Many small business owners (maybe this is you) start their small business on social media, but soon realize that social media, though being a great advertising space and marketing tool, is not a good home base to continue growing online. Soon, though, after spending many nights researching, the reality of what all is entailed in a having and maintaining a website sinks deep into the soul and leaves many small business owners thinking, “What is the true cost of creating a website?”
To answer this question, we need to look at the 5 pieces and services that every website requires to function properly, and before we break each one down, here’s a quick peak into each area:
The Five Pieces of Every Website:
- Domain Name
- Hosting Plan
- Website Design & Development
- Future Website Maintenance
- Website Protection
Now to be honest, this can be quite a lot to wrap your mind around, but there’s an easier way to think about it.
In order to wrap our minds around each of these 5 pieces and services, we’re going to think of a website like a house because it will help us understand how a website works in tangible terms.
So let’s try to explain the five pieces of every website, but break it down a website as if it’s a real-life house:
- Domain Name: your house’s address
- Hosting Plan: the land where your house will be built
- Website Design & Development: the is the floor plan of your house and then the actual construction of the house
- Future Website Maintenance: repairs and maintenance on your home so that it stays up to code and doesn’t fall apart
- Website Protection: makes sure that no robbers, thieves, or thugs break in and destroy your house
Does this make it a little easier to understand all of the ins and outs of a website?
So now that you have that picture in mind, here is the true cost of a having a website in 2022:
Domain Name Cost
Your domain name serves as the address of your website.
Domain names are the URLs that people type in when they want to visit your website. For example, my domain name is www.marchyde.com, and I have other domain names that I own like www.smallchurch.media and www.realtalkchristianpodcast.com. Each of those three domain names represent three different websites!
So when you create a website, you first need to purchase a domain name. I recommend that you purchase a domain name through the hosting platform that you choose to build your website / house on (we’ll talk about this step next) because it makes life simpler for you, or use a reputable domain name provider like https://domains.google or www.godaddy.com.
Each domain name prover is different but you can expect to spend $12-30 per year for your domain name, and many hosting plans include a free domain name for the first year of hosting. Let’s continue.
Average Domain Cost: $20 per year
Hosting Plan Cost
Your hosting plan serves as the physical location where your website will live, and every website must be hosted somewhere.
This is where it often gets confusing.
Based on HOW you build your website, the hosting plan cost changes. If you build your website in a website builder like Squarespace, WIX, or Weebly, you will pay a higher cost because not only are you paying them to host your website, but you are also paying them for the ability to use their website builders (and make a profit).
If you decide to use WordPress to build your website (which is often what many people recommend), you have to purchase a hosting plan through a hosting provider, such as SiteGround or FlyWheel, then set up WordPress on the hosting plan.
Many people start with having a WordPress website because you can often find hosting plans for $48 a year instead of paying Squarespace $144 per month, but if you are going to go that route, you need to understand that you will be required to do much more to get your website up and running (which is why hiring a website developer is a great route to go).
Hosting is often where most questions arise because there are so many options and so many opinions out there, but at the end of the day, if you do not have a host, you do not have a website.
Before you chose your host for your website, though, you need to first figure out HOW and WHO will build your website, because once you pay for a hosting plan, you lock yourself in for at least a year.
Let’s keep moving.
Average Good Hosting Cost: $150-250 per year
Average Budget WordPress Hosting Cost: $50-75 per year
Website Design Cost
This is where the true anxiety comes when creating a website. How much does it cost to design a website?
The answer to this question is simple:
- If you design your website yourself, it will cost you your time and headaches but will save you money
- If you have someone else design your website, it will cost you your money but will save you time and headaches
If you decide to design a website for yourself, I recommend that you use a platform like Squarespace over using WordPress.
If you decide that you want to hire a professional to build your website, you can expect to spend between $1,000 and 5,000 to hire a freelancer (like me!), or if you chose a marketing agency, they most likely will charge you between $5,000 and $10,000.
Why so much?
Because you are often paying for a designer’s time, tools, resources, and abilities. If your website is large and requires a lot of design and development, the price only increases. If you need a simple one page website, the cost goes way down (usually lower than $1,000).
*Note, many companies, agencies, and designers offer hosting packages where if they design the website, they will also host your website. Personally, I don’t like this business model.
We’ll talk about next.
Average Design Cost: $2,000-5,000+ (based on the size of the website)
Future Website Maintenance
Your website is launched, but what’s next? Just like your physical house needs updates and a little TLC to keep it looking sharp, your website requires love and attention as well! Updating content, pictures, colors, plug-in, security checks, and performance tests are all a part of having a website.
Many companies will offer hosting and maintenance packages for websites that they build, which is a great service for small businesses! You pay one bill every month (or annually), and your website simply works! Plus, if you need any help or updates, you have your web designer on your team to make sure it all works.
That being said, I personally don’t host the websites that I create. Why? Because I have already had to “save” websites from developers and agencies that are no longer in business, unresponsive to requests, or financially not affordable because if someone else hosts your website, they in a sense own your website.
I want you to own your website.
So what I offer instead is a website maintenance plan where you hire me to keep your website in tip-top shape. I don’t host your website; I keep your website from breaking, and if you decide to go a different route and not have me be your guy, you don’t lose your website!
Here’s a question that you may be thinking: Do you need to pay someone to maintain your website? Definitely not!
But what happens if your website gets hacked or it breaks? We’ll talk about that next.
Average Maintenance Cost: $49-79 month
If you build your website on Squarespace, WIX, Weebly, GoDaddy, Webflow, or any other website builder, they protect and secure your website from hacks and evil bots (yes, evil bots are a thing).
If you build a website with WordPress, though, you NEED to make sure that your website is secure and routinely scanned for viruses and hacks.
The good news is that there are many free ways to secure your website from basic intruders and bots, but if your website is the sole-storefront of your brand and company, it would be wise to pay money to secure and protect your website.
Think of it as hiring a private security system to keep your website safe!
Average Website Cost: $0-200 per year
What is the true cost of creating a website? If you’re doing it by yourself, you can get away with only spending $200 per year! That’s amazingly cheap!
However, if you want to hire a professional to create your website, the cost is much more, but many times, hiring a professional is the best path to take.
Here’s just a few of my own thoughts:
- Your website needs to be found on Google and then convert when people land on the website.
- Your website is face of your company and needs to be designed well to gain visitor’s trust and money (Here’s 6 Quick Design Tips for Making Your Website Effective).
- You need to spend your time and energy on what you do best.
If you are looking to take your or your business’ website to the next level this year, please don’t hesitate to reach out and get a free quote.