So, what does a website

Cost?

No matter what the purpose is, one of the first questions people ask when it comes to building a website is, “What’s this going to cost me?”. Unfortunately, for those of us who like getting a straight forward answer, we may find ourselves slightly disappointed, it all depends…

Depending on the goals and expectations for your website, there are a ton of components that play an important role in developing a great website! So how much does it TRULY cost to build a website? The fact of the matter is, the cost of building a website depends entirely on you and the value of the website itself.

Basics of Building a Website: A Quick Overview

Now that we have a better understanding on determining the “value” of our website and what goals we want to achieve, let’s take a look at a few of the basic essentials to getting a website up and running. Here are the core costs associated with running a website and this doesn’t include any development fees, premium themers or premium plugins. 

  • Domain Name (e.g yourwebsite.com) 
  • Website Platforms (Squarespace, WordPress, Shopify, Etc) 
  • WordPress Hosting (if you’re using WordPress)
  • Email Hosting (yourname @yourdomain.com)
  • SSL Certificate (https)

dOMAIN nAME

A domain name is like your website’s address on the internet, it is what your potential clients and customers type into their browsers to find your site. Choosing a good domain name is important because this is what your audience will associate with your actual website. Domain names costs on average $24/yr, or less if you can find a great deal. Keep in mind at renewal you’ll be paying full price. 

Website Platform

Regardless of whether you are a novice or an experienced website developer, you will need to use website platforms to help create a website. Website platforms make it easy to create amazing websites tailored to your goals and can provide crucial benefits like SEO tags, plugins, etc., with ease. Additionally, website platforms can make building your own website either significantly easier or more difficult when doing it yourself, and vary in terms of pricing. Some popular platforms include WordPress, SquareSpace, Shopify and Wix, to name a few. Each platform has their own costs and requirements as far as themes etc. WordPress is ooen-source meaning you can choose to use the free themes, although that isn’t what we recommend, or you can access premium themes with an annual or lifetime license fee. Shopify starts at $29/m (USD). Wix and Squarespace builders start at about $20/m. 

Web Hosting

Web hosting is basically the home of your website and is where all of the content and associated files are stored. When someone tries to access your website by entering your web address (domain name) into their browser, they are then directed to the website files stored on your web hosting server. WordPress websites require hosting, whereas Squarespace and Shopify has hosting built into the platform itself.

With all this being said, if you find yourself without a clue about what tools you’ll need to build your website, where to find them, or even more importantly, how to properly execute them, chances are you will probably overspend on things that you will never need. Deciding to use a website developer can help resolve these issues and help kick start your website. Hosting costs vary but average around $250/yr+.

Email Hosting

Using a professional email address is must! If you’re still using a gmail email address for business – stop! Having a custom email address has never been easier or more affordable and it provides tremendous brand value. GSuite starts at $5/m!

SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate protects your company, as well as your site’s visitors, by safeguarding the transfer of sensitive data. Like your domain name, your SSL certificate displays in your URL — it’s also visible to users. If a website has a valid SSL certificate, your website URL will display with “https” as opposed to an “http”. To the right of your URL, you will also see a padlock. If you click on this padlock, a menu appears with information on the certificate. Depending on your host and the type of website you’re hosting, your SSL may be free or cost up to $1000/yr for enterprise-level sites.

DEVELOPING THE ‘BLUEPRINT’. What are your goals?

When building a website, one of the first steps to consider is, “What is the goal of the website?” But what exactly does this mean? How do I determine what I want, or more importantly, what I need?

In order to better answer this question, let’s try and switch gears and think about something a little bit more relatable, like boats!

If you are someone who lives and works in the city, chances are you may only use a boat once or twice a summer. If this is the case, what kind of boat are you most likely to purchase? A 20-foot yacht? Probably not. An older model aluminum boat with a 55 outboard would probably do the trick. If this is true, then we can say that the value you place on the boat that you will choose is fairly low since you are buying it based on the bare minimum you need to hit the lake once in a while and it isn’t something that you’re using often.

