People often ask me how much it costs to build a website. The honest answer is that it varies. The real cost depends on your own wants/needs and your budget. Building a website can be done in a number of ways, not all of which are expensive.
What do you need to build a website?
First it’s important to establish what you actually need to build a website. In most cases you won’t even need to hire a web designer or web developer to do the work for you. You can save a lot of money by doing the work yourself (yes I know that sounds daunting).
Even if you don’t have a tech bone in your body, you can still build a website. That being said, if you don’t have a clue to begin with, you may take the wrong direction. That’s why I’m writing this guide so you don’t overspend and you don’t head the wrong way.
The main elements to start any website are:
- Domain name (the name of your website, e.g. ukwebhostreview.com)
- Web hosting (the people who host your website on the internet)
- Website builder (if you want to create a website yourself)
Choosing your website’s domain name should be the first step. You’ll need to know what your website is about and what it’s trying to achieve. Ideally your domain name should give potential visitors an idea of what your site is about before they’ve even landed.
There are plenty of sites that offer domain names for cheap. There’s also somewhere you can get a domain name for free! Most sites will give you the licence to your domain name for 1 year. Some may offer a longer period so take note. Once you purchase a domain name you have the right to use it and host your own website.
Web hosting provides a secure place for all your website’s content and files to be stored. Choosing the best web hosting shouldn’t be difficult with our help!
When your site visitors type in your domain name, they’ll be taken to your website. Your website is hosted by your web host, therefore should be the best it can be for your needs.
There’s a whole bunch of different web hosting options available. Dependent on what your needs are, you may consider shared hosting, WordPress hosting, cheap hosting, VPS hosting, cloud hosting, or even dedicated hosting.
When deciding on a web host, you may want to consider the following:
- Uptime guarantee (this ensures your website is live and visible to the world. A guarantee of at least 99.9% is recommended)
- Cost (web hosting doesn’t have to be costly, but the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Weigh up the cost with other factors)
- Features (find a web host that offers the right features for you)
- Performance (if your site doesn’t have a good performing web host, you may lose visitors)
If you want to create your own website, I recommend using a website builder like WordPress or Wix. It doesn’t matter what your skill set is, website builders, make it easy to create your own website.
Whether you’re a seasoned developer or a newbie, making a website the way you want it has never been easier. What’s more, when you sign up to a website builder, you’ll likely have access to handy SEO tools. Although website builders won’t be able to do it all for you, they’re a great way to pick up some hints and tips. Basic SEO features can be learned quickly and expanded on.
I recommend using the self-hosted version of WordPress. With over 30% of the web now powered by WordPress, there’s a reason it’s so popular. You’ll have complete control of your website and can choose one of their many free or premium paid themes. Whether you’re starting a blog or small business, or a large corporation, WordPress is a suitable option.
Signing up to WordPress.org is FREE. All you’ll need is your own domain name and web hosting. Most web hosts will actually install WordPress on your server for you, saving time and effort. You can browse thousands of themes and plugins via WordPress itself. Alternatively, there’s a whole bunch of resources available on the internet for you to peruse.
How much does building a website cost?
As I mentioned earlier, it depends on your needs. Using the methods mentioned above, it can cost anywhere from £50 up to a couple of hundred £. The bulk of the cost will come from your theme/template or the website builder you choose. That being said, compared to hiring a web developer that could cost you £5000+, it’s pretty affordable!
If you’re planning on building a small website, you’ll need to budget for the following:
- Domain name (.com domain usually around £9.99 per year)
- Web hosting (from as little as 80p per month with Hostinger)
- SSL certificate (around £120 per year)
I’d personally recommend signing up to a web host who offers all the above for a fraction of the cost. Signing up to SiteGround will cost you £2.95 per month. You’ll get a free domain name and SSL certificate for the year! If you’ve already got hosting elsewhere, they’ll migrate your websites for free with an average uptime of 100% (in my own tests).
Once you’re signed up, you can install WordPress for free. Some web hosts will pre-install plugins for you, but I’d highly recommend the following to get you started:
- Yoast SEO: Improve SEO on WordPress for free
- W3 Total Cache: Improve speed and performance on your WordPress site
- Akismet: Prevent unwanted spam comments on your WordPress site and blog
- MonsterInsights: Connect your WordPress site to Google Analytics
How much does building an online store cost?
Creating a small basic website and an online store are very different things. What works for one likely won’t work for the other. That’s why I’m here to explain the difference for you!
