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If you’re a small business owner, and are wondering about how much your WordPress website will cost to set up and run, you need to read this!

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Congratulations! You’re ready to start setting up a super smashing new WordPress website for your small business. Great decision.

Naturally, you are thinking about costs:

How much will a domain name be?

Who to use for website hosting?

SSL Certification?

How much will it be to design it?

Are there any ongoing costs?

Let’s start with your domain name:

Right then. You’ve come up with a super snazzy business name, and Oooo, you’re SO excited…aaaannnd you might have even jumped the gun and got your logo designed!! (Woah Nelly! Really hope you haven’t done that!) – but first…have you checked that the business name you want is actually available?

Please try the following links to search for your domain name (these are the ones I use – others are available – just make sure you’re not locked into anything you can’t get out of, and I don’t recommend 1and1 at all) – so these are my go-to domain name sources: Fasthosts or 123-reg or GoDaddy

OK, so now you’ve found the perfect domain name – huzzah! I 100% recommend that you buy both the .COM and the .CO.UK domains to protect your brand. NB: read web hosting advice below, as you may get a free domain name with your hosting plan – so check hosting plan before buying both.

IMPORTANT: Please note that all domain names have an annual renewal, so factor in that it’s an ongoing cost. Pop your renewal date in the diary with a reminder on for at least a month ahead, so you can budget accordingly. If you can afford it, buy a 2-year or even a 5-year plan – it usually saves you money in the long run.

what’s next? oh yes, website hosting & SSL:

There are hundreds of website hosting companies out there. All offering different features and, of course, varying prices.

First consideration: always use a hosting company that’s based in your country of residence and business operation. Am presuming that you will be in the UK, so I will give you an example of my current website hosting provider features and costs at Tsohost.com.

Features & Plan Costs:

1. UK-based: their servers are in the UK, so my website doesn’t have any speed loading issues. Click here to read about their Data Centre and Network.

2. Strong technical support: including Online Chat Support – this has saved my arse so many times. My website has only ever “crashed” one time. It was back up within 30 minutes. The Tsohost team are mega helpful. So do check out all Tech Support reviews for the company you’re looking at. You need excellent Tech Support as it can be a life-saver.

3. Plan Costs: plans start from £2.92 +20% VAT which works out at £3.82 per month. If you buy an Annual Plan, that comes to £37.90 + £7.58 VAT which is £45.48.

4. Free domain name: with your chosen hosting plan you get one free domain name! Therefore, I usually buy any .COM domain name at say 123-reg or Fasthosts, and then use my free domain name with Tsohost to acquire the .CO.UK name.

5. Free domain name matching email address: this is is a goodie! If you buy website hosting from 123-reg.co.uk – their plans do not include email inboxes. You have to buy an email hosting plan which works out pretty expensive at £6.99 per month, excluding VAT! Even if you don’t choose Tsohost as your hosting provider, make sure your hosting DOES INCLUDE this little bonus. Not only does it save you a ton of money, but you don’t want to set up your fledgling business with a Gmail, Yahoo or other “generic” email domain name like “Live” or your personal Virgin or Sky account. It really doesn’t look professional.

6. LETSENCRYPT SSL: This is also a goodie feature to look out for! Please do check that your website hosting provider offers LetsEncrypt SSL installation via your CPanel.

Do you see my “https” Secure Padlock in the browser bar? Google LOVES secure websites. LetsEncrypt SSL installation is FREE with many website hosting providers. If your website hosting doesn’t offer this, you will have to pay for an SSL Certificate, which can be expensive.

Other Web Hosting Companies to look at for comparison? SiteGround, they have a great reputation.

However, I’ve just discovered this “green” one – which I’m liking A LOT!

ECOHOSTING – click to check out all their features.

Now I’ve been with Tsohost for nearly 6 years now, but am seriously considering migrating all my sites (and my clients who host with me) over to this company. It looks excellent! All the features you need, and great pricing.

WEBSITE DESIGN COSTS:

OK, this one is, “how long is a piece of string?”! And also, “you get what you pay for”.

And…you DO NOT have to pay thousands for a decent simple starter website. I’ve heard some eyebrow-raising tales, believe me. Try and find a good solopreneur as they won’t charge “agency” prices. If it’s purely a “brochure” style website, without major bells and whistles, you can get a website for around the £399-£750 mark.

However, if you do want an all singing, all dancing e-commerce shop, you will be looking over the £1000 range, especially if you have a lot of products. Only got a mere handful of products? You can get a site done for less than £1000.

IMPORTANT: Who is going to write the content? If you’re a whizz with words, then that’s great. However, if the thought of having to put together all your website content gives you the heebie-jeebies, you will have to factor in hiring a copywriter. That’s going to be a few hundred pounds on your budget.

Search out as many quotes as you want. Take your time. It’s YOUR blummin’ website – get a price you feel justifies the work going into it, and what features/ functionality you’re going to need. Most importantly, TALK with your potential designer. You’ve got to gel together.

Anyhoo, as I’m sure you’re already acutely aware, there are hundreds of thousands of web designers out there, to suit all budgets.

