So, you’re an Irish SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) looking to get your business online, but how much should you be spending on getting a website created? What’s the point in having a website? Bear with me here, i’m no writing expert, I don’t have a degree in business, i’m simply trying to showing people what a realistic budget should be, along with the benefits of having a good website. Let’s get started.
Startups, Hobbyists, Sole Traders
You have just started out, or you have been in business for a short amount of time. The only people helping you out are your brother and his dog, who comes along to give you a helping hand and moral support, like a good boy. You are looking to test the waters and have people find out about your new business – whether you’re starting up plumbing or baking cakes in mammy’s kitchen.
My #1 advice here, despite what others may say, is to avoid the use of a free/freemium website builder such as Wix. In the long run, you’ll regret it, and the search engine rankings for these websites will not do you justice. Not to mention the long term limitations of such builders. With a minimal budget, I know these builders may seem tempting, but I would recommend looking around on places such as Facebook groups or local advertisement boards for students or recent graduates looking to build a portfolio, who would make you a custom website using a CMS such as WordPress.
A budget of €400-600 should suffice for a 1-3 page informational website, with a turnaround time of around 4 weeks. You should expect a contact form to send you an email, links to your social media and a year’s domain and hosting costs included in this price.
Mechanics, local hairdressers, coffee shops, we’re looking at you next. Well, by this I mean businesses with 2-3 employees and a yearly turnover of sub-€100k. You’re looking to get more business by having a website, or want people to be able to contact you to book an appointment.
For your website you would be looking at having a budget of €1750-2500 and being in contact with a web professional or small website design company. For this budget you can expect a custom designed responsive website with integration of basic custom features, a blog for you to post on to engage with potential customers and show off products, a contact form and links to your social media. You can expect a turnaround time of around 6-8 weeks on your website to be created after the initial brief being given.
Benefits of having a website would be locals being able to view your website to get things such as opening hours, prices, contact details and keep up to date with the latest news in your business.
Now for small businesses. The likes of restaurants and B&B’s. My recommendation to fall under this category is a business with an annual turnover under €200k and employing around 7-8 people. You’ll be looking to get your menus integrated on your website, a reservation form to reserve a table at your restaurant or a night at your B&B, galleries to show off your premises.
This is the point where you’ll be looking to pay not only for development, but additional costs for website maintenance and additional SEO to outrank your competition, with an emphasis on local SEO. I’d recommend putting aside a budget of €3500-4500 for your website, along with maintenance costs of around €50 a month. I would recommend opting for a payment plan here with your provider, paying the cost of your website with a down payment of 25-40% and paying the rest off over the space of a year or 2 to spread out your costs. You will be looking at a turnaround time of 8-10 weeks for the completion of your website.
Benefits of an online presence for your small business are endless, but the main points would be that people would be able to view your menu before visits, look at photographs inside, be in direct contact with you and book a table or room online. After a while of SEO you should be ranking well on google in your local area, making you more attractive to new visitors to your area and bringing in business.
Is your business growing? Do you have an annual turnover around the €600k mark and employ around 15 people? This section is for you. By now, you’ll probably have a well established marketing budget, generally in the 5-8% range of your turnover, and want to put some towards either updating your current, very outdated website or getting a brand new, custom website built for your business. You know what bespoke features you want integrated on your website, be it an online payment gateway, an eLearning system, an extensive gallery or a high quality blog setup.
Your business should put aside around the €6000-7000 mark to get a fully bespoke website made for your business, plus around €150 a month for website maintenance and SEO. You’ll be looking at getting a team of website designers and SEO experts to work on your website. For this budget, you can expect your website to be built with a CMS like WordPress and have advanced features for potential customers, such as an online payment gateway to purchase goods or services, an eLearning system for people to access your course videos or an extensive gallery to show off your previous work. Your website should be fully responsive for mobile users, and should be well designed and pleasing to the eye. A turnaround time of 10-12 weeks can be expected to get your website up and running.
Your company has rapidly expended over the last few years, you now have an annual turnover closing in on €750k and employ almost 20 people. You have a website, but it is in need of a major overhaul and doesn’t fit for purpose any more. It’s not responsive, there’s no image gallery, no eCommerce and doesn’t look appealing.
You’re looking to spend some of your marketing budget on getting this website sorted out and to get an advanced eCommerce functionality, selling a lot of products online and shipping them to your customer. You want your website to complement your brand, to look aesthetically pleasing and to work with the new branding you just purchased. You want high quality photographs on the website and a space you can share videos and blog posts about your business.
If this sounds like your business, you are looking at requiring a budget of the €8000 mark, along with another €200-250 monthly to cover the costs of hosting your website and getting advanced SEO done to rank your website well on search engines. You will get a team of designers, developers and SEO experts working on your website. You can expect your fully responsive website to have a large eCommerce store, an integrated blog and a custom layout which complements your branding. You should also expect your customers to be able to interact with your content, via comments on your blog posts and reviews on your products. A realistic turnaround time for a website like this would be 12-16 weeks.
We’ve come to the end of the post, and I hope you now have a realistic idea on the cost of a website, and what to expect for your money. If you have any questions I am more than happy to answer them in the comments. I would like to give a shout out to the IEDR for their guide which inspired this post, due to my recommendations being slightly different, although you should definitely check out their guide here if you would like to see what they recommend.