Many people assume that the first step to starting a website is the design, however choosing the right domain during the early stages is equally important and quite often the hardest.

“What should my domain name be?” is a question we get asked a lot and the reason I thought it would be beneficial to write this guide covering some important things to consider:

Be Broad – You sell wedding cakes in London and you are excited at the fact that weddingcakeslondon.co.uk is available (it’s not, please don’t look!). This may be the perfect match for your business now, but what about in 2, 3 or 5 years when you make the decision to expand and start selling cupcakes? When picking the perfect domain for your business, think long term.

Keep it short – Short names are easy to remember and type. They are also a better fit on business cards and other offline marketing material.

Which extension? Our advice is always to start with .co.uk for UK based businesses or .com for US based businesses. After that, .org and .net provide additional options. We always advise our clients to avoid uncommon extensions like .name, .cc and .ws which are often deemed indicators of spam.

Be Memorable – Choosing a domain name that is unique, easy to remember and easy to type will not only provide visitors with something to associate your website with, but help you brand above the competition.

Use Keywords When Possible – Fitting your targeted keywords into your domain name is always a Brucy bonus. However, don’t lose sleep over it if you can’t. Never pick an awkward domain name just for the sake of squeezing in a word or two.

Don’t try to be clever – Forget about hard to spell, long winded and clever/complex words. That is unless you actually want to make it hard for people to remember your domain name?

Avoid Hyphens & Numbers – Hyphenated domains and those which include numbers often act as a spam indicator and detract credibility. They have very little branding value and could arguably affect any SEO campaigns you decide to undertake.

No Copying! – You’d be pretty annoyed if someone infringed on your successful and unique domain name right? Maybe even take their ass to court for copyright infringement? While copying someone else purposefully is plain stupidity, violating trademarks without even realising could be a major headache you simply don’t need. My advice – do your research before finalising your domain purchase.

Consider How It Looks – whoRepresents.com looks perfectly legitimate right? Now bear in mind that domain names use lower case letters only and you’re presented with something completely different!

Purchase The Whole Collection? This will be dependent on your type of business and what you are trying to achieve. While I’d recommend an ecommerce start up to purchase the whole collection .com/.net/.org & .co.uk, a solicitors firm in Manchester (UK) will be fine with just .co.uk. It’s important to note that you do not have to build a separate site for each domain extension, simply forward any additional domains to your primary website.

Where can I buy my domain?

There are hundreds of domain registrars where you can buy domains. The most popular are:

Namecheap

namecheap logo

Shout My Domain

Shout My Domain Logo

GoDaddy

Go Daddy Logo

Directnic

Directnic Logo

eNom

enom logo

My first choice is not available what should I do?

Start Panicking!…(kidding!).

Depending on the type of website you are building you could consider getting an alternative domain extension, for example swapping .com with .net or .org.

You could also consider adding a keyword explaining what your business does further. For example you run an interior design company called Studio Red, studiored.com isn’t available, so why not add the keywords interior design making studioredinteriordesign.com.

If you’re struggling to find a suitable alternative, you could consider approaching the current owner and making them an offer. Use who.is to find the owners contact details – I believe the saying is “if you don’t ask you don’t get”.

Still Need Help?

There are countless free domain name generators available online. They make it easy to mix and match keywords, provide some great suggestions based on similar domains you’ve entered and provide instant notification of availability.

Domainr

domainr domain finder
BUST A NAME

Bust A Name
Squurl

squurl domain finder
Nameboy

nameboy
Dot-o-mator

Dot-o-mator

James Brands specialises in the development of websites and applications at WilliCreative. He is also a proven SEO expert using the latest techniques to increase the visibility of both local and national client sites.

On April 21st 2015, Google released a new mobile friendly ranking algorithm, favouring mobile friendly web pages in the search results.

They basically said if your website wasn’t mobile friendly you should expect to see a decrease in search engine rankings.

According to comScore, mobile has surpassed desktop internet traffic, making it both the present and the future.

Mobile vs Desktop Traffic
Mobile users now expect an internet experience optimised for their mobile devices:

46% of consumers said they wouldn’t return to a website if it hadn’t loaded properly on their mobile device the first time.

You may have noticed that text labels have been added to snippets in mobile search results, alerting users to whether the web page has been developed for mobile device.

Mobile snippet search results

It’s likely that more and more users will start noticing this, resulting in the click through rate (CTR) of web pages that do not display the tag to decrease.

How do I Check my website is mobile friendly?

Head over to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool and enter your page URL:

Google Mobile Friendly Test

Unfortunately, aside from the hints on the left, if your site returns a “no” you really don’t get that much feedback.

I mean it’s brilliant WilliCreative got a YES, (which we kind of knew already) but are there any areas for improvement?

Thankfully behind the test is further helpful data, which can be found via the mobile-friendly checker Chrome extension or by entering the URL manually via the bulk mobile friendly checker urlitor

Further Responsive Test

As you can see from the screenshot, Google considers 5 rules that impact whether a website is mobile friendly:

1) Viewport Configuration

Problems occur when you do not specify a viewport meta tag or specify a viewport that fails to adapt to different screen sizes.

