Tag: Small Business

Small business coach

Marketing Online for the Small Business Coach

Are you a small business coach?

Marketing online can be one of your most lucrative avenues for getting new business, but only if you’ve got good strategies in place.

A lot of people advertise online as a coach these days – you have to find a way to stand out. (Kudos, you’re off to a great start if you’ve already identified your coaching niche!)

If you can nail down some great online marketing strategies, then you open up a big new world of possibilities for sharing your business coaching expertise. Ready to get started? Here are some tips for small business coaches: 

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Speak directly to your audience

Want to know what can make you stand out from others who are marketing coaching services? The ability to narrow down your messaging to the audience who you specifically want to target.

Too many coaches speak in general terms on their websites, resulting in wishy-washy language and messaging that doesn’t really speak directly to anyone. Sometimes they come across as too “woo-woo” and let’s face it, if you sound like you might be suggesting crystals and meditation as a way to improve business results, you are unlikely to attract the analytically-minded business owner!

Here at One Week Website, we really like the Storybrand approach to engaging with your target audience. The first step is to put that target audience first. This means you should have a clear understanding of the tone, language and overall messaging that will really resonate with them.

You might go as far as to identify a specific group of small business owners that you want to target. What are their biggest worries or problems? How can you help? Can you distill that into a headline that will grab their attention?

Doing this first guides with messaging on your website, but also everywhere else that potential leads might see you.

Small business coach

Build your email list

Once you have your target audience and messaging dialed in, it’s important that you look for other ways to stay in touch. Most people who arrive on your website won’t be ready to buy from you the first time, but it’s an opportunity to get their email address so you can send messages to them.

There are a couple of great strategies for getting that email address:

  1. Create a “lead magnet” – a piece of valuable content that you give away in return for their email address.

  2. Create an email newsletter that people want to receive. Most businesses have some kind of email newsletter, but only a small number have people searching for them just to sign up. Some examples of popular newsletters include: NextDraft, Ben Settle, TheSkimm and REI.

Here again, when devising your lead magnet or hot email newsletter, think about what will be appealing to your target audience. Your aim is to get as many “good fit” leads onto your email list as possible.

The important thing once you get people onto your email list is to be consistent about communicating with them. Email marketing works if people get to know and trust you. For example, if they’ve signed up for your newsletter, make sure that gets sent at regular intervals. If it’s to go out every week on a Tuesday, don’t miss a Tuesday!

Delivering value is as important as consistency. Whatever you are sending out should be relevant and interesting to your target audience. For example, you might address common problems that they have. You don’t have to write a novel every time, but you should always deliver something they can use, even if it’s a quick tip.

Use a marketing funnel

A marketing funnel is a useful tool for nurturing potential leads, from their discovery of you to making a purchase. A funnel is so-called because the shape describes that journey from lead to customer. At each stage, some people will drop out, so like a funnel, it is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. See the diagram below from Entrepreneur, which also depicts how potential customers may be attracted by a lead magnet:

Small business coach

At each stage of the funnel, the lead is interested in different things. For example at the awareness stage, they probably want to know more about a specific problem. At interest and decision stages, they want to learn about their options for dealing with the problem.

As a small business coach, a sales funnel is a great opportunity to help people get to know you and build their trust in you. You’re able to showcase your expertise throughout. Here’s an example of how that might work:

  1. Lead signs up for a free guidebook you have written that addresses something that concerns them (that you can help with). For example “How Your Own Mental Blocks Are Holding Back Your Business.” They now enter the “awareness” section of the funnel.

  2. You send regular emails, including an invite to a webinar you are giving on that problem or something closely related. (Interest)

  3. The webinar grabs the interest of the lead so they enter into the next step with you – a quiz designed to see if you will be able to help them. (Something like this can be a great way to segment leads so that you’re only continuing with those you can help the most.) (Decision)

  4. The leads that “pass” your quiz are invited to apply to your coaching program. The features and benefits of doing so are highlighted for them. They take action – either by joining or declining. (Action)

The idea of a marketing funnel is that if you pull it off well, you’re left with highly qualified leads. It’s a common frustration of small business coaches that you often spend time on “tire kickers” when you’d like to spend more time with those who are genuinely interested!

