Introduction

This is a pretty long post because I am going to go through some options to help you figure out how much your actor website should cost and how best to get it done. After reading this post you should have a better understanding of how to approach getting quotes for your website, and what price range they will fall into.

Here’s what we will examine:

  • Why it’s so hard to get a straight answer on cost
  • The goals and functionality of an actor website
  • What technology / platform to use
  • How to request quotes and what price range to expect 

Why is it so hard to get a straight answer?

If you have decided it’s time to have an actor website, you are probably wondering how much you need to spend. It’s a fair question. Unfortunately it’s also quite a difficult question to answer, because there are so many ways to go about it. 

In an article for Forbes magazine entitled “How much does a website cost?”, an expert in the industry writes: 

I’ve been in this industry for more than 13 years, and my company has built more than 2,000 websites of all sizes and types. But to this day, I still cannot answer this question.

It’s a difficult question to answer because there are so many variables—the cost of any website will depend on what the goals of the website are, what functionality it has to have, and what technology is used to build it.

The IEDR in Ireland said they’ve heard from industry bodies that a website quote for a small business can vary from €5k to €20k. In 2017 Huffpost said a website should cost somewhere between $2,000 and $30,000.

Well, that gives us a starting point, but I don’t think I’ll be looking for a $30k actor website anytime soon – the upper ranges of those prices are most likely for large, complicated websites with eCommerce functionality, so let’s look at what we actually need from an actor website in order to get the cost looking a bit more manageable.

The goals and functionality of an actor website

Let’s assume you are an actor, getting jobs but looking to land more work, and you want:

  1. a simple way to present your materials such as headshot, cv and showreel
  2. to market yourself for the roles you want
  3. to be findable online
  4. to be able to update your site yourself, easily

These assumptions mean you need a small, professional looking website that presents your materials and sells you as an actor. 

You don’t need a massive website. You don’t need any elaborate functionality. You just need something small and simple that fulfills the above criteria.

What technology to use to build an actor website 

Let’s also make some decisions about how we will build the website. There are a gazillion ways to build a website, but I’m going to boil it down to two of the most popular solutions:

  1. Use a website builder
  2. Develop site on self-hosted WordPress

The first option is to use a website builder like Wix, Squarespace or Weebly which are just a few of the website builders out there that have made it easier than ever to build a website with minimal know-how.

The second option is to use WordPress, one of the most popular content management systems—33% of the web uses it according to their website. This option requires a lot more technical knowledge and design skills, and can be more expensive if you are hiring a professional to do it for you. 

Website builders are complete services, you sign up and you use their software. With WordPress you get your own hosting and you install the WordPress software on your hosting. You, or your developer, are responsible for the set up and for keeping the software up to date. 

Advantages of WordPress

WordPress is open source software, which means that you have full control over your website—for example, if you build your site on Squarespace and they go out of business, you no longer have a website. However if you build your site on WordPress you can take a backup of your site so that you can get it up and running on any standard hosting. 

Because WordPress is open source there is an incredible community of people developing plugins and themes and all kinds of ways to add functionality to your website. This gives you great freedom in terms of how your site can look and what features you can have. 

Having said that, we have already defined very simple goals for our actor website, and most good website builders can easily deliver what you need. You may not need the functionality and extensibility that WordPress allows. 

Disadvantages of WordPress

The downside of WordPress is that you have a lot more to look after. A website builder such as Squarespace or Wix looks after security, site speed, contact forms, SSL certs and a whole host of other considerations. To do the same on WordPress requires set up and maintenance. 

It’s also really important once you have a WordPress site to keep the software up-to-date—whether you have a maintenance contract with your developer or you learn how to do it yourself. It’s not hard to learn to do the updates, the only problem is that occasionally things break and you may need to go back to your website developer to get assistance. 

If you don’t keep all of your WordPress software, plugins, and themes up-to-date, your site is at risk of becoming vulnerable to hackers. In a survey of over 40,000 websites, 73.2% of them were vulnerable because they hadn’t updated all of their software. 

So how do you decide? WordPress vs Website Builder?

I would advise making your decision based on budget. Take some time to explore freelance designers & developers in your area, find several who have great portfolios, and request quotes from them. 

Most of the time it’s probably going to be cheaper to get a site designed on a website builder, and easier for you to maintain it. For an actor’s website the platform isn’t as important as how it looks and how easy it is for you to keep it updated. 