Google recommends the following:

<meta name=viewport content =”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″>

In layman’s terms the above is simply telling the browser to make the width of the page the same as the screen size and as wide as it can be within that screen, in the event a user turns their phone sideways.

2) Font legibility

Problems occur when text on a web page is too small for users to read.

3) Use of incompatible plugins

Problems occur when plugins that most mobile browsers don’t support like Silverlight or Flash are used.

4) Content to Viewport

Problems occur when the web page fails to fit horizontally within the viewport size.

5) Size and Proximity of Links

Problems occur when form fields, links and buttons are either too close together or too small for a user to easily tap on a touch screen device.

If you wish to dig further I suggest using Google Search Consoles usability report. It will provide you information on crawl errors under the smartphone option:

Search Console

It will also allow you to compare mobile and smartphone traffic and search engine rankings. Lower mobile rankings may indicate you have a problem.

Search Console Smartphone

 

Mobile SEO

What if my website isn’t mobile friendly?

1) Create a mobile version of your current website.

You can do this quickly and easily by using a conversion platform like duda or bMobilized.

Duda Mobile

It’s a cost effective solution for those on a limited budget, however it’s important to understand you will be creating a second site, which means you will have to update two sites rather than one. This will increase workload and possibly infuriate users if their is less content available on the mobile version of your website

2) Use a plugin

If your website has been developed on a content management system (CMS), there are several plugins available that provide solutions to making your website mobile friendly.

WordPress:

WPtouch

WP Touch

 

Using extensions to help render content for mobile devices, WP-touch is used on over 5.5 million WordPress blogs.

JetPack

Jetpack plugin

JetPack provides a secondary option via it’s “Mobile Theme”, which can be used for the optimization of a WordPress site for mobile devices.

Joomla:

JoomlaShine

JoomlaShine provides a simple option to make your website responsive if you are running the Joomla platform.

Drupal:

ThemeKey and MobileTheme are modules available on the Drupal platform. They detect whether your website is being visited via a mobile device and take action by switching to a mobile friendly theme.

3) Redesign The Website

Responsive design ensures the same code for the website works across multiple screen resolutions.

No matter the size of the device – tablet or smartphone, you have a site that is relatively consistent across the board.

Holmes Place Cafe Responsive Web Design

If your website is running on a CMS, an option would be to simply change to a responsive theme. Although this sounds like a simple and quick fix, it may cause changes to your website, particularly within widget areas.

Using a plugin like Theme Test Drive, will allow you to view the changes before making a decision.

If you have the budget, employing the services of a web designer could be the best option. Maybe it’s time for a change and the design and development of a brand new site would compliment the growth and success your business is currently receiving?

I’ve heard WilliCreative are excellent and very reasonable :)

If you require further information, those friendly people at Google have put together a comprehensive guide on how to make your website mobile friendly.

Comments, questions below.

James Brands specialises in the development of websites and applications at WilliCreative. He is also a proven SEO expert using the latest techniques to increase the visibility of both local and national client sites.

When it comes to starting your own website, you need to consider many aspects, but one of the first things to take into consideration has to be how much money it is going to cost to operate each month.

If your website is gaining plenty of traffic with little revenue but a lot of outgoings, it’s not going to be sustainable.

Although it might seem obvious to tighten the wallet as much as you can, budgets can escalate very quickly without the right moderation and care taken.

If your hosting package needs upgrading to deal with an increase in traffic, you could soon find that your profit margins become that much more slimmer.

When it comes to the cost of website maintenance in 2016, there are plenty of costs and necessities that you need to accommodate for:

Hosting Costs

There are so many different hosting providers out there that it can be a real headache to choose one which suits your needs. Providers like Hostgator offer dirt cheap hosting, but as you’re sharing servers with possibly hundreds of other websites, you might find that your site speed suffers as a result.

This might be suitable for a smaller website with low traffic, but for any eCommerce site or online magazine, it could prove to be a sticking point.

That’s why, budget allowing, it’s advisable to opt for a package that is on the slightly pricier side with the sort of performance to back it up. Fasthosts and Siteground are two providers that cost a premium, but give results in return. The latter provides a package for £9.75 a month to suit websites with ~100,000 monthly visitors, a good investment considering the low downtime and customer support they offer. Be sure to research the right hosting provider to suit your venture instead of making a snap decision based on reputation.

Many web design companies will offer web hosting services and will provide a 6 or 12 month free offer of hosting if they build your website – we do. While this provides a hassle free option, it’s important not to get ripped off, unfortunately some web design companies will charge a premium for less than impressive hosting.

Estimated yearly cost: £120

Business Domain Costs

This will likely be the very first thing you arrange. Unfortunately finding a domain can sometimes prove to be an issue in the congested modern web. If you already have your brand name sorted but find that its .com variant has already been claimed, you might have to opt for a .co, .org, or your national version instead.