Another great thing about marketing funnels is that you can automate all or most parts of them. So for example, when someone signs up for your lead magnet, that can trigger a series of events based on actions that they take.

You may find that when the lead reaches the decision stage, it is appropriate to schedule a consultation with you to seal the deal. This is common when people require a bit more of a personalized touch to reach a decision. (It’s also a good reason to stow the personal consultation down your funnel, rather than leading with it. This should mean that you’re able to convert more of the people whom you talk with).

Take opportunities to establish thought leadership

One of the big things people expect from coaches is that they are thought leaders. People come to you because you have the necessary skills to help them plan, strategize and be more self-aware. Establishing credibility in the space is important, especially with so many people now selling themselves as coaches.

How can you do this online? We’ve got a few suggestions here:

  • Write regularly on key topics in your niche. This might be for your own blog, or for guest posts on other blogs and on sites like Medium. Look for opportunities to share your work, for example sometimes local newspapers will run guest columns from coaches that will be published online.

  • Be consistent on social media. You don’t have to cover every channel, but work out where your target audience is most likely to be found. For example, LinkedIn is a business and career-oriented platform, will you find a lot of your audience there?

  • Consider creating a podcast. Only do this if you have the time to commit to a regular publishing schedule! Many entrepreneurs and small business owners like to listen to podcasts, especially if they’re on the go. Otherwise, see if you can get a guest spot on another popular podcast, one that is likely to reach your target audience.

  • Run webinars, or be a guest on someone else’s. If you’re comfortable in front of a camera, this can be a good way to make people feel that they know you better.

These online opportunities to establish yourself as a thought leader not only help to build your public profile, but SEO value for your business too. The more content out there that focuses on you and your niche, the more likely you are to come up in related searches.

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Final thoughts

As a small business coach, marketing yourself so that you will stand out from others is essential. Online channels give you the opportunity to reach a wider audience, but you have to start with defining exactly who that audience is.

From there, establish regular contact with your leads via an email list. Have an effective marketing funnel (or more than one) so that prospects are automatically lead down a path toward purchasing from you.

Finally, harness the power of online channels to build up your own credibility and thought leadership. Think about what people want as a requirement of their coaches – why should they choose you?

Content marketing strategy

How to Build a Killer Content Marketing Strategy

A well-planned content marketing strategy is the secret of many successful businesses online.

Whether your target audience is B2B or B2C, there are many great examples of companies that are absolutely killing it with their content. For some, it is their main source of marketing, while for others it forms part of a wider online marketing strategy.

For many smaller business owners, developing a content marketing plan and investing the time and/or money into content creation can seem like a mammoth task. We’ll admit, content strategy isn’t “easy,” but if you approach it with a good plan, you can see the reward for your marketing efforts.

Ready to build your killer content strategy? Let’s dig in…

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What is content marketing strategy?

Content marketing strategy involves the creation and sharing of different types of content online. Generally speaking, this content isn’t directly selling or promoting products or services, but is intended to stimulate the interest of the target audience for the brand in question.

Content Marketing Institute identifies three key benefits to brands that follow a good content strategy:

  1. Increased sales
  2. Cost savings
  3. Better, more loyal customers

There are no set mixes of  “best” content types to use in your content marketing strategy. Each business will have their own mix that works for their business goals and buyer personas. The bottom line is that your content should be interesting and valuable for those you want to see it, and presented in a format that they will consume.

Examples of content types include: blogs, white papers, downloadable e-books, social media posts, video, podcast, infographic, case studies, checklists and interviews. Of these, blogging is definitely one of the most popular content types, although recent survey results from Content Marketing Institute show that audio/visual content is increasingly popular among B2B marketers.

Content marketing strategy

Is content strategy still worth it?

If you were to go back in time about a decade, content marketing was a new and novel approach. It rapidly caught on among businesses of all types, so that there are phenomenal volumes of content being produced and consumed every day. Data from a Donmo infographic shows that the popular content site Buzzfeed generates 50,925.92 video views every minute of every day.

