Your website is an investment – so how do we compare?

October 15, 2021

Your website is an investment – so how do we compare?

A new website is an investment for you and your business, not just because you are paying out money for it but because it is a key part of your brand and marketing as well. Choosing the right supplier for your website is therefore a big choice and there will be lots of different things to consider when making this choice:

  • The costs (both upfront and ongoing)
  • What you get for your money
  • The ability of your supplier to deliver what you need
  • How unknowns will be handled
  • What support you get from the supplier both now and ongoing

In this post we will focus purely on the costs, so that you can see how it stacks up against other options which might have lower monthly costs but ultimately will cost you more overall and deliver much less actual value.

The upfront (build) costs

Inevitably most of us will jump directly to the costs of a website project and will consider other things such as the ability to deliver, the experience and the quality of work secondarily. This is understandable, particularly for small businesses who are still in the launch and growth stages.

So what are the considerations here? Well most suppliers will charge the majority of the fees upfront, quoting a few thousand pounds upwards for the design and build of a website (with additional fees if you want your brand created from scratch as well). Routinely these sorts of suppliers will have starting costs of ~£2,500 to deliver you a website but these can range to upwards of £10,000 for larger agencies even for a small business website.

What is the difference ‘under the bonnet’ for this sort of price? The answer to that is not much. Most suppliers will still build your site using the same technologies (WordPress CMS for example) but they may ‘hardcode’ you a theme to meet your design needs. They may also use page builders such as Elementor, Divi, Fusion or one of the others on the market. But fundamentally what you will be getting is the same sort of delivery.

At Idio our model is different to this. We charge a small upfront fee ~£540 inc. VAT (depending on the size of website) and then we build the rest of our costs into an ongoing monthly fee that provides you with a full digital service. Why do we do this? Well, keep reading and we will explain it all.

The ongoing costs

The other costs to bear in mind are what you pay once the website is complete. This is actually the most important part of the consideration for you because, much like a car, it isn’t the building of it that is important, it is actually the ongoing running of it that is critical.

Companies that charge a large fee upfront often can then offer hosting very cheaply or will expect you to setup your own hosting. The main issue with this is that it then expects you as the customer to understand what is required to run a website and keep it secure, maintained and malware free. You will often find as well that whenever you want any changes, even wording changes, you will find yourself having to pay a fee which can also get very expensive. This whole approach completely misses the fact that what a customer needs is an ongoing partner who can help them with all of this so that they don’t need to worry about it.

So what is it that you do actually need to worry about on an ongoing basis with a website?

  • SSL – the website needs to be secure and as SSL certificate is what tells browsers that your site is secure
  • WWW – if your site is not setup correctly then it won’t render over www by default, this means you actually have two versions of your website live and search engines will penalise you for this
  • Maintenance – the site is made up of multiple different parts; the theme, the plugins, the page design and the content. All of these will receive multiple updates each month designed to keep the website secure, give you new features and deal with changes with other services (e.g. changes to legal standards, search engine standards, etc.). Undertaking this maintenance is critical because it is these that make sure your site continues to work. But there will also be inter-plugin conflicts that need to be resolved from time to time which could otherwise affect the site as well. Not doing the updates and avoiding the conflicts leaves your site open to security vulnerabilities which is worse so having a web provider who understands this and is able to deal with the conflicts is really important.
  • Security & Malware – the most important thing for your website is making sure it stays free of malware and does not get hacked / compromised. So many sites will get infected by malware simply because they are not kept up to date and they have no firewall or malware scanning in place on the website itself. The result – people are clicking around your website and suddenly find content that isn’t yours loading and links to external sites with ‘dodgy’ content being linked to. This is the fastest way to undermine your brand!
  • Linking the site to other services (such as search) – making sure that your website is linked to things like Google Search console ensures the site is appearing in search engines, whilst you will need a Google Developer Console configuration if you want to display Google maps. Google analytics will help you see how your site is performing as well and these services will flag any issues arising from your site that could affect your listing. Setting up reCaptcha on your forms to avoid spam is another key thing.
  • Legal changes and cookie management – there are always legal changes that require tweaks to content, policies and sometimes even functionality needs to be updated. Cookies is a good example, where recently there has been a focus on making sure users can actively opt in to cookie and turn them on / off if they wish. Many suppliers will charge you to make these changes and if you’re hosting yourself you may not even know.
  • Hosting – last but most definitely not least, hosting your website is not just a case of finding some cheap offering somewhere and leaving the site to its own devices. You need to make sure the hosting is fit for purpose (can take the traffic loads) and that it provides good performance (often provided via caching and content delivery networks). This can require a lot of configuration and on an ongoing basis clearing of caches etc. after updates to make sure the site loads properly. Configuring of other things like your SSL and renewing your domain, including adding technical records to your DNS to make sure other services like email work. This is some of the most complicated parts of the website management process and if you don’t know what you’re doing you could break everything.

