In part 1 of this post we reviewed the first 2 steps (getting a domain and hosting) in the process of building a website for your business and a rough idea of how much it should cost. In this post we will follow up with the remaining items to round out the project. If you haven’t read the first post or need a refresher, you can do that here.
First a quick summary:
To build a website for your business you will need the following:
- A domain(s)
- Platform to build it on
- Content (words and images) to use
- Design and build (putting it all together)
We’ll assume that you’re up to speed on the first 2 from the previous article and jump right in to #3…
Time to choose a platform
Technically, this step will be done somewhat in tandem with the previous one, especially if you are looking to use one of the more DIY solutions, like WIX or GoDaddy site builder, etc. While I don’t usually recommend those platforms for business use, there are some situations where it makes sense, especially if you are just starting out and/or you don’t have any budget to spend on your site. If this is the case, there are many options for easy and straightforward site builders that will get you a decent looking site to serve your purpose.
Option 1: Use a DIY page builder (WIX, Shopify, GoDaddy site builder, etc.)
Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of this approach:
- you can build it yourself, so you don’t need to pay someone else to do it for you
- there are many options with decent templates to help you make it look good
- you can get your site up and running quickly
- you are often limited in the amount of customization that you can apply using the templates (without knowing more code)
- you are ‘stuck’ using the platform that you choose and can’t switch without starting from scratch. For example, if you build your site on WIX, you can never move away from the WIX platform without losing your work. You would have to rebuild your site from scratch on another platform if you wanted to move your hosting and stop paying the monthly WIX fees
- there are usually lots of add-ons available, but they will cost you more money per month
- depending on your intent it can be harder to get these sites to rank well on search engines. There is much debate about this and many factors involved. Let’s leave it to say that it can be more difficult and if you are really keen to have a site that ranks well and you are open to investing in SEO to get there, do yourself a favour and start with WordPress from the beginning.
Option 2: Use a Content Management System (CMS) approach (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.)
Another option is to use a free platform that can be hosted almost anywhere. This allows you to move your site to new hosting if you need to for any reason and you don’t have to start from scratch.
The biggest downside here is that you will more likely need to hire a professional to build your site for you on one of these platforms. BUT the biggest upside of this is that you can get a totally custom site that looks how you want it to, has all the features that you want and truly represents your business and your brand.
For sake of simplicity, let’s talk about WordPress. According to this article on Kinsta (and many others) in 2020 WordPress is running roughly 35% of the websites on the internet!!! Wow! That is a huge market share considering how many other options are out there.
Does that mean it’s the best, no…..but it does mean that there are A LOT of sites out there using it and that we can expect it to be around for a long time.
You can certainly build a WordPress site yourself and there are many great themes available – some free, some paid. What you may find is that you get bogged down in the sheer number of options available and that you can’t find “just the right one” to suit your needs.
Another big pro here is that there are MANY developers who know and love WordPress. This makes it easier for you to get help or have changes made down the road, even if your current developer wins the lottery and moves on to other things. 😉
At PinPoint Local Grimsby, we build ALL our websites on WordPress and use Elementor PRO page builder. This combines the best of a DIY option (module based, drag and drop blocks) while maintaining the flexibility and pretty much unlimited customization options for your site.
We can help you get started with the free version of Elementor or build you a custom site with Elementor PRO, starting from under $1000. This is a great way to get your business noticed with a site that is mobile responsive, modern and professional. Contact us for a no obligation quote or even just some advice on getting started.
Are we done yet?
A quick summary of where we are at for cost:
1. We have a domain. Let’s call that $20/year
2. We have hosting. We can estimate that to be between $5 and $35/month, depending on your needs
3. We have a platform. Either this is part of your hosting (WIX, Shopify) or in the case of WordPress it’s free!
So up to this point we are looking at roughly $150 to $600/year to get going.
To keep it simple, let’s combine items 4 and 5, the website content and the design and build together.