Content marketing strategy

This raises the question for many marketers, is content strategy still worth it? Is there so much content out there already that yours won’t make an impact?

Content marketing does still work, but it’s important that you have realistic expectations before committing to a content strategy. For starters, don’t expect to see results immediately. With consistent content marketing efforts, you can still expect that it will be a “slow burn” with results over time. A common benchmark is that you should be seeing some results after six months, IF you have been consistent and followed a good content marketing plan.

What is content doing for you over that time? For one thing, search engines are crawling your site and indexing your content. As it starts to get more hits over time and send signals of its relevance, your search results improve. Secondly, you’re hopefully building an audience over that time. Part of content marketing strategy is promoting your content – you should be getting people to look for and consume your content over time.

Another important point is that you have to keep up with what works in content marketing, testing and refining for your own target audience. Here’s what Content Marketing Institute says about whether content marketing is still worth it:

“As long as you evolve the way you create and distribute your content and keep pace with trends, content marketing will continue to be an authentic, useful, and engaging method that gets results.”

What makes for an effective content strategy?

There are a few “ingredients” that tend to commonly lead to an effective content marketing strategy. Here’s what we’ve found:

  1. Your content should have clear links to business goals. Why are you doing content in the first place? What is it you are hoping people will do as a result of your content? It’s pretty hard to get results if you don’t know what to measure. Google Analytics might tell you your website got more traffic, but if you were hoping to make more sales and didn’t, then it tells you that you either attracted the wrong type of audience, or there’s something ineffective about your website/content.

    As an example, if you’re thinking strategically, then your content should include a way to gather sign-ups so that you’re able to follow up later. In the scenario above, perhaps there was no way of capturing the details of website visitors. They’re more likely to buy later than the first time they land on your site – in fact around 96% of website visitors are not ready to buy.

  2. Your content should be appealing to your target audience. “Content for content’s sake” is not likely to work. Good content is of value to those you want to attract. Perhaps it teaches them something, helps to solve pain points or entertains them.

    The whole idea is that your content should be relevant and make sense for your brand. You might look at what others do with content for inspiration, but it makes no sense to start doing something simply because it’s trendy. You should be prepared to be flexible with your content strategy. Start creating content and try different things, but be ready to make changes if you’re not engaging your audience.

    [bctt tweet=”Good content is of value to your target audience. “Content for content’s sake” doesn’t work”]

  3. Your content should be of high quality. There is a lot of content out there, but so much of it is garbage. This leads to the question, what does “high quality” mean for content? There are many traits we can come up with, so here are a few basics:

    1. The content is well-written. This means it reads well and doesn’t contain glaring spelling or grammatical errors.
    2. The content has a clear point. No one wants to read 1000 words of waffle – the content should deliver salient points without fluff.
    3. The content is well-targeted as per point #2. Cat memes might be generally popular, but they would be rather odd on a blog about boating.
    4. The content is optimized for SEO without APPEARING to be “SEO content.” Keyword stuffing is not only tiresome to read, it can get you penalized in search results.
    5. The content is persuasive and shareable.

  4. Your content should be consistent. If you’re going to have a content marketing strategy, then you need to be prepared to make the commitment of time and/or resources to get it done consistently. This means developing a schedule or editorial calendar and sticking with the program.

    Again, this schedule won’t look the same for every business. Each industry, platform and target audience is different, so it’s okay to test and adjust your plan. For example, as a general rule, if you’re blogging you should put out a new post at least twice per month. Some businesses will find they need to do much more, while others can get away with one per month. The schedule may look different again for video or podcast episodes.

    Social media platforms have much less longevity to their posts. An individual post might disappear from being shown in news feeds after a couple of hours, especially if it didn’t get much engagement when posted. It’s important to figure out what sort of posting schedule gets you results, then stick to or improve on that. The bottom line is that you should never let your content strategy go dormant, otherwise you have to work harder to bring back engagement.

  5. You’ve got to work on content promotion. Whether that is paid, unpaid or a mixture of both, it’s important to get out there and tell people about your content. It’s a very long shot to think that by putting up a blog post, people will simply show up. They may start to after a while, but during the initial stages of a content marketing strategy, they definitely need to be given direction.