And the above is before you consider any updates to your content or design that you may want to make, all of which most suppliers will charge you for as an additional fee. You can probably assume that even the most simple websites will need updates a couple of times a year. If you really leverage your website and update it regularly then you can expect to be making changes monthly so if you are charged for this every time you want to do it then the costs are going to wrack up quickly and you can expect to be paying upwards of £60 per hour for these. Across a year this could add up to a couple of thousand pounds a year in extra costs.

How we compare over time

If you are wondering about the monthly fee we charge, then it is worth looking at the full like-for-like comparison over the full term of the contract:

Idio Prices

Over 18 months period
£ 1512 Monthly
  • £540 build fee
  • £972 hosting, support, maintenance
  • £0 costs for changes to content and design
  • £0 costs for fixes to issues arising

Other Supplier Prices

Over 18 months period
£ 2470 Monthly
  • £2000 build fee
  • £270 hosting, support, maintenance
  • £100 costs for changes to content and design
  • £100 costs for fixes to issues arising

As you can see from the above, even with our monthly approach we are still significant more affordable over 18 months than other suppliers who charge you upfront. The above costs also assume a very small amount of changes being required over that period and a small hosting fee of only £15 per month, which probably won’t provide you with much more than the most basic hosting.

So what does it look like if we look at this over a three year period?

Idio Prices

Over 36 months period
£ 2484 Monthly
  • £540 build fee
  • £1944 hosting, support, maintenance
  • £0 costs for changes to content and design
  • £0 costs for fixes to issues arising

Other Supplier Prices

Over 36 months period
£ 2940 Monthly
  • £2000 build fee
  • £540 hosting, support, maintenance
  • £200 costs for changes to content and design
  • £200 costs for fixes to issues arising

Using the same assumed costs over a 36 month period, Idio remains more affordable, and this does not factor in the opportunity cost savings / benefits you can get by utilising our support service to update your site and change the design. Over 36 months you will no doubt get a lot more value than the costs you are paying.

What is more, once you are out of contract you would be entitled to a website re-design for no cost if you renew for another 18 months. Which means going forwards the savings over other suppliers pile up and your website remains current!

Conclusion

The big picture is that there is a lot about running a website to consider and most of this is not actually the upfront design. It is important to note that even paying a larger cost upfront in favour of little to no ongoing monthly fees might seem attractive but overall it is actually considerably more expensive and could land you with additional unforeseen costs and a mountain of technical and security issues that you may not have the ability to deal with.

Idio’s approach is different for a reason. We believe that you should have a digital partner who works strategically with you to support your business. Our offering is designed to be affordable and to give you a website that remains up to date, can easily evolve over time and that won’t saddle you with lots of large costs when you want to redesign it either. It is precisely for this reason that our clients choose to work with us and remain with us over long periods of time.

don't be left behind

world class web design at an affordable price

With Idio Web Services you get a promise; that we will work as your digital partner and give you a website that is worthy of your brand. Don’t ever pay large fees again for a beautiful website and don’t be left to fend for yourself after the design is complete.

We will be with you every step of the way, looking after your interests from day one onwards.

or give us a call for a no obligation chat: 0333 445 2630

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