In this day and age, it seems as though nearly every successful business has a website, and it’s no wonder. The truth is, even small businesses need websites to remain competitive.
This is largely due to the fact that numerous consumers spend a considerable amount of time online. According to a Nielsen study discussed on thebalancesmb.com, more than 88 percent of people in the U.S. and Canada are internet users. In that same article, contributor Susan Ward also asserts that consumers use the internet now in the same way that people once used phone books. Ms. Ward points out that having a website lends a sense of legitimacy to a business, and she discusses the various ways that savvy business owners can leverage their websites to market their brands, maximize leads, and increase sales.
Once you understand the importance of building a website that corresponds with your brand, the next step is to get one up and running. Unless you have unlimited funds at your disposal, one of your first concerns is probably figuring out just how much it will cost you to start and maintain a website. Whether you’re hiring an organic SEO company, or looking for social media services, it’s critical to understand how much you can spend.
Although there is no single answer to this because websites and the professionals who build them vary widely, you can get a general idea of how much cost is involved in making a basic website. Additionally, you can then learn about other considerations that will add to the overall cost of your investment such as the specific features and functionality you might need at your particular business.
What Tools Do You Need to Build a Website?
Building a website requires an assortment of tools. You can use these tools to develop your site without assistance, which is the most economical strategy (although not always the strategy that leads to results). However, if you don’t have the time to research the process fully, you might use outside resources to ensure a successful outcome. The decisions you make in this regard have much to do with the type of site you wish to make, as well as the scope you envision for it.
The must-have tools for building a website include:
– Domain Name
While some website tools are optional, you can’t have a website without a domain name. This is a set of characters used to identify a particular website. The character configuration is unique. Essentially, as described by the editorial team at IsItWP.com, this configuration will be recognized as your website’s internet address. Generally, the average cost of a domain name is $5 to $15 annually. In some cases, you may have the option of getting a free domain name when you commit to a web hosting package.
The next necessary step in setting up a website is to secure a web host. This is a company that provides the service of web hosting, which entails providing storage space for your website, so other computers can connect to it via the internet. In other words, it is the web host that enables internet users to access your website. According to a post on the Cleveroad website, you can reasonably expect to pay between $75 and $200 per year for web hosting.
– Website Builder or Platform
Another necessity is finding a website builder or platform to build your site. You don’t need to be an expert to build a website, but as illustrated at IsItWP, even a seasoned pro needs a website platform or builder to build a website. As FitSmallBusiness contributor Kelly Main points out, you can use a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress, to meet your website-developing needs, or you can access a website-building platform, such as Weebly. A website builder can be a great option if you are new to website building and don’t have the time to learn all the intricacies of this process. Alternatively, as described on the SuperWebsiteBuilders website, a CMS may be better suited for experienced website builders. Those with experience may not want to be limited with regard to customization and design. If you opt to build your website yourself though, Kelly Main asserts that the cost may be as low as $0 to $300.
– Website Developer
In the interest of saving yourself time and effort, you may decide to use a professional to develop your website. This choice could ultimately save you money as it enables you to focus on running your business, and will result in a website that is designed from the ground up to drive results for your business. To obtain the services of a quality developer for a basic site, you can expect to invest at least $1000 to $3,000.
– Content Writer
Even if you are a professional writer, you may not have the time to do all the writing on your own website. If you do not have writing skills and experience, you should certainly consider hiring a copywriter. To remain relevant and updated, you must provide your site visitors with fresh content. As Megan Totka explains on the Small Business Trends site, fresh content pleases search engines, as well as internet users. At WebsiteSetup.org, Editor in Chief Nick Schäferhoff states that the average cost of hiring a copywriter ranges from $50 to $200 hourly.
A website with no visuals would likely be boring to most visitors. If you wish to keep users on the page and coming back to your site, you should consider using original or stock photography on at least some of your web pages. Mr. Schäferhoff remarks that you can find a wealth of free stock photos online. If you opt to buy stock photos instead, he asserts that you can expect to pay between $1 and $100 on average for each image.
Other Important Considerations for a Website
Before you make any concrete decisions about making your website, ask yourself the following questions:
– Does the website require extra features?
The editorial team at IsItWP points out that when you are starting a basic website, you certainly don’t require all the special added features you can see on more advanced sites. However, after your website is operational, you might want to add certain features.
If you decide to add premium plug-ins to a WordPress site, for example, the cost may range from $5 to $100, according to Kelly Main’s post at FitSmallBusiness. Added features may help your website run more smoothly, facilitate website usability, and enable you to track and analyze user statistics more efficiently.
If you have an online store via Weebly and wish to implement e-commerce upgrades, Kelly Main states that the additional cost could be from $48 to $204 on that platform.
You might want to improve your search engine rankings with search engine optimization, which can help bring more visitors to your website. According to Cleveroad, you might spend an average of between $300 and $1,500 monthly for this service.
– Does it require enhanced security?
Security is essential on websites, in general, but some may require more than others. Any website that deals with users’ financial information or other sensitive data should have tighter security in place. This means paying for an SSL certificate, which is a web tool designed to enhance security on websites. The cost of an SSL certificate varies, but you can find affordable ones ranging from $0 to $199.50 per year.
– Do you have a marketing budget?
Your business should have some funds allocated to marketing, and some of those funds may be applied to your site. Your website should serve as an important marketing tool. The scope of your website will generally reflect the scope of the investment you have put it into it.
However, if you don’t yet have a substantial marketing budget, you can still find plenty of free or affordable services to meet your basic website needs. When you can afford to invest more, you may want to spend the money on features and services designed to ultimately improve your bottom line.
To give some perspective regarding this concept, consider what SEO can do for a business. In some cases, the lifetime return on investment (ROI) can be as high as 200 percent. By investing $2,500 monthly in this area, you could experience considerable returns over time.
Final Thoughts on the Cost of Building a Website in 2019
If your business does not yet have a website, it is time to take this vital step. Your competitors may already have developed strong websites, which are likely helping them to increase both leads and conversions. You don’t need to have a huge budget to get a website off the ground, but your business should have an online presence to be competitive. Even if you are currently using social media to market your brand, many consumers may still seek a website dedicated to your business alone. If you opt to make your products or services available via an online site, you could boost sales in a way that you may not have yet imagined.
There are numerous features available to website developers, so be sure to employ the strategies that reflect your present circumstances. If you don’t have the time or skills to do it all yourself, you can invest your marketing dollars by hiring professionals to help you. There is no specific overall cost to building and maintaining a website, but you can probably create one now, no matter what your current budget might be.