How Much it Costs to Build a Website for Your Business
Nowadays, all small businesses should have a website to advertise their services and attract new customers. A website is your online storefront, whether you operate an online business, a brick-and-mortar store or both. Meeting people where they are online is a good investment for your business, but the costs associated with building a website are often unclear and confusing. Let’s break down how much a website costs, the variables that influence the cost, and the all-important question — if I build it, will they come?
Websites cost more than you think.
Creating social media profiles for your business, such as on Facebook and Instagram, are free ways that you can establish an online presence. While some small businesses have opted to only have a Facebook page, it’s important to have your own website to establish credibility, control how you appear in search results, have somewhere a paid ad can link to, and reach people who don’t have a Facebook account. But unlike creating a Facebook page, building a website comes at a cost — and it’s often more than you’d expect.
First, you have to register a domain. A domain name is like your online street address and usually matches the name of your company. Owning the rights to a domain name is like owning property, and they cost upwards of $15 per year.
If a domain is like your street address, your hosting is like your power company. Hosting essentially turns the lights on your site and makes it accessible to everyone on the internet. Different hosting plans are available depending on the size of your site and the amount of traffic it gets, and range in cost from $5-$40 a month.
Now that you have a place for your website to live, you have to actually build the site. You can use a free website builder tool like Squarespace, Wix or Wordpress (with the possibility to pay for additional premium elements or support). However, these page builder services come with several disadvantages. You have to settle for a cookie cutter website that may not stand out against the competition, you must do all of the work (which can delay your launch), and you must learn how to maintain your site and troubleshoot issues as they arise. You also have to factor in the cost of your time learning how to use the website builder, basic web design principles, and best practices for SEO.
Alternatively, you can hire a web developer or designer to create a professional website. While this is a good investment for your business, the upfront cost of professional web design services can stop you dead in your tracks. The cost could range from $2000 if you hire a freelancer, to $15,000 if you contract a small agency, to much, much more.The advantage of hiring a professional is that there is less of a learning curve for you, and your business won’t have the same website template as someone else.
What are the biggest variables?
The biggest variables that affect the cost of your website are customization and other functions that the site may need to perform. If you want your website to stand out against the competition, then that custom appearance designed by a professional will make it cost more. If a designer has to create multiple templates for the different pages on your website (i.e. blog pages, product listing, job postings), this costs more too.
Certain functions on a website also come at an additional cost, including:
- E-commerce options, or the ability for someone to shop directly from your website
- Membership options, such as keeping some content behind a paywall or allowing people to book services by paying for a membership.
- Live chat and messaging for potential customers to reach you easily while they’re browsing your website.
While some customization and functions are as simple as adding pre-made widgets to your site, others require the skill of a web developer and coding these additions to your site. There is a correlation between the design and developer you choose and the type of tool they use to make your website. If you choose a cheaper freelance designer, they are likely limited in what kinds of functions they can achieve for your website. Many freelance designers aren’t code developers and will likely use a template on a platform such as Squarespace — this means you’re paying around $2000 for a “brochure”-style site of information. If your website requires e-commerce, custom request forms or other interactive, conditional elements that you want customized to meet your business needs, you may need to hire a web developer or an agency with a developer, and the costs will quickly start to rise upwards of $15,000.
Other cost additions to consider are the parts that make up the content of your site. Visuals are an important part of the appeal of a website, and without strong photography or visual assets, the look of your website can suffer. You may want to consider hiring a professional photographer to capture images for your site, or pay for stock photography that pertains to your business. Stock photography costs can range if you’re just purchasing individual pictures or paying a monthly rate for access to a range of images (i.e. Adobe Stock, Canva, Twenty20). Custom design graphics, animations and videos are also a consideration that come at a cost. And if writing isn’t your thing, especially writing for optimal SEO and creating content that your audience wants to read, you may consider hiring a copywriter.
If I build it, will they come?
The biggest mistake a small business can make is putting all of their digital budget into building the website. But what about making sure people know about it, and actually come visit your page to learn about what you do? Just like when establishing a brick and mortar store, you have to consider the investment that comes with getting people in the door.
Online advertising and digital marketing options are an important piece of the cost of building a website for your business. Similar to building a website yourself with a page builder tool, you can learn about digital marketing yourself and advertise your site on a DIY basis. Of course, you may get better results hiring an experienced digital marketing professional or company to help get people to your website and convert them into paying customers.
Build your website with Nimble Digital
Whether you’re just getting started creating a website for your business or long-overdue for a redesign, Nimble has the right website for your business. You can be confident that your new site has all the right features and tools for growth. Our digital design will create a conversion-focused website that reflects the brand and values of your business. Our websites are lightning-fast and built for conversion. Plus, we take care of all the maintenance so you don't have to worry. Whatever type of website you’re building, we work with you to ensure your online presence supports your bottom line.
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