When creating a business website, people often think that development and design are the only significant expenses – but there is so much more than that. Domain name, web hosting, website maintenance and more are all factors that need to be worked into your long-term budget.
Below, we’re going to go over the different costs that play into website development and what you can reasonably expect to pay. Just remember – costs can vary greatly depending on where you purchase your services and the type of plan you sign up for, so you should always do your own research!
Here’s what you need to know:
Choosing a domain name
The first step in starting a website is to choose a domain name. For maximum effectiveness, many businesses choose to use their own name (e.g. www.yourbusinessname.com), as it makes it easy for your audience to find you.
To register a domain name, you will need to purchase that name from a domain registrar. There are several businesses that are registered to sell domain names and you can always use one of them – although, often your hosting provider will provide a domain name at no cost, eliminating this step.
Typically, registering a domain name is a once-a-year cost. Meaning that when you initially register your domain name, you will pay a fee – and then you will have to renew your ownership of that name once per year. This typically ranges anywhere from $15 to $50 if you go with an independent registrar.
It is worth noting that many domain registrars do offer a discount for signing up for more than one year at a time.
Signing up for web hosting
If you think of a domain name as the ‘address’ of your website, then a web host is its actual physical location. It’s like your website’s home.
A web hosting service provides the space where your website’s files are stored and the connectivity necessary for visitors to access your site via the internet. Website hosting and domain names can be purchased from the same company or separately, depending on your preferences.
Depending on the type of plan you sign up for (shared hosting vs. dedicated hosting vs. VPS), costs can range anywhere from roughly $15 a year to several thousand dollars. Choosing the service you require shouldn’t be based on price alone, however. There are many different factors involved which can affect both the performance and security of your website.
For a good, mid-range plan, you should look for a hosting service that provides:
- Guaranteed uptime of at least 99.5%
- Access to site files through a file manager portal
- Storage of at least 20GB
- Basic website security and backup
- Access to 24/7 live customer support
Building your website
The costs of building your website can vary greatly, largely depending on if you want to do it yourself or hire someone to design and develop. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to assume that you’re a do-it-yourself person and building your own site.
The good news: most hosting companies today will provide an easy-to-use website builder as part of your hosting package. That means that building a basic website won’t incur you any additional costs – and there’s nothing wrong with basic!
Website builders offer you the opportunity to build a professional-looking, easy-to-use website in just a matter of hours. Most allow you to completely customize options such as color palette, menus, forms, and so on.
The only real cost would occur if you decide to add on any premium themes or plugins – and that is a 100% voluntary expense.
Once you have your website up and running, it will require ongoing maintenance. And while many web issues are easy to ignore, doing so will cost you in the long run.
Without the proper upkeep, your website’s performance will soon begin to falter, security will become spotty, and search engine rankings will slip.
Developing a plan for keeping your website up-to-date should include:
- Routine updates and backups
- Checking for and installing security patches
- Uptime monitoring
- Reviewing analytics to assess traffic
- Creating a content calendar for keeping content fresh
For many of these procedures, the only cost is time spent. For others, special plugins are required or you could hire a company to perform maintenance for you. Depending on the route you choose, the cost could be anywhere from a few dollars a month to hundreds.
Creating and maintaining a website doesn’t have to break the bank. In reality, it’s very easy to do for a limited amount of money – as long as you’re willing to take on some of the responsibilities yourself. If you have any questions about building a new site (especially how to factor web hosting into your budget), we can walk you through all of your options. Reach out today.