It can be challenging for entrepreneurs to get an accurate quote to have a website created for their business – the cost of creating a website depends on what you want it to do and look like.
When you first approach a web development company, most will hold a consultancy meeting with you to build rapport and discuss your requirements. During these meetings, you should learn all about the company’s charges and the cost of ongoing maintenance involved in running the website.
Depending on your requirements, the cost of building a simple website for a small business could be less than $1,000. On the other hand, building a highly customized professional website could be more than $10,000.
Essentially, website construction is hugely varied. If you’re unsure of how much your vision will cost, our guide will answer common questions such as:
- How much does it cost to create a website?
- Should I hire a professional to create my website?
- How to Do It Yourself
- The pros and cons of hiring a pro vs. DIY
- How to keep up with website maintenance
- Common development mistakes
Read on to find out how much your site could cost to build, and why.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Website?
Firstly, how much does it cost to build a website for a small business? Basically, this depends on its size and the complexity of the website’s function. Below is an overview of average costs when creating sites for different sized businesses:
Small Business Website
Usually, a small business website will have very few pages, making the cost significantly lower. The site may contain a few images but lacks unique functions. These websites may cost between $1,000 to $6,000.
Medium-Sized Business Website
This kind of website may have some unique functionality installed and a content management system (CMS) enabled for more than 75 pages. It may also have some images and custom design layouts. This type may cost between $8,000 and $25,000.
Large Business Website
Most large scale business websites have hundreds of pages, unique functionalities, a content management system, and other supplementary features such as blog integration, personalized development, and multimedia creation. These websites also have custom images and layouts. These websites are the most complex and may cost between $25,000 and $40,000.
E-commerce websites allow customers to search and purchase products, have a payment system, and a CMS enabled. The website may also have beta testing, and need its visual and written content updated frequently. Depending on the number of products featured, a site like this can cost anywhere between $6,000 and $40,000.
Related:?Why Your Business Needs A Website
Essential Expenses in Creating and Running a Website
Understanding “how much does a website cost” involves knowing that there’s more to the price than the initial set-up. Several necessary costs come with running a website after it’s been made. Here are some costs you should expect to pay as a site owner:
To launch your website, you’ll need an address to host it. You can compare this to buying a piece of land where you’ll build. Most web hosting services have shared plans whose managed hosting can cost between $10 and $99 a month. Your price will be higher if you have more features on your website, and if you’re getting more traffic. Most web hosting plans are paid either monthly or yearly, with the annual rates being relatively cheaper.
The domain name is the URL that people type in their browser to find your website. Without a domain name, the only other way to visit your site would be through an IP address. A domain name costs approximately $10 – $20. You can also get customized domain extensions e.g. “.online” or “.restaurant” at a higher rate, of about $200 – $300 per year.
The secure socket layer (SSL) is a certificate that encrypts sensitive data such as customers’ personal information and credit card numbers. SSL certificates are mandatory if you are creating an e-commerce website because they protect your customers’ sensitive data from being intercepted. The certificates are offered by certification authorities (CA’s) and cost from $10 to $1000 a month.
Content Management System
CMS is used to upload and configure text, articles, pictures, and videos on your website. A CMS isn’t necessary for every site, but having one makes your website more efficient and will save you time. It also means you can edit the content yourself rather than have to get a developer to do it every time it needs an update. A website content management system could either cost nothing if you’re using popular platforms such as WordPress, or a few thousand dollars annually if you have a customized one made.
Web Design Costs
When you have your website created professionally, you’re paying for the following:
- Design and testing: Whether you’re designing a new website or your existing ones need a makeover, you’ll need money to have it constructed and tested. The cost of redesigning an existing website could be between $1000 and $20,000, depending on how much customization is required, what CMS you are using, and the type of website you’re running. All existing websites should be redesigned at least once every few years.
- Theme design: Most of the popular CMS, such as WordPress, may offer theme designs for free. The problem with predesigned themes is that they are similar to everyone else who uses the theme. Premium WordPress themes range between $10 and $100, depending on the features you want. You can pay to have a license to use a premade theme, or have one personally customized for more money.
- Responsive web design: For your business to thrive, you need a mobile-friendly website because Google ranks websites higher in its search results that are designed responsively. Customers are also more likely to engage with your site and buy your products when it works on all platforms. Mobile-friendly websites can change the layout for screen-size purposes or detect the platform the website is being used on. You may need to pay as much as $2000 to upgrade an older website.
