So, you're interested in a website. You have a chat with a designer, figure out a plan of action and then comes the big question: "What's it gonna cost?".
The cost will always be a question and it's often the driver behind whether or not a client wants to engage with a designer or even get a website in the first place.
There are three main components that influence the cost of a website.
- Web Design Costs (Billed from the web designer at an agreed price)
- Website hosting cost (A monthly or annual fee)
- Domain name cost (An annual fee)
This guide will break down the costs of building a website in New Zealand. It will also provide ways to reduce your bill and touch base on how The Dream Factory structures their pricing.
Web Design Costs
This is what it takes for the site to exist. This is creation of the pages, laying out content and... designing something. This is often charged at a fixed or hourly rate.
What influences the web design cost?
The design cost is deteremined by a variety of factors, including:
- Whether or not the client has a logo and brand
- If they have quality photos and text, or if the designer needs to source/create this themselves
- The quantity and size of the pages (a good designer can work with you to determine how many pages; define the structure of your website)
- Whether or not any custom development or extra features are required (custom interactivity, calendar booking systems, etc)
It is common for a website designer to charge a deposit and/or progress payment. As a website build can take weeks to create, this covers what would otherwise be unpaid time creating an initial concept.
How The Dream Factory charges design costs
An initial discussion with the client will have determined the scope of the project and the factors above become known.
Based off an hourly rate, we calculate the average time it takes to design the website and provide an estimate, charging 50% of the estimated cost as a deposit. The remainder is paid upon completion and prior to launching the website or for longer projects split into "design rounds" - Concept 1, Concept 2 etc.
Often it takes seeing something in front of you before you get that lightbulb moment. That's why we apply 15-20% variation on our estimates to accomodate any additional features or requests that may arise during the design journey.
We treat design costs as an investment, not an expense. In other words, our goal is to create websites that pay themselves off and then make you money - whether through sales, clients and/or brand awareness. We take our work seriously and are in it for the long haul - not to build a site and then forget about it!
We prefer to build relationships with our clients which is why we have special rates for long-term clients and create custom rates for ongoing work.
Reducing your web design cost
From personal experience, we've found the largest time-consumer (thus cost) when building a website is from web content.
We have found some of the most cost effective and quality builds have been website redesigns (where photos and text content are already present) and new websites where clients have brought quality photos and text content to the table.
Not only does this reduce cost, but it means the money you are investing goes a longer way... More time is being spent on designing and fine-tuning, as opposed to sourcing content and writing from scratch.
We do understand though - the business admin/owner's life is a busy one. That's why if you're pressed for time writing website content, even short simple blurbs can suffice. We frequently expand on and edit text accordingly to help your website get found on Google.
If you're willing to spend a bit more and achieve a professional finish, seek out a copywriter for text content and a photographer for your photos - this will create the absolute best website.
Website Hosting Costs
Just like you store files on a phone or computer, your website is a set of files on a computer too, optimised for speed and security (hopefully) and accessible by others around the world. This cost, often billed monthly or annually is for the running of your website.
What influences your hosting cost?
Put quite simply, the provider you choose. Some platforms charge based off of bandwidth, storage size or web traffic while others charge a set monthly or annual fee, sometimes split into different tiers allowing for various features.
The vast majority of our website builds are created on Rocketspark which charges a set monthly or annual fee. You can find their pricing here.
How The Dream Factory manages hosting costs
Depending on the type of website you're after, we will recommend the right host for the job and advise you of costs prior to undertaking the work.
Alongside standard plans offered by Rocketspark, we've partnered up to offer a special arrangement for non-profits, "starting-out" businesses and more. If you're in this bracket contact us to have a chat.
Reducing your web hosting cost
Because there's a variety of hosting options out there, speaking to a quality website designer or host can give you a good idea of what host is right for the job.
The more pages and interactive content you have, the more bandwidth and resources are required to maintain your website. For our own clients, we offer $20 monthly hosting for up to three pages. This also includes the ability to write articles + blog posts. If you're selling online, you can add up to ten products free of charge. The next tier above that is approximately $40 for unlimited pages.