I think the best advice I can give you is to ask your trusted network for recommendations.

I’m in Claire Mitchell’s “This Girl Means Business” friendly, supportive Facebook group, and that’s where we help each other out by offering advice, giving recommendations, and generally building each other up. Because running a business is not a cake walk.

So, do check out all the designers’ website portfolios from the recommendations your network has given – which designs resonate with you the most? Then, actually pay a visit the websites in question – how do they perform? Did they load quickly, what did they look like on your phone or tablet?

Narrow your choice down to a shortlist. I am sure you will find the perfect website designer to work with. Many do offer payment plans, so you can budget month to month.

PS: My website design prices are on this site, as I believe in total transparency, and saves any embarrassment either side. I really wouldn’t want a lovely biz owner to enquire about working with me, and then find out I’m not in their budget range.

PPS: A little thing to think about: please try to avoid the “Ohh my mate/relative designs websites as a hobby, they’ll do it for you cheap as chips”. Yeah, they probably could. BUT…if they are holding down a full-time job, and have a busy family/personal life, just how much time are they going to devote to your website, how long will it take to actually get built, and will be they be around after it’s designed? 

ONGOING (or additional) COSTS:

Some costs to plan for after your gorgeous new website is launched, and being admired by your Super Customers are as follows…

1. Website hosting: this is perpetual! Think of it as renting a space in the cloud. Many starter website plans will cost you a couple of quid per month.

2. Domain name renewal: annual, bi-annual, 5 year or 10 year renewal plans are available. Domain name prices do vary, but I pay about £11.99 a year for superdivinewebdesign.com and £5.99 for the co.uk version. Keep your eyes peeled on social media for domain name sales, particularly the GoDaddy one, where you can often get a domain name for 99p!

3. Maintenance: If you’re technology-savvy, seek out WordPress video tutorials online, and you can update your website yourself. Absolutely gratis! Alternatively, if you are a bit tech-phobic, get rid of the stress around website maintenance and find yourself a FABULOUS WordPress Virtual Assistant who can update your plugins, theme, and core version of WordPress files. They can also upload blogs, make small text/picture edits. Move your layout around etc. Virtual Assistants are a great option to keep your WordPress site up to date, and you only pay for the time used.

Take a look at Jo from Hewson Business Support – she’s excellent with WordPress. Highly recommended.

4. Blogging: Good, informative blog posts really do help your website’s SEO rankings, so think about having a blog on your site, especially if you have a ton of knowledge in your head that you can share! Cost implication here? If you have the knowledge, but just hate writing! You’ll have to find a good blog content creator to work with. You give them the bare bones of your blog post, and they flesh it out. You can usually get a number of blog posts written for a fixed fee. 

5. Newsletters: this is a feature that I’m sure you’ve all seen on many websites? You land on the Home page, and there’s usually a box  somewhere that asks for your email address so they can send you exclusive offers, or a freebie such as a “How To Guide”. This is an email list builder! When planning your new website, do you want your website to have this feature? Discuss with your web designer to make sure your website is GDPR compliant, so you can collect email addresses, and send out weekly/monthly communications using a newsletter system such as Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit etc.

Ongoing costs? Setting up your newsletters in a system such as Mailchimp can be a learning curve, but free! However, again, a fab Virtual Assistant can help you get this up and running. I’d say 1 to 1.5 hours of their time to get your branded newsletter template created, and your first newsletter set up and scheduled. Your email list and sign-up box “should” have been created and configured by your website designer, so your VA only has to work on the newsletter side of things.

6. SEO: Search Engine Optimisation is really important. Find out if your website quote includes SEO work. You can do it yourself for free. Loads of Google Search Console tutorials out there.

The basics are: install Yoast SEO plugin. Use the configuration wizard. SEO your pages. Have a Google account. Connect/authenticate your WordPress website to Google Search Console. Upload a Sitemap to GSC. Then, use the “Fetch As Google” feature to index your pages. Ensure your business is on Google Places. Now, keep adding lovely fresh content such as blog posts. Google loves fresh content!

Cost implication: hiring an SEO specialist can be pricey. Definitely get recommendations for this work from people who have had their websites optimised by them. Check to see how their websites rank on Google searches.

summary:

WordPress websites can be a delight, or a devil! It definitely all depends on what you need them to do for YOUR particular business. If you simply want a one-page online presence, that says who you are, what you do/sell, how can people get in touch, how can people work with you, the costs can be lovely and low. A couple of quid for hosting each month, a domain name, and around £350 ish to get it nicely designed. Bob’s your uncle!

It’s the big e-commerce beasts that are cost intensive! WooCommerce shopping plugins come with extras for different features; don’t forget about processing fees for payment gateways like Stripe or PayPal; the design work itself can be high, and you have to think about ongoing WordPress/Woocommerce (e-commerce) support and expertise i.e. who will keep the shop updated? Add products? Remove products? Create discount coupons? Put items on Sale?

If you have any questions about getting your business online, pop on over to my Facebook page, and drop me a message. I’d be happy to help and advise.

Thanks for reading.

Trace x