Hiring a Professional to Create Your Website
If you are busy running other business errands, or you don’t have digital skills, it’s best to hire a pro to build your website. Here are a few reasons why you should do this rather than go it alone:
As an entrepreneur, shop owner, or online marketer, you have a lot of work in your hands. Do you have time to learn to code and find out where to get an SSL certificate? Building a website should be the last thing you worry about, because there are thousands of professionals out there ready to help you.
No matter what requirements you need for your site, a professional web designer with experience in your field will have already built a similar one. This means that they know what to do and how to it fast. Website builders may claim that you only need a few minutes to build your site, but there is actually a lot of work to be done, especially if you don’t have coding skills.
Also, most professional web designers and agencies work on a fixed-bid estimate, so it’s in their best interest to build your website as fast as possible. If projects take longer than they should, the agency or developer risks losing money. Hiring a pro developer should therefore mean you have your own shiny, new website in no time at all.
Cost-saving is another big reason why you should trust a professional to build your site. Instead of taking time off your work to learn how to code and web-develop, which will take countless hours away from your real job, a professional will get it done for you. A website designer should take less than two months to complete your project, depending on its scope.
The advantage of having the project completed earlier is because you can now start earning money, instead of spending it learning how to build a website, or delegating the work to unqualified and inexperienced friends (or yourself).
A professional can also develop your website based on a content management system, which will allow you to update your site whenever you like. This will cut the cost and time required to make updates as opposed to needing a developer to make regular updates for you.
Building a mobile-friendly website is not an easy task. If you’re not highly skilled in machine languages, software applications, and the latest web standards, you have a long way to go towards building your website. A professional web designer already has the experience and knowledge – you only need to pay them to do the work.
During the design and creation of websites, numerous problems may occur. Some are easy to fix, while others require the designers to go through thousands of lines of code to create solutions. This is why experience is needed in the job – a problem like this would set a novice back for weeks.
A professional will also help you with web hosting, domain purchases, email configuration, and other non-design services.
Professional website designers use technological innovations to create sites that will not only be used at that moment but also in the future. How will your site look in a few years? A professional will be familiar with thousands of apps and ever-changing web functionalities to impress your prospective clients in the digital world.
As an entrepreneur, you may only have a vague vision of what you want for your sites. Bringing in a professional will help you refine it with the latest advancements in tech.
In the digital world, multiple resources are used to create an online presence. Professional web designers combine multiple tools as well as the skills, talent, and vision of numerous creatives and strategists to give their clients the desired results.
Depending on the size and complexity of your project, you will need various experts including developers, UI/UX designers, IT support technicians, e-commerce experts, and SEO strategists. A professional web design agency will have these people in-house or can easily consult with them. This ensures continuity of the project without delays.
With all these resources from the start of your project, there should be no setbacks if an issue arises – the right people will be on-hand.
Building a website for a business is a complicated project which requires careful planning. A pro will have an established process, as a result of their experience, which makes projects keep moving forward without skipping any steps.
Here is a typical professional’s process:
- Strategy- This step involves preparation, research, foundation, and initial development of the project.
- Design- Gives the website its shape and displays your branding.
- Build- This is the process of turning the vision to reality. The developers create the site’s functionality and add content.
- Test- The new website undergoes beta testing. The website’s functionality is tested on different devices and browsers.
- Launch- Final touches done on the website, and it is moved to a live server.
- Report- This step involves tracking the website’s performance, content updates, and making the required changes. This step is repeated whenever necessary.
Most business’s first websites are small-scale. This means that they typically have only a few pages, mostly containing business details such as contacts and location.
Soon, the business owners want to add new elements such as enhanced social interaction through live chat, or a blog. The integration of payment options or custom search functionality may also become necessary if the business wants a profound digital presence.
If your business’s website needs to upgrade in-keeping with your company’s growth, a web developer can add sophisticated features.
Attempting to Do It Yourself (DIY)
If you’ve had experience with web design and you don’t mind doing the work, you can have a go at making your own site DIY-style. The cost of how much to build a website is decreased when you do it yourself, but can mean you make less profit than you would with a polished, high-tech professional one.