Another option to consider is to reach out to the domain registrar and privately buy it from them. The asking price for this can vary, likely to be lower if they are just holding onto it for a small profit or much higher if they’re doing something with it.

You can expect to pay an average of £10 a year for your domain if it’s not already been claimed. Search registrars like Namecheap and Name.com to find your domain.

Many web designers include the cost of the first years of the domain registration in their overall website cost.

Estimated yearly cost: £10

Security Costs

In an age where viruses can be the death knell for any burgeoning business, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your website is as secure as possible. Hackers can take over your website and use it to their own ends, damaging your reputation in the process. It doesn’t even bear thinking about the outcome if they get their hands on your customers’ confidential information.

Luckily, although it’s almost impossible to be 100% secure online, investing in SSL certificates helps to shore up your defences. Google prefers websites with these, but are yet to confirm that they will positively impact your rankings should your website have the right certificates. Future-proof your website by investing in certificates from as little as £30 from providers like 123reg with other more inclusive packages from Trustico coming in at £229 per year.

There are also other avenues you can go down to make your website as secure as possible. A practice growing in popularity is to invest in security monitoring: a tool that will periodically scan your website to find anything that may be amiss. More often than not, these will automatically remove the malware and alert you, meaning that any security holes are harder to exploit. Siteground offer this add-on from £5 a month.

For that added bit of security, you can also invest in a plugin for your CMS that will add extra layers of security. For WordPress users, WP Security is a must, allowing for IP blocking, firewalls and much more.

Estimated cost per year: £290

Update & Redesign Cost

The modern web is always shifting and adapting to new trends in design and performance, meaning that your website might need semi-regular updates to keep it fresh. If you aren’t a designer/developer yourself, you could be looking at escalating costs to hire external parties.

From simply changing the font to a complete overhaul of your website’s design, there a lot of factors that result in soaring costs. Even if you’re just purchasing a premium theme or plugin for your CMS, they’re outgoings which need to be considered.

The costs of this can highly vary. A developer might want payment on an as-and-when basis depending on the scale of the job or allocate a yearly budget for them to draw from. You might want to set aside anywhere between £200-£1500 a year to accommodate any costs, just to be on the safe side.

If you intend to make several additions and updates to your website each month then it’s probably worth asking your web designer if they can offer a monthly package to make these changes for you.

Estimated cost per year: £200-£1500

In-House Website Co-Ordinator Cost

A surefire way to ensure that your website is maintained properly is to hire someone internally to oversee any updates and deal with issues as they crop up. Even better, with a website co-ordinator, they can produce quality content and run your social channels, as well as many other exercises to help improve your brand. These experts might require a premium salary, so hiring them may not be feasible for small, new businesses. It is worth bearing in mind however if you plan to expand the online side of your business.

Alternatively. you can also invest in freelance experts or marketing agencies to help you and your website stay ahead of the game. You might not have someone readily available to assist in the office, but their expertise could prove to be a great benefit nonetheless.

Estimated cost per year (In-House): £12000-£35000

Estimated cost per year (Freelance): £1000-£55,000

As you can see, maintaining your website isn’t something that should be done on the cheap. The old adage of “you get what you pay for” certainly applies: scrimp and save at every possible opportunity and you might be doing your website justice. Maintaining a quality website is a necessary step towards making your new business into a long standing, reputable one.

James Brands specialises in the development of websites and applications at WilliCreative. He is also a proven SEO expert using the latest techniques to increase the visibility of both local and national client sites.

A lot of website builders have come and gone in the last few years thanks to the dominance of WordPress. Make no mistake, with figures from 2014 stating 75 million websites around the world utilising the content management system, it’s ruling the roost with aplomb.

The secret behind WordPress’s success lies in its relative ease of use and broad selection of supporting documentation, meaning that even the most inexperienced of publishers can get to grips with it. Whether it’s the .com or .org version, WordPress is usually the first word on people’s lips when it comes to starting your own website.

Some of the biggest websites in the world, such as Forbes, CNN and PlayStation, utilise WordPress to deliver their content. Other smaller businesses use builders to alleviate website cost as they’re, by and large, drag and drop, meaning that even the most inexperienced can use them with some practice.

But can any of the website builders out there really match the CMS in terms of quality?

Website Builder Overview

Squarespace

Squaresspace Website Builder

Interface

A beautifully simple interface that relies on minimalistic aesthetics, Squarespace is easy to navigate and straightforward to use. It’s hard to lose your way and you’re never more than a few clicks away from what you need. Compare that to WordPress with its multitude of different settings options that are confusingly laid out for beginners and there’s only one winner.

Design Options

Just like its interface, Squarespace websites offer stunning simplicity. HBO and Wired depend on the builder to offer ease-of-use to their millions of visitors, but for the everyman designer/developer, it’s sadly restricted – a common theme with website builders.

SEO

The major sticking point for Squarespace is how disappointing it is from an SEO perspective. Title tags cannot be altered from the page title, alt text cannot be defined independently (the image title is also its alt text), and other simple edits (like altering your .htaccess) are a real chore to sort out. For publishers looking to make an impact on the social side of things, Squarespace might suffice.

