How Much Does It REALLY Cost to Build a Website for Your Small Business? The Truth Web Developers Don’t Want You to Know!

If you are looking to do your web design on a tight budget, here are some tips that will get you started.

WARNING: While you can save a lot of money by doing things yourself, it’s not usually your best option, and I recommend it only for those willing to take time to learn at least the basics of internet marketing. For others, hiring an experienced Web Designer or Internet Marketing Consultant is the way to go; and it will save you lots of money, time, and frustration in the long run.

So, let’s look at the basic costs of setting up your own website.

What I’m going to be talk about here is the absolute bare minimum of what you need to set up an online presence. Obviously, you can spend a LOT more, and if you have the money – good for you!

But if you are just starting up and have a  very limited budget, and are willing to get your hands “dirty” and do some computer work and promotion (or have an assistant whom you can train to do it for you), here is how much it’s going to cost you to create and maintain a decent online presence.

How much does it cost to build a website?

The following are the components that are indispensable:

  1. Domain Name. This is essential. You must have your own domain name registered. The preferred extensions are .com or .net.
    The expense: about $9 per year.
  2. Hosting with Hostgator or another reputable company.
    The expense: About $50-$100 per year.
  3. Building the Website. You can save yourself a lot of money on designer’s fees if you use a content management system (CMS) as your website platform (I recommend a self-hosted installation of WordPress CMS from WordPress.org) and buy a professionally designed WordPress theme for under $100. You can install it all yourself or have someone do it cheaply for you. The graphics and site layout are usually very easy to customize, so you can hire someone to help you with that without breaking the bank. Custom graphic design is not essential, but if you want something special, look at spending around $300-$500 in design.
    I really like Thesis, Elegant themes, or Studio Press themes but there are many other awesome themes for WordPress available out there – designed, built and optimized by real professionals.
  4. Mailing List/Autoresponder – for example, Aweber. This enables you to build one of the greatest assets that any business may have: a list of prospects. You’ll be able to collect email addresses of visitors that come to your website, to whom you’ll be selling many times in the future. The cost is around $20 per month or $200 per year (paid in advance).

So up to this point you are looking at a setup and maintenance cost of around $400, which doesn’t have to be paid all at once. You may want some extras, but that’s your initial costs for setting up a basic online presence for your business, for an ENTIRE YEAR.

And this is GREAT news for those of you who are on a budget but – most importantly – have the desire and time to get their hands “dirty” and do some things by themselves.  The tools that are available today are just amazing, making building a website truly fast and easy.

However, does it mean that everybody should be building their own websites, without any help from web designers, developers and Internet marketing consultants?

Well…

Not necessarily.

**For most people, hiring an experienced Web Designer or Internet Marketing Consultant is the way to go. It will save you lots of money, time, and frustration in the long run – so consider it an investment in your  future**

Really, if you don’t know what you’re doing and are not willing to spend time to learn – you may end up wasting a lot of effort, time and ultimately money.  When you consider that, the fees paid can be considered a sound investment in the future of your business.

If you want your website – and your online business – to be a success, there are many pieces that need to fit together, like pieces of a puzzle. If one of them is missing – for example – traffic – the whole thing won’t work.

So, for most people, hiring someone knowledgeable, even if it will cost you a couple of hundred or thousands dollars upfront, will save a lot of time, money and aggravation in the long run – all these resources (I mean time and money, not aggravation :-)) can be spent much more productively on doing something else – like growing your business.

And most of all you need a strategy, an Internet Marketing Plan, that will help you get where you want to go.

You can contact me for a  internet marketing strategy consulting session to see how we could work together to build your website and online business.

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4 Comments

  1. The only question I’d have would be about selling a product through a wordpress generated back end. There are a bunch of free carts out there like OS Commerce, I am not sure any of those tie back into WordPress but they both run off PhP. Another consideration is SSL for anyone actually selling online.
    .-= Kendra´s last blog ..Getting Lost With Ceramics =-.

  2. That’s a good point, but there many plugins that can be used with WordPress to build a shopping cart, plus there are some themes that have been build specifically for e-commerce.
    I was just recently preparing a proposal for an e-commerce site and was researching some themes – WPA Storefront on Themeforest, Shopperpress.com themes and e-commerce themes on Templatic.com all looked very promising.

  3. Nice post. I do think a lot of people are unaware of the free tools out there to use. Another one for more savvy people is Joomla.org. They use a Content Management System and it is a relatively easy program to learn. Blogger always works well too and hosts for free!

  4. There are some resellers who sells hosting at $10/year on ebay. That can save costs too. (Even hosts like justhost.com also offers unmetered bandwidth hosting. Another good option for reliable and less costly hosting). As Kendra said, yeah cost of SSL should also be considered when someone install shopping cart on them. It actually depends on kind of business it is.