Having a website by businesses has gained high traction in recent times; this is especially true given the shove by the ever-persistent pandemic. Many have shifted their attention from brick-and-mortar shops to online stores. Hence, it is no wonder that many want to know what it takes and how much it costs to build and manage a website.
How Much You Need to Build Your Website
A survey done by Statista confirmed that the business and government expenditure across the globe on technology goods and services to surpass $3.7 trillion by 2021; this is not surprising as the world has gladly embraced the need to keep up with technology to stay relevant. The same applies when it comes to building your website. To survive in this fast-paced world, more are hopping onboard the digital world for their business to flourish.
There are no hard and fast rules when building your website. Studies have shown that a website’s initial costs vary by a wide range due to the many influencing factors linked to your ultimate business goal:
Different Approaches to Creating Your Website
You have several options to choose from when building your website. Each approach is very different and will determine your final costs.
Engage a Professional
Many professional web developers and designers can design and create your website from the ground up. They usually charge by the hour, or they can go by a whole sum for the project based on your specifications. Their pricing depends on how you want your pages, the structure, design, and others.
Web developers and designers work as freelancers, and their rates can vary from a combined figure of $130 to $260 an hour. Hiring at the cheapest rate may not necessarily be the best, and neither is engaging one at the highest rate. Look for more traits such as experience; they are those who know what they are doing.
Engage a Web Development Company
Known as a one-stop centre, you can hire these agencies to source the pool of skill sets you need for your website. They recommend their resources based on what you need and your requirements. Usually, the roles are specific and segregated – web developers, web designers, graphic designers, etc.
Most of the time, they offer you a package that includes managing your website after launch. Although the costs involved depend on the agency you end up with, their costs are usually high.
Create the Website Yourself (DIY)
Perhaps the cheapest way to build your website is to get down on it and get your hands dirty. Many website builders help make the task easier. You do not even need prior coding skills! Some of these tools are even free. You can check out WordPress and Joomla. However, such free tools may not cover the other essentials you need for your website to go online.
If you are tech-savvy and need more, you can explore paid website builders. Some website builders include web hosting, maintenance, updates, and others. So, if you are starting and want to build a small website, doing it yourself may be it for you as this saves costs, and you have complete control over everything.
Estimated Costs: $0 to $500 a month.
Engaging a trusted web host with the right web hosting solution is a must if you want to be accessible online and succeed. Web hosting stores all your web content, data, media, and other content on a server. The web host is responsible for setting up and managing the technical infrastructure to support your website. When a user inputs your website address in the browser, your website presents it to the user.
Many types of web hosting solutions are available – shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and more. Each web hosting plan comes with different prices and caters to different needs and purposes.
Shared hosting could be your answer if running a small and simple website. It is also the cheapest hosting plan available. However, once your website expands, and you outgrow shared hosting, you can opt for VPS hosting, the next best thing. However, if the sky is the limit and you need absolute control over your server, you can consider dedicated hosting; this is costly.
No matter how tempted you may feel to opt for free web hosting, you shouldn’t, as there are other factors such as security and reliability concerns that you cannot ignore. Also, most of them come with limited features, and you may need to carry the web host brand on your website. As such, opt for a trusted and reputable web host.
You can subscribe to their managed web hosting plans. The web host handles the maintenance of your website; you will have fewer headaches and focus more on your business. Such managed plans tend to be more expensive.
Estimated Costs: $3.00 – $7.50 a month (shared hosting) and $15.50 – $28.05 a month (VPS hosting).
Every website must have a domain name; this is how people find you on the internet via their browser. A domain name is typically the address of your website on the internet. It would make sense to pick a domain name that reflects your company’s business and image; this is a great way to strengthen your brand identity.
Your domain name needs to renew every year. You will have to include this cost when managing your website. While most web hosts include a free domain name registration for the first year when you purchase a plan, some expect you to source the domain name from elsewhere.
Estimated Costs: $10 – $15 a year. For those that offer free for the first year, you will need to cater for this amount for the second year onwards.
Caption: Global website builders market share in 2018 (Source: Statista)
You will need a website builder. Whether you are building the website yourself or outsourcing it to others, there is a high chance that a website builder is included in the costs. A website builder gives you added essential features like a navigation menu, SEO tags, plugins, and more. There are themes and templates that you can leverage to help get started faster.
WordPress is a free and popular easy-to-use web builder, also known as a Content Management System (CMS). You do not need tons of technical skills, and it can cater to customisations and websites of all sizes. WordPress is free, and so are some themes and plugins; your costs are low. However, you may decide on a premium theme for which you need to pay. Although this is a choice, there is still web hosting that you cannot escape.
Another powerful website builder, Wix comes out on top with its drag-and-drop editor. You absolutely need not have any coding skills. It offers many templates and fabulous features that help you get started on your website.
Estimated Costs: From $0 – $111 a month.
Security should be the priority of all business owners. SSL-enabling a website is the basic requirement to secure any website. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encrypts the communication between the browser and server; this is so that sensitive information is safe from prying eyes. Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a superior encryption standard to SSL. Both SSL and TLS certificates are issued by Certification Authorities (CAs).
Most web hosts include a free SSL certificate by Let’s Encrypt; they are a nonprofit CA providing TLS certificates to more than 260 million websites. There are other CAs that you can choose to purchase such certificates. These certificates are renewable every year.
Estimated Costs: From $0 – $450 a year. You will need to renew the certificate every year; the amount would depend on the CA.
Plugins are essential to any website as they expand its functionalities – eCommerce functionality, multilingual, contact forms, and more. Some plugins focus on improving security and online user experience. Plugins are mostly free, but some are not. So, depending on what you want and need, your costs are varied.
Estimated Costs: From $0 – $100 a year.
When you design your website, themes determine its look and feel. You can get some stylish and attractive themes for free, but if you want more and need that extra oomph factor, you can peruse through the premium ones that can go above $200. The good news is that this is a one-time expenditure; there is no need to renew.
Estimated Costs: From $0 – $200 one-off.
How Much You Need to Build and Manage Your Website
We have discussed the contributing factors that determine the amount you undertake to get your website up. However, this final amount depends on the size of your website and all the above contributing factors.
As time passes, you may need to revisit your web hosting plan. After all, the house that safe-keeps your website content needs to expand and upgrade to accommodate a growing website. You need a more powerful web hosting solution; this will incur more costs on your end.
As for managing your website, overall, this figure is cheaper than your initial investment. This could be an estimated 25% of your initial costs. For example, if your initial cost is $200, you may need to commit $50 a month to maintain the website.
Basic and Small Website
If you plan to build a simple website, the construction effort is light, and minimal customisation is required. The website can typically consist of around 20 pages or less. Also, there is no specific or unique functionality involved. You will still need to cater for a website builder (DIY), web hosting, and domain name costs.
Building the website on your own is much cheaper than engaging a professional developer or agency.
Estimated upfront costs: $100 to $10,000.
Large and Advanced Website
As the name suggests, this is a website on a large scale that usually consists of several hundred pages. Much customisation is generally needed. More complicated and unique features are required. A CMS system needs to be integrated along with several extra features too. Adding all these features and functionalities translates into higher website costs.
Since there are so many variables when building an advanced website, the initial cost can vary widely.
Estimated upfront costs: can reach $40,000.
Figuring how much you need to build a website involves varied numbers of variables. That is why the answer to how much you need to build and manage your website is not clear-cut; it varies from one website to another. That said, there are guidelines that you can base on.
Building a website does not always have to be costly. You have to evaluate your priorities and understand your immediate and future business needs and goals. Then go for the correct combination of tools and methods to make it worth your every investment.