  6. Your content strategy should be measured and revised. You’ve got to have the right metrics for your business goals so that you have a real idea of whether your strategy is working. Look at your results at least monthly and revise your content marketing plan if they’re not headed in the right direction.

How do you create a content marketing strategy?

A documented content marketing plan is always a good idea to ensure that you meet your goals for content. Some statistics from Content Marketing Institute highlight why a documented plan is so important:

  • 62% of the most successful content marketers have a documented strategy vs. 16% of the least successful.
  • 72% of content marketers who increased their level of success over the past year credit their strategy as a major contributor.

Content marketing success doesn’t just happen, it is planned for. Here are a few pointers for creating your successful content strategy:

Content for your target audience

As we’ve touched on previously, your content must be appealing to your target audience. This means that your first task is to define who that target audience is. We talked about buyer personas in an article here, but you should also consider the “buyer’s journey.” Different content can be more effective for different stages.

The buyer’s journey is the process that anyone goes through to get from being completely unaware of a product or service, to being a buyer. HubSpot provides a great pictorial representation, shown below:

Content marketing strategy

So when you’re thinking about what content, you also have to consider “for when?” At some point, you will want to end up with a mix of different pieces for the different stages. In the table below, we’ve shown some examples of content for each stage:

Content marketing strategy

While you’re at it, do you already have some content posted? If you’ve had content up for a while, it can be worth conducting a content audit. Look at what you have, the quality of it, whether it has attracted traffic and whether it has served to help with your marketing goals. You may find that you already have great ideas to build on.

Determine your content types

Developing your buyer personas should also help to give you an idea of the types of content you should produce. For example, let’s say you have a B2B audience that includes busy executives. How likely are they to download and consume a 50-page ebook? Some might, but for others this will seem too time-consuming.

This is where you think about the mode of content that will fit best with your target audience. It might be a mixture in the end, but if you’re just beginning, it’s better to start with the most likely type. A busy executive might prefer quick, actionable blog posts, or a podcast they can listen to during their commute, for example.

Demographics will also play a role. Research from HubSpot shows that content preferences can vary greatly along generational lines. For example, you can see in the chart below that a future downturn is expected in email marketing; younger consumers just don’t prefer it.

Content marketing strategy

On the other hand, this research shows that video has consistent appeal across all age groups. For any business whose target audience covers a broad generational range, video would seem to be a great content strategy.

Assess competitor content strategy

Content success generally comes when you’re able to create useful content that helps you to differentiate from what is already out there. Conducting an analysis of competitor content strategy can be very helpful to guide you.

It’s not that you want to copy them directly (you definitely don’t!), but it’s very useful to determine a benchmark of sorts. For example, you can notice trends like “competitor A gets very little interaction on long blog posts, but has a lot of comments on shorter ones.” If competitor A’s target audience looks very much like your own, then this is good to know!

A competitor content analysis begins by taking stock of what they have and where. Note the types of content and the places they post it, on and off their own website. This doesn’t mean that you’ll need to produce content in all the same places, but it can give you an idea of what is working for them.

You’ll also want to note the quality of the content. Look for those overall quality aspects as well as the engagement they are getting. How does the audience receive the content? How many shares? How many comments? You can also use tools such as Buzzsumo to quickly find the most popular content on certain topics.

Analyse quantity and frequency as well as quality. You might notice patterns such as whether the competitor that posts shorter pieces more frequently gets more or less engagement than the one that posts longer pieces less frequently.

Pay attention to any other places your competitors appear online. For example, have they partnered with anyone else? Do they guest post on other blogs or give interviews on podcasts? Are they posting on platforms such as Reddit, Medium or LinkedIn? This all forms part of their wider content marketing strategy.

You’ll start to build an idea of what you can do to be competitive. You might notice areas where they’ve only touched on a subject that seems to be important to the audience. This gives you an immediate starting point with more detailed content.

Know what makes content shareable

A major goal of content marketing is to get your content shared widely. You hope that people read or watch your content, find it interesting, useful or amusing, then share it among their friends and contacts.

