How much should NZ businesses pay for a website in 2020? Are prices coming down or going up? Well, it depends on what you need and where you go but here’s our take on where things are at.
Stepping back and taking a look at the bigger picture, there are some significant trends going on that aren’t slowing down. More and more businesses are moving online; not just getting a website but transferring a lot of their in-person physical processes to the digital space. Secondly, the number of providers and the diversity of online marketing services is growing. While this can be confusing for the average business owner it is also helping lower prices, particularly as competition increases. And thirdly, consumer access to and expectation to do business online is definitely moving up and to the right, with faster internet (fiber, 5G etc), ubiquity of internet-connected devices and the online generation (Gen X and later) demographic very quickly becoming the majority.
This all means that business owners, regardless of industry, need to stop and check they have a website, and that they’re using it to the full. It’s 2020 and there’s no excuse not to have one – we know because we build very affordable websites, and the process is quick and easy.
But is developing technology and increased competition bringing down the cost of websites and associated services? We decided to review the three main costs associated with getting a website built and putting it online – design, hosting and domain registration.
Website design and development
Tools for building websites have definitely come a long way since we used to code each page in notepad. Free CMS software such as WordPress has simplified the process and sped up tasks that were time intensive, and nightmarish to maintain. Many programs now allow someone with little or no knowledge of HTML (the code behind websites) to build web pages. And online website builders like Squarespace and Wix are aiming to make it possible for anyone to design and develop their own site.
Has all of this brought down the cost of web design? Over the last 10 years we’ve seen a few changes in the marketplace but no major swing to cheaper pricing. There are still the high-end agencies charging anywhere from $5,000 to over $100k. Mid-tier (smaller agencies) are still in the several thousand price range. And then the website builder companies are picking up eager DIYers with the lure of free or low-cost contracts and “easy-to-use” builder applications and churning out poorly coded, ugly and slow sites in many cases.
Obviously, the specific requirements of the website factor into the price but overall there hasn’t been a significant drop in the cost of purchasing a website. Why is this? Are business owners being ripped off? The problem is that while systems and processes for building and launching websites is easier and faster now, other costs have gone up, particularly wages and office rents. Also agency profit margins are increasing as owners look to cash in while the going is good, never knowing when it will end.
So, unfortunately it’s still like the wild west out there and you’ll need to choose carefully, ask questions and shop around – but there are affordable options out there. The important thing is to be clear about what you need, and what’s right for your business.
Average price: $1500
Our price: $299
Like website costs, hosting prices can vary wildly, affected by a whole slew of factors that the customer is oblivious to, or unaffected by such as the size of the company, their profit margins and marketing strategies (such as trying to undercut competitors to gain market share, or gain customers they can then upsell premium services to).
So while reduced hardware costs, a growing number of suppliers and more efficient processes should have reduced the cost of your monthly hosting bill, it often hasn’t as many providers rely on customers to feel moving is too difficult and they just pocket the increase. So that’s the bad news. The good news is often it’s a lot easier to move than you think – in fact often we can do it for you, for free.
Sometimes providers will try to “compensate” overpriced hosting with extra add-on services but it’s not necessarily good value, and we provide many of those services at a much lower price.
Average price: $20/month (normally paid annually)
Our price: $7.90/month
Honestly, if any costs were to come down, domain registration fees definitely should have been top of the list. The actual cost to the registration company is often less than a dollar. But unfortunately there are a lot of greedy companies at the top who are quite content to keep the status quo and maintain the price.
They say it’s to prevent frivolous cyber-squatting (registering domains you don’t need in the hope someone will buy it from you for a higher price) which I understand but there are better ways. Unfortunately, those better ways don’t support the fat-cat lifestyle so registration fees are unlikely to change.
However, the future of this license to print money is uncertain, so many domain registration companies try all sorts of tricks to increase revenue from individual customers, from encouraging long term registration (up to 10 years) or upselling to unnecessary add-ons or purchasing subsidised hosting packages.
Our advice? Just purchase the domain for one or 2 (if you’re really sure about it) years and say no to everything else.
Also know that it’s free to move your domain – so if you’re paying $45 a year with Free Parking you can easily switch to Crazy Domains and save about $20 a year on each domain.
ps choosing a good domain is important – here are our tips.
Average price (NZ domain): $35/year
What’s the future of website pricing?
The real driver for change in website pricing won’t be an increasing availability of low-cost technology or more service providers (like when Telecom was finally forced in the 2000’s to drop their insanely expensive internet costs) but it will be consumer awareness.
As consumers become more educated about the options available to them, and better able to sort between fact and fiction, they’ll be less likely to just be led along by the ‘experts’. They can then see that cheaper prices should be expected, while still getting a good quality result.
For now, we will continue to champion cheaper website prices, saving the lucky businesses who discover us a lot of money in the process.