Most small business owners are subject matter experts in their line of businesses, but not when it comes to websites and hosting. For this reason, determining the cost of building a new site may be particularly challenging. While some things like a domain name and web hosting may be obvious, other cost considerations like plugins and website maintenance may not even be thought of at all when launching a website.
No need to worry! We’ve got you covered with a list of key aspects you’ll need to think about when planning the budget for your website. With a bit of research, you’ll manage to optimize the costs and sky-rocket your online presence!
A domain name is the name and address of your website. It is what people type into their browser to find your website. A domain name is also one of the first costs you’ll need to consider. In most cases, you can purchase a domain name for less than $20. But in some situations, if the domain name is premium or if someone has already bought it, the cost of the domain can become prohibitive. A premium domain can cost thousands of dollars.
With that in mind, if you’re a small business or entrepreneur starting a business from scratch, there are several ways to go to get your dream domain name and even at a reasonable price.
The first thing you’ll want to do is run a domain name search. This search is where you’ll be able to look up your domain name, check its availability, and see how much it will cost. Once you find an available domain name, it is as easy as going through the checkout process.
OK, so you’ve purchased your domain name and now you need web hosting. But how much does web hosting cost? Well, the answer is: it depends. There are multiple types of web hosting plans and variations to web hosting packages.
One of the first things you’ll consider is what type of hosting do you need? Some of the more popular hosting options include shared hosting, VPS, dedicated hosting, and cloud hosting. For most small businesses, a shared hosting plan or a VPS hosting plan will be ideal.
If you’re a small business and aren’t expecting a massive burst of traffic to your website, a shared hosting plan may be perfect for you. Shared hosting simply means hosting your website on a server that hosts multiple other websites. Each of them is independent of one another and is individually under the control of the webmaster.
The two most appealing facts about shared hosting are:
- You don’t have to take care of any of the server maintenance tasks or monitoring activities,
- It is the most cost-effective hosting solution in the market right now.
Shared hosting plans are most popular with smaller businesses and can be purchased for just a few bucks a month.
However, if your business is growing or you have a bigger online store, an upgrade to VPS hosting may be an excellent option for you. A Virtual Private Server or VPS usually is more expensive than a shared hosting plan, but much less expensive than cloud hosting or a dedicated server.
Last but definitely not least, when you choose a hosting provider you’ll have to take into account several other factors, like security, support, uptime, and overall server stability.
Web Design, Themes, and Visuals
The next thing you’ll have to think through is the cost of actually getting your website up and running. Will you hire a web designer or take the DIY approach? Many different platforms can help you build a website and some are even free.
A website builder is an excellent option if you want a more affordable way to create your website, but don’t have any design skills.
If you’ve done your homework right, you might have already seen that some web hosting plans actually include access to website builders, so why not take advantage and reduce your costs?
A website builder will allow you to build your website using mobile-friendly design templates quickly and, if you want to sell products online, you can enable the eCommerce function. Getting your site up and live on the web can all be done in minutes and a website builder has less of a learning curve than WordPress.
WordPress is a Content Management System, or CMS, that allows you to build great websites for free. However, even though WordPress is free, there are usually some costs involved.
When building a website with WordPress, you’ll have access to both free and premium themes. You can also hire a professional designer to customize a theme, or you can have a custom theme built specifically for your company. The more customized your theme will be, the higher the investment.
Here are some of the most popular WordPress themes:
Purchasing a WordPress theme usually means buying a license, which can cost anywhere from $25 for single-use to a few hundred dollars for lifetime access.
Images and Videos
Something that many people forget to budget for is photos and videos. Both play a significant role in the engagement and conversion rate of your website. So, how do you find the best for your business?
You can download free photos and videos from stock websites, but in some cases, you may need to buy one or hire a professional photographer or videographer to get exactly what you want (especially for product images).
If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these photo and video stock websites:
● Unsplash – it has a lot of good quality free images
A plugin is a piece of software that extends or creates a new functionality for your website. WordPress has popularized the software, but most content management systems will have plugins. You may want a plugin to help with your SEO, capture emails, or a plugin that protects you from spam.
WordPress and other content management systems will have both free and paid plugins, so think about what type of functionality you need and then research whether you must purchase a premium plugin or download a quality, free version.
In today’s online environment, you have to think about how you are going to communicate with your customers. Two of the most popular ways and the ones that see a higher conversion rate are live chat and email marketing.
Live chat support allows you to interact or communicate with potential customers at the very moment they have a problem or question. Live chat is a great way to provide immediate customer support and increase sales.
A chat study released by ApexChat revealed that “live chat can increase online leads by an average of 40 percent”, so we’d recommend looking into this. There are many online chat support tools, so you’ll just need to test them around. A few options to look into are: ChatBot, LiveChat, and Sendinblue.
Email Marketing Service
Email marketing is yet another popular way of communicating with customers and, for many businesses, it’s the most valuable source of marketing. However, most companies use a third-party email service provider that integrates with their website and can automate emails, provide newsletter and landing page templates. Mailchimp and ConvertKit are two options you can check out.
Troubleshooting, Security, and Website Maintenance
Believe it or not, sometimes things break even on websites. Consider the cost to troubleshoot or fix these issues when budgeting. It’s also important to back up your website, so if you suffer any malicious attacks, you’ll have an easy way to restore your files, databases, and emails. You can protect your website for under $50 a year and avoid downtime in case of problems with an automated website backup service.
Did you know that, according to statistics, Google labels approximately 30,000 websites as unsafe every week? Since this translated into a decrease in traffic and an impacted brand reputation, your website budget should have a considerate thought put into the security aspects.
Web hosting providers offer plenty of security options, with basic plans starting from a couple of dollars/month, and we believe it’s worth it. They can offer the proactive protection needed against the latest threats such as hackers, malware, or DDos attacks and give you the peace of mind to focus on growing your business.
Start Now and Adjust as you Grow
At the end of the day, the answer to the question, “how much does it cost to build a website?” depends entirely on you! You can go big from the very beginning, or start by budgeting your key needs, think about your overall business goals, and prioritize your expenses.
Once you have your website up and running you’ll be able to adjust things based on your visitors’ behavior.