What makes content shareable? Psychologists from UCLA found that there are three common motivations for sharing ideas (or content):

  1. The content has utility. The person sharing believes it will be helpful for others. Most humans enjoy being able to help someone, so they share with that in mind.
  2. The content is amusing. We like to laugh and it makes us feel good to share that experience with others.
  3. The content is inspiring. Content that piques interest or stimulates curiosity encourages us to share, hoping that others will feel the same way.

When thinking about your own target audience and the content topics that appeal to them AND relate to your business goals, consider how you can make your content shareable. When Moz and Buzzsumo teamed up a few years ago to analyze 1 million pieces of content, they found that the most shares were earned by a few good outliers. Most content got no shares at all. The suggestion is that you focus more on creating a few outstanding pieces, rather than many mediocre pieces.

Create a content marketing plan

Now that you’ve assessed your target audience, your business goals and your competitor’s strategies, it’s time to formulate a documented content marketing plan for your own business. Let’s look at some steps for getting that done:

  1. Have a good place to document your content marketing plan. If you work with a team or are likely to hire freelancers or external contractors to help, it’s important that you create policies and procedures that are accessible. Cloud-based options for doing so include Google Docs, Zoho Docs or Dropbox Paper.

  2. Include a definition of your target audience in your plan. Creating buyer personas can be a useful way to do this.

  3. Clearly define the business goals for the content. Define the metrics you will use to measure these.

  4. Clearly define what the audience needs to get out of the content.

  5. Include the content formats you will focus on.

  6. Include the channels where your content will be published.

  7. Decide upon your preferred publishing schedule.

  8. Plan how you will manage content creation and publication. The fact is that content marketing done well takes a considerable investment of time and requires a good set of content creation skills. Those who write or design the most popular content tend to be talented creatively and have a good grasp of content marketing overall. Not everyone will have the talent for creating their own content, and most business owners are short on the time!

    If you’re going to do content, it’s worth doing well. If you have good skills yourself and the time to do it, great, but there are other options if you don’t. For example, you could; hire a team member to do content marketing, hire a freelancer that specializes in content or, hire an agency that offers content marketing as part of its services.

  9. Create a plan for promoting your content. Consider any channels you have at your disposal where you’re likely to find your target audience (email marketing, social media…)

It’s also worth creating a set of standards or “rules” for your content so that what you publish will meet a consistent standard. Many businesses choose to create their own content marketing guidelines, including directives on tone, reading level and style. This is especially important if you’re getting other people to create your content.

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Final thoughts

A clear content marketing strategy is important for every business that produces content as part of their marketing mix. If you’re going to do content, it’s worth doing it well. Otherwise you can actually harm rather than help your reputation.

To develop a content marketing strategy, you need to be able to devote time and resources to thorough research. Great content doesn’t just happen, it is planned for by knowing your audience, you competitors and the elements that go into appealing content.

We might be bombarded with online content at this stage, but there is still plenty of room for you to make your mark. Content that is of high quality and is shareable is actually a relative rarity online – take the time to develop a great strategy, pair that with talent to bring your content to life, and you can see success from your content strategy.

How much does a website cost? How much does a website cost?

How Much Does a Website Cost for Your Small Business?

How much does a website cost for your small business?

A business website is an essential tool for marketing your business, but the question of how much it will cost you is wide open. The short answer is that it can cost as little as $5 per month, or as much as $10,000 or more.

It’s almost like asking “how much is a house?” The cost will depend upon the size and features of the house. When talking about a business website, the price range varies because it depends on the website needs that you have.

For example, if you have time and the inclination, you can create your own basic website using a website builder. These tend to be the lowest cost way to build a website and usually have a simple user interface, perhaps with a drag and drop editor.

Another option if you have the know-how yourself is to build your own hosted website. This does involve more knowledge and work on your part, and requires a platform such as WordPress.

Your other option is to have a custom website built for you. This requires a person (or perhaps a web design agency) that has specialist website development skills. A web designer and developer will cost you more, especially for someone who has the right skills and experience. However, you don’t have to do any work and you should get a well-built website.

Your website cost will depend upon the options you choose. Let’s dig in a bit on each choice.

