The cost of building a website varies from company to company. Each business has its own needs and vision. For example, a construction company might want to focus on their portfolio while a clothing store would want to focus on their e-commerce system.
Let’s start with the basics:
Every website needs a minimum of three things to be accessible online. These are a domain name, a website host, and the website itself. Each of these will cost money so it’s worth learning what each one does and why you need it.
A domain name is an address you type into a web browser. For example, ConvienNet.com is our domain name. This name translates into an ugly, hard to remember, IP address which then directs your browser to a web server. Luckily this translation is automated so you never have to worry about that. Just know that it’s the name that becomes associated with your website. A domain name will typically cost $8-$15 per year from domain registers like Godaddy. Most of the companies will offer discounts if you buy multiple years at the same time.
Now let’s talk about web hosting. As mentioned above, your domain name will direct users to a web server. The web server is a powerful computer that is owned and maintained (in most cases) by a web hosting company. You will need to rent space on one of these computers in order to have a place to store and serve your website files to users.
Hosting has much more range to it than domain names and you typically get what you pay for. For most smaller sites such as individual blogs or small businesses, a host like Godaddy or Host Gator can provide adequate hosting for around $80 per year. If you need a more reliable host that has a better uptime guarantee (how often the website is accessible), uses SSD (Solid State Drives) as a standard, and includes features like a content delivery network (CDN), then you will need a host like SiteGround. This host will cost around $120 per year but we can get you a great deal if you’re interested (just click here). For enterprise level websites with tons of traffic and multiple authors/editors working on the site at the same time, a hosting provider like WPEngine might be called for. This service starts at $25 per month but provides a superior service to their clients.
Finally, we have the website itself.
Now that we have a home for the website (host) and an address for that host (domain name) we can get started creating the actual website. We use WordPress for every site build and the reasons are plenty.
WordPress can be thought of as the foundation of a website. Using it saves hours of coding and ends up saving you a lot of money. But WordPress without a theme looks horrible and lacks function. This is where most of the websites cost come into play. You can either customize a free theme, invest in a premium theme, or build a custom theme. A theme is what makes the site look unique. It includes everything from the colors and fonts, to where things are located, to how the site responds to users. Most of our clients choose to purchase a premium theme and then have us customize it to suit their needs. This typically costs around $1400-$2500 depending on what the client wants the site to do. Using a free theme will almost always leave your site looking like, well, a free site. Let’s stay away from that look. Your customers will thank you later.
The most expensive option is to build a custom theme. This can not only take a long time but can cost between $6000-$15,000+ depending on what functions need to be incorporated. For some clients this option makes sense. Will you be running a new social network, enterprise corporate site, or storing very important information? For most companies, though, the middle option will work great.
So now that you know the three major components of a website, let’s get down to the total price. The first thing we will do is look at what you already have (if anything). Already have a domain name? Great! Already have a good web host? No problem. We can work with existing platforms if you have them. For new sites, we prefer if you use our partners for these services as we know how they operate, what they are compatible with, and if necessary, how to troubleshoot problems quicker. Your total cost for a domain name and a host for a year will typically be under $120. Next, let’s add in the design of the website. As I mentioned before, the middle option is usually best for most people. This will run between $1400 and $2500. Additional costs can include premium plugins, image licensing, custom email setup, and logo design. Keep this in mind if you need those services. The grand total for a great, customized, branded, expandable, website is….. between $1500 – $3,000 for most projects. Yours might be below or above.
Finally, we need to look at options for ongoing maintenance. Modern websites need monthly updates to ensure security, user experience, and to prevent data loss. It is also important to update your site with new information about your company to keep potential customers coming back. Google likes an updated site and ongoing maintenance can help you rank higher in search results. We offer many different maintenance packages to meet the needs of everything from smaller blogs to enterprise level websites.
I hope you have a better understanding of what it takes to get a website online and the costs that go along with it. A well-designed website that is properly maintained should make a substantial return on investment for your company. For a personalized report explaining cost for your particular project, please fill out our questionnaire so we can learn about your business. You can find that here.