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  • Writer's pictureKat Moir

Using a DIY web builder ISN'T cheaper, with proof

I know, I know, we *would* say that, right?

Well actually, we're not lying to get your business. DIY web builders usually aren't actually cheaper than what a small local company like us can offer you, and here's why (with proof!)

This article was written with help from a few clients who have had services from the companies we mentioned, and have kindly shown us invoices.

Online web builders like 123-reg, GoDaddy, Yell, plus the hundreds more that spring up every year (but don't hang around - weird), get customers to sign up by advertising low prices. That's about it. None of them really claim to get you a nice, working, modern website with all the features you need. But you don't really notice this amongst their cool, expensive advertising and 'bargain deals'.

And don't forget the things they mysteriously don't mention (like the fact listing in Google is usually a paid extra).

But even with these facts, how can a local company trying to cover overheads possibly match their low prices?

Here's how...

The short answer is, the online web builders leave out half their prices.

The prices you see are usually for a one page website. Just one. The average website for a small-medium St Neots company has 5 visible pages, plus privacy policy and terms and conditions at the very least.

Yell advertises a website for £100. What they don't tell you is £100 is for one page, and adding pages can be £100 each. That's £500 for 5 pages. Oh, and hosting is on top.

Wait, isn't around the price for a small web design company to do it? Yep. Plus, there's lots more benefits such as an actual team, not a faceless salesperson, meetings if you want them, help on demand... the list is endless.

They also have a crazy amount of hidden extras.

Not only are they quiet about what your costs actually include, they also 'forget' to tell you what you'll need to pay for on top.

Like the fact you won't list in Google without an additional fee, and then probably a monthly fee ongoing to stay there. Or that their hosting prices are sometimes sky high and non-negotiable, and are also for low-quality shared servers.

And don't forget that you rent your website from Yell, not buy it. This means you never stop paying, meaning over a couple of years you can spend thousands on a website you could have had for a few hundred.

Don't forget the time spent on the phone to them.

You're dealing with companies that have thousands of employees, all working on faceless template websites that they don't really care about. To make changes, you'll have to get through their phone lines and do it in the way they want you to.

Local businesses are much happier to work in your way, whether that's email, phone or in person.

The same goes if you have a problem.

If you have a problem, or any downtime with your website (something we've frequently heard about), good luck getting in touch with them.

What about the builders I use to create the site myself? Like GoDaddy?

All DIY web builders use templates - that's how they make it (supposedly) easy for the everyday person to create their own website. The bad news - everyone that has fallen into this trap has the same website as you. Eek.

At least you have access to edit the site yourself, although this is usually incredibly limited and you will end up with a quarter of the site you started off wanting, with a totally different design and the same look as your competitor down the road. Not good.

All this, plus the hours and hours you will spend on creating it, not working on your business. And as we will prove below, it is the same price or more expensive than just coming to us.


Still think it's cheaper? Let's make a direct comparison.

All the below prices include the appropriate VAT. We don't charge VAT, so these are realistic comparisons of what you'll actually pay. Obviously if you're a VAT registered business, you can take off the VAT.

We've not picked out certain companies with pricing to suit our agenda. These are the companies with the most accessible pricing lists and the ones we have evidence for.


We've compared our price for a custom email address with some big online companies. This is for a like-for-like service. Both of these companies offer introductional fees that are lower to lure you in but afterwards will shoot up to the prices below forever.

We charge: £54 per user per year.

Included is technical support and set up.

IONOS: £100.84 per user per year.

GoDaddy: £107.88 per user per year.

How come we're so cheap?

We're not greedy!

But my email address is included in my web hosting? Why would I pay extra?

The services included in web hosting are for very basic, cheap email services. These are unreliable and not worth looking at for serious small business use. We are comparing useable paid services which won't put you in spam!


The advertised costs are never realistic, so we've noted them down, as well as recorded the costs previous clients have been actually charged with these companies.

We charge: FREE for your first domain (included in hosting). £20 a year for your others.

This includes Shaun on technical support.

IONOS: Advertised at £10 a year. However, a client who bought this offer actually has been charged £15.72 with no free first domain.

Easyspace: Advertised at £14.38 a year. However, a recent client was paying £22.75 for the same thing.

How come we let you have one for free, if the other companies charge?

Domain names are the biggest cause of problems, and by offering you a free domain name, we lose the cost, but by managing it for you, we ensure you your website is working, saving us time and stress helping you fix it.


We charge: £20 a month, as standard but we have both cheaper and more expensive options.

This includes Shaun on technical support, unlimited website changes changes, and both of us at the end of an email if you need anything, as well as supporting a local company. We have 99.9% uptime - much better than the majority of online builders.

GoDaddy: Advertised at £19.18 a month, not including premium features. We couldn't find anyone to verify the real costs, but to be fair, GoDaddy is a fairly reliable company so this is probably realistic. Don't forget it doesn't include a domain name though.

IONOS: Advertised at £9.60 a month. However, a client who is currently moving over is paying £10.78, plus random fees each month that add up to £7.04 which are unexplained, but we assume it's technical support she's been forced to pay for.


We charge: Bespoke fees, but covers all budgets and is suitable for local businesses. Although we don't want to give our prices away to competitors, we can say we're A LOT cheaper than both the examples below.

IONOS: Set up fee of £358, plus monthly fee of £84 for 12 months (making a total of £1366 for a year). Does not include domain name, or a lot of features. This is for a template site. £660, plus monthly fee of £36. Total of £1092 for a year. This one does actually include some good features. This is for a template site.

It's hard to find many comparisons, as most builders offer a 'do it yourself' option as standard. In this instance, the hosting fee may cover the builder as well, so you would be able to scratch the web design cost.

However when you add up the hosting, service fees, domain name and email addresses for your chosen builder, plus paying for technical support, you will almost certainly find over a year it was cheaper to pay a web designer to build and host the site with all your chosen features and a site you actually like. Plus, scratch the hours and hours you will spend learning a web builder with no guaranteed results.


We charge: This is included in the £20 a month hosting/maintenance cost and also includes unlimited changes to your website.

Other companies: Totally unknown. What happens when your 12 month contract runs out and you need updates? You're at their mercy.

We have seen countless clients fall into the trap of grabbing cheap deals from the companies above, and others, and falling foul of these charges.

Even if miraculously, the costs do end up cheaper than a local company, ask yourself what you would rather have? A cheap looking template website that doesn't reflect your business, with a faceless support team, or a lovely modern site designed *from scratch* by two lovely local people who will always be here to help you?

Shop local. It doesn't have to be us, but support the small businesses in your town and create something together that you love!

We are very happy to clarify these costs or give you a full, easy to understand quote. Just pop us an email! :)


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