I love WordPress myself (MySite.Actor is a WordPress solution), but that’s because I have 20 years’ experience with WordPress sites. I set up the websites and keep the software updated for my clients so they don’t have to worry about that side of things. 

How to figure out the cost

The reality these days is a website can cost nothing at all if you use a free website builder, so should you make your own website? Or should you get your site designed by a professional? Let’s look at three things to consider when deciding how to get your website built:

  • Your time 
  • Your expertise
  • Your budget

We will look at three scenarios:

  1. You have lots of time and little or no budget (the DIY option)
  2. You have lots of expertise (why are you reading this article? Go and build your website!)
  3. You have a budget to get your site professionally designed (where we really dig into costs)

Scenario 1: Lots of time, little or no budget—the DIY option

While we’re talking about cost, let’s talk about the lowest cost option possible—doing it yourself!

If you have very little budget but you have time (and you’re not a technophobe), then you could consider building your own website using a website builder such as Wix or Squarespace.

However it is worth bearing in mind this warning from WebFX:

A third-party website builder, like Wix or Squarespace, still requires web design experience. Even though these platforms can help your team create an attractive website, they don’t ensure a user-friendly site, which is critical if you want people to purchase your product or contact your company.

For an actor website, builders are great because you just need something simple. Wix have a completely free option, but you need to pay if you want a custom domain (such as www.yourname.com vs yourname.wix.com), and the free option also has ads on it for Wix. This isn’t ideal, but if you have absolutely zero budget it gets you a website at least—which is better than no website. They have templates designed specifically for actors, and their ad-free paid options start at about €125 a year. 

Out of all the website builders, my own preference is Squarespace. I prefer their interface and I believe it is harder to mess up your website design using their system. People with very little technical skills tend to find Squarespace harder to manage though, and they do not have a free option—their pricing starts at about €160 a year. 

There are other website builders out there too. Have a look at this rundown if you want to explore other options.

Bear in mind that using a website builder, even if you don’t design it yourself, can still save you money. We’ll come back to that in Scenario 3.

Scenario 2: Lots of expertise

If you have lots of technical and design expertise, you could build your own self-hosted WordPress website. Of course, if you have lots of expertise you probably wouldn’t be reading this post, you’d be off building your website. I just wanted to put this in here as a word of warning—unless you have a LOT of technical and design expertise do NOT be tempted to build your own self-hosted WordPress website. 

There is almost always someone who will advise you to build your own WordPress site, but for someone without expertise this would be a MASSIVE learning curve and it’s so easy to mess up. Do you know the answers to the following questions?

  • What are HTML & CSS?
  • What is an SSL cert and what does it do?
  • Why is SMTP mail sending better than the mail function in PHP?

If you don’t know the answers, trust me, use a website builder!

Scenario 3: You have a budget to get your site professionally designed

If you have some money to look at getting a website professionally designed, this is where we finally dig into how to get quotations and what range to expect to pay.

Hire a freelancer

Firstly, you’ll probably want to find a freelancer, since they will be cheaper than an agency. Do a Google search for “freelance web designer [your town]”. Go through their portfolios and try to find freelancers whose work you like. Even better try and find freelancers who have work in their portfolio that’s similar to what you want.

They don’t have to be situated in your area either, so if you are not finding the type of freelancer you want to work with, try searching with other locations in your search term. I like to start with people in my area because it’s good to support local and it’s also nice to be able to meet with your developer if you need to.

Keeping costs down

If you want to keep your costs down, a good option is to look for freelancers who will build your site on Wix or Squarespace for you. A good designer will build a much better site in a website builder than you are likely to be able to—and the costs are often lower because there is less set up (no need to: install software, implement SSL, set up SMTP mail sending or security plugins, and so on). 

Putting together a request for quotes

Finally we get down to the question of how much it will cost. We have defined goals for your website and we have narrowed down the development options to two industry standards (WordPress and website builders). Next we will look at the specific content you need on your site and put together a request for quotes to send to freelancers.

Your website’s main job is to present your marketing materials attractively in a single, easy-to-navigate location. Here’s a list of what would be on a typical actor website:

  • Headshot
  • CV
  • Showreel
  • Additional images and perhaps some additional video clips
  • Text about you
  • News / blog section (if you want one)
  • Contact details

You could separate these topics onto different pages, or you could keep them together and  have a one-page website. One-page websites have become quite popular and for simple content it means someone only has to scroll down to see all your material.

