So you have looked into getting a website but you really don’t know where to start. And the burning question that is constantly on your mind is how much does a website cost?
Then, no matter what research you do, it’s still unclear.
Here is where I come in. The purpose of this post is to help answer that exact question.
So, how much?
Well, the best answer I can give you is… it depends.
I know, I know. That doesn’t help at all.
The cost of your website really does depend on quite a number of factors. Things like:
- What kind of functionality do you require?
- Are you wanting a fully customised design?
- How much technical or design knowledge do you have?
- Are you willing to put in your own time?
How you answer these questions can determine whether you go down the do-it-yourself path, or you hire an expert to do the job for you.
Essentially it’s either your time, or your money.
In any case, let’s start off by going through some of the costs every website needs.
Your website needs an address
Whether you are building your website yourself, or using a professional, your website will need an address.
The address of your website is called a domain name.
Basically, it’s what people type into their web browsers to visit your site. For example, “google.com” is a domain name.
Generally, a .com domain name will set you back around A$10 to A$20 a year.
These days, there is also a massive range of alternatives to a .com domain name. You could come up with something really unique, that is on brand, with a .space or .live domain. Just note that some of these can have a larger price tag.
If you ask me, your best bet is to go with a .com domain, or a country specific domain like .com.au for Australia.
A couple of good places to buy a domain name are GoDaddy or Namecheap.
Arranging hosting for your website
Your website needs somewhere to live, and this is called hosting.
Hosting can get confusing.
Not only is there a lot of companies around that offer hosting, but all the technical speak can get a bit overwhelming.
To try and keep things simple, here are a few different kinds of hosting you might be looking at:
- Shared hosting – between A$5 and A$30 per month. As the name suggests, this is hosting where you share the same server with many other websites.
- Managed hosting – between A$10 and A$50 per month – A step up from shared hosting. Typically managed hosting specialises in the use of a specific software, plus more services can be included to help with managing your website (eg. security, monitoring, automatic updates)
- Cloud hosting – A$15+ per month – This is where multiple servers work together as one big giant server. Your website resources can easily be scaled up as needed on cloud hosting.
- VPS hosting – between A$20 and A$100 per month – VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. It’s where one server is split up into acting like multiple servers. So even though you are one the same server as other websites, you have a dedicated slice of that server.
- Dedicated hosting – A$100+ per month – This is essentially renting a whole server, just for you.
The type of hosting can depend on what kind of website you need.
Most people start with shared hosting.
And this is perfectly find you’re just looking for a basic “brochure style” website
The main downside to shared hosting is because you’re sharing your online home with others, it can harm the performance of your website.
Or even worse,
Your website could be on the same server as another one that spams. This will flag your website as untrustworthy.
With that said, shared hosting is still a great place to get started.
You may want to look at one other types of hosting if your website needs more functionality than just static pages, or your site is going to have a lot of visitors or transactions.
Ok, so after you have your domain and hosting sorted, it’s now on to actually building the website.
Get yourself a Content Management System
Unless you really want to code your website from scratch using HTML and CSS, then I suggest installing a Content Management System (CMS) for your website.
A CMS is an application that is used to manage all of your online content.
This means that you can build website content without having to know any code.
I recommend WordPress.
It’s free, and it powers approximately 30% of all websites across the globe, making it the most popular CMS choice.
Another big positive about WordPress is that it also comes with thousands and thousands of themes, or templates.
Many themes that are also free.
Some themes come with premium upgrades.
Premium themes can range anywhere from A$10 to over $250. If you find a premium theme that you like, it might be worth spending the money to get the look you want.
Overall, WordPress does come with a very steep learning curve. But it you’re someone with a bit of technical nouse, you should pick it up pretty well. Again it really depends on how much time you want to put into it yourself.
Building a website yourself
So you’ve got your domain, hosting and CMS all sorted and all it has cost you is $70 for the first year.
That’s not bad hey!
Now let’s add in your time.
Say your time to you is worth $50 an hour, and learning how to build and then actually building your own website takes you 200 hours.
And that’s probably an underestimation of the hours.
That’s 200+ hours that could be better spent working on other tasks for your business too.
What if hiring a web design professional costs $5,000 to create the same, if not better, website for you?
Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?
Website builders are a popular choice for DIYers
There are all-in-one website building solutions which might suit you more than using a CMS.
If you’ve looked into building your own website before, then I can almost guarantee that you have come across one of the popular website builders.
Have you heard of Wix, Weebly or Squarespace?
These companies provide you with a platform to help build a great looking website.
They are extremely popular amongst small business owners who want to put up their own website. And their price points are very attractive too!
They bundle pretty much everything into a single monthly price. Usually a domain name for 1 year, hosting, and access to their website builder.
Where they really perform well is with templates, allowing you to get a professional looking website without any design skills.
The biggest pitfalls of these website building platforms is that your are locked in to what that platform can provide. Plus, your building your online presence on rented land.
What would happen if the platform you built with decided to close up shop?
Or they change their policies meaning you had to go elsewhere?
Unlikely I know, but if it did happen, it pretty much puts your business into a difficult position.
With that said, if the DIY option is attractive to you, then I suggest you give Wix, Weebly or Squarespace a try.
Plus, by building your website within their platform, you’re essentially building it on rented land.
Whereas if you build your website on your own hosting using WordPress, you own it.
Something to think about.
More costs you may need to factor in
There is more to a website that just throwing together a template and off you go. Especially if you want the website to give you results. Here are a few more things you may need to consider the cost:
- Copywriting – Writing the content for your website is one of the most time consuming tasks.
- Images – High quality images are important for the look and feel of your website. There are both free and paid stock photo options, or maybe you want to arrange your own professionally shot photos.
- Ongoing website maintenance – Once the website is up and running, it needs regular maintenance. You can’t simply set and forget it. Software updates are important to keep your website free from vulnerabilities. Security monitoring to ensure hackers or other threats are kept at bay. Regular backups just in case something goes wrong and you need to restore your site. These are just some of the tasks required to have a well maintained website.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Tasks that are performed to give your website the best chance of being found by the search engines. This can include keyword research, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, to name a few.
- Online marketing strategies – The saying “build it and they will come” doesn’t apply to websites. Just because you put a website up doesn’t mean you will get any visitors. Social Media, Google Ads and Content Marketing are just a few strategies.
Wow, that’s a lot!
Conclusion – How much does a website cost?
I’m going to say it again…. it depends.
What it essentially boils down to is time versus money.
If you have the time, maybe you might want to learn how to build a website and get it done yourself. Then you could build your website for as little as $70. And the good thing is, there are plenty of online resources that can help you along the way.
Doing it yourself will save you $$$, but will use up A LOT of your time.
If you would rather spend your valuable time on doing what you do best, eg. running your business, then I recommend hiring a web design expert.
Over to you!
I’d love to hear about your experiences in a DIY website project, or whether you hired a professional. Leave a comment for me below.