Turning around and taking a look at the flip side, if your goal is to elicit as much pleasure as possible from every single ride, host guests on your boat, tow a couple water skiers, attend boat shows, or simply draw attention to yourself each time you go for a spin around the lake, then a Yacht or fancy speedboat would be a better choice, since it will help you reach your goal. If this is indeed the case, then it is fair to say that the value you place on the boat you will choose is high since being able to achieve what you want to do will require certain characteristics and specifications to be met in order to do so.

Taking a look at these examples we can see that when it comes to making a decision on what you want and what you need, it is the value you place on what you are trying to accomplish that helps determine your best choice of action. But how does valuing the type of boat we need to relate to building a website? Believe it or not, when it comes to building a website it is not much different!  In fact, many professional website developers price their expertise and services on value, not just a physical cost. To put it simply, you are not paying just to get a website, but for the kind of value you expect to get out of it.

It Comes Down to More than just a Few Words on a Page

Now that we understand both the value and basics of website building, let’s take a look at how these two elements translate into finding a website developer to help get your website where it needs to be.

 

  • “I just need something” 
    If the only value you expect for your potential clients to see is that you have a simple, functioning website, you can easily find a newbie starting out who will build your website relatively inexpensively, or even for free if they want to use it in their portfolio  Finding a part-time freelancer who builds websites on the side might satisfy your needs as well. Here you can expect to pay between $500 – $2000 (depending on how and where you find them), but once again, if your only goal is for clients to see that you have a working website that looks acceptable, then using a freelancer may be a good option for you.
  • “I want my website to work hard for me”
    Transitioning away from the lower end of the spectrum, if you need a web presence that is designed well and marketed for your business or company, you may want to consider going with a design studio that charges a few thousand dollars to build your website. There will be far more focus on actual design, branding, and a defined timeline of completion. You can expect a website that looks pleasing, and, more importantly, can function as a small part of your business/company’s sales strategy. If this sounds more like what you are looking for, a more experienced studio, like us, might be the right choice for you. You can expect to pay between $3,000 – $15,000 for this type of website.
  • “My Website is my business”
    Finally, if you are looking for your website to actively and effectively convert visitors at an elevated rate, you need to get it right the first time which means hiring a pro. Using an experienced developer can help you stand out visually and functionally, establish a highly desirable and detailed website, elevate your brand, and consistently rank as one of the top search results in your field. If you’re building an eCommerce store or a Membership site, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 – $25,000 in order to allocate more time and effort into the conversion theory and development of your website.

So, What’s This Going to Cost?

Knowing what we know now, it is easy to see that determining the price of a website can truly be a difficult task. In order to even begin the process, we must first asses what value we expect to get from our website when it is complete. Then, and only then, can we begin to explore all the other additional features, elements, and aspects, associated with building a website. Keep in mind that this may not include things like maintenance, site issues, or further development as your website grows, receives more traffic, and/or expands!

As we conclude, here are a few last minute tips to keep in mind as you begin the process of building your website:

  • Develop A Budget
    Building a website that you can’t afford or that becomes too expensive to maintain will be a catastrophe! Create a budget before you spend money on premium style themes, plugins, or services. When just starting out, it can be good to keep costs low, but make sure to leave some room for unexpected problems, and, of course, future developments.
  • What Do You Need From Your Site?
    Looking for a unique appearance and feel to your website? Keep in mind this may require a custom-built design. Determining your needs and what you want to get from your website before choosing a web platform is vital.
  • Look Ahead
    Starting out, chances are you won’t need all the fancy bells and whistles that you see on other snazzy websites. Even if you are starting off small, it is still a good idea to make a list of features you may want or need down the road. This not only helps simplify the entire development process and focus on features that are useful in the beginning but also helps minimize cost as your website grows.

If a website is in your future, continue to research and find the platform and service options that make the most sense for you and your business goals. Your website is your digital home base and if it’s not working hard for you, every single day, you’re leaving money on the table.