You will want your website to be responsive, that means it looks good on all screen sizes from phone to desktop—in this day and age it should be assumed that everyone wants a responsive site, but best to bring this up when getting quotes just to be clear.

Contact the freelancers you found via your web searches and ask them for quotations, outlining you need a 1 to 8 page responsive website containing the materials we outlined above. Also mention whether you want it built in a website builder or WordPress—or ask for quotes for both options.

Example:

Dear [Their Name],

I had a look through your portfolio and I really like your work. I am looking for a quote for the cost of developing an actor website–it would be a 1-8 page website with the following material on it:

  • Headshot
  • CV
  • Showreel
  • Image Gallery
  • Video Gallery
  • About Text
  • Contact details

The main goal for my website is to have a simple and attractive way to present the above materials so that I can market myself for the roles I want. I would like the site to be easily findable when someone searches my name, and the site should be responsive and easy for me to update and maintain myself. 

If possible I would like a quote for both WordPress and Squarespace. If you have recommendations on which platform to choose I would love to hear them.

Many thanks,
[Your Name]

You want to find someone who will look after your project, so you need to get a feel for whether you can communicate well with any potential candidates. Once you get quotes back see if you can set up a meeting or a phone call to get a feel for how the project would be handled. 

What price ranges should you expect from your quotes?

How will you know if the quotations you get are reasonable? Let’s have a quick look at what the internet says on this. I went through a lot of posts to get some figures and here’s what I found (some of these prices are in dollars, but largely speaking the prices would be the same this side of the pond):

  • Basic brochure website €800 – €2,000 – Irelandwebsitedesign.com
  • A budget of €1,500 – €3k should suffice in terms of creating a modern, responsive and fit-for-purpose website. – IEDR (PDF)
  • Theme-based basic professional website: $1,600 – liquidweb.com
  • A one-page website: $500 – $1,000 – Iciconnect.com
  • Landing page (similar to one-page site) $1,000 – $2,500 – Cleveroad.com

Those estimated costs include everything from 500 to 3,000. Although that’s quite a broad range it is very likely that if you request enough quotes both ends of the spectrum will come back to you. It will depend on the experience of the freelancer, the process they use, and the quality of work. 

If you get quotes back at the lower end of the scale, be extra vigilant about the quality of the work. You could get lucky and find someone really skilled who can create your website at that price, but there are also lots of low-quality cheap website solutions out there—so be sure and look at the portfolio of the freelancers and make sure they can deliver. 

For a more experienced designer you are probably looking at €1,000 – €2,000 for a website builder solution and €2,000 – €3,000 for a WordPress website.

Other costs to consider

Some other things you will want to consider that could affect your costs:

  • Domain name – a .com is about €20 a year or so. Other domains can be a bit more expensive. 
  • Hosting – Wix and Squarespace start at €120 – €160 a year for their service. If you are going with WordPress you will need hosting which starts at about €60 a year for basic hosting.
  • WordPress Maintenance – if you don’t feel comfortable learning to keep your site updated, make sure you have a maintenance package with someone. 
  • Training – do you need training on how to update your site? Talk to your freelancer about whether they provide this and at what cost. 
  • SSL cert for WordPress site – there are free SSL certs available, but not all hosts provide them. Low cost SSL certs start at about €6.99 a year

Further reading

If you feel like you still want to read more to get your head around the business of costing your website, here are some really good articles on the subject:

Summary

It’s difficult to put a price on websites because there are so many variables, however an actor website generally is a simple website that displays your materials (headshot, CV, showreel, etc.) in an attractive manner that lets people see how you should be cast. 

Your website could cost you anywhere between €500 – €3,000. For a more experienced designer you are probably looking at €1,000 – €2,000 for a website builder solution and €2,000 – €3,000 for a WordPress website.

Specify exactly what you require from your website and request quotations from at least 3 – 5 local freelancers. Get quotes for the same site in WordPress and Squarespace (or other website builders). 

If you’re really trying to keep costs down and going with a cheaper quote, do extra research to make sure the designer can deliver what you want—check their portfolio to see what standard they are working to. 

Of course, you could also consider MySite.Actor – our All-In-One pack gives you a professionally designed one-page website at a very low cost. It is a WordPress solution but with a page builder that makes it very easy to make changes, and we ensure that all plugins and software are kept up-to-date.