Tools/Plugins

Compared to WordPress’s massive selection of free plugins, Squarespace doesn’t offer a great deal of competition. Most you will find are paid with Squarespace offering a free monthly plugin to customers; there’s a sense of quality over quantity.

Website

Weebly

Weebly Website Builder

Interface

Of all the website builders out there, Weebly could very well be the easiest to use. It comes somewhere in the middle between Squarespace and WordPress, offering the simple navigation of the former and the variety of settings of the latter. Everything’s segmented off into (mostly) where you think it should be, allowing for straightforward edits and additions.

Design Options

This is where Weebly begins to fall down. By modern standards, Weebly websites can look quite outdated and a little gauche, mainly due to the inexperience of those using it. With a lot of probing and prodding, you may be able to create a Weebly website that belongs in 2016, but for the same amount of time and effort, you could be better off getting to grips with the intricacies of WordPress instead.

SEO

Possibly the best website builder out there for your SEO needs, Weebly doesn’t lack the depth you need to edit H1’s, set metadata et al. It does suffer in comparison to WordPress (particularly when using it’s Yoast SEO plugin), but is a good middle ground. Weebly websites also offer decent loading times: an important factor to consider in the performance-driven algorithms of today’s Google.

Tools/Plugins

Quite a poor selection from Weebly considering the competition. If you look hard enough, you can find some quality tools to improve your website, but as with all website builders, the selection available pales in comparison to WordPress’s offerings.

Website

Wix

Wix Website Builder

Interface

You guessed it, Wix is again very simple to use from its interface. A few drags and a couple of drops here and there and you will have your very own website with little fuss. They also provide plenty of supporting documentation for beginners, though it can admittedly be quite easy to get swept up by how many options there are.

Design Options

If you want simple, stunning themes for your website, Wix is for you. If you want to be able to edit anything from a HTML or CSS perspective, Wix is not for you. It’s frustratingly restrictive, especially considering its high monthly price – you have to opt for one of the more expensive packages to even remove Wix’s advertisements for itself from your website.

SEO

October of 2015 was a catastrophic month for Wix as websites built with it started drastically falling in Google rankings. The search giant later apologised for the supposed error, but if you want to create a long-term business and are looking at Wix as an option, the incident in October should make up your mind. If you wish to persevere, Wix’s SEO Wizard tool is easy to use and full of depth.

Tools/Plugins

Wix’s broad support for free apps/plugins puts it miles ahead of the other website builders covered here. Sliders, pop-ups and many more are easy to find and implement, meaning that the restrictions imposed by the rigid templates aren’t quite so daunting.

Website

Conclusion

There’s no denying there are pros and cons for each website builder covered here. For anyone who knows little to nothing about web design, a builder should be seen as a decent starting point, but mastering WordPress or another CMS in the meantime should be a top priority for anyone looking for longevity.

To the trained eye, it’s easy to distinguish a drag-and-drop website, but this is much harder with WordPress thanks to the scale of customizability. From an SEO perspective, WordPress is also the clear winner. If the Wix troubles are any indication, website builders might not offer the sustainability your website deserves in the rankings.

There’s a good reason why so many businesses across the globe have adopted WordPress. Although it can present quite the challenge to novices, its plentiful benefits when compared to the restrictions imposed by website builders means it’s a content management system worth the effort of learning, even if it takes months.

James Brands specialises in the development of websites and applications at WilliCreative. He is also a proven SEO expert using the latest techniques to increase the visibility of both local and national client sites.

“So how much will a website cost”? is a question we not surprisingly get asked a lot. I would be worried for any web designer that didn’t.

While the question itself can be asked quickly, the only quick answer I could give is it depends on various factors. The longer answer is this comprehensive explanation.

In this article you will find out:

Prices For Different Types Of Websites
How Website Costs Are Broken Down
How The Definition Of A Web Designers Success Could Affect Costs
Should You Pay An Hourly Or Fixed Rate?
Why Demanding Clients Could Increase Your Quote
Building A Website Involves A Certain Degree Of Planning
Is Content And Copywriting Included In The Website Cost?

A Typical Scenario:

Janet is a new small business owner. She has a solid business plan that includes various ways she intends to market her business. One of those ways is to have a website built, so she can market her business online.

Janet knows roughly the type of website she would like in terms of design and functionality. It isn’t overly complicated just a small business website consisting of 10 – 20 pages, mobile friendly, well laid out design, contact form functionality, social media integration and a blog section.

She contacts 4 web design companies to find out how much it’s going to cost:

“Web design company 1 quotes £1,000”

“Web design company 2 quotes £1,500”

“Web design company 3 quotes £6,000”

“Web design company 4 quotes £10,000”

Janet is confused. She obviously wants to get the best deal possible, but thinks £1,000 might be to cheap.

How can one company build her website this cheaply if another has quoted her £10,000?

Unfortunately this isn’t uncommon, web design quotes can and do vary this much, leaving many business owners confused and wondering how they should proceed.

