This is a very common question we are asked but it’s not really the right question. An analogy with cars can help understand why it’s such a difficult question to answer.
So, “How much does a car cost?”
There are many different makes and models of cars. Cars have to be serviced and maintained and over time most cars depreciate in value. Further it’s no good having a car if you are not prepared to put some fuel in it, tax it and insure yourself to drive it. All of these elements factor into the cost of car ownership.
So what does it cost to buy and run a car? It varies of course, depending on the quality of the car, how often it breaks down, how much it costs to insure and how thirsty it is in fuel.
The cost actually depends more on your motivation for car ownership – what is its purpose? Is it just about getting from A to B efficiently, the thrill and fun of driving or is it more about status and positioning yourself a successful person? Or maybe you’re an enthusiast or collector and it’s just about the love of ownership? Or maybe it’s a mix of all of those things.
Would you consider building your own car? Of course not, it would be a very expensive exercise so we leave it to the car manufacturers who have been building cars for decades. That said, some might consider building a kit car so smaller specialist car makers pop up to service that market.
It’s a similar situation with the web site build industry. In the early days of web site development, much like the early days of motoring, web sites were hand built and very expensive to make compared to today. In the mid-1990s it was not uncommon for a small business to spend £10,000s on building a web site that today could be built for £1000s or even £100s.
Today there are emerging technology companys for web sites much like the early days of car manufacturer. Wordpress, Weebly, Squarespace etc. All of these can supply you with the means to make a web site for a very modest fee. In addition, there are many custom web site manufacturers in the form of agencies and web developers who are each using a mix of tools to build sites. It is likely that over time we will see the market develop much like the car industry and there will ultimately be a relatively small number of web site technology supplier companies augmented by third party customisation companies and niche suppliers. The race is on.
Let’s return to the question, “How much does a web site cost?”. One answer is Free another £100. Another answer is £100,000 or even £10m+. The better question to ask is: “How much is *my* web site going to cost?”. So what do you want your web site to do? What is its objective? The cost will evolve after a series of questions like: How much material for the web site do you already have? (Branding, Logos. Photography. Marketing texts.) Have you developed a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve and an awareness of the competition? And do you have a way of measuring the success of your web site? Do you have a domain name? How much of the work are you willing to do yourself?
“But come on, what about ball-park costs for someone else to do the work?” I hear you ask.
As a small business with modest requirements your set-up costs are likely to be in the low £1,000s and your running costs (the fuel and maintenance) could be a similar amount per year (or less). If you are in a competitive sector and reliant on paid advertising such as Google Ads your running costs could be a lot higher. (But the aim is always to get the advertising cost back out of the sales whilst delivering a profit.)
More complex web sites with bespoke requirements are likely to cost more than £10,000 as programmer costs for bespoke functionality can get expensive. Large online retailers invest millions in their web sites so don’t delude yourself that you can take on the Amazon’s of the world at their own game without serious financial backing.
Can you get cheaper web sites? Yes of course, but they are either unlikely to not deliver your objectives or will be reliant on you building them yourself… the hidden cost of that activity can be high if it takes you away from the day to day running of your business.
You can get a simple web site for free with Google’s web site builder here. This may be perfectly adequate for your needs if your needs are very modest and you have the time to build the web site yourself. If you’d like something a little more sophisticated then you can try using one of the many web site builders yourself such as Weebly, Squarespace or Wix. These charge very modest fees from around £8 a month for simple web sites.
So do you want our help to “set up for success” at a fair cost? Get in touch today to discuss your web site’s objectives or view our outline plan for your new web site project here.