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The basics of a business website

First of all, there are a few basics that, no matter the type of website, you will need. These items are put into place before you have any website development done:

  • Domain name – This is the website address people will use to find you (such as oneweekwebsite.com). Domains can be purchased from a domain registrar such as GoDaddy or Google Domains.

    A new domain that is unowned and available when you do a search of a registrar site will cost you between 99 cents and a few dollars per year. If your desired domain name is unavailable, you may be able to purchase it from the owner. This might cost you anywhere from less than $100 to several thousand dollars. In fact, some of the most expensive domains have sold for millions of dollars.

  • SSL certificate – If your business website is going to process transactions and gather user information, then you need an SSL certificate to allow secure connections with your domain. This will cost between $69 and $300 per year, depending on what you need.

  • Website hosting – Your website must be hosted in order to be available on the internet. There are many different website hosting providers and types of hosting, which we will outline later. Hosting will cost you anything from free (for a very basic website) to a few hundred per month (for a dedicated server). If you are getting your website built by a web design agency, hosting will often be part of the package.

Another thing that you will need along the way, no matter how you are getting your website built, is content for your website. In some cases, you may be able to get a website package that includes some content (One Week Website offers this), however you will otherwise have to source it yourself.

At a very basic level, your content will include:

  • The written copy on your webpages (free if you write it yourself, $400+ per page if an experienced copywriter does it for you). Cost: $0 (and a lot of your time) up to $1200+

  • The images. You might have your own photos to contribute, otherwise you will pay for either stock photos or a photographer where you need specific images. Cost: $0 – several hundred dollars, depending on what you need.

  • Your logo. If yours is a new online business, you’ll want a professional logo made. A good designer and a more complex logo will cost you more than anything basic. Cost: $100 – $600+

Summary cost of the basics: $1 – $2000.

Business Website

Using a website builder

If you’re starting a new small business, often the method you choose to get a business website up is a function of how much you have in your budget. A website builder platform such as Weebly, Wix or Shopify (for an ecommerce website) is usually more budget-friendly.

These types of platforms have user-friendly drag-and-drop interfaces, allowing you to decide how your website will look. It requires very little know-how on your part to put a basic website together. The downside to this is that there will be limitations – you won’t necessarily get everything that you want in a website.

Most website builder platforms will have options for add-ons (often at extra cost) so that you can tack on some extra features. It’s definitely not the same as custom design though – you can only use what they have available.

Pros and cons of a website builder

In very general terms (considering there are several different platforms with varying features), here are some pros and cons of using a website builder:

Pros: Cons:
Can be built very cheaply May not have all of the features you’d like
Can be up and running within a day Will be very basic
You can do it yourself Doing it yourself takes time
You don’t have to worry about the technical details of how the website runs. You are relying on a platform to be reliable. Sometimes website builder platforms experience outages.
You can get a professional-looking design. Your design may look like everyone else’s.
Your website is fully-managed and the building of it is automated. You’re building your website on someone else’s real estate. If your website builder platform disappeared tomorrow, so would your website.

Using a website builder may be a good option for you if you have time to do it yourself, you only need a very basic website, and/or you have a small budget and can’t manage the development costs for a more custom build.

Summary cost for a web builder website: $60 – $300 for your first year (including website maintenance cost). This does not consider the cost of your time…

DIY website design

If you’re seeking a website that is independent of any website builder platform (especially if you are concerned about building on someone else’s real estate), you could also choose to DIY your own website. People often do this using website building software such as WordPress.

In comparison to a web builder platform where the functions are automated, using WordPress to DIY your website is like going to IKEA for furniture – there will be assembly required. This means that you do need a certain amount of technical know-how (or the patience to learn as you go) to build your business website.

Using WordPress to build your own website avoids the costs of custom web development, however website maintenance, functionality and design will all be up to you. If you are low on technical skills, this can be time-consuming and frustrating thing to learn.

DIY Website Design

Use of the WordPress platform itself is free. It’s important to note that WordPress comes in three different types:

  1. Fully-hosted at WordPress.com (with limitations in functionality such as in the web builders above);
  2. A premium version at WordPress.com which allows for some plugins and more theme choices;
  3. Self-hosted, where you download the software from WordPress.org and install it via your hosting platform (e.g. GoDaddy).