While there are lots of options here, let’s look at the 2 extremes:
A. Write the content yourself, take all your own photos and populate a prebuilt DIY template.
B. Get a professional to write your content and design and build a custom site for you, exactly how you want it.
There are definitely scenarios where either of these options make sense, as well as hybrid options where you do some of the work yourself and outsource the rest. To keep it simple, let’s quickly look at the pros and cons here.
Option A: Do it Yourself
Many people who are just starting out go this route. And we totally get it. When you are just starting out it is hard to spend money on things that you can do yourself. With all the page builder options out there today, you can certainly get up and running with a decent site relatively quickly, even with minimal tech skills.
- little/no monetary cost to build
- speaks in your voice and highlights what you think are the important things that people need to know
- forcing yourself to write these things can sometimes also help you to sort them out in your own mind and create a stronger brand
- takes your time which could potentially be better spent on other startup or growing business tasks (time is money!)
- can be frustrating if you can’t get things to work or look the way you want them to because the template you chose doesn’t ‘do that’
- it can often take you longer than you think – and when push comes to shove, are you going to serve your clients or finish your website? Hopefully the answer is obvious
- sometimes because you are so close to the business, you don’t always present information in an engaging and easily digestible format for your visitors
- unless you have experience programming, it can be more difficult to include the extra features that you want
Option B: Hire a Professional
While this will cost you some money up front, it is certainly a worthwhile investment when you work with the right person.
- it will/should be done quickly and efficiently (unfortunately I’ve heard too many stories of how this hasn’t gone well….but probably just as many about how the DIY route also didn’t work out). An experienced pro can get your project completed in less time because they have done it before and have the skillset to do it right.
- website content writers are good at what they do – they know how to present information clearly and effectively to customers in language they understand and that will guide them through your website and encourage them to take action
- minimal amount of your time required. All you need to do is talk to us about your business by answering some pointed interview questions which takes an hour to an hour and a half. We take that and turn it into a website which we can then review together and tweak to make sure we captured your brand message. You are free to work on your business!
- larger monetary cost
So, what does it cost to hire a pro?
Hiring a professional to build your website for you can have a large range in cost depending on your needs. A simple one page site where you provide the content will likely be under $1,000. A standard, multipage site with content development may run around $3,500, give or take. If you need a really large site or want to sell online (E-commerce) then you are likely looking more towards $5-$10K or more. There is a HUGE range here, so here’s a suggestion:
Even if you want to DIY, do a little research and get a few quotes. You can make a better informed decision about which route to go when you have all the info in front of you.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Get more than one quote
- ALWAYS ask for samples of their work
- Support a local small business if you can (we are small business owners like you!)
- Make sure that you will have full access to the site once it’s completed and the ability to make changes if you want to
Putting It All Together
Well, we did it. We went through each item you need to get a website up and running for your business with a rough idea of costs for each one.
1. Domain: Roughly $20/year
2. Hosting: Between $5 and $35/month, depending on your needs
3. Platform: Either this is part of your hosting (WIX, Shopify) or in the case of WordPress it’s free!
4. Content: $0 upfront if you DIY, but include your time to put it together OR ~$1000-$2000 depending on how big your site will be
5. Design and Build: $0 if you DIY, but include your time to put it together OR ~ $900-$10,000 (but let’s go with the average of ~$3,000
So for a total DIY, you are looking at ~$320/year + whatever time and effort it takes to get your content, images and development done.
If you hire a pro for content and development, we are looking at ~$320/year + ~$4200 for the website content and build.
We have definitely generalized and simplified some things here in order to give you some clue and idea of what it will cost to put together a website for your business. There are many factors to consider and the answers to each of the above steps may be different depending on your situation, industry, purpose and budget.
With many years of experience in helping small business owners put their websites together, we would be happy to discuss your project with you or even just walk you through the process or provide some insight.
Happy website building!