Without getting to technical, I wanted to firstly explain how and why the quote for the cost of a website can vary so greatly and secondly the checks you should make and questions you should ask before making any kind of decision.

Prices To Build Different Types of Websites

Basic Customised small business website:

£700 – £1500

This is likely the starting point for most small business owners. Expect the site to be built on WordPress or another popular CMS platform and customised accordingly.

What you should get:

  • Developed on a CMS
  • Logo design & graphic customisation
  • Social media integration
  • Contact form
  • Google map integration
  • Slider and or image gallery
  • Opt in form
  • Keyword integration (meta descriptions & content)
  • Responsive
  • Cross browser compatibility
  • 5 – 15 pages approximately

Ecommerce Website

£2500 – £5000

If you require a fully functional Ecommerce website and are prepared to do a little work yourself, like photography and product descriptions then your website falls into this category.

What you should get:

  • Fully functional Ecommerce website with 20 – 150 products
  • Responsive design
  • Logo & graphic customisation
  • PayPal and or Sage pay integration
  • Contact forms
  • Blog
  • Slider
  • SEO friendly architecture – category & product pages
  • Social media integration
  • Cross browser compatibility

Bespoke Website

£10,000 – £20,000+

At this level you should be able to sit back and let the design company do everything, meeting all of your requirements. You should be able to add any functionality you require from booking systems and back office integrations. You should also expect the design company to provide keyword research based on your objectives and include well written copy that converts visitors into leads and customers.

What you should get:

  • Fully customised, branded solution to exact specification
  • Ecommerce/shopping cart functionality if required
  • Logo & graphic customisation
  • Payment gateway integration
  • Contact forms
  • Blog
  • Slider
  • Image galleries
  • Back office integration
  • Social media integration
  • Custom coding and or functionality
  • Copywriting
  • Keyword research
  • Responsive
  • Cross browser compatibility
  • SEO friendly architecture – category & product pages
  • Conversion optimisation

How Website Costs Are Broken Down

  • Domain name – A domain name eg northwalesaccountants.co.uk costs approximately £10.00 per year.
  • Hosting – £50 – £300 per year depending on the size of the website and the amount of traffic it receives.
  • Design & Development time – 10 – 100 hours, which normally accounts for the huge variation in cost – fully explained here.
  • Updates, Maintenance & Security – Are you going to perform the updates yourself? Add new content etc, this is a decision you need to make which will reflect the cost.

Design & Development Time

Building a website can be accomplished a hundred different ways. If at the end you receive a solid, functional, well designed solution based on your specifications and goals, no way could be classed as bad, just more expensive.

A high proportion of web developers will use a CMS like WordPress or Joomla, we do for some projects.

The work involved when developing can be as little as uploading a theme and making some visual changes without having to touch a line of code.

Much of the functionality can be accomplished by uploading plugins which can provide contact form, social media and Google maps integration. In this scenario you will receive an acceptable website that will work and should pay accordingly.

For a standard small business website we like to take things a step further, customising a theme to develop something which is very good, but still comes in at under £1,500.

At the other end of the spectrum is a fully customised solution that “does something” maybe an interactive booking system or back office integration.  In this instance the website will require custom coding, which will determine the price tag of £10,000+

For a small business website with basic functionality, there is absolutely no need to pay over the odds for a complicated customised solution.

A basic WordPress theme can be easily and quickly branded to a high standard – approximately 20 hours work. There are tens of thousands of plugins available, which provide nearly any type of additional functionality.

I think it’s naughty but not uncommon for web designers to add customisations that provide absolutely no benefits in order to justify a large price tag. We have taken over several websites to which this has obviously been the case and in some instances the customisations have had a negative impact to the website in terms of site architecture, which is important for SEO.

Due to reduced development time we are able to dedicate more time in making the website search engine friendly. There’s very little point having an amazing, customised business website if no one ever visits it.

We provide optimised content, meta descriptions, take care of the architecture and importantly ensure the website is running at optimal speed.

While this isn’t particularly normal within the industry it should be and something you should enquire about before making any kind of decision.

The Definition of Success May Vary

There are developers who concentrate on branding and design, while others concentrate on using the most up to date code and developing each website from scratch. Other developers are more marketing, SEO orientated not just basing success on delivering something eye catching or highly functional but looking at the bigger picture for the client and taking the initial steps for driving and converting traffic.

This can effect cost, for example if your developer specialises in building websites from scratch with the most recent coding practices, this will take them more time, which will increase the cost of your website.

Hourly Or Fixed Prices?

While hourly pricing is less common, some web designers will quote for the cost of a website as ongoing, meaning the total cost will be based on the number of hours it takes the developer to finish the project multiplied by their hourly rate, which could be anything from £50 – £150.

In this instance you need to trust the web designer is going to be fair and only charge for the actual hours they have worked.

It’s more common to quote for the project as a whole. In this instance it’s highly likely you will pay a percentage of the costs upfront, we charge 50% and then the remainder upon completion.

Demanding Clients

Unfortunately for all the great clients out there that provide specifications, content etc in a timely, hassle free manner, there are normally 2 bad ones.

