If you’re preparing to start a small business online, you may be wondering how much a website will cost. There’s no easy answer here, as there are many different factors to consider.
The biggest factor in the final price is going to be whether you use a DIY website builder, or hire a web designer. There will be a fairly large price difference between the two, not only upfront but also in other fees over time.
In this article we’ll try to go over the various parts of a website that add up to the final price, and give you some tips for getting the best deal possible on a small business website.
Hosting, Domain, and Services
No matter what route you take (website builder or hiring a designer), your most immediate upfront cost is going to be your domain name. On average, it costs around $10 – $15 annually to purchase a domain name through a registrar. You may get a discount for purchasing extended ownership, such as two years, five years, or ten years.
You’ll also need hosting, which can be an additional $40 to $130 per year.
So for a domain name and host, expect to pay about $150 upfront for a year of service. However you really want to shop around and compare web hosts. Some allow you to purchase a domain name and hosting plan, some only offer web hosting but you need to purchase a domain name elsewhere.
Personally I recommend keeping your domain and web host separated, but this isn’t always an option, particularly if you use an all-in-one DIY website builder like Wix or Weebly, because all of the services you’d want for running a website are built into their platforms.
However you really want to be aware of hidden costs with website builders. The base offerings can be very attractive and seem reasonable, but once you start adding on premium features, marketplace apps, additional storage plans, etc, your monthly bill can very quickly shoot up.
If you decide to hire a web designer, you’ll know exactly what you’re paying for upfront after a consultation. For example, let’s say you want a website for a nonprofit organization in Washington DC, a local web design company would be able to give you an accurate estimate almost immediately, especially if they’ve worked on similar projects.
Some website building platforms do offer additional support plans, such as priority customer support for website maintenance and troubleshooting, but you’ll be paying additional fees for these services.
How much do web designers cost?
Again this is a complex question with many factors to consider. However on average, a fairly simple e-commerce website would cost you around $2,000 – $5,000 from a reputable web design company.
However a big difference between website builders and hiring a web designer isn’t only in the creation and launching of the website itself, but ongoing maintenance, support, and SEO (search engine optimisation).
One thing to erase from your mind is that a web designer is just designing a website for you, like an artist sketching a portrait. That’s only a small part of web design.
Consider that with a website builder, you will be maintaining and updating the website by yourself. With a web designer, those services are typically included as part of the package, so on top of your website being designed by professionals, you’ll also have on-going maintenance and troubleshooting support, as well as a website that has been expertly optimised for search engine rankings.
Just as an example, many people creating a website for the first time don’t know much about image compression. Let’s say you’re launching an e-commerce website, and you have 500 product photos to upload.
If you’re uploading photos straight from your camera to your website, you’re probably uploading 5MB photos. You’ve just eaten 2.5GB of your storage plan, and made your pages load a lot slower for visitors.
A website designer will know a few tricks to reduce image file sizes while keeping quality, such as converting to WebP format instead of uploading Jpeg, and they’ll also know the best alt-attributes for each photo to rank in Google image searches.
So with web designers, you’re not only paying for a functional website but all the little optimization and maintenance tricks of a website that runs smoothly.