Building an online store is a venture that’s going to be worthwhile. eCommerce is growing rapidly and is accounting for a large proportion of retail sales. If you’re looking to create an online store, now is definitely a good time to do so.
Similar to creating a standard website, your eCommerce site will need a domain name and web hosting. If you choose to use an eCommerce platform, they’ll cover the web hosting side so you don’t have to worry about that.
I would personally recommend signing up to Wix. They are the best eCommerce platform in my experience. I’d never created an online store before but found it super easy to do so using Wix. They’ve got over 100 million users so they must be doing something right!
Wiz’s eCommerce prices start from just £14 per month. You’ll get unlimited bandwidth, 20GB storage, a FREE domain, an online store, and 2 premium business apps for FREE. This plan is insanely affordable when you consider what you’re getting for your money. It doesn’t get much better than this!
Managing your products is really easy to do. Like I said before, I hadn’t build an online store until I came across Wix. You can change the images on your products, categorise them, create discount codes and offers, etc. It felt almost too easy when I was doing it, it was hard to believe I was building my own online store myself!
How can you avoid paying over the odds?
It’s quite common for people with any size budget to overspend. I myself am a sucker for getting carried away with website themes and plugins. A few £ here and a few £ there can quickly add up to hundreds or even thousands.
The best thing to do is to start small. I know that might sound obvious but let me explain. Let’s take web hosting as an example to start with. When you sign up to a web host like SiteGround, you’re presented with multiple pricing plans. The difference between their StartUp plan and GrowBig plans is £2 per month. That might not seem a lot but that’s a difference of £24 per year, excluding VAT.
You’ll need to consider what your website needs immediately. Do you need 20GB storage right now or will 10GB be sufficient? Remember, most web hosts will let you upgrade your plan at any point. You don’t need to dive in with the biggest and best straight away when you won’t be using it to its full potential.
Making use of people like me can be one of your greatest resources! Let someone else do the hard work of researching and testing out the best web hosts, domain names, website builders and eCommerce platforms. Once you’ve read through my comparisons you should be equipped with the best knowledge to budget effectively.
What’s the best option?
After exploring some of the possibilities surrounding the cost of building a website, let me help you decide the best route to take. I’ve experimented with a wide range of options from drag and drop builders, templates, CMS platforms and even custom built sites.
The best way to simplify this whole process is to break it down into a few simple questions. Hopefully by the time you’ve finished reading this, you’ll have it all figured out!
Question #1: What’s your actual budget?
As well as the initial setup, websites need maintenance. Fees renew monthly or yearly, and technologies change (we spoke about this before). Really it comes down to two things:
- Initial setup and design
- On-going costs (monthly/annually)
If you have over £100 to spend and your budget allows for this, something like WordPress would be a good option. You can afford a decent premium theme, some plugins, and WordPress web hosting. If your budget can stretch a little, you may even consider manages WordPress hosting.
If you have £100 or less to spend, a website builder would be my recommendation. Your monthly or annual costs will include a theme, web hosting, and often a domain name. You’ll have to manage the site yourself, but you’ll have an all-in-one solution to hand.
Question #2: Do you want to manage your site yourself?
I touched on this briefly in question one. There’s various ways your site can be managed. You can hire a web developer or designer to do the work for you. If you choose this option you will have to consider how much work for other people they also have. Do your timeframes allow for delays and potential setbacks? This also links into budget as hiring a web developer is very expensive.
Many web hosts offer a managed solution. This means they manage the installation, backups and updates to yourself. You still have to create the site and apply content to it, but the fiddly back end stuff gets done for you. Managed hosting can be slightly more expensive than shares hosting, but its worth it if you don’t have time or don’t want to manage certain aspects of your site.
Question #3: What features do you want on your site TODAY?
There are plenty of features, plugins and apps you can download and install to your website. Whether you’re using WordPress, another site builder, or having your site built for you, there’s lots of add-ons around.
What you need to consider is whether these tempting features are necessary NOW or whether you can do without them until later down the line.
Although features are nice to have, it’s easy to get carried away. If you’re using WordPress and install too many plugins, it may slow your site down. If you install plugins that conflict with each other, they won’t work. You also need to remember to keep them updated or you’ll face security risks or they’ll stop working.
If you want to get your website off the ground TODAY, go for it. You probably don’t need all the bells and whistles right now and may even learn over time what you do and don’t need.