Mr. Small Business owner has decided that he/she needs a website for their business. Not being particularly web/tech savvy they are not quite sure of what specific costs are associated with having a website. Even if a web designer or agency gives you a one price estimate for everything it is still a good idea to understand where those costs are allocated.
There are four main areas (for a basic website) that you will need to budget for:
- Your domain name
- Hosting of your website
- The design of your website
- Maintenance of your website
These are the basic costs of getting your website up and online. There could potentially be more costs involved depending on the size/scope of your website but we are just talking about a basic website. (i.e. not an e-commerce site or facebook)
Lets expand a little on those categories.
Your Domain Name is the address used by a computer to find your website or your www.website.com address. Most domain name companies (called domain name registrars) will register your name from 1 year even up to 10 years. The pricing varies but they can go as little as $10-20 bucks a year.
Some hosting providers throw the name registration in free if you buy one of their hosting packages. Make sure to read the fine print on these as well (is there a charge to switch providers down the road if you want to).
So you have a domain name, great! But if someone typed in their browser www.website.com they would get some kind of error message because you haven’t given your domain name instructions on where your website ‘lives’. This is where hosting comes in. It is the computer (or company) that your website will reside.
Pricing for hosting varies widely depending on various factors (i.e. speed, features etc) but you can expect to pay around $10-$30 a month for hosting.
This is where you pay an individual or agency for their design/consulting/coding work. This is where someone will design and create a website for you based on your needs. Pricing for webdesign services can really vary from Free to up to $5,000 for a basic website. Now I may get a few fellow website designers angry with this next bit.
Website design is no different from any other service industry. There will be bad, good and great web designers out there and their fees will vary greatly. My advice to small business owners is ‘you get what you pay for’. Have a look at their portfolios, ask around to see who people recommend and get a detailed estimate before any work is performed.
As I mentioned price varies greatly in this category depending on a few factors:
- Where you live (Large urban Centre v.s. Small Town) (Canada vs. India)
- How fast you may want it done
- Experience of person/firm
- Will you supply internet ready images/text
Starting price ranges I have seen for a basic website (at time of writing this article – 2016) tended to be in the neighbourhood of $1,200-$2,500.(some include everything-some don’t). Yes you may be able to find someone for less, just be sure to do your homework and know exactly what you will get for your money and if things go wrong from that ‘friend of a friend’ that is doing it for free, what will the cost be to fix things should they go wrong.
This is a category most people forget about. On the day you launched your website you were really happy but after a few months the information is becoming stale or out of date.
If your website is built on a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress you can do some updating of content yourself or if you would rather spend your time elsewhere on your business you can hire someone to do this function.
Just as the software on your computer has periodic updates (i.e. security, bug fixes) your CMS website will require regular maintenance, this becomes more technical in nature and you may want a web professional to perform these tasks.
Pricing can vary from free – do it yourself to monthly rates or even yearly packages. There are almost too many variables to give you an estimate of costs but seriously consider this area as part of your entire cost structure.
These are the main categories to get your website up and online but remember you need to give people a reason to visit it. Don’t just expect the saying ‘build it and they will come’ to kick in. If you want to drive traffic to your website you will need to market and promote it to your audience. But that is another HUGE topic for another day.
Any questions or comments please fill out in the comment section below.