How Much Does it Cost to Have a Website for Your Business?
Establishing an online presence for your business does not have to be a huge investment but, at the same time, do not let anyone tell you that building and maintaining a website and Internet marketing are free. Costs vary considerably and while online marketing is generally a very cost-effective way to get more customers, it is not nearly as cheap and straightforward as some people make the mistake of thinking. The costs you can expect depend largely on your requirements. If all you need is a simple online portal for your business – something which provides useful information about your business and its products and services – the costs should be very low indeed. However, if you want to establish an online shop with an ever-expanding catalogue of products, then things become somewhat more complicated. Following is an overview of the costs you can expect to encounter when getting your business into the online world.
1 – Domain Registration and Hosting
If the Web address (also known as a domain) that you want is readily available, then the cost of registering it is minimal. Typically, you will need to spend around $10 per year for a .com or local country Web address. However, if the domain you want is already taken, you may have the option to buy it on one of the domain auction websites or by contacting the current owner directly. If you really want a specific domain and it is already taken, then the costs depend on a number of factors. Some domains sell for hundreds of dollars while others sell for hundreds of thousands!
Web hosting costs are also minimal in the case of most websites. You only really need to start paying significant amounts for Web hosting when your site is receiving a great deal of traffic and thus requires more bandwidth. However, once this becomes the case, you should be making more than enough money to compensate. A basic business hosting package usually includes some Internet commerce functionality, encryption, a good amount of storage space and plenty of bandwidth. Such a package should cost around $20 per month.
2 – Web Design and Production
Usually the most significant expense, hiring the services of a professional Web designer is sometimes unavoidable. However, the Web has become far simpler than it used to be. There is a great abundance of free and low-cost Web design packages and content management systems which do not have a particularly steep learning curve. In addition to that, there are thousands of websites offering free tutorials and other informational resources to help you get started. You can use templates, blogs and a variety of other mediums for getting your website on the air without even having to know a thing about coding and the intricacies of Web design. To launch a basic website for your business, you can often do the work required yourself, assuming you have at least a basic knowledge of IT and the Internet.
To meet more complex demands, there are a couple of options. Firstly, you can give the entire job to a professional Web designer. You can outsource such work using freelancing websites where you post jobs, take proposals and accept the one you want at an agreed price. Costs vary enormously and results can be unreliable unless you take plenty of care to do your research to ensure that you are working with the best designers. Generally, you should expect to spend a minimum of $1000 for a basic website. Remember to do your research and consider your requirements carefully. Get quotes from multiple companies and/or freelancers to ensure that you get the best deal.
If you have at least a very elementary knowledge of Web design and you have considerably complex requirements but you still want to save