Here are a few things you’ll need to acquire when doing it yourself:
A domain name is your business’s unique address, so it’s common for most to have the business name as the domain. You can choose a domain name that includes any text you want, as long as it hasn’t been taken. For a business, you should choose a domain name that is relevant to what you do and makes it easy for people to find you.
There are two costs involved in getting a domain name:
1) the initial cost of buying the domain name
2) the annual cost of keeping the domain name registered
The cost of keeping the domain name registered is approximately $12 a year, a similar amount to the original purchasing of the domain name. If someone already owns the domain name you want, you can reach out to find out if they’re willing to sell, though the owner may want an unreasonable price for it.
Popular domain name providers include Domain.com, NameCheap, and GoDaddy.
Personalized Business Email Address
For a business to appear professional, it should have custom email addresses. Instead of having “email@example.com”, you can choose “firstname.lastname@example.org”. This makes your business appear credible and established.
Getting a personalized email for your business is easy and cheap. The most common method is to use G Suite, powered by Google. Google’s personalized email accounts are reliable and have a user-friendly interface and security features. These accounts cost about $6 per month.
Content Management System (CMS)
Depending on what you want to achieve with your website, you have a variety of software to choose from. Most of these are open-source, which means they don’t have an initial cost, with minimal costs for add-ons.
If you are looking to create an e-commerce site, then you need to select software designed especially for e-commerce. For other websites, you can choose open-source software. Here are common content management software to consider:
- WordPress: WordPress is a user-friendly content management system. It uses add-ons to give you additional functionality and templates to provide you with different designs. WordPress most favors blog-like websites because that’s its core function. The CMS allows you to add many plugins to increase functionality.
- Duda: Duda is an easy to use website builder, so it’s not surprising that it has become one of the most prominent site builders in the world, with templates designed for a wide range of businesses, including restaurants, healthcare agencies, etc. Its CMS offers pre-populated templates, so you can easily add your content and images without having to design the layouts. Duda has an intelligent system that asks you how you want your website and creates a custom layout from there.
- Squarespace: Squarespace is another popular website builder. Its builder is not quite as easy to use compared to Wix and WordPress, although its templates are award-winning, making its steeper learning curve worth your time.
Related: Duda Vs WordPress
Once you are settled on the CMS to use, you need to select a web host. A web host will provide you the remote location where your website and CMS will be held and accessed. Your choice is partly determined by your software, but also by the traffic you are expecting as well as the speed you want. If you are managing a small business, you can start with the less expensive options. In the future, when you have more traffic, you can step up and get more dedicated hosting.
Another consideration to make is whether the host will provide you with the automatic installation of CMS. This is an essential consideration because the host will handle most of your software, hosting applications, and other related issues.
It’s time to start thinking about your site’s features. Luckily, most CMS have thousands of templates that you can choose to make your website feel how you want. The templates range from generic to themed. It’s up to you to choose the type you want, depending on your products or services if you want the visual elements to reflect your products/services. You can also use other built-in features to make the website appealing.
While free templates are available, you should also consider spending some money on a custom template that matches your needs. Templates can be available for as low as $25.
Apart from templates, you may need additional add-ons to make your website easier to use. You can get free ones, or pay for better ones that make your site user-friendly and functional. You can add social networking share platforms, CTA boxes for readers to sign up and receive free material, run surveys and polls, or any other thing you’d want to do on your website.
This step involves figuring out what your website will look like. You’ll need to include your logo and other visuals, add menu entities and choose the kind of information you want to post. For most advanced sites, you’ll have options in your CMS to give your storefront different styles and formats.
You can also add traditional text content and other information based on the structure of your template. You can even change the visual appearance to highlight different items on your site.
The starting point of organizing your website is on the menu. You get to choose what the different selections are. This step is crucial, so make sure you have an organized structure for maximum flexibility. Choose to have a few items on your menu and make sure the design can accommodate them.
Usually, there is so much work to be done when dealing with content, so this can be the hardest part of creating your website. The content needs to be relevant and compelling to your visitors – otherwise, they won’t stick around. Website copy should be viewed from a marketing perspective.
Apart from text, you should also include images. Images complement the text, break up long pages of text, and reinforce your brand. This all leaves a visual impact on your visitors.