A common platform for building websites is Wordpress; a very common, open source website building tool. A problem we see quite frequently with Wordpress websites is that their website is too big for the host it's on. In other words, the website is filled up with extensions, plugins and third-party features; so many that it results in slow website performance and unreliability.
If you're taking the Wordpress route, a designer who is technically literate and can keep on top of monthly maintenance and choose the right host for the job is a must.
It's worth knowing that Wordpress, while extremely customisable and robust has its own ongoing cost: maintenance. To ensure stability, maximum performance and security, ongoing maintenance is advised.
When we build on Rocketspark, their active development team takes care of updates, security patches etc, leaving us to focus on what we design and develop ourselves.
The name of your website; this is what people type into their browsers to go to your website, such as www.thedreamfactory.nz, www.google.com and so on.
When creating a website or e-mail account for your organisation, you will need a domain name.
Domain names are never owned; they are leased from a domain name registrar. There are numerous domain hosts to choose from all with varying costs, levels of customer service and technical capabilities.
What influlences your domain name cost?
The cost is influenced by your top-level domain (TLD), the domain registrar you choose and the availability of it.
A top-level domain is what follows after the dot in a domain. This can be .com , .org , .net or country-specific like .nz , .com.au , .co.nz .
While costs vary, a previously unregistered domain can cost up to $50 annually although it is generally less. A domain that has been owned in the past may be sold for a higher price due to its presence, previous web activity and reputation on the web. Custom TLD's like .design , .dev , .construction are fairly new but allow you to personalise your website address. These are often more expensive.
A situation to avoid is buying from "domain squatters". Domain squatters buy sought-after domain names with no intention of using them, other than to sell them at a much higher premium or to serve ads on them. If you find your domain name is in this situation, there are legal options to remedy this. Despite that, it's not a situation we are yet to encounter; likely in credit to New Zealand's small size.
How The Dream Factory manages domain costs
For technical reasons, we prefer to work with a dedicated domain registrar when setting up domain names for clients.
We are an authorised reseller of domains via Freeparking, allowing us to offer extremely competitive domain name prices when arranging a purchase through us. Another recent company we have started using is MyHost. MyHost is a domain registrar we have only recently discovered and are coming to love - like our friends at Rocketspark, they offer New Zealand-based support and flexibility with their pricing.
A domain name must be renewed annually for a set fee. Often you can also buy several years in advance. It's important to renew your domain name in a timely fashion, once expired anybody can pay the fee and snap up your domain name!
Quick tips to get the maximum out of your investment. Lets go!
- Work with a quality website designer who cares about your business. With your best interests in mind, they'll create a plan that works for your business and goals ensuring a viable return on investment.
- Supply text and photo content for each page. This means less money spent sourcing content, more towards design, quality testing and additional features.
- What does the designer want to know? We find ourselves asking more about the business than the website itself. We know how to build websites, what we don't know is your business, story and goals. Look for a designer that isn't thinking of how to build a website, but how to build one that works hard for your business and is aware of your budget.
- Think about how much you can comfortably spend. We can estimate the cost of a 5 page website but it's no use if it's out of the client's means. That said, you can always add pages and content later. If a designer is good but the price is steep, try starting smaller and expanding later. We'd much rather build smaller without compromising on quality than to build a full website for cheap - looking like it too.
- “How flexible are you?”. Ask your designer this. Maybe you want to do one or two pages a month, half the site now and half later... You can even launch a website with a single page and work on the rest in the background! Breaking down the walls and being transparent; working together to reach custom solution is something many designers are happy to do.
- Investigate the right host for your website. What platform is your website built on and is hosting included? Is maintenance included or do you have to pay more to ensure the reliability and security of your website is unaffected? A good website designer can advise on these matters.
- Choose a good domain name registrar. As a client you're likely to look towards the cost which is fine. A website designer should also be looking at the level of support and the technical capabilities offered by the domain name registrar. We've partnered with both local and international domain name companies to ensure fair rates without compromise on service.
Any other questions?
We hope this has provided some clarity as to where your money is going and also provided you with knowledge on how to get the absolute best out of your new website from what you put into it.