This is the first question most people ask when considering getting a new website. The question seems straightforward but the truth is, the cost of a website is like asking ‘how much does a car cost?’. Well, it depends. What is your budget and what are your goals? In this post, we’ll go over some of the factors that determine the price of building a new website.
Determine the average cost of a website for small business
The size of your website, the complexity, and the features all go in to determining the cost. You can ask 4 different agencies how much a website costs, and you’ll get four different answers. Often with a wide range of pricing.
Let’s take the car example: How much does a car cost?
Well, are you looking to buy a used, 10-year old Honda, or a brand new Tesla? They’re both cars, they’ll both get you from point A to point B, but the prices are wildly different.
The same is true for a website.
Take some time to think about who your customers are, what features you need, and what kind of online presence you want to portray. If you decide to hire an agency to build you a website, having a budget is one of the top priorities.
How much does a website cost per month?
Some things people don’t know they need to consider are the monthly costs of having a website. Things like:
- Domain name
- Email provider like Gsuite or Office365
- Premium WordPress themes
- Premiumg WordPress plugins
What is a domain name?
A domain name is the URL of your website and is like an address. It’s how people find you. Most domain names usually run around $15/yr, but I have encountered people who were paying $70/yr for this because they didn’t know better. You can register domains with Google Domains, NameCheap, and many other places. When you register a domain, I highly suggest getting Domain Privacy as well. This keeps your personal info out of the public, which helps with spam and scams.
What is hosting?
Hosting is like the home for your website. It’s the place where all your website files live. Depending on the size of your website or your business needs, hosting can range from $7-$2000/month and can be very complicated when you get to the larger scale. When looking for a hosting provider, take into consideration the speed, features, and support. I recommend SiteGround and InMotion for most small businesses, but there are many options out there.
SSL is an absolute must-have nowadays. Google wants you to have it. Bing wants you to have it. Customers expect it. Most companies offer SSL for free via Lets Encrypt, but there are some low- quality hosting providers that charge $75/yr for this! A good hosting provider won’t charge for a basic SSL and usually uses Lets Encrypt.
Premium WordPress Themes
Themes can range from free to $200 depending on who or where you buy them from. Sometimes they require a monthly or yearly subscription to continue getting updates and bug-fixes.
The downside is that many of these themes are plugin-heavy with bloated or bad code. This causes really slow loading websites and ruins the experience for your customers — and your search engine rankings.
Remember, there’s more to great web design than a nice looking theme. You need something lightweight, easy to navigate, and optimized for speed.
Premium WordPress Plugins
Although WordPress is free, sometimes you’ll need functionality that only paid plugins provide. For example, a recipe plugin that hooks into a nutrition database, a customizable Instagram feed, or complex forms.
Like themes, many premium WordPress plugins have monthly or yearly subscriptions to get updates and support. It can definitely get hard to keep track of and tough on the wallet if you’re a small business just starting out.
Other Website considerations
If you’re a good photographer or you already have high-quality images for your site, then you’re all set. Chances are you’ll need some images to give your website a professional look.
The three places we recommend are:
- Unsplash – offers free, high-quality creative photos by real photographers. These usually don’t look stock.
- Pexels – offers free, high-quality photos from a range of creatives. They share many of the same photos as Unsplash, but have a larger selection.
- Adobe Stock – offers high-quality images at reasonable prices. In most cases, you can get what you need (at least initially) for $0-200. After that, you can buy what you need as your website evolves.
Important: Never copy and paste images from Google or other sources onto your site, unless you’re 1000% certain you have permission. Otherwise you can get sued. Play it safe and get your images from legitimate sites like I mentioned— it’s way less expensive than a lawsuit.
Updates & Maintenance
To use the car analogy again, once you sign the papers and get the keys to your new ride, it doesn’t end there. You’ll be regularly investing time, effort, and money to keep your car running in tip-top shape.
Your new website will also need routine technical maintenance to install updates and security patches. These updates protect your site from spammers and hackers. Yes, even small business websites are now targets for hackers.
If you’re comfortable doing these updates yourself, that’s great. Just be aware that oftentimes updates can cause your site to break (or completely crash) and you’ll need to know what to do if/when that happens.
Like cars, today’s websites are way more complicated than the websites of 10 years ago. If you’re like me, you take your car to the shop when something goes wrong, because it’s not worth the headache.
There are many factors that go into the cost of a website. If you can afford it, hire a web design company to build and maintain your website. Not only will it save you loads of time and money in the long run — the finished product will be 1000x better.