Here we’re focusing on the third option, as the first two are very similar to what we’ve already discussed. Once you’ve downloaded the WordPress software and installed it on your web host, you effectively have a blank canvas to build from. You will need:

  • A WordPress theme. It’s important to choose a theme that makes your business look good and works well functionally. While there are free themes available, they are often unreliable in terms of being maintained. A premium theme from a site such as Themeforest will cost you $30 – $100.

  • Plugins – these are the WordPress add-ons that deliver different functions to your site. They offer anything from website analytics to payment gateways which you would need for an ecommerce website. The cost of plugins really depends upon what you need. Many are free, but some will cost anywhere from $5 – $150, while others will be a subscription with a monthly charge.

Pros and cons of building your own website with WordPress

Pros: Cons:
You can do it yourself without web developer costs. It can be a steep learning curve if you don’t have the technical know-how already.
You have more customization available to you. It can be tricky “assembling” your website so that it works as you’d like.
You have entire control over the website (it is unlikely a huge software such as WordPress will go down) You have to sort out website maintenance yourself (or hire someone to do it). Sometimes plugins become buggy or code becomes corrupted.
You can create your own website look that is unique for your business. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to mess up the look of the website.

Summary cost of a DIY WordPress website: $50 – $2000 (depending on what you need and whether you end up hiring a developer to help with any parts).

Custom design and development

Custom design of your business website is usually going to cost you more, however it may be necessary for some websites. For example, if your website needs complex functionality, you have a very specific website design in mind, or if you need something like a large ecommerce website. Of course, if you simply want the time and labor of creating your own website taken off your hands, that’s a good enough reason!

As it sounds, custom design means that a web developer or web design agency starts from scratch, or at least builds a very customized site on top of a template.

The question of how much a custom website will cost you is again dictated by what you need. The more complexity, the more functionality, the more you are asking a web developer and/or web designer to do, the more you can expect to pay.

It’s fair to say that most websites are not built entirely from scratch these days, unless it is for an enterprise-level company with a very specific set of needs. Custom-built, from-scratch websites can cost $30,000 or more.

Custom Design and Development

WordPress is a popular choice to build from because it is so flexible as a platform. While you could create a basic WordPress site yourself with a little knowledge, it will never beat the honed skills of an experienced developer.

The cost of having your website built for you on a WordPress platform will vary depending on who you get to do it and whether you want a basic website, or something more complex. You can hire a freelance web developer and you’ll find the price varies from $500 to $10,000 or more.

Many people look to save money by hiring someone who seems to be cheaper, but this usually results in a “you get what you pay for” situation. It’s important to choose someone based on a verifiable body of work and strong references, rather than simply pricing. If you want a WordPress website, then they should specialize in creating them. In the worst cases, some small businesses have ended up paying out much more money because they had to hire someone else to fix the mess.

Something to bear in mind when you hire a developer is that the good ones tend to know their worth and charge accordingly. Expect to pay $100 – $250 per hour, with the best developers at the top end of the scale. You should also investigate how long it will take them to deliver your finished product. Sometimes a website build can take months, especially if you’re dealing with a small firm or individual developer with multiple clients to take care of. You may want to weigh up cost along with time to delivery (expect to pay a premium for any rush work).

Another option is to hire a web design agency. Many will offer set packages so that you can see what you’re getting for your money (check out One Week Website’s pricing here). It’s important to clarify what you’re getting for the price no matter who you hire. This should be laid out in writing so that there is no confusion later on. For example, some companies will offer packages that include search engine optimization and clear messaging for your website too. Web hosting is often included in these sorts of packages, but this is something to check as well.

One aspect to investigate is any ongoing website maintenance. Every website needs it and it’s definitely easier to have maintenance done by the person or company who built your website. Check to see if your web developer will offer any ongoing maintenance – this is often charged out as a monthly “subscription” rate.

Pros and cons of a custom-built website

Pros: Cons:
You can have complex features added. Complexity will add more time and cost to your website build.
You get professional help instead of having to learn yourself. You need to do a bit of homework to find a person or agency with the right skills and experience.
You can have a very unique website created. The more customization involved, the more it will cost you.
Professional design is a better look for your business and could lead to more revenue. It’s often not as simple to make a quick design change as it is on a website builder platform.

