Websites

Costs, Issues and Benefits for Creating a Website

We’re going to be honest with you here and say that, yes, if you want to create a good website, you’ll need to pay for it. Even if you’re the most expert coder, you’ll still need to get access to a server or pay for a server and set it up yourself. However, some methods are cheaper than others.

 – These online tools take all the pain out of creating a website. Website builders such as Wix, Weebly or WordPress help you set up a great-looking site in as little as 20 minutes. They can cost as little as $5 per month, but the lowest-cost plans will put adverts on your site and limit its functionality. However, fully-featured website builders – with eCommerce functions, for example – rarely cost more than $30 per month.

Using a Website Builder

  • Paying a Website Designer – Getting an expert to take on all the legwork of creating a website is certainly appealing. All you need to do is give them a brief, review some site mock-ups and then let them get on with it. However, this will likely cost you a lot more money – think between $1,000 and $10,000 for a genuinely helpful site.
  • Creating a Free Website - There are a number of ways to create a free website. You could stick with the free plan on a website builder such as Wix or WordPress, or build your site completely from scratch if you have good enough coding skills. However, there are a few drawbacks. Free website builders will limit your features, and keep ads on your site. Building your site from scratch can be incredibly time-consuming, too.
  • Website Hosting – Don’t forget though, that you’ll need somewhere to host your website. This means you’ll need access to a server, which is often thrown in on a paid-for website builder package, or you’ll have to pay for a hosting company. Hosting companies can cost as little as $2 per month, but this might mean your site won’t run as quickly, or you will have your storage limited. So, even if you could code your own site, you won’t be able to run it completely free of charge.

Website Builder Costs

Website builders make it easy for you to create your own site, giving you templates and tools to get started. They have a different monthly fee, depending on the sort of features you require to build your site.

Let’s say you’re running a small business selling cakes. You’ve already got an established bricks-and-mortar store in your local area, but you want to create a website to help get more customers to visit your store.

Now, you’ll want a website that can hold the information about your store’s opening times and location and a menu, so people know what cakes they can look forward to buying. To meet all of these criteria, you wouldn’t need the most advanced features, but you would need your site to be free of adverts, and you’d probably want to have a decent level of storage, so you can add images of all your confectionary.

For this, you’d probably need to pay between $8-15 per month for your website.

Of course, these are the basic features that most sites require to be of any use to anyone. You can often turn your site from a useful one to a great one for an extra $5-10 per month. You’ll get access to more features: third-party plugins so you could host a Facebook Messenger app to talk directly to your customers, or some SEO (search engine optimization) tools that could help you make your site easier to find on Google or Bing, thus bringing in even more customers.

But, what if you wanted to take your site to the next level?

Business Website Costs

Thanks to all the work you’ve put in on your cake store’s website, your business has become so successful that people around the country want to get a slice of the action. Now, you need to start selling online.

This will likely require a step-up in the pricing plan you currently have from your website builder. Ecommerce plans normally start from at least $20 per month. For this price, you’ll get access to some dedicated online shopping tools, such as product pages and shopping carts. However, you might find yourself restricted to the number of products you can offer, or how many products you can actually sell every month.

The most advanced eCommerce plans can cost between $30-45 per month additional, dependent on the sort of features you get. For this extra outlay, you’ll get access to high-level online shopping tools: support for abandoned shopping carts, even more payment options, tax calculators, coupon codes for discounts, and more.

If you want your online shop to be a success, you’ll need to pay this extra fee. But, as you’ll be bringing in more money than ever before, it won’t be such an issue.

Website Designer Costs

Hiring a designer has long been the standard method for creating a website. These can sometimes be one-man-band operations, or large companies operating globally.

It can sometimes be difficult to estimate exactly how much it will cost a website designer to develop your site. That’s a good thing, in a way – a quality web designer will treat you as an individual client, and take time to understand the needs of your business and the bespoke website you require for it.

However, here’s what you could expect for different prices:

  • $250-650: A brochure-style site with 1-5 pages, including a landing page and a contact page. Ideal for someone not looking to regularly update their site, or doesn’t need advanced features.
  • $650-1300: All of the above plus:
    • A content management system – allowing you to make changes easily as and when you need it.
    • Integrated social media pages.
    • Google Business and Maps integration – when someone searches for businesses like yours, Google will highlight yours if they are nearby on a map
    • Analytics integration – this will help you keep track of your visitors and see what they’re doing on your site
  • $1300-3,250: All of the above plus ecommerce features, including:
    • Order management system – this helps you track customer orders and manage the products in your shop
    • Delivery tracking – so you and your customers can track their orders
    • Live chat features – so you can keep in touch with customers
  • $3,250-13,000+: Database driven website – ideal for local or regional businesses, including:
    • Better data insights from customers
    • Allows you to work with custom services for analytics, tracking, orders, accounting software.
  • $13,000+: Advanced database driven site designed for:
    • For national or international businesses
    • Or those in need of bespoke functionality

Starting your own website is a big deal – whether that’s for a business, as an online store, or as a personal blog or portfolio. A website has the potential to completely transform your prospects of making money, attracting new customers or landing that dream job.

But only if that website is good enough to impress the audience that lands on it.

