One of the most asked questions I get as a Web Designer is “how much does it all cost”.
I’m guessing if you’re here, you’re looking to build a website and probably aren’t sure what to expect cost wise.
While most of these costs are relatively nominal in comparison to traditional overhead, it’s still a good idea to know how much to budget when it comes to the design & care of your site.
Let’s break down what these costs look like!
Here are the 5 main costs of running your website
*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – if you use them to make a purchase, I will earn a commission.
1. Domain Name
Your domain name is the address of your website, or your URL (ie: www.YourAwesomeWebsite.com). Some website builders will allow you to have a website without a custom Domain name so it’s possible get them for free.
However, in order to help build trust & authority with your audience, it’s recommended to have a domain name for your business. Typically you renew these once a year, but some registrars allow you to renew for multiple years at a time. The cost for a domain name varies and can range anywhere from $8 up to thousands of dollars if you’re trying to buy one that someone is selling for an escalated price. The majority of my clients spend around $10-$15/year for their domain names.
2. Web Hosting
In order for people to access your website, it has to live on a server somewhere. You can either host it on a server in your own house (most people don’t) OR you can rent server space from one of the many well known Web Hosting companies.
Again, the cost will vary based on your needs & server specifications. For most people without a tech background, a basic website will run you between $20-$40/month for website hosting. If you’re a bit more tech savvy, you can save some money by using Cloudways for web hosting. There is more manual setup involved on the server – but the low cost and excellent 24/7 customer service make it a solid option for those with some tech chops. If you’re looking to get started with Cloudways, you can use my referral link and get $15 once you sign up!
3. Web Design
You may be thinking, “I’ve DIY’d my site, I didn’t hire anyone” – if this is you – awesome! Then you can skip this nugget ^_^
For most people who are trying to jump start their online business, the lack of technical skills and overwhelming amount of information and tutorials can be a never ending time suck that yields you a website that you don’t love. And if you don’t love your website, you’re not going to tell people about it.
If you decide to hire a Web Designer to design & build your site, you can expect to pay in the low four-figures for a basic website. If you’re really on a budget, you can find a design student who is willing to do it for free or next to nothing to build out their portfolio. Web design is no different from anything else though – you usually get what you pay for!
If you’ve got some technical skills and some extra time on your hands, your options for DIY’ing a site are pretty stellar. My personal preference is WordPress with Elementor Professional – a drag and drop interface with plenty of tutorials & templates that will guide you through making your own website with less cash investment up front.
4. Site Maintenance
Whether you hire someone to take care of this for you or not, it is VITAL that you are continuing to pay attention to your site. The code will frequently be updated by the developers; either introducing new functionality but more importantly, patching security holes that hackers can take advantage of.
I do not recommend turning on auto-updates for plugins. These updates can take place at any time and if one of the updates has a conflict with another piece of code on your site, it can go down when you’re least prepared for it (and in my experience, when you really don’t have the time to handle it).
Whether you’re investing your time or outsourcing someone to perform these tasks for you, regular plugin updates and full site backups are super important!
Many companies, like mine, offer Website Care Plans that will make sure your files stay up to date and backed to help keep you safe from hackers that sit around all day looking for ways to mess with your business.
Plugins essentially are a bunch of different files of code, packaged together that allow your website to perform certain functionality. When I build websites for other service based businesses, most of the plugins needed to achieve their desired functionality don’t cost any extra. The exception being Elementor Pro that costs $49/year at the time of this article.
The cost of the plugin will greatly depend on the features you need your site to have. If you’re building a basic 4 page site with a contact form – you shouldn’t need anything extra that costs money. If you’re building something more robust that acts more like a membership platform, you’ll need to factor in additional costs to your budget for this type of functionality.
Not sure how to get started? Sick of looking at tech and ready to hand your site build over to a pro? Schedule a Free Discovery call with me!