If you’re not good at visuals, you should consider asking someone to help you. Think about hiring a photographer to take images of your products, and photos of you and your staff to give your site a personalized feel. If that’s not relevant to your business, think about hiring a graphic designer to make your site look great without photography.
You may have a very appealing site with the latest features, but if you neglect search engine optimization (SEO) and customers never see your website because it doesn’t rank among Google’s top searches, then your work was in vain.
Google search results are decided on a complex algorithm that incorporates a huge number of factors. To make sure Google recognizes your website as useful and relevant, your site must load quickly, be mobile-friendly, and include relevant keywords. Consult with an SEO expert for more information.
Avoid These Website Design and Development Mistakes
Along with web development do’s, there are a few don’ts. Here are common mistakes made when creating new websites:
Using Faulty or Unproven Technology
The plugins and themes you use to build your site matter. Open-source software and apps can entail site security risks or compromises and software incompatibility. You want a reliable website, which is why hiring professionals who use only the best components for your site is a must.
Hiring Incompetent Contractors
It’s easy to find half-baked web designers who know just enough to make money off you. They may appear to have a good game from their meetings, but will only waste your time and money. Only go to people or agencies who have great testimonials and can prove their work is quality.
Falling Prey to Misinformation
There is a lot of hype and misinformation regarding things like SEO, content marketing, business development, Google Advertising, and Facebook marketing. Don’t fall into this trap because you might end up losing thousands of dollars. Be patient with the growth of your site’s traffic. Success in the digital space takes time, dedication, and persistence – just like a physical business.
Keeping Up with Website Maintenance
You should regularly check your website for faults and mistakes and keep it updated with relevant content. Maintenance should be done consistently to encourage more traffic and strengthen your SEO ranking. Small businesses may get away with poor website maintenance at first because it doesn’t show immediate effects. However, your website can fall apart if it goes too long without check-ups.
Some of the tasks that should be done every week include:
- Checking that all pages are loading
- Making updates to software and plugins
- Running a backup
- Checking for broken links
- Removing outdated content
- Checking your load speed
- Reviewing security scans
You may also hire someone to run website maintenance for your business, or set up a running agreement with your web designer to do this.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Pro vs. DIY
So, when all things are considered, what are the benefits and drawbacks of building your own site vs. hiring a professional?
Hiring a Pro
- You save time because you don’t need to spend weeks learning the skills required to create and operate your website.
- You’ll get a modern and appealing site to represent your business.
- Your website will be responsive to use on a range of devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and desktops.
- You can get ongoing maintenance services.
- A pro web developer’s experience can help you avoid pitfalls that you wouldn’t identify on your own.
- You’ll need to invest several thousand dollars in the region of $3,000- $40,000 to create a new site or redesign an existing one.
- If you don’t have experience with coding or developing, you’ll need a developer to manage the site after it’s launched (e.g. to fix bugs and make updates).
- It is less expensive initially to build your website compared to hiring a pro, especially for people who have more time than money.
- You’ll be in a position to make any changes or updates to your website yourself after it launches.
- You can utilize website building platforms such as WordPress or Wix to launch a simple website within a day or two.
- Your website may appear unprofessional, especially if you don’t have web design skills, and negatively impact how clients perceive your business. Most web users can tell when a website is running from a template rather than a custom design.
- Building a website is not an easy task, so it’s easy to procrastinate for months. In the end, the website might never get created.
- Creating a fully-functional website is time-consuming, so you will need to dedicate a lot of time working on it.
Creating a professional website for your business can generate a lot of sales and attract many new readers or customers. Hiring a developer to do this can save you a lot of time and unnecessary headaches involved in learning a new skill – as we’ve shown, web development is a complex undertaking! Professional developers know exactly what it takes to create a website and ensure optimal performance.
Additionally, hiring a pro will give you a final product that is infinitely more appealing than if you chose to do it on your own. However, if you are short on funds in the initial stages of your business, you can try the DIY approach. The catch is that you must be prepared to spend weeks working on the project, because building a website isn’t as simple as setting up a social media page.
All in all, to answer “how much does it cost to make a website?” – it varies, and can cost a lot, but it is worth it if you want to establish a reputable business. We advise you to hire a professional developer for the same reason you hire roofing contractors, handymen, and auto-mechanics – they have the expertise to get the job done quicker and better than you can. At Instinct Marketing, we specialize in creating websites for local small businesses. Get in touch if you need help!