The True Cost of Owning a Website


A 3-5 Minute Read.

It’s important to have a clear understanding of the true cost of owning a professional website. This helps you set an appropriate budget, manage your expectations.

This article uses a scenario that assumes the following:

  1. You have an appropriate budget and you’re not trying to do stuff “on the cheap”.
  2. You already have a good idea of what you want.
  3. You want a professional website that follows the minimum best practices.
  4. You want to meet all of the current legal obligations.

NOTE: I do show my products and services throughout this article by embedding them from my client hubs, not to get you to order them, but to show you the current associated cost. If I update the products and services on the hubs they are automatically updated here. This ensures you are always viewing current costs.

This article covers a brand new website starting from scratch. It assumes the following:

  1. You have nothing in place already.
  2. You’re not interested in building and maintaining the website yourself.
  3. You will have the core content (text & photos etc) readily available.

A 60 Second Video

1st: The Technical Bits

We have to set a solid foundation on which to build your digital presence. Your new website begins with a Domain Name, Hosting, Secure Certificate and the Software used to build your new website.

While my prices are shown below, VERY Significant Savings are available if we set up your Domain, Hosting and Secure Certificate directly with a my preferred supplier. The is also answers the question What Happens To Your Business If Your Website Designer Gets Killed By A Bus? Contact me to discuss this option.

2nd: Email

You’ll want email addresses set up for your business/staff. Emails will be accessible via your desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone. Once created you will be sent the settings to enable you to set them up on your chosen devices.

An alternative is for me to set email up using (Cloud Based) Outlook / Office 365.

3rd: The Website Design

Actual website design is the process of creating the pages in a style that suits the clients business, but more importantly follows the best practices to suit the needs of the end users/customers. The prices below appear to show that the price is largely dependent on the number of pages and the functionality required, but the reality is that the price is dependent on how much time it takes the website designer to carry out the work.

Website Designers like me use proven templates that we customise to best reflect your business. We create ‘packages’ in the hope that the client already understands their requirements AND will have the content available when required. The content is what your customers are going to see on your website.

Lastly in this section, the relationship gets sticky when the client changes the requirements during the project, Clients can change the requirements as much as they like, but it’s likely that the changes will impact on the original quote by creating additional costs for carrying out the work.

Your website will be be built for Desktop/Laptop and made to be ‘Mobile Device Friendly’ so that it works beautifully on Smartphones and Tablets. Note: It’s an entirely different approach if you want your website to be built for Mobile Devices and be made Desktop/Laptop Friendly as per: Google Launches ‘Mobile First’ Strategy. Everything Changes for SEO.

4th: The Site Content

The ‘site content’ is what your customers are going to see on your website. This includes the core text and photos, and may include videos. This content is supplied by the client.

The BIGGEST problem often faced is getting the content from the client. The record is waiting 11 months for photos from the client! The client didn’t want the new site to go live until the new photos he was “getting done” were on it. After 11 months, I had to let the client go.

If you don’t have site content readily available, in certain circumstances I can create the content or assist you in finding someone to create the content for highly technical products/services. This comes at an additional cost and is NOT included in website design packages.

A ‘Content Creation Service’ is ONLY required if the client does not have content readily available.

5th: Third Party Plug-ins

It’s very likely that you’ll want some functionalities that are best achieved using a 3rd Party Plug-in(s). It’s daft to pay me to build & maintain the functionality from scratch. ALL of my existing clients opt to use the ready made plug-ins.

FREE 3rd Party Plug-ins

Many of the plug-ins we’ll use on your website are available for FREE. A ‘Contact Form to Email’ for example.

PREMIUM 3rd Party Plug-ins

Some of the advanced functionality you may desire for your site are achieved using Premium Plug-In(s) at a cost in the form of an Annual Usage Licence ranging from £30 – £500 Per Year depending on how complicated your required functionality is.

I prefer that these are paid directly by you so that YOU OWN THE LICENSE and you take care of the annual renewal.

I can under certain circumstances pay for the Premium Plug-in(s) using my payment details, and take care of the annual renewal. There will be an admin fee of 10% of the cost of the Plug-in(s).

6th: Basic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Basic Search Engine Optimisation is included in Website Design costs. My basic SEO will be applied to every page on your website.

So there you have it. You have a website. This is where most website designers will stop.

Job done? No. This is article is called “The True Cost of Owning a Website”. Let me show you the bits that others often don’t mention until you find out you need them.

7th: GDPR

What about your GDPR Compliance? General Data Protection Regulation is something that most think it doesn’t apply to them. The fact is that there is a minimum requirement by law since May 2018, and EVERY website in UK/EU has some level of compliance they must meet.

Experience tells me that many of clients are willing to take the risk. That’s fine, but it’s possible that I’ll require you to sign a simply document indemnifying me from the GDPR on your website. If a client finds themselves in court facing a fine of up to 4% of their turnover, their defence can’t be “It wasn’t me your honor, it was my web designer”.

See the latest ICO Enforcements / Fines.

8th: Site Maintenance & Security

In addition to using WordPress as the core site software, we install a number of individual components (called plug-ins & theme). Over the course of a year these will require updates to keep your website secure and continuing to work as intended. While this is something anyone can do at the click of a button when new updates become available. Occasionally updating one plug-in can mess with another plug-in.

I offer a service to take care of these security & maintenance updates as they occur.

9th: Website Edits & Updates

This is the one that can cause most problems in your relationship with your website designer. At some point in the future a client may want to add new pages, edit existing pages or change photographs for example. This is NOT included in the original Website Design cost. This is charged at an hourly rate dependent on the complexity of the changes.

I differ from other websites designers in that if it only takes 15 minutes, I only charge for 15 minutes.

Now we’re done.

The next conversation would begin with me asking How Do You Plan To Market / Promote Your New Website? and What’s Your Marketing Budget? Not much point in building it, if no one is going to to see it.

This is something I’m currently doing for a number of brands. There are a number of essential things that can be done by the business owner themselves, but I can do it quickly and properly.