What Smart Businesses Consider When Budgeting For A New Website
Your business website is the online face of your company in the digital economy, with as much resting on it in terms of your sales and professional reputation as a traditional shopfront or customer-facing office. What factors are the most important, therefore, when budgeting to create a new website, and what is the most effective way of allocating funds?
Your hosting environment is the first cost to consider when budgeting for a new site. A good hosting service is essential to make sure your website is accessible online and has the right capacity to support your required number of visitors. The cost for this will depend on the provider and the type of plan you choose. Many new businesses opt for shared hosting initially, as this is cost-effective and easily managed. However, as traffic to your site increases, your need for higher performance and better security may lead you to upgrade to a virtual private server (VPS), cloud hosting, or even a dedicated server. Always keep scalability and future growth in mind when selecting a hosting provider.
Next in line in the hierarchy of costs is domain name registration, which is the unique address or URL of your website. Domain names vary widely in price based on the top-level domain (TLD), which includes .co.uk. .org, and .com, and prices can range from a few pounds to hundreds of pounds per year. You’ll need to remember to renew your domain registration on time to avoid losing ownership!
3. Theme Or Template
To create a visually appealing and functional website, many businesses choose a premade theme or template as their base. These are often more cost-effective than building a website from raw code, and the price depends on the complexity and features offered by the theme. Themes and templates can be further personalised by hiring a professional designer or web developer, giving you greater functionality options and branding opportunities.
4. Plugins And Extensions
Plugins and extensions enhance the functionality of your website with features such as contact forms, search engine optimisation, and secure payment gateways. Depending on the platform you use (e.g., WordPress), some plugins are free, while others are developed by third parties and require a one-time or monthly fee.
With cybercrime front of the minds of many Internet users, protecting your business website and customer data is an essential consideration when budgeting for a new site. At a minimum, businesses should invest in a good SSL certificate, which encrypts data and online transactions and costs between £10-£200 per year. Regularly updating your plugins and using a trusted hosting provider are also critical aspects of cyber security.
6. Designer/Developer Fees
A crucial aspect to consider when budgeting for your website is any developer or designer fees, if you’re not doing everything in-house. These can vary significantly based on the professional’s expertise, the types of business they typically work with, and the complexity of your project. For a basic brochure-type site, a freelance web developer may charge as little as £500-£2000 for their time, whereas, as the complexity of the website increases, the cost of using a professional web development agency can range from £2000-£10,000 or more. Keep in mind that a custom-designed and professional website may be a worthwhile investment if it can yield higher lead generation rates, customer engagement, and conversions than a lower-spec website.
7. Content Development
A website is best viewed as a framework for content, so another critical budget consideration is content creation, whether you invest in this using in-house resources and expertise, or outsource some or all of your content to an agency. Web content includes, but is not limited to, written website content, articles, downloadable material, graphics, videos, and custom images. It’s essential to invest an adequate budget into high-quality content that provides value to your visitors and is optimised for searchability. There is no point wasting money on a professional website only to populate it with badly written, AI-generated, or poorly optimised content – this won’t win you any leads or customers and could damage your professional credibility.
Independent Hosting Or SaaS (Software As A Service)?
In listing these budget considerations, we have assumed that you are developing and hosting a website independently, perhaps with the support of one or more agencies or contractors. However, there is now a second option that smart businesses should consider: creating and hosting your website using a software as a service (SaaS) solution such as Wix, HubSpot, Shopify, or Squarespace.
Independent hosting gives you full control of your site and its maintenance but also places a huge responsibility and cost burden on your shoulders long-term. On the other hand, a SaaS will include all that you need to create and manage a website within its monthly fee, including hosting, design templates, marketing, and management tools. These platforms are designed to be user-friendly for people without technical web development knowledge and come with a wide range of features and storage options that can be scaled to your needs.
Businesses can often create a competitive, attractive, and highly functional site for less money than building a website independently, without compromising on quality. This is far preferable than using a low-budget designer to create your website, which can often lead to a slow and unresponsive site.
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