If you email me 50 times a day, want 100 minor revisions to the website and start asking for complicated features half way through the development I’m afraid im going to have to be compensated for it.

While many experienced developers have a nack of sniffing out potentially difficult clients at the start and simply refuse to take on the work, there are some that slip through the net.

For every really bad client a web designer encounters it’s possible there prices will go up slightly to compensate for this, it’s human nature.

Building A Website Involves A Certain Degree Of Planning

Web Design Planning

Building a website isn’t quite as simple as getting a few specifications from a client and jumping straight on in there and developing. It takes thought, research and planning. Many developers will use specialist software to build mock ups of the website and design logos and graphics. This takes time, which determines cost.

Size Of The Development Company Can Determine Difference In Price

No one wants to get ripped off when having a website developed, which is often the reason many turn to the more established, larger web design companies.

Generally speaking the larger companies will charge more than the smaller guys, they simply have to.

Hefty wage bill at the end of each month and a large office space means these companies have to charge top dollar in order to survive.

Hiring the services of a larger company will no doubt result in you receiving an excellent website and a cup of coffee in nice office surroundings during your face to face meetings.

If however you aren’t that bothered about the coffee and only looking to receive an excellent website at often half the cost than maybe you should give the smaller guy a try?

Content & Copywriting

I think this is often overlooked by many web designers who request their clients provide all the content for the website.

In our experience, this not only holds things up, but can prove a negative factor for the website in terms of conversions and SEO.

We understand that many business owners simply haven’t got time to write large amounts of content for their site, we also understand that many aren’t copywriters, why would they be?

We offer copywriting and website content charging a competitive rate which reflects the quantity and specifications.

Unfortunately their is no set answer to “how much does a website cost” but hopefully this article provides an insight into the justification of cost and why quotes can vary so much.

Have Your Say

It would be great to hear from business owners and web designers alike. Have you had a good or bad experience with a web designer? Been quoted a price which seemed to good to be true or way to expensive?

James Brands specialises in the development of websites and applications at WilliCreative. He is also a proven SEO expert using the latest techniques to increase the visibility of both local and national client sites.

So, you want to start a website for your business. You have chosen the domain name, sorted out some content and set up your social media channels. There’s just one thing left to sort out: how are you going to choose a hosting provider out of the hundreds out there?

When it comes to figuring out website cost in the early stages of your online presence, it can be a bit of a headache.

There are so many different packages out there that you could quite easily end up spending more than you need to on something with all the bells and whistles, or you could scrimp too much and end up with it going down when your viewership begins to rise, impacting your sales opportunities in the process.

It’s also worth bearing in mind the quality of the support you will be receiving from the hosting provider, especially if you aren’t that technically savvy.

Separating your DNS from your FTP can be a lot to take in for newcomers to doing business on the web, so finding a hosting provider that will be able to help with some of your burning questions will be a great bonus.

With that being said, here are five web hosting companies that are good choices for small businesses.

Hostgator

Hostgator

Website

You might have seen adverts for the Texan web hosting giant on your television; that’s how wide their reach is.

They are immensely popular for a good reason: HostGator offer decent hosting quality for an even better price.

Setting up with Hostgator is relatively straightforward, even if you have no experience with the intricacies of launching your first website.

Hostgator have plenty of support options if you get stuck, but you might have to bear with them due to the sheer amount of requests they receive.

If you’re opting for a plan on the lower end of the price spectrum, you might not have a very speedy website as you will be sharing a server with other websites, but they’re a good starting point nonetheless.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy

Website

Just as popular as Hostgator, GoDaddy have also entered the public consciousness with far-reaching advertising campaigns.

Their packages are actually cheaper than Hostgator, but tests conducted on both show that GoDaddy lags behind in terms of speed, but not by much.

GoDaddy have a knowledgeable support team at their disposal, meaning you won’t be stuck for help if needs be.

For websites looking to grow quickly, GoDaddy have many different packages, but the one that sticks out the most is their Ultimate plan: you can handle unlimited traffic a month for just $7.99!

SiteGround

SiteGround small business website hosting

Website

One of the fastest-growing web hosting providers out there, Siteground’s reputation as a support-orientated business is a deserved one.

Their broad range of supporting documentation, stylish interface that’s easy to navigate and hands-on live chat system makes them one to check out.

However, they do land on the slightly pricer side of the spectrum.

It’s best to search for deal and coupons when picking Siteground for hosting, but they do also offer superior speed to some of their closest competitors. If you’re anticipating quick growth and think you need the support and service to help you along the way, you cannot go wrong with Siteground.

123-reg

123-reg logo

Website

***Update 19/04/2016 – On the 16/04/2016 an engineer working at 123 reg ran a rogue script and managed to delete all files associated with approximately 3.5 million websites. As if this wasn’t terrible enough the company initially fobbed worried customers off, blaming it on something else. As of today 19/04/2016 the data has still not been retrieved with many small business owners reporting huge losses of revenue as a result of their websites being down.***

They originally started out as just somewhere to sort your domains out, but 123-reg’s growth has helped them to expand into all kinds of different areas, including web hosting.

