The Ultimate Guide to a Website (in 2021)

Angela S.

Owner &  Digtial Marketer

Posted Feb.16 2021

It’s 2021 and people are still building websites like it’s 2001.

Modern websites are made to be simple, effective, fast and easy to use. Your website should immediately tell the viewer who you are, where to go and how to get there in as little steps as possible. This is called website optimization. Any website can be optimized with a little research.

So the question on everyones mind… 

Should I build my website myself or should I hire someone to do it for me?

Website building is not a mystery; with research anyone can build and optimize a great website. However, small businesses often don’t have the time to research, learn a web builder and learn how to design a website themselves. Hiring a website designer means you will get website that is beautiful, easy to use and functions how you want it to.

But, can you afford it? What questions should you ask your website designer? What are the most modern tools for building a website?

Let me help you with this guide.

We will breakdown…

  • the cost of a website
  • the needs of a website
  • a checklist of your needs (so you can know exactly what to get out of your website)
  • the pros & cons of using a DIY web builder vs. hiring a designer

Let’s get started.

If you have a business that is ready grow, a website is for you.

Whether it is to start generating online revenue, developing a better digital presence (so people can find you online), or just a place for you to keep informative blogs, every business needs a website

A website will always add value to your business.

Speaking of value…

What goes into the cost of a website?

I’ve got a super simple equation for you!

Website Cost = Cost of Build + Yearly Fees + Maintenance + Upgrades/Marketing

A website built by Woot Woot Digital will cost you $500 to build, $125 for hosting (free domain for the first year), and the cost of maintenance, upgrades and marketing is up to you.  That means you can have a fully functional website up and running for less than $700 CAD.

You’ve heard of the saying “if you build it, they will come”?

Erm, not so true with websites. You have to keep your website active by adding blog posts, pages, new information and more. So, after your website is built, keep in mind you (or someone you hire) should keep maintaining your website.

What does a website need?

Every website needs hosting & domain. But, not all are made equally. What perks can your provider offer you? Most offer the first year of your domain for free , but what about a free email address (so you can have professional communication with customers) or a free security certificate (to show your visitors you take privacy and security seriously, also giving you the ability to sell online and improve your SEO)?

How will you maintain your site? Hopefully, you can do it in-house, but if not, can you get easy and affordable monthly support?

Now, upgrading and marketing your site is important. Can you add ecommerce without paying expensive yearly fees? Can you add a social media feed, blog, landing pages, analytics and ads? Can you easily budget your next year of upgrades and marketing? You should be able to do all this with either a DIY builder or a Website Designer – plus get support!

That’s a lot to think about, so let me give you the top 10 things every small business website needs

Top 10 things every small business website needs

  1. Built with an easy to use website builder (so you can edit it yourself)
  2. The ability to modify with custom HTML/CSS (in the case when you want something custom made in the future)
  3. Hosted using a super fast, reliable server with perks like a free security certificate and free email address
  4. A domain name that is unique to your business
  5. Custom design and branding
  6. Optimized to your user experience (UX)
  7. Scalable so it can grow with you, while maintaining low yearly fees (DIY web builders have a ton of restrictions on your website, so building a website on WordPress is always the better choice)
  8. Functional so it can do anything you need it to (Again, WordPress is the most functional CMS around)
  9. Low maintenance fees and transparent pricing for upgrades
  10. Analytics and marketing plugins so you can grow your website (WordPress has thousands of free plugins to grow your website)

Make sure you bring this list of 10 essentials to your website designer!

Next, let’s look at what you need from your website.

The first step isn’t to start – it is to strategize.

You have to know your needs before you build a website so you have something made just for you. This could be a DIY website or a custom built one, either way you need a clear list of your website needs.

A sample checklist of website needs:

I need to prove potential customers that I am professional and trustworthy
I need to showcase myself & my work online
I need to sell my products/services online
I need to post blogs and make money from them
I need to sell subscriptions and memberships
I need to take online bookings
I need to help my customers find my store
I need to develop my branding and voice
I need to increase the value of my business

You may need everything or only one thing from this list. Or, you may need something unique to you.

Either way, download this checklist and keep it with you for when you get started. 


Want your checklist?

Download the super handy checklist and a list of our 10 essential value-adding  essentials for every website.

Refer to it when building your website!

Finally, what kind of website is for you?

Is it one you’ve made yourself or one professionally built?

When comparing your options, ask yourself;

Does it provide me with a fast launch?

The faster you can get your site up and running the way you want it, the faster you can start sharing your site and adding content (to add value). This helps get you a faster return on investment (ROI) and puts you on the right track.

Is the pricing transparent & fair?

You don’t want to be hit with unexpected fees, you should know exactly what you’re paying for and be able to budget for the future. Remember, a website is an investment and when you do it right, it should provide you with more value than what you put into it. 

Does it meet my needs and provide me with support?

You should now have your list of 10 essentials for a website and your needs checklist. Does your new website meet everything on the list? Will you get support so you can get a professional and performing website that lasts you years to come?

What’s wrong with a DIY Web Builder?

If you’re still considering building one yourself, then ask yourself this: do you have the design skills, the software know-how and the confidence you can grow your site on your own? Are you OK with knowing you won’t actually own your site, that you may feel stuck and one day and start again from scratch with a designer?

This is the reality of a DIY web builder, and I have a feeling that this isn’t for you. The biggest complaint I hear from entrepreneurs and business owners who have tried a DIY builder is that they felt lost, alone, they wasted time and their site just ended up sitting lifeless. In the end, they always move to a website built by a pro.

Read the full Pros and Cons list of a DIY website builder vs. a Website Designer

What to expect from a website designer in 2021

As we are modern website designers, let us tell you what Woot Woot Digtial provides:

  • We build website for as little as $500 ready to go in as little as one week
  • We build beautiful sites as we are designers and artists
  • We give each site their own account page with access to a DIY centre so you can learn how to edit and maintain your site yourself
  • We have a ton of upgrades that are added regularly, with transparent pricing
  • We offer free direct support and add value to your site whenever we can
  • We offer hosting & domain with perks like the first year domain for free, free email and a free security certificate

We pride ourselves on our most modern building methods and low-overhead. But more than that, we strive to add value to your business with a great website.

Owning a website should be empowering

I can say with certainty, the success of your website is up to you! You can either pay someone or do it yourself, but either way it is your responsibility to get the website functioning the way that’s best for your business.

That might sound scary, but it’s really a good thing.

I want all the people I work with to feel empowered! To feel like they can have an awesome, kickass website. To feel that they can make edits themselves. To feel like they made the right choice, with a 100% ROI and with a website that adds value to their business.

With that said, I also want my clients to feel like they can contact me at any time for any edit, advice or design they may need, like an in-house designer and marketer!

And if you still aren’t sure about how or where to start, book a free meeting with me and I will answer all your questions.


Ready to start?

Meet with Angela for free coffee & advice