your website with different needs, regular updates, daily backups or malware protection. The cost of these plans varies based on the provider. Prices for a standard maintenance plan generally start from around £50 per month. Depending on the type of website, such as an e-commerce site, additional costs may be added to address specific maintenance needs.
For example, our essential plan for the website maintenance package has a price of £60 per month.
Start Small and Be Realistic
After exploring the various aspects of website costs, it is important to remember the value of starting small to save money and be realistic when planning your online presence. In this section, we will discuss the importance of setting realistic expectations and how much it cost you to build a website that fits both your needs and budget.
When building a website, it can be tempting to aim for an elaborate design with numerous features and functionality. However, it is crucial to assess your actual needs and budget constraints before embarking on such a project.
Consider the type of website that best suits your business and target audience. If you are just starting out a small business or have a limited budget, a simple brochure site or a minimal e-commerce site might be the most appropriate choice. As your business grows and your budget allows, you can then invest in additional features, customisation, and more advanced website functionality.
Be realistic about the time and resources needed to develop your website. If you opt for a DIY approach or hire a freelancer, understand that the process may take longer than working with a website design agency, and there may be limitations in terms of professional quality and support.
On the other hand, if you decide to work with a small or large agency, ensure that you have a clear understanding of the costs involved and the level of support you will receive.
Finally, don’t forget to factor in additional costs, such as plugins, images, custom fonts, and compliance tools, when budgeting for your website.
By considering these potential expenses upfront, you can avoid unexpected costs and ensure that your website development process runs smoothly.
Ask the Right Questions
Before starting any website project, take the time to consider your goals and objectives.
- What is the primary purpose of your website?
- Who is your target audience?
- What features and functionality do you require?
By asking these questions, you can better define the scope of your project and ensure that it aligns with your existing business and strategy.
Next, carefully evaluate your options for building the website, whether it’s a DIY approach, working with a freelancer, or partnering with a website design agency. When discussing your project with potential collaborators, ask them about their experience, web design portfolio, and the expected timeline for completion.
It’s also essential to inquire about the level of support they provide during and after the project, as well as any additional costs that may arise.
Consider the following questions when discussing your project with potential partners:
- What is the total cost of the project, including any additional expenses for plugins, images, or custom fonts?
- What is the expected timeline for completing the website?
- What level of support do you provide during the development process and after the site goes live?
- How will the website be maintained and updated? Are there any ongoing costs for maintenance and updates?
- Can you provide examples of previous projects similar to mine?
- How will the website be optimised for search engines and mobile devices?
- How will my website comply with relevant privacy regulations, and what tools or services will be used to ensure compliance?
By asking these questions and thoroughly evaluating your options, you can make an informed decision and choose the best approach for building your website. Remember that communication is key – openly discuss your needs, expectations, and concerns with your chosen partner to ensure a smooth and successful project.
Building a website can be a significant investment, but understanding the various factors that affect the cost is crucial for making informed decisions and creating a site that meets your needs and budget.
By considering the essential costs, additional expenses, and different options for website development, you can create your own website and presence that supports your business goals without breaking the bank.
Start small and be realistic about your website requirements, allowing room for growth as your business expands. Remember to ask the right questions when choosing a web designer to ensure a smooth development process and a website that aligns with your objectives.