Essentials needed for having a website:
1.) Website Domain (the URL/address, e.g., danceclub.com)
2.) Server Hosting (where all of your website’s content is saved)
3.) Website Design (to make your website look presentable and be a space for all of your content, otherwise people will just see a blank page)
4.) Content (all the information you want to be present on the internet for your community, visitors, or audience. Content can be the written word, video, and audio)
Those are the four “must haves” for any website.
When you want a website for your business/club, there are 3 core options to choose from:
Do everything yourself.
Get the domain, get the hosting, design the website, create the content, format the content into the layout of your website, manage the website as your business/club progresses, and so on.
Get a monthly/annual website service.
This is a great option for people that want something simple, don’t have a lot of design experience, and don’t want to have to deal with website creation/management aside from tweaking important information.
Common options to explore: Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, WordPress
Through this option, you don’t have to worry about the “back end” of owning a website, but you will still need to pick a theme (the “look” of your website), make final tweaks to the design, and create/manage content on the website.
Even if you go with this option, you can still have someone else help make the design decisions and help put your business or club’s content on the website in a clean and informational manner.
Own everything + have someone else create/manage the website.
For those that want a little extra control over the website, going with the “do everything yourself” route, you and your business/club can own everything and have all the control of the website while having someone else set it up, create the theme/design, add in all the content, and so on.
Essentially what you need to decide is 1) how much control you want to have over your website (and its “look”), 2) do you want to create/manage the website on your own or have someone else do it for you completely, and 3) do you want the website to be under your ownership or have it managed by someone else while you have access to make changes.
For those inquiring having me help create or manage their website, here are a few things I would note.
Ownership is important. As a business or club owner, you want to maintain ownership of your website and the content on it. This includes all three “essentials” listed above: domain, server hosting, and content. Content can be replaced if lost, but domain and server hosting are essentially the “keys to your online home.” If you let someone else have control over the domain and server hosting of your website, then they have the option to do some damage if things should ever turn sour. Generally speaking, whoever is at the top level of your organization (or someone very trusted within it) should have full access to the domain and hosting. Granted, you don’t want someone not knowledgeable about domains and server hosting making changes; if you do the wrong thing, your entire website can come crashing down.
So as a rule of thumb: don’t give domain and server hosting access to anyone but those you trust.
However, if you do intend to get some outside help, you’ll eventually have to offer access so that they can lay the framework and design the website for you. If you work once with a designer, then they are essentially “building your online home” and then “handing you the key to your home.”
As a small-time web designer, I use “shared hosting.” This isn’t uncommon and it means that all of my websites live under one roof, or one neighborhood (if we’re using the “online home” analogy :) ). Anyone that works with me and wants to be a part of this “neighborhood” has to understand that if something tragic were to happen to my server hosting (which is extremely rare and has yet to happen), then all of my websites would be at risk in some way. This is why regular website backups are important, because if something does happen, we’ll have an easy point to restore from once we get the server back up and running. Generally this is extremely rare, hasn’t happened, and is usually outside of my control (e.g., something happens to the company that owns the shared hosting).
WordPress is an extremely common place to start for businesses that want some control over their website. Everything I’ve built is on WordPress using a specialized, premium theme called “Divi.” It transform the WordPress design/structure and allows the owner/designer much more creative freedom with the website without having a lot of “tech-y” experience.
What this also means is that if you want to use a Divi theme, you can’t go back to a standard WordPress theme (I haven’t ever needed to and I have no plans to go back). However, for those that are not interested in Divi, we can still work on creating a decent website on available WordPress themes.
You can see all of my major websites below:
https://austinpranger.com – my personal website (you are here now)
https://finda.dance – my “regional dance calendar”
https://anchorroomdance.com – the dance studio I am affiliated with
https://fwWesties.com – my dance club
All of these websites I have created from scratch using the 3 main essentials: domain, server hosting, and content.
I’ve had to acquire the domains, server hosting, set up the framework/foundation, design the website, and create the content on each of these websites.
The one website I did not set up the website design for, but have created only the content on is http://fwdancesport.org
So the big questions are
1) how much do you want to do yourself (or in your organization)
Do you have someone in your business/club that can design websites and manage the content? Or do you want someone to do all of that for you? Or just have someone design it once and then you can make changes to the content as needed (such as events, contact information, etc.)
