How much should a website cost?

How Much Should A Website Cost?

Answer: How long is a piece of string?

It seems like a straightforward question to ask a website designer/developer. How much will my website cost? I get why – if I am going to invest in something, I want to know how much it is going to cost me. But the truth is each business is going to need something different, and each business owner is going to be willing to invest something different. As with most things that can be DIY’ed it comes down to a question of time versus money. You will either need to invest more time or more money.

If you were asking me how much do I charge, the answer is going to be the same, my prices for websites start at $950, but the final invoice amount depends on what you need. So here I am going to explore the things you can expect to spend some money on to get a website up and running for your business.

{Just a heads up, this is another long post about the basics of getting started with your website, so grab a cup of coffee and get comfy before you start!}

The basics — you need these!

01. Domain Name

The first purchase you will probably make is your domain name. This is your address on the web, the www.businessnamehere.com. You have more than a few options when it comes to where to buy your domain, and with these options come different price points.

My personal favorite is through Google Domains. I know that some people avoid anything Google related like the plague, and that’s fine, there are plenty of options for domain registration. Google domains start around $12 per year for a .com. If you don’t want Google, just use your favorite search engine and look for domain registration or domain purchase, and you will get a nice long list of options. Another option is to purchase your domain through your hosting service, most offer a free domain or low-cost domain for the first year.

02. Hosting Service

Speaking of hosting, that is the second purchase you will need to make. Hosting is the place where all your website files live. You need hosting so that when someone types in your domain (or a more specific URL) and your website appears, like magic.

Again, your options for hosting seem limitless. My favorite hosting service is DreamHost*. I use DreamHost for my own hosting and love them. I like that they have so many options, and you can almost certainly find one that fits your needs and your budget. Now they aren’t the cheapest option out there {not the most expensive option either}, but this is defiantly a case of you get what you pay for. Anytime I have had questions, either for my own account or for a client account, the customer service is awesome. I always get a human response to my questions. Plus in the time that I have been with them, I have only ever experienced a major problem with my website once. And that was when hackers attacked the entire DreamHost system. You can always turn to your favorite search engine to search for more hosting providers.

Now if you decide to go with a service like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace for your website you don’t need to purchase separate hosting. These services all provide hosting as part of your platform package. You do need to purchase your domain, and one of the upgrade packages from your platform provider. This prevents you from ending up with a website name like yourbusinessname.wix.com {not the most appealing or easy to remember site name}. Not to mention the free versions of these sites often have limitations that make it difficult to use them to build your business. If you go with one of these website builders, consider your monthly fee the same as your hosting fee.

{Looking for more information about what platform to use to build your website, check back later this week to see a whole post about website building platforms, and why I recommend WordPress}

03. Whois Privacy Protection

Now the next purchase is Whois privacy protection, it isn’t a must purchase, but it really is. I can’t stress enough the need for purchasing or activating Whois privacy protection when you purchase your domain.

What is Whois you ask? Whois is a central service where anyone can search all registered domains to see who owns a domain. Without the privacy protection, anyone can find the contact information you used to register the domain. That can lead to a ton of spam trying to sell you services you don’t need, or worse scams. And the spam isn’t just limited to your email; you need to include a contact number so you end up with phone calls too. ¬†Now some domain registers, like Google Domains, include privacy protection in the cost of your domain, you just need to select that option to be activated when you set up your domain. Don’t worry if you forget, you can always add this on later.

You can always add this later if you want, eventually, the calls and emails will slow down. But it’s kind of like shutting the barn door after the horse has escaped, your information is already out there.

Okay, so you have the basics, now what else do you need?

The truth is from here, with your domain and hosting paid for, you can create an entire website without spending another dime. However order to get the most out of your website, you may want to consider purchasing upgrades. Or investing a lot of time learning to code

The biggest consideration in figuring out how much does a website cost is in the time-honored conundrum, Done for you or DIY?

Done For You

Prices vary. Personally, I have two levels of done for you services. The first is my Creatively Built for You package which starts at $950 and goes up from there. These are sites that are not fully custom built sites but are customized to fit your needs. I also have a fully custom service {Creatively Custom} which starts at $3000 for the base package. I know you can find some options that cost less, and you can definitely find services that cost more.

Do It Yourself

Yep, that is a totally valid option. The only reminder I have if you chose to DIY your website is the time commitment. This is especially true if you have never built a website before. I think a good rule of thumb would be to take whatever amount of time you think it will take you and double triple it {then maybe add-on a few weeks}. Building a website is just like learning any new skill, it will take time.

So you truly need to think about how much is your time worth? What events or activities are you giving up in order to build your website? How much is that worth to you? These are just some of the consideration you will need to think through when deciding done for you or DIY.

Decided to DIY your site? What other elements need to be considered when calculating your website cost?

Theme

So no matter what platform you choose {Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, WordPress}, you need to pick a theme for your website. These can cost you nothing for a free theme, or you can pay hundreds of dollars for a premium theme, or something in between.

My personal favorites for WordPress are page builder themes. There are some drawbacks associated with the use of page builder themes, but the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages and make these options a great choice. I recommend two different page builders, both offer amazing functionality. The first is Divi by Elegant Themes* and the second is the Beaver Builder* Theme that comes packaged with the Beaver Builder page builder plug-in.

{Be sure to check back soon to see some more info on how to use these builder themes to create your dream website.}

Plug-ins

Your next potential expense is going to be plug-ins. Plug-ins are available on most platforms, and they help expand the functionality of your website. But again they are another expense that is hard to predict without knowing what functionality you want from your website. There are a lot of great free plug-ins. There are even some lite versions of premium plug-ins offered for free. But for some functions, you will want to get a premium plug-in. Like everything else you want and need for your website, the prices for premium plug-ins vary. Heck, some premium plug-ins can cost upward of $1000 per year. Another consideration with plug-ins is that you may pay a one-time fee for some, while others require payment on a monthly or annual basis to continue to receive updates.

If you are going the done for you route, then the cost for your theme and plug-ins should be included in your proposal.

I wish I could give you a better answer, but I just don’t have one

These are just a few of the potential expenses for getting a website up and running. You might also be considering branding and logo designs {yep I offer help with them too}, copywriting, photography, graphic design, and email marketing. Most of which you could do yourself, or outsource if they aren’t skills you are confident in. If you choose to outsource these tasks they will add to the cost of your website. And if you do them yourself they will add to the time you need to invest in creating your website.

So as you can see, asking me what your website will cost is a bit like asking me how long a piece of string is. The answer will always be “it depends.”

It depends on your needs and the needs of your business. It depends on how much time versus how much money you want to put towards your website. You can build a website that costs as little as $5/month, but the cost can also quickly spiral upward.

Tiffany

Overwhelmed by the idea of creating your own website? Check out my website services, and have your website built for you! Check out my services here

*Yep those are affiliate links. I wouldn’t recommend these services if I didn’t use and love them myself. If you decide to purchase using those links I make a commission on that sale. But don’t worry you don’t pay any extra.

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