Summary cost of a custom website build:

With a template used as a basis – $500 – $10,000 or more, depending on complexity.

Custom design from scratch – $5000 – $30,000+

Website maintenance – $50 – $200 per month

Pros and Cons of Custom Website

Website hosting

Website hosting is an important part of website cost and is worth looking at separately. You may have purchased web hosting as part of a package with whoever built your website, but you need to know that there are different levels of hosting with different implications for cost and performance.

The type of web hosting you have can cost anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars per month. Thus it could be a significant cost to factor in to your overall budget for building a business website.

In simple terms, “hosting” is where the files for your website are stored on a server, making your site available on the internet. A large, complex company might use several of their own exclusive servers (such as an airline or a bank), while a hobby website or small, local business might use a shared server.

There are three main types of website hosting:

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#1. Shared server

Shared hosting, where you share a server with other websites is at the very basic end of hosting options. There are multiple companies offering shared hosting and it is the cheapest option available (sometimes even free, within limitations. This is not generally recommended for a business).

Basically, it’s like paying rent in a shared apartment building. There could be multiple other units in the same building – or multiple websites on the same server. In some cases, there could be thousands of websites on one server.

Shared hosting can be a good starter option for a small business, but that very much depends on what the hosting company is offering. You are sharing the resources of the server (its Random Access Memory and Central Processing Unit) with others – this means if the server gets overloaded with requests, it can drastically slow down the websites it hosts, or even shut them down. There have been some “bad actors” in the hosting market, cramming too many websites onto one server.

In terms of who you share the server with, you won’t know, however shared hosting can be subject to the “bad neighbor effect.” This is where your neighbors on the server do things that impact the performance of your website too – much like neighbors in an apartment building might do. Most web hosting companies work to mitigate this, but it really is a “you get what you pay for” situation. Cheap hosting is unlikely to include maximum effort to deal with bad neighbors.

Look at more than just price when it comes to hosting. You want to ensure you get good website performance too. If your ecommerce website is having a Cyber Monday sale, then you don’t want it slowing down with an increase in traffic!

Cost of shared hosting: $4 – $10 per month

#2. VPS hosting

VPS means “virtual private server” and is the next step up from shared hosting. It costs a bit more than shared hosting, but you usually get to avoid the problems associated with a shared server.

On a VPS, a few websites will still share the server hardware, however each site will be allocated its own dedicated slice of computing technology. If you were to max-out your allocation, then your site may be throttled, but it won’t affect other sites on the server. Thus the bad neighbor effect is mitigated.

VPS tends to be a good option for most small businesses that get a reasonable amount of website traffic, however, if you get a lot of traffic or need a lot of storage space, it may not be enough for your business.

Cost of VPS hosting: $20 – $100 per month (depending on the resource allocation you get)

#3. Dedicated server

A dedicated server means that your business gets a server (or multiple servers) all to yourself. Some larger businesses with the resources to do so manage their own dedicated servers, however there are options for managed dedicated server hosting. This means that a hosting company maintains and manages the server/s for your business.

Dedicated servers give you more space and more flexibility in terms of what you’re able to do. They mean no bad neighbor effect and the ability to customize your hardware. Naturally, with exclusivity and flexibility comes more cost.

For some businesses with high traffic, security and storage needs, this might be your only reasonable option. Sites like Amazon are hosted on multiple dedicated servers, meaning it is unlikely they will ever go down.

Cost of a dedicated server: $150+ per month

Final thoughts

If you want to know how much a website will cost for your small business, it’s important to define what your needs are for the website. Your overall cost is a function of the features and performance you need, much like when you are purchasing a car.

Remember that the initial website build isn’t your only cost to consider – you should factor in the costs of hosting, maintenance and owning your domain name. You may also have ongoing subscription costs for things like plugins or add-ons that you’d like to use.
This is intended as an approximate guide to costs, but if you have questions about getting a website built for your business, feel free to contact us for a chat here.