How Much Does A Website Cost In 2018?
In this article, we will try to answer one of the most common questions raised by people who want to create their first website. Exactly how much does it cost to build a website in 2018?
To simplify matters, I assume that you own a computer that is connected to the Internet and that you are familiar with basics of modern online technology. This article, therefore, provides a basic cost analysis that you can use to help determine how much your website will cost.
The good news is that starting your own website is relatively inexpensive compared to setting up an offline business. So, let’s jump into it and see exactly how much your website will cost!
Buying A Domain Name
Selecting a relevant domain name should be one of the first steps in setting up a website. This is the online address you will give your website. It works a bit like a key to a door. To access your website, you must enter your domain name in a web browser. This is sometimes referred to as a “web address” or “URL”. Facebook.com or google.com are examples of domain names.
The cost usually starts at about $15 per year if you just want a plain old .com domain name. We recommend going with a .com domain simply because that’s what most people are used to using. Doing so ensures that people will be able to easily find your website online just by typing your web address into their browser.
If you want to get your first domain for just $1, you should check out 1and1.com.
In addition to the domain name, you will need storage space on a server to “host” your website files and make them accessible to the world wide web. This is made possible through a web hosting company. For a monthly or yearly fee, you can rent space on a server and get your website out to the world.
Choosing the wrong hosting company can be quite a costly endeavor. Spending hours on the phone with support staff halfway across the world only to not have your hosting problems resolved is likely going to cost you a lot more in the long run than just investing in solid hosting in the first place.
With issues like website loading speed being so important for search engine optimization and user experience, it’s just a good idea to go with a reliable hosting company that offers great hardware, software, and support. We have been through multiple hosting companies from Hostgator to 1and1 Hosting and the best we’ve found so far is Inmotion Hosting out of Los Angeles, CA.
They have 24/7 support staff who are ALL based in the USA and they are highly trained. Their support staff is seriously good. These guys and gals are like hosting tech geeks that are always there to help you when something goes wrong (and something always does). There are so many moving parts with launching a website that you’re likely to run into an issue or two along the way unless you’re really experienced with this stuff.
Beyond having some of the most affordable fully managed (meaning they will help you with just about anything) hosting that you can find online today, “Inmotion Hosting is an employee owned and operated business that has proudly operated in Los Angeles since 2001.” – According to their website.
This company really does have a culture of caring where they put serious effort into helping you have a great experience with hosting your website. Be sure to check out their different hosting packages.
Basic Static HTML Sites
These are the easiest sites to create, although they are becoming a thing of the past with mobile devices dominating online usage. They are basically just static pages that contain some content like text and images. However, you have to pay for a template.
The template design is basically what you pay for when you hire a web designer to create a static website. You also need to hire someone to write the content if you do not do it yourself. This is the most basic type of custom website and can cost between $200 and $700, depending on the designer you hire.
We would recommend going with something more robust like a website built on a newer Content Management System.
Website Built Using A Content Management System
If you intend to maintain and update the website yourself, you will need a content management system (or CMS). Most are actually open source which means you do not have to pay for them. Here are some recommended content management systems: WordPress, Joomla and Drupal with WordPress being by far the most popular and robust.
However, you’re probably going to want to pay for a custom template, as well as customizations or configurations on the CMS. This option is slightly more expensive and can cost $1000 or more to have a designer build. The price is still very affordable for most business owners and to this day, this remains the most popular option. Using a CMS means that it will be very easy to add or make changes to the website in the future.
Custom Coded Website
If you want to do everything from scratch, you’ll need to hire a web developer. Choose a common programming language like ASP.NET or PHP. It’s easier to find servers that support these languages. It’s also easier to hire freelancers because these programming languages are very popular.
A custom website is expensive because the script is custom written just for you. You pay for the exclusivity and the developer will do everything according to your personal requirements. The more features you want to have on the site, the more you will have to be willing to pay.
Most developers calculate based on their time spent building the website. So, if you need them to do more work, you have to pay them for their time. A custom website can range from $5000 to tens of thousands of dollars. Select this option only if you have very specific requirements (for example, a custom application that you really need) and if you have a large budget. The benefit of a custom website is that you have the ability to create any functionality on the website that you might need. The downside is obviously the high cost.
Let’s Take A Look At Two Examples
A small local business needs a website to promote their message in their local area. The site is simple – about 5 pages with information about the business, the services they provide, and a form that people can use to request a quote for their services.
The budget is available for creating a graphic “look,” and the designer will also provide some stock imagery and graphics. A smaller, less experienced designer may take on a project like this for several hundred dollars but you’re not likely to get great results from an SEO standpoint.
A medium sized online marketing firm might quote $1,000 – $3,000 to build the website with proper SEO. Of course, there are a lot of variables with website design, so these are just rough numbers. A larger firm would probably not take a project this small.
A mail-order company wants to get into online sales. They currently have no website. They have a narrow mix of about 200 products with a broad target market; it’s also time to update their image. Depending on a wide range of variables, a project like this could start at about $7000 and go into six figures.
Back to our question, the cost of your website is determined to a large extent by what you can afford. The complexity, size, and needs play an important role, as well as the know-how and experience of the design team. In general, the more you spend on your website, the more website you get for your money, an obvious statement, but nonetheless.
In the development of the budget for your project; remember to consider your needs and expectations, the level of design, size, and complexity required for the success of your project.
Also, Don’t Forget About What Comes After The Website Design Phase
An important component that goes beyond the scope of this article concerns the promotion and marketing of your website – the best website project in the world is unlikely to succeed if nobody knows about it. Be sure to consider the costs associated with your marketing program after having your website designed.
One of the biggest mistakes we see businesses make when getting started with online marketing is spending all of their budgets on a website and having no way to drive traffic to their new investment (website). Don’t make the same mistake!
Be sure to plan ahead and know that driving traffic can often be the largest investment you will make when marketing your business online.
If you don’t feel like taking the next 8 to 12 months of your life to learn online marketing, then feel free to give us a call and we would be happy to just take care of it all for you (406) 282-1558!