They have an excellent selection of supporting documentation and straightforward plans to set you off on the right track.

For as little as £2.99 a month, you can have dependable hosting for your small business.

The more your website grows, the more pricier the package you will be looking, but for any enquiries about how to best accommodate that, this UK-based business are ready and willing to assist.

Fasthosts

Fasthosts Logo

Website

Another UK-based company that have cultivated a good reputation over the past decade or so, Fasthosts are a smart option for those wanting to watch their hosting budget without sacrificing much in the way of speed and user experience.

Like most competitors, Fasthosts offer a moneyback guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with their service within 30 days.

Better yet, when you sign up for the first time, you will receive vouchers for Google Adwords and a free domain, helping you to kickstart your business online in the process.

As you can see, there are many options out there when it comes to web hosting – there are far, far more out there than just the five we have covered.

Researching reviews for providers and asking important questions of their sales contacts can go a long way towards helping you find the perfect host for your needs.

It’s important to note that the majority of reputable web design companies will offer hosting as part or in addition to the web design work they complete for you.

To give you an indication of cost, we offer 6 months free hosting with all web design packages and then £95.00 per year thereafter.

Just make sure you don’t make any snap decisions!

James Brands specialises in the development of websites and applications at WilliCreative. He is also a proven SEO expert using the latest techniques to increase the visibility of both local and national client sites.

When it comes to designing and launching your own website as a web novice, it can be more than just a little bit daunting. Should you go for a CMS or a website builder? Should you go for a templated design or go bespoke? It can be quite the headache.

With modern day trends showing that people’s attention spans are now shorter than ever, it’s never been more important to ensure that your website catches the eye of visitors. So, how do you go about creating a website that garners attention and repeated visits, helping to drive sales and customer loyalty?

Here are six things you ought to keep in mind if you’re thinking of designing a website for your small business.

1) Responsive is king

As well as being a benefit for your rankings in mobile searches, having a mobile-friendly, responsive website should be something to consider straight away. If you think having a flat HTML website that doesn’t adapt to different devices will fly in 2016, you should think again.

Opting for a responsive design gives you the opportunity to offer a seamless experience to your mobile visitors and when 2015 mobile traffic take over desktop traffic, it isn’t an audience you can ignore. Luckily, there are a lot of responsive CMS themes out there, so just be sure to do some research and find the right one for your business.

2) Making an SEO-friendly website is still important

For any web marketer out there, it’s almost a daily routine to read an article about the “death of SEO”, which isn’t true. The only death in the field has been of old, spammy SEO – quality SEO is still as important as ever.

Choosing an SEO-friendly design for your website is as important now as it was ten years ago. Using “clean code” helps the indexing of your website, and the less congested and “busy” your website is, the likelier it is that your rankings will benefit, although this is just one of many factors.

3) Your design can either lose or retain visitors

Imagine creating a tonne of engaging content, filled with all the information a visitor could want only for them to be turned away by a less than attractive design. Worse still, how about a sales opportunity slipping by due to the layout making it hard to find the checkout or contact information?

Finding a design that treads the fine line between being easy to use and engaging is something a lot of designers have perfected, so there’s an abundance of different themes out there and bespoke options from those who can build your website from scratch. Be sure to make an informed decision and do plenty of research before you make an investment, however.

4) Images can be game changers

Just as a badly rendered image can damage the quality of your website in the eyes of your visitors, so too can a professionally created image greatly enhance it. It’s the difference between knocking something out on Paint and taking the time to create something really eye-catching in Adobe.

Knowing how and when to place images on your website can provide a great call-to-action to your visitors, whether it’s a photo of your products or an incentive to like and share your social channels. However, it’s just as important to compress your images so that they don’t drag down the load times of your website. Too many images and your page speed will suffer; it’s all about finding a happy medium.

5) You might need to regularly update your design

As already mentioned, the modern web moves at such a fast pace that it can be all too easy to get left behind. Your design might look great in 2016, but what about 2018? Nobody knows what contemporary practice will be like in a couple of years, which is why it’s vital to choose a design that doesn’t hamstring your business going forward.

Ensure that your website is fully up to date with all standard practices, but don’t be reticent to change when the trends start shifting. Leave it too late and you could be left with an outdated website that impacts sales and presents a challenge to update once the time comes.

6) You might like it, your visitors might not

When it comes to objectively reviewing something you’ve created, it’s often the case that although you might feel like it’s truly special, there might be some aspects that are less so, purely because of bias.

This is common when it comes to web design. There are many websites out there that are a little too flashy for what they need to be which has likely impacted on website cost, probably because the designer didn’t seek out a second opinion. Having someone impartial take a look through your website gives you a perspective that you otherwise wouldn’t have; genuine feedback on ways to improve.

If they can find fault, so too will your visitors.

James Brands specialises in the development of websites and applications at WilliCreative. He is also a proven SEO expert using the latest techniques to increase the visibility of both local and national client sites.

