The first question anybody ever asks when deciding to create a website is ” how much does a website cost to build?”.
The answer isn’t so easy to pin down because there are so many different types of websites.
The cost of a four or five-page website displaying your business details will be a lot different to an e-commerce store. There’s a lot more work which goes into setting up hundreds of products and adding a shopping cart.
Other sites might need to host downloadable resources or have secure login areas. Creative types may need a portfolio page displaying their latest original works.
These different features will influence a website cost breakdown.
And then you have the expenses outside of website design costs. You will have website hosting costs, a website renewal cost every year, and website upkeep costs.
We will discuss these expenses one by one, so you have an approximate estimate on how much your website design might cost you.
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Website Hosting Costs
When you sign up for hosting, your account allows you to store your website on a server owned by the hosting company.
A yearly hosting fee keeps your website online and accessible. Hosting comes in a variety of formats, and what you get will depend on how many resources your site will need.
Shared Hosting – This is the cheapest form of hosting because there are many websites saved to one server. Sites which don’t have a lot of visitors or don’t use much server power use shared hosting.
Dedicated Hosting – This is the most powerful version of hosting. Your website gets a server all to itself. Sites which might need dedicated hosting include e-commerce stores.
VPS Hosting – A VPS is a software version of a server running on a much more powerful server. Each VPS is set up to use a part of the CPU power and memory of its host server. It’s like shared hosting, but fewer sites are using the resources of a single server.
Website hosting can play a significant part in your cost to build a website. Generally, prices range from $3.00 to $100.00 or more.
Cost of Plugins
Plugins are applications you can install on top of WordPress to increase its functionality.
Developers design plugins to help speed up the site while others can guide you with search engine optimization.
There are plugins to display popups on your site to advertise specials, and quite a few make it easy for you to add a contact form on any page or post you like.
Like Apple have their saying, “there’s an app for that,” you could say “there’s a plugin for that,” for your WordPress site.
A vast majority of plugins are available for free. Some start free but charge for advanced functions, and others are only available for a subscription fee after a trial period.
Completely free plugins and no paid features are not recommended. Support for these can drop at any moment. If your site depends on the plugin, then a broken one may make your site inaccessible.
Developers charging for their plugins keep them updated. They also maintain compatibility whenever WordPress itself updates.
In short, you can expect greater reliability from a paid plugin, even if you only choose to use its free features.
Plugin prices range from free and can reach up to $100 a year.
Web Site Cost to Build with Themes and Page Builders
The theme you choose will depend a lot on the industry in which you work. A blogger would select a theme which delivers their blog posts to the home page in an attractive and accessible format.
A photographer or graphic designer would go for a theme with a built-in gallery that can display their latest creative works.
A corporate entity would most likely opt for a theme with clean lines and formal no-nonsense design.
Millions of themes are available for free, but like plugins, I only recommend going for paid versions.
Paid themes are important. If you site breaks because of a free theme you could lose weeks redesigning your site.
Themes range in price from free to $100 / year. Some may also be available with a one-time fee.
Merchant Fees and Gateways
Any time you want to accept payments on your website through a credit card or debit card, you will need to use a gateway service. E-commerce sites with shopping carts, websites with a paid digital download, or sites for online donations are popular uses for payment gateways.
Gateway services transfer payments between your bank and your visitor’s financial institution. Each transaction will have a small percentage fee charged against it.
There are a lot of payment gateways available, with Stripe and PayPal being two of the most popular. Both PayPal and Stripe fees incur a 2.9% plus a 0.30c fee for every transaction at the time of writing.
Website Update Cost
Websites are software applications and are quite complex pieces of code.
There are thousands of files which go into making up a WordPress site. Your site will need regular maintenance to ensure it is secure and performs well.
Hackers are always looking for ways to gain access to websites and install malware. Regular updates are the only means to safeguard your site from attack.
Managed hosting looks after your site for you. The service will update your site and perform checks to make sure everything is working as it should.
Website update costs for managed hosting can range from $30.00 to over a $100.00. How much you pay will depend on the complexity of your site.
Website Security (SSL)
Google is big on website security these days, and not having it could affect your position in the search results. I recommend installing SSL on your website even if you only plan on blogging.
A secure socket layer, or SSL, is a small piece of code installed on your website which it uses to create a secure channel between the server and the visitor’s browser.
Once activated, the padlock icon show’s a locked padlock and usually goes green to show a secure connection.
All traffic between the server and the browser is now encrypted to protect sensitive personal data.
Routine Website Maintenance Cost Per Hour
In the same way that your car needs regular servicing, websites need regular maintenance if they are to keep performing well.
Managed hosting services will create backups, remove useless files, and update your site’s content to keep it relevant.
Website maintenance costs per hour usually start at around $50 and go up to $350 an hour and beyond.
Average Cost of SEO for Websites
New websites don’t start attracting visitors as soon as they go live. You will only start getting visitors when searchers find your website in the search results.
To get found in the search results requires that your website use good search engine optimization (SEO) practices. SEO ensures your website content uses accurate keywords so visitors can find the information they need (and you want them to find it on your site).
There is a lot more to SEO than keywords and it is often described as a marathon not a sprint. Steady work at improving your SEO will mean your website outranks your competitors, gets found by more visitors, and brings in more leads.
The average cost to SEO a website will start at $200, and go up to $2000 and beyond. The cost of SEO will vary a lot depending on the agency and the processes they use.
The above items should give you a broad outline of the costs you will need to cover for your online presence. If you think I’ve left something out let me know in the comments below.