This means you’ll need to become an expert coder overnight, hire someone to create your website for you, or use a modern website builder platform if you want a simple DIY approach.

So, what’s the best option for you, and most importantly, how much does each one cost? Plus, can you and should you create a website for free?

Website Builder Costs

Website builders make it easy for you to create your own site, giving you templates and tools to get started. They have a different monthly fee, depending on the sort of features you require to build your site.

Let’s say you’re running a small business selling cakes. You’ve already got an established bricks-and-mortar store in your local area, but you want to create a website to help get more customers to visit your store.

Now, you’ll want a website that can hold the information about your store’s opening times and location and a menu, so people know what cakes they can look forward to buying. To meet all of these criteria, you wouldn’t need the most advanced features, but you would need your site to be free of adverts, and you’d probably want to have a decent level of storage, so you can add images of all your confectionary.

For this, you’d probably need to pay between $8-15 per month for your website.

Of course, these are the basic features that most sites require to be of any use to anyone. You can often turn your site from a useful one to a great one for an extra $5-10 per month. You’ll get access to more features: third-party plugins so you could host a Facebook Messenger app to talk directly to your customers, or some SEO (search engine optimization) tools that could help you make your site easier to find on Google or Bing, thus bringing in even more customers.

But, what if you wanted to take your site to the next level?

Business Website Costs

Thanks to all the work you’ve put in on your cake store’s website, your business has become so successful that people around the country want to get a slice of the action. Now, you need to start selling online.

This will likely require a step-up in the pricing plan you currently have from your website builder. eCommerce plans normally start from at least $20 per month. For this price, you’ll get access to some dedicated online shopping tools, such as product pages and shopping carts. However, you might find yourself restricted to the number of products you can offer, or how many products you can actually sell every month.

The most advanced eCommerce plans can cost between $30-45 per month, dependent on the sort of features you get. For this extra outlay, you’ll get access to high-level online shopping tools: support for abandoned shopping carts, even more payment options, tax calculators, coupon codes for discounts, and more.

If you want your online shop to be a success, you’ll need to pay this extra fee. But, as you’ll be bringing in more money than ever before, it won’t be such an issue.

Website Designer Costs

Hiring a designer has long been the standard method for creating a website. These can sometimes be one-man-band operations, or large companies operating globally.

It can sometimes be difficult to estimate exactly how much it will cost a website designer to develop your site. That’s a good thing, in a way – a quality web designer will treat you as an individual client, and take time to understand the needs of your business and the bespoke website you require for it. 

Website Hosting Costs

We briefly mentioned this above, but without a website host, your site will never make it to the internet.

All websites need to be hosted on a server – think of it as a big, internet-connected hard drive that stores all the data on your site. These servers are actual, physical things, living in a remote location elsewhere in the world. When someone visits your site, the server communicates with their computer, phone or tablet, sending them all the relevant information they’ve asked for.

Most website hosting companies, including website builder companies, offer packages based on the features you require. For this example, let’s consider HostGator, one of the most popular hosting companies.

Hostgator offers three pricing plans. The cheapest is the Hatchling Plan, which costs $2.75 per month. For that price, you’ll be getting a single domain, one-click installation of popular content management systems such as WordPress, unlimited bandwidth (the amount of traffic that can pass through your site at any one time) and an SSL certificate that encrypts all the data being passed back-and-forth between your site and the server.

The next plan up costs $5.95 per month, and gives you unlimited domains plus all the above. Hostgator’s most expensive plan currently has 60% off, making it $5.95 per month as well, and gives you stronger SSL protection, a dedicated IP address and free SEO tools.

However, most website builders will host your site as soon as you sign up for a paid package – giving you all the features above, as well as an easy-to-use site builder.

The Downsides to Free Websites

Now, let’s be clear, you can build a website for free. Most website builders offer free packages, too. But, while you can use these packages to construct a website for absolutely no cost, there are quite a few reasons why you wouldn’t want to.

No custom URL – One big reason to avoid a free builder is that you won’t get a custom URL. This means that you’ll likely be lumbered with a URL that looks something like:

How much does a website cost? Bad URL

This would not only look unprofessional, but would also make it harder for users, and potential customers to find your site.

Adverts – You’ll have adverts on your site promoting the website builder you used. This, again, doesn’t make your site look particularly serious or professional. It’ll also slow down the rate at which your website’s pages load, as your browser will have to display all of the adverts, as well as your own content – another drain on potential customers.

Bandwidth – Your site will also have its bandwidth reduced – this limits the amount of traffic your site can handle. If you exceed your monthly limit, your site won’t load for any more people.

Features – You won’t have access to the full gamut of features available with a website builder, unless you sign up for a paid package. This might be as simple as missing out on some website templates, but it could restrict your ability to add crucial functions to your site, such as contact forms, for example.

Support – Say something goes wrong with your site. Perhaps you add some text and it doesn’t display the way you’d like it to. With a free website builder package, you might not get access to the help and support functions that could find a fix for you in a matter of moments. Instead, you might end up trawling through user-generated forums, searching for the resolution to a potentially unique issue. All the while, you could be losing potential customers and creating more stress for yourself.

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