The modern web moves very fast. What could be cutting edge one day, completely reinventing the wheel, could be old hat by the next. In an age where six second videos are the entertainment choice of many, attention spans have never been shorter and trends have never been and gone quicker.

That’s why it’s always important to make sure your website doesn’t get left behind.

An outdated website can lose you money. It’s a simple truth: people are less inclined to open their wallets on archaic websites that are less than pretty on the eye. A simple, functional website might have sufficed ten years ago when even Amazon were playing it safe, but in the modern world of eCommerce and selling your services online, it could be be harming your reputation in 2016.

If you’re reticent to change your website designs because you think it can still do the job, here are nine worrying signs that mean it could be time to change your mind.

1. Not mobile-friendly

If your visitors have to jump through hoops to navigate your website on mobile devices, it’s far less easy that they’re going to arrive at that crucial point in the customer journey: purchasing your products. Not only can a non-mobile friendly website turn away potential customers, it can also persuade them to seek out your competitors.

Not only can an unresponsive website damage your profits, but it can also see you getting penalised in mobile rankings in search engines. When the majority of search traffic comes from mobile devices, you’re effectively shooting yourself in the foot by not bringing your website up to modern standards.

2. Falling rankings

Although having an unresponsive website damaging your mobile rankings was just alluded to, having a poorly optimised design can also hamper your overall search efforts. Google have publicly said that sites with messy code will be looked at less favourably, so streamlining your design is key.

A drop in rankings can be the killing blow for most small businesses with traffic drying up as a result, creating less conversions and, ultimately what’s important, revenue. Contact web marketing professionals for an evaluation on why your website is suffering and how best to improve rankings once the redesign is in place.

3. High bounce rates

A bounce rate is a percentage based on how many people visit a page on your website without visiting others, hence “bouncing”. Although this could be a sign of visitors finding all the information they need on one page, it’s more than likely the case that they were dissatisfied with what they found.

The longer a visitor stays on your website, the better. Studies show that two-minute long sessions are enough for most visitors to make a decision on a purchase, show ensure that you hold their attention by having a website designed with ease of use in mind.

4. It’s slow

In the modern day when most people can have access to all the information they need in a matter of seconds, visitors are more impatient than ever when it comes to site speed. If your website takes longer than two seconds to initially load, there’s a high chance that they could exit without even having the chance to see what you have to offer.

Older websites with outdated code can be a real drag on load times, so if you find that you have a huge exit rate, you might need to talk to someone about getting a redesign. If you don’t want to wait around for a slow website to load, why would your customers?

5. Your competitors are racing ahead

If you had the choice between buying products from a business with a sleek, modern website or one that hardly inspires confidence, would you honestly opt for the latter? When people search for products online, they not only compare prices from different providers, but they also judge based on aesthetics. An outdated website can reflect badly on your public image.

With competition between businesses online now being fiercer than ever, don’t hamstring yourself by still operating with an outdated design. If you’re losing ground, check out what your competitors have done with their website and see if there’s any inspiration you can take from them.

6. It uses Flash

What was once the staple choice for many websites is now the thing that is pulling them down. Adobe Flash has been phased out slowly over the past five years or so, but there are still those that cling to it – don’t let your website be one of the many that are being damaged because of an outdated technology.

With the advent of HTML5, Flash is almost completely obsolete. Worse still, visitors being forced to install the latest version of it to even access your content is a detriment to the user experience, harming your retention rates and, most likely, potential revenue. Drop Flash as soon as you can and redesign to something contemporary.

7. It looks its age

Even if charmingly old and unfashionable design can work wonders for some businesses, it’s more than likely to keep you stuck in the past. To stay ahead of the game, you have to keep with the times. Just look at the likes of Facebook and Amazon: they are always incrementally changing their designs to adapt with trends.

If you look at your website and can honestly say that it looks contemporary, you might want to seek a second opinion – it can be too easy for us to take a blinkered view of something we are invested in. Those that can spot weaknesses in their websites and act on them are those that get ahead and stay ahead.

9. Updating it is a pain

Content management systems are so popular for modern publishers and business owners because they allow almost anyone to create content and update designs. Sure, it takes some time to learn the ins and outs, but it’s certainly a lot quicker than mastering CSS, HTML, JS, and so on.

Does it take you far longer than it should to make the most basic of changes on your website? It could be time to opt for a redesign and one that leans on the plus points of a CMS. WordPress is the undisputed king of content management systems, but you’re spoiled for choice if you’re in the market.

10. It’s a poor reflection on your business status

Claiming that your business is at the forefront of its industry while you have a website that looks like it belongs in 2002 is a quick way to earn ridicule. Your website might have been able to back up those claims when it was first made, but it’s going to do more harm than good for your reputation nowadays.

During periods of growth, many businesses make the decision to contemporise their website to match the success. If you want to see your website succeed, it’s essential that you upgrade it as the business progresses as a whole.

James Brands specialises in the development of websites and applications at WilliCreative. He is also a proven SEO expert using the latest techniques to increase the visibility of both local and national client sites.