When you’re at that rosy part of starting a new business, where everything seems possible, it’s great. Then the real numbers start kicking in. You have to think about tax, expenses, insurance and of course: marketing. Before you decide if you’re going to go it alone or get someone to build your website for you, you need to find out what the average cost of website design for a small business in the UK actually is. This will help you bracket your initial costs and stay on budget.
The answer, sadly, can sometimes seem like how long is a piece of string? The price can range from as little as £150 right up to a whopping £10,000 and beyond. A website design for a small business can be a simple 3-page job with a few photos, which will be closer to the £150 – £500 mark, or it could be a full-on e-commerce hub. For a full e-commerce complex site, you can expect to pay anything from £5k upwards. So the first thing you need to think about is “what do I want from my website design?”.
The Benefits of Having A Website
No matter what business you’re in, whether that be selling stock, art and design, or a service business like a Virtual PA, a website is like your home, your real estate, on the internet. An online portfolio where you can show off your services and what you have to offer your clients and customers.
Having a website allows your potential clients and customers to gather more information in their own time. A blog on your website can not only put your small business on the map as an authority but it’s a great tool for SEO. Ranking on Google has become a number one aim for many companies, small businesses included, and there are hundreds of companies who will claim to be able to get you “on the first page of Google” but having a regularly updated blog on your website is a great place to start!
What about social media? Social media can be a great place to advertise your business, to grow your community and interact with your fans. Be warned though, organic (non-paid) reach on social media is at an all-time low. Instagram estimates just 0.6% of your audience will see your posts organically. Facebook is a little higher at an average of 1.6%, and LinkedIn is the highest at around 2-5%. None of these stats makes for happy viewing though. Whilst I’d recommend you have at least one social media platform for your business, I wouldn’t recommend putting lots of effort into social media from the beginning.
Simple Websites vs Complex Websites
Deciding whether to have a simple or more complex website for your small business can seem like a tough choice. You have lots to say about your particular industry. You want to share that with your audience. How much is too much though?
Personally, I get really frustrated with websites that have too little information on them. I’m someone who really doesn’t like speaking on the phone. I would rather read (or watch a video) about a business or a service.
As I mentioned above, having a blog or news section an be a fantastic SEO tool. Equally some businesses really won’t have a lot of “news” to share. I’ve seen many photographer websites that are a very simple layout of a portfolio, a short piece of background information, and a contact page. These simple and to the point website can work really well.
Selling Products or Services
If you are selling stock, either homemade or brought in, there is definitely a call for a more complex site. Whilst there are many online retail plugins and services (woo commerce and Etsy spring to mind) a lot of customers would prefer to be able to buy straight from your website without the hassle of changing sites. At this point, I would strongly suggest looking into the security of your website. If you’re planning to take card payments, using a service like PayPal to manage those payments safely.
If you are considering selling products or services via your website, it would be a good idea to hire a professional web design service. This may cost you more money than using a free service like Wix or WordPress and free plugins. You’ll have the added convenience, however, of not having to do everything yourself. With a designer, you’ll also be safe in the knowledge that your website is secure and GDPR compliant.
Professional Website Design
Choosing a professional web design service is one of the best investments you could make for your small business. Designers will usually spend an hour or so consulting with you beforehand, in this time they will ask a few questions and get some ideas as to the style you’d like to go with, before going away and creating a mock-up design for you to approve.
You can ask for your design to be built on a platform like WordPress, which is a very popular service and easy for you to add to with blogs and stories, or your designer may build your website from the ground up.
The benefits of having a ground-up design are that it is fully customisable to your needs, but the downsides are that any changes you will have to go through your designer to update. With something more simple like WordPress you may be able to do smaller edits yourself.
A conservative estimate for a relatively simple professional website design for a small business is around £2,000 to £5,000. More complexity will add to the costs and there may be additional fees such as hosting, and an updating fee or monthly retainer.
DIY Website Design
If you have the skills and experience, as well as the patience or time, building your website yourself an be a great and cost-effective way for your small business to stake your claim on your corner of the internet!
You can go completely free with your small business website and go for an online builder like WordPress or Wix. These services are easy to set up but you will end up having either a banner ad (Wix) or the company name in the domain, like www.mysmallbusiness.wordpress.com. If you are just starting out, and you’re not sure if you are going to continue with your small business, this may be ok. I would strongly suggest at the very minimum buying your domain.
Domains and Website Hosting
The average price for a website domain can vary depending on how valuable it is. I usually find services like GoDaddy will charge around £15 for two years for a .co.uk domain, with the option to add a .com or .net or any other variant too. If your domain is taken already, many companies offer a broker service to see if you can buy it. These can be fairly cheap (GoDaddy once offered me a broker service to buy a domain I wanted for around £69. If the domain is in use by another company, however, it might be worth coming with a new one. It’s really worth checking on Google if it’s taken before settling on the name of your business.
As well as a domain, you will need web hosting too. Some services provide you with a certain amount of free hosting but you may have ads or a banner placed on your website, but for the most part, you’ll want to get some hosting.
www.bisongrid.uk have made a fantastic little chart comparing the four types of hosting and their averages prices (as of 2018).
|Type of Website Hosting||Average Cost of Hosting in the UK|
|Shared Website Hosting||£3 – £10/month|
|Virtual Private Server (VPS) Website Hosting||£10 – £45/month|
|Cloud Server Website Hosting||£10 – £350/month|
|Dedicated Website Hosting||£65 – £200/month|
An Average Website Price for a Small Business
So as we’ve seen, it’s tough to put a price on the average cost of a website design for a UK small business, but if you were to use a designer I would say a conservative average price would be between £600 and £1,500 for a small and simple website. If you wanted to add thing like e-commerce to your website, I would estimate an average price to be between £1,000 and £3,000 again for a relatively simple website for a small business.
If you were to design the website yourself, you could do this for around £50 to £200 a year, but that doesn’t include your time and effort. As small business owners, we must factor in the time we take doing admin and marketing tasks.
I hope this post has provided some value and helped you decide which way to go. Building a website for your small business can really revolutionalise the way your business is seen, as well as provide a platform for your customers and clients to get more information and engage with you.
Have you built your own website for your small business, or did you employ a designer? How did that work out for you? Let me know in the comments!
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