Whether your a plumber, roofer, carpenter or florist having a website is not a luxury but a necessity for your business. You might get by with word of mouth and paper advertising for a while but you are likely missing out on a lot of business.
When people are in need of your services they are unlikely to go rummaging through the yellow pages, instead they will search on Google and if you’re not listed, it won’t be you that they pick.
Having your own website not only allows people to find you but also gives you a more professional image. With a website, you also get your own email address branded for your website.
Which do you think looks more professional firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com?
If you saw these in an advert which one would you pick?
Your website is also a great place to list out your services and explain exactly what you do and how you can help your customers. For large purchases, many people will do research online before even considering buying. It is exactly the same for services as well.
I don’t know about you but I would consider £3,000 on a new bathroom a large purchase and therefore will do plenty of research before allowing someone to rip up my bath.
This is probably not news to you. You know you need a website but have either been put off by the cost or the technical difficulty in setting it up.
So let’s have a look at the cost of setting up a website.
If you look on the internet you will find a lot of conflicting information on the cost of a website. The cost will greatly depend on what you are looking for and whether your website needs any custom functionality.
There are 3 main approaches you can go for when creating a website:
Many people opt for the DIY approach to creating a website. Nowadays with website builders like Wix, it has never been easier to get a website up and running. Wix costs between $5 and $25 a month depending on the features you need.
However, you also need to factor in your own time in setting up the website and getting it to look how you want. If you have never done anything like this before then it could take you many weeks to get it to look right.
The question you need to ask yourself is, “If it is that easy, why isn’t everyone doing it?“.
Unfortunately, no matter how much time you spend building a website with a builder like Wix it isn’t going to perform well for you.
There is more to building a website then just slapping together a few blocks and adding some text and images. I’m not a plumber, and I wouldn’t pretend to be one, so why should you pretend to be a website developer when your business depends on your website?
If you are keen on setting it up yourself, the correct way to do it is to set up your own domain and hosting and run Wordpress on it. I recommend SiteGround for hosting they aren’t too expensive (works out at £2.95/month) and offer fast and reliable servers. You can buy your domain from SiteGround as well, prices start at £11.95/year for a .com and £14.95/year for a .co.uk.
Generally, I prefer to keep my domains separate from my hosting in case I want to change hosting in the future. I use Namecheap for this and the domains are a lot cheaper at around £5/year for a .co.uk. However, it is more technical as you have to point your domain’s nameservers at SiteGround. Keep reading for instructions on how to set this up.
Web design agencies have a whole team of staff to help you get your website set up. However, this option doesn’t come cheap. Agencies have higher overheads and therefore have higher fees.
You can easily pay between £5,000 and £15,000 for a website from an agency. With that cost, you should get a bespoke website that performs well in the search engines but for small businesses, this cost is generally out of reach.
Freelance Web Developers will generally have the same experience that you would get at an agency but will generally be cheaper due to having fewer overheads, as they only need to worry about their own salary.
However, there are a lot of sharks out there with nearly everyone claiming to be a web developer.
You really do get what you pay for when it comes to web development.
Freelancers offering to set your website up for £300 will be doing nothing more than setting up Wordpress with a free template. You really could do this yourself. Not only that but it won’t be optimised at all for search engines. So chances of customers finding your website are small.
A good freelancer will likely give you a couple of options.
If you are on a tight budget then one option is for them to select a premium template which is then tailored to your website design. It should still be optimised for search engines but it will unlikely be completely unique. Websites like this will typically be in the range of £1,000 to £2,500.
If you ready to invest more in your business then a bespoke website design is your best choice. Not only will you get something unique but every part of your website will be optimised for the keywords you are trying to target and the customers you are trying to serve. A bespoke website design will generally be in the region of £3,000 to £10,000.
Whether you choose to go down the DIY, Agency of Freelancer route there will be ongoing costs for web hosting and domain name registration.
I recommend SiteGround to all my clients as it is a fast and reliable host.
Web hosting works out at just £2.95/month which is good for up to 10,000 visitors a month. This should be suitable for most small businesses. This price is charged annually at £35.40 exec VAT.
You will also need a domain name. Choose wisely when picking your domain name.
Getting a good domain name can be surprisingly hard if you want something short. However, hopefully, you should be able to find something that is a variation of your business name.
Buying the domain name along with your web host is the easiest option. SiteGround offer .com domains from £11.95/year. If you only serve the UK you would be better off with a .co.uk address which cost £14.95/year.
Not all my sites are hosted on SiteGround as I also have web applications hosted on Amazon’s AWS. I, therefore, choose to register my domains with Namecheap and then point the nameservers to my web hosting so all my domains are in one place. Namecheap also offers cheaper domains with .co.uk domains coming in at around £5.
I recommend to my clients that they set up their own domains and hosting. I am not being lazy, it is for their benefit. Your domain and hosting is your property, beware of freelancers offering to register the domain and hosting for you.
Some freelancers and agencies will hold your domain hostage and force you to pay maintenance fees to keep the site up to date or refuse to let you move to another host.
The agency or freelancer will need access to your site to be able to upload the designs and set up the website copy but after that access can be revoked by you.
If you go with keeping the domain and web host together setting up your hosting couldn’t be simpler.
If you want your website to stand out I would recommend getting a premium theme. Some free themes are great but you never really know what you are getting or whether it is going to perform well.
A great place to look for premium themes is Creative Market where you can find hundreds of quality themes to buy for around $39.
There are some great themes tailored for:
Once you have found a theme you can follow SiteGround’s tutorial on how to install it.
Looking for a freelancer to customise a Wordpress theme, create a bespoke site, add in some additional functionality or just give a helping hand? I am a freelance web developer with over 2 decades of experience building websites. You can contact me if you are interested in working together.