One of the questions I get asked the most when I am talking to new clients about website design is what do I have to pay and what are the charges for? So I thought I would create this quick explainer to help you understand.
Your website domain name is the address of your website that an internet browser such as Chrome or Safari would navigate to so it can load your website. If your website was a physical shop on the high street think of it as the name above the door so people can see who you are.
Domain names can be bought through a number of different providers and they usually charge on a yearly basis to register your domain with them. As a guide you can probably expect to pay around £10 a year for a domain name with a .com, .co.uk or .net ending if the name is not a popular one.
When you are thinking of setting up a website it is well worth going on to somewhere like Google Domains to see what is available and for how much. Imagine how you'd feel if you are setting up a business, you've worked out your name, your brand, even your bank account is set up and then you find the name you wanted is held by someone else.
To have a website you need to pay someone to put the files that make up your website on a server (a large file storage system) so that it can be accessed via the internet. Using our high street shop example - to have a shop you would likely be paying rent to a landlord who owned the building. Hosting is a very similar thing - just instead of a physical shop you are paying for space on the landlords server. Hosting costs vary depending what you are looking for and going for the cheapest is not necessarily the best idea. A physical shop that is not in the best location or does not have a high footfall will be a lot cheaper to rent than one in a prime location. Think of hosting in the same way. There are plenty of cheap hosting options but they could be on servers that are slow, unreliable or outdated so you might find your website performance is affected.
It is worth investing in a reliable hosting package to make sure your website is up and running every time your customers want to access it. If your shop was closed for a week you wouldn't make any sales so the same will apply to your website.
Website Design Fee
So I've bought a domain name, paid for a hosting package now what?
Going back to the high street shop - you now have your premises, you have had your name put above the door but then you need the shop to be designed and fitted out to make it an enjoyable shopping experience for your customers.
Think of a website designer as the person that decorates your website to make sure it is has a good user experience. I'm sure you have been on a few website where you just cannot find what you are looking for, it is confusing and after a while you give up and go somewhere else.
A good website designer makes sure that your website is built around a user experience (you might see it referred to as UX), so that your customers can use your website easily and can buy goods, services or find the information they are looking for.
It is really important not to under estimate the benefit of using a website designer. Yes you can go on a website building platform and drag and drop elements to make a website but you run the risk of ending up with a website your customers find hard to use and this results in your website not preforming well.
An investment in a website designer will pay back dividends and really benefit your business.
The final piece of the jigsaw is the security certificate (or SSL which stands for Secure Sockets Layer) which creates a secure encrypted link between the server hosting your website and the person viewing your site on their internet browser.
Think of the SSL as the lock on the door of your shop. It means when customers are interacting with your website they cannot have their interaction interrupted by an unwanted third party.
The SSL certificate is vital if your website is to be seen as credible to your audience so make sure you have it in place.
If you wanted to check to see if a site (or your site) has an SSL certificate then just have a look in the address bar at the top of your browser. It should have a padlock next to the website name if it has a valid SSL. If it says not secure then the site doesn't have a SSL and you really need to do something about it.
Hopefully that has explained a little bit about website terminology and what you need to consider when setting a website up. If you employ a website designer make sure that they cover all the points above with you. I certainly do with my clients.