As much as businesses like to advertise or promote the ease and time friendliness of building a website they always forget to mention the most important thing; the price. Building a website isn’t cheap and done correctly, it also won’t be done overnight. And the more functionality you want to include, expect the price to continue to rise. Before you know it the website you thought was only going to cost $500, the cost is now over $5k.
According to Forbes here are some general prices in regards to building a website:
- Domain Name: up to $20 a year
- Web Hosting: $30-$500 a year. Dedicated servers are even more
- Themes or Templates: $100 (one time purchase)
- Hiring Web Designers: $100-$5000+
- SSL Certificate: up to $250 a year
What is Considered a Basic Website?
Every web designer or web developer has a different interpretation of what a basic website consists of. For me a basic website consists of a homepage, an about page and a contact page. That is the bare bones minimum of a website.
Nowadays people think the website they want built with 20 pages, a blog, protected content and every other bell and whistle is a basic website. And it’s not.
For every piece of functionality you want added, it’s going to cost more. Cost more to develop and it’s going to add more time as testing has to be included.
CMS’s has themes and templates you can buy to help with the look and feel of a website, but it’s all cookie cutter. If you want to make it your own, you or someone you’ve hired is going to have to take the time to customize it piece by piece so it can look and function the way you intended.
In the end what you though was a basic website you could get built for $250 now has set you back a couple of hundreds or thousands depending on what your site has.
E-commerce websites are a different animal. You can expect to pay at least between $3,500 to $5,000 just to start. Designing and developing an e-commerce website is one thing, making sure everything on the backend works flawlessly is another.
It’s so important to make sure every hook, every service works when it comes to people entering and potentially storing their credit card info on your website. If anything goes wrong, you’re liable for returning any money, paying for damages and you could get sued which could put you out of business.
Sites like Shopify make it sound so easy to start an e-commerce store. All you have to do is sign up for a yearly subscription and off you go.
It’s never that simple. And if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Building a website can be affordable. Building an e-commerce website is going to cost you a pretty penny.
You Get What You Pay for
The old adage of you get what your pay for is especially true when it comes to web design and development. There are so many “affordable” options out there that naturally you’re drawn to the cheapest price because it fits your price range.
Using sites like Freelancer.com and Fiverr to find the “talent” to build your site can be asking for trouble. Often these freelancers are not located in the states as well as they often offer the world for a small price.
The problems arise when you cant get in contact with them because of time zone differences. There are also challenges with communication as there are potential language barriers to overcome. Their interpretation of what you wanted could differ from yours because of the language barrier and you could spend more time and money trying to get what you want designed or developed.
And don’t think once your website is built the work is done. Once the initial development is done, it’s time to constantly maintain your website. If you feel comfortable doing it, you can save yourself that expense. Otherwise you’re going to be paying someone either monthly or yearly to have them maintain your website.
If you have built your website with the WordPress platform you can expect multiple updates to occur monthly. From WordPress updates to theme and plugin updates, WordPress users will always have something that needs updating.
Now if you have a custom site then maintenance might not be as tedious as a WordPress or other CMS user may encounter. That doesn’t mean your site is free from maintenance. There are always server patches to implement or even fixing content issues like broken links.
Building a website isn’t cheap. You can spend a lot of money upfront or you can spend a lot in the end trying to fix the mistakes your designer made when you decided to go the cheapest route. Either way to have a successful website you’re going to need to open up the wallet and hope that your product or service can recoup those costs for you so it will make it all worth your money and time.