2) how much of your website do you want to “own”
Do you want to own all of the domain and server hosting on your own, or pass that off completely and just pay the monthly/annual cost?
3) what’s your budget?
Each option is naturally going to cost different, based on how much you want to do on your own.
The major costs are broken down as follows:
- Cost of the DOMAIN (your .com address) – typically less than $30 (my domains average around $10-$15) per year.
- Cost of SERVER HOSTING – this will range from $5 to $10 per month. Services like Squarespace will take care of your server hosting, but will generally cost more because it’s packaging server hosting + initial website design (anywhere from $15 – $30 per month or more).
- Cost of WEBSITE DESIGN – this can vary wildly based on what you need on your website. This will probably be your biggest expense aside from recurring SERVER HOSTING costs. There’s no set price as each website will be unique. Even if you get a service like Squarespace, someone will still need to format the website to meet the needs of your business/organization.
- Cost of CONTENT – if you don’t feel comfortable putting content on your website and want someone else to do it, sometimes this is an additional cost (or is common included in the WEBSITE DESIGN cost). CONTENT includes everything from the words on your home page, what is said on your about page, the information on your contact page, pictures and video to be added, and so on. CONTENT is what makes your website unique from the other websites on the web.
- Cost of MANAGEMENT – this is an optional cost, depending on whether or not you (or someone in your organization) wants to manage the content AND the website. Generally, once the website is designed and the content is added, there’s not a whole lot to manage on your website unless you’re hosting events, making blog posts, and have other important changes to make. Most content related management is fairly simple. Managing the website (dealing with core updates, theme changes, and “fixing” anything that breaks) is where the major part of website management comes in, and where it can be helpful to have someone on hand that can handle all of that for you.
4) and do you want ongoing support or just “set me up and then we’re good to go”?
This comes down to whether or not you want someone outside of your organization (typically the individual that set up and/or designed your website) helping to also manage your website, provide content, make any necessary changes, and whatever else you need for your website.
So generally, there are 4 options:
1) do everything yourself.
2) let me set up everything for you, and hand you the “keys.”
3) have everything set up for you + help you manage the website over months/years as needed.
4) get a hosting service like Squarespace + I’ll help you design it + manage or not manage as needed.
As the owner of your business/club, you will ultimately be paying for DOMAIN and SERVER HOSTING in one form or another. Every option needs those.
The second cost is WEBSITE DESIGN, including setting up the groundwork, creating the content for your website (based on your needs), changing colors to match your club, creating any necessary graphics, etc.
The third cost is MANAGING the website if you don’t want to do it yourself. You will still be paying domain and server hosting every month/year, as that is the base cost of owning a website. Managing costs only come in if you, or anyone on your team, does not have experience or feel comfortable making changes to the website, doing updates (to stay with current versions of websites/hosting/themes/etc), updating content, doing regular backups, or fixing something that breaks.
It’s hard for me to give a flat rate on what to expect cost wise, as each situation is unique. As ballpark numbers:
Domain ownership: expect to pay around $20 per year.
Server hosting ownership:
a) shared hosting, expect to pay around $5-15 per month.
b) shared hosting in my “neighborhood” under my roof will vary, roughly $5 per month.
Squarespace rates are generally around $15 to $30 per month (includes server hosting and initial design theme). You will still need to have someone design your website and add in content.
Website design/setup: varying greatly based on your needs, rates can be on a per-project/website basis or at hourly rates. I don’t have a set rate and would prefer to chat with you before discussing a price. But website development can take a considerable amount of time depending on how much you need for your website. Common rates for website design/setup can range anywhere from $40 to $70+ per hour. As website design is not my main profession, I’m willing to discuss these rates and come to a term that meets your needs and fits your budget.
Website management: this can vary based on how much involvement you need from the outside. You could have something as simple as just a couple hours a month to do website updates and be on hand for fixing things when something goes wrong. Or you can have someone more involved to assist with changing out important information (like event dates, contact info), create content (blog posts, etc.), and so on. There’s no real set rate for this, as again it’s extremely variable: expect anywhere from $20 per month to similar hourly rates above to manage your website and create content as needed.
Remember none of these rates are set in stone and I would love to chat with you to get a better understanding of what you need. (:
Send me a message and ask me what I would personally recommend for your situation. Whether or not you work with me, I want to help inform you on what’s going to be useful for your business/club/organization.