Domain name registration
The first unavoidable cost of website design is domain registration. You’ll need to spend money regardless of how you are proceeding with your project. Your domain name is what you type into the top of your browser (e.g. www.liampedleydesign.co.uk) and to gain ownership of your website’s name you or somebody on your behalf needs to register this through a provider like this one.
Depending on whether you are seeking a .co.uk, .com or a newer domain like .online, prices can vary between £0.69 a year to over £2000. This is related to how desirable the domain name is and the registrar you are booking it through. Shop around for different prices and if you are working with a designer or company, see whether this domain name registration is included in your project fee. You may also want to consider whether a domain name comes free when you purchase website hosting (explained below)
Total cost: £0.69 – £2000+ per year
The second unavoidable cost of website design is website hosting. Putting it simply, web hosting is the computer somewhere out there in the world that your website is saved on. There are so many website hosting providers out there that offer many different types of services so again it is important to shop around. As with domain name registration, some website designers and agencies will include the cost of hosting within your project fee so if you are pursuing this kind of relationship it is worth checking to see whether this is the case.
If you are going it alone, or prefer to do your own research, all of the different options can be quite confusing and so we’ve limited this post to looking at shared hosting only. This type of hosting is the most affordable and will be suitable for most websites (although if you’re going for a vast e-commerce store or website that is likely to get millions of visitors you’re best researching VPS or Dedicated Hosting).
Shared hosting can be anywhere between £2.50 and £15 per month depending on how many websites you are looking to create, whether you need email addresses and how many resources you’ll need (e.g. how fast you want your website to load). Our preferred hosting provider (the one we use for every single project) provides an affordable monthly rate of £2.79 although we’d highly recommend opting for turbo for £6.63. Shop around for the best deal but take into account usage limits (Unlimited often does not actually mean Unlimited!), customer service and what you are getting for your cash.
Total cost: £2.50+ per month
Cost of building the website
You have a few options when it comes to actually building your website. You can do it yourself using a content management service like WordPress or approach a professional to complete the work for you. The route you take will probably depend highly on your budget and your existing commitments so we’ve laid out a few options below. For this post we’ve limited these to the 3 most likely and have ignored sites like Upwork or Fiverr. We don’t doubt that a few people may have had good experiences with working with professionals abroad, but in our experience the project generally goes south leaving you with an incomplete site or one riddled with vulnerabilities that hasn’t been optimised in line with best practice. Our advice is to stick to web designers that you can meet with in person and are easily contacted.
Agency website design: Working with an agency is the most costly of all of the options but you’ll be ensuring that you benefit from a large knowledge pool and more resources than the other options. Depending on the size of the agency, a project can be anything above £2000. This will be based on the size and complexity of your project, and whether you opt to go for any of their other services, like SEO. An agency is a good choice if you can find a professional outfit with an experienced and knowledgable team.
Freelance website design: Working with a freelancer that you trust also has benefits. The cost of the project is likely to be much lower as a solo web designer will have lower overheads and you’ll be able to work far more flexibly and may receive a more personal and attentive service. You can generally achieve the same quality of website design from a freelancer as you can from an agency at a lower rate. Find the right one and depending on where they are in their career you can achieve a rate of £500+ (again dependent on the scope of the project).
Do it yourself website design: If you have a good technical understanding then it’s really tempting to go it alone and with so much information on the internet on pretty much every topic most people manage to create a passable website. If you are leaning towards keeping costs down and DIYing, it’s worth bearing in mind that there’s a lot more to building a site than making it look pretty. Make sure you research search engine optimisation, browser caching, analytics and if you can pick up a bit of CSS and HTML then even better. We recommend you use WordPress over other site builders like Wix or Weebly as although the learning curve is a bit steeper, it can grow with you and offers much more opportunity to optimise.
Other than time, developing with WordPress is going to set you back as much as a theme costs to buy. There are thousands of themes to choose from (just Google it!) that have different levels of functionality. Pick a free theme if you don’t need many customisation options or pay a bit more for more flexibility and features.
Total Cost: £0 – £149
As you can see, web design rates differ vastly dependent on the complexity of your project, where you buy hosting and how you proceed with building the website. Even if you are uncertain about how you are going to approach your website redesign we hope that you are now aware of all of the costly elements and can now do more research! As always, if you have any questions please let us know.
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent a decade working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.