Costs are always at the centre of every decision you make as a business owner. Every penny spent is considered carefully, sometimes agonised over, because everything that goes out takes away from your profit and how much you can afford to pay yourself.
What’s particularly important is the return on costs. Some costs are easy to account for and see a direct return on, for example, without spending money on ingredients, cake boxes and tools you would have nothing to sell. Specifically, all of the ingredients, packaging and decoration for a particular cake can be added up and compared with what the cake was sold for.
Other business costs, or expenses, are harder to quantify and return is harder to measure. Advertising can be something that can eat into your expenses but it’s not always easy to know exactly how many sales are being driven from it.
People often have this same fear about investing in a website. They are concerned they will sink a lot of money into it, then no-one will visit and it won’t lead to any new customers. Of course this is a risk. If your website can’t be found on search engines then you might not be able to attract new interest; or if the content on the website isn’t relevant or compelling you won’t inspire people that do find your website to reach out and enquire about an order; or if your website isn’t easy to use then people might not even be able to find your email address or contact form no matter how hard they look.
The good news is, all of this can be rectified with good design, and good design doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Even a simple DIY’d website can rank highly on Google, look beautiful and guide customers to exactly where you want them to go. If you’re at a stage in your business where you can afford to hire a professional, then you will see even more dramatic results, but obviously that’s not an investment that everyone can make when they start out.
Here are the costs involved with getting your cake business website online, from DIY to hiring a designer.
Whatever platform you use for your website you will need to purchase a domain name.
Domain - about £20/$30 for two years, or included with a Squarespace yearly subscription
There are various website platforms and builders that you can use to host your website. Drag and drop website builders are easy to use and offer templates that are a great place to get started from. They can be customised with some time and some Googling and are generally the easiest to use option. These would be sites such as Squarespace, Wix and Weebly.
Squarespace £112-168/$144-$216 per year (can be paid monthly)
Wix £94/$120 per year (can be paid monthly)
Weebly £96/$125 per year (can be paid monthly)
Alternatively you could host your website through Wordpress. With this option you would pay a monthly fee to a website host, which is where all of your Wordpress website content would be stored. You then install Wordpress onto the host and build your website from there. Wordpress also offer templates however I would say that the learning curve for customising your site on a budget is quite steep.
Web Hosting - £5/$10 per month
Alternatively you could host your website through Wordpress. With this option you would pay a monthly fee to a website host, from companies like TSOHost (who I use), Bluehost, GoDaddy, etc. You then install Wordpress onto the host and build your website from there. Wordpress also offer templates however I would say that the learning curve for customising your site on a budget is quite steep.
DIY - Free!
Aside from the costs outlined above, DIYing your website can be completely free. If you are willing to put in a bit of time and a whole heap of patience, you can definitely get your own website up and running, and looking really good. There are lots of free guides out there for Squarespace, such as my new course, which can help you through the process and it can be lot’s of fun and really satisfying knowing you’ve done it all yourself. However, despite the value that a website can bring to your business, if you are spending hours on end at your computer, rather than at your oven you will be losing money.
Learning everything from scratch can take time
Time spent away from baking
Not a valuable use of your time
Mistakes can be make
Tech issues can cause problems
It’s free, of course!!
Complete control over your site
Learning new skills
Templates & DESIGN KITS - £50-250/$80-300
Templates are most commonly linked with Wordpress, and they are a great way to style your website if you don't have a lot of knowledge in web design or website coding. There are so many template providers out there that you are bound to find one that you like enough to work for you in the short term. My baking business website was built on Wordpress (Squarespace wasn't really a thing back then, if only!) and I used a theme from Bluchic, who offers gorgeous, girly WP themes at a really good price of $79.
Squarespace templates are offered for free as part of your membership but they do require a good amount of customisation if you want to really stand out and align with your branding. That's where Design Kits come in! They are at a higher price point than some Wordpress templates but they offer lots of value as they come with design files (for Canva and Photoshop) and video tutorials of how to get put your chosen design in to place, so you learn how to really understand your site design and will be confident making changes in the future. Have a search online for Squarespace design kits, but some good places to start are Station 7, who offer great value kits, and Designs for Squares, who are more expensive but have lots of choice.
Relatively customised design
Quicker than DIY-ing everything
Learning new skills
CUSTOM WEB DESIGN £250++
There will come a point when you're business is at a stage that you can afford to invest a good amount of money in to your website design. This will no doubt pay for itself over time as it will make you stand out from competitors, be able to take orders online, or even have an online shop.
I would definitely advise starting with the full DIY or using a template before diving in to hiring a designer, even as one of those designers myself! If you have put yourself online, it will have given you a good idea of what you and your customers need from a website, which will be useful information for your designer. There is also no point in splurging money you don't have yet on a fledgling business. Build your business up slow and steady, and when the time does come to hire a designer you will be so ready and the rewards will be awesome!
The cost of hiring a designer can range wildly. A newbie designer will be able to give you a good deal, where an established designer with a strong reputation will cost more. As with most things, you do generally get what you pay for, although there are exceptions to the rule.
Before you sign up to work with any designer, or hand over any money, be sure to have thoroughly researched. Look at their portfolio, their own website, think about the vibe you get from their blog or emails, and set up a Skype call if you'd like to chat things through. No designer who is worth working with will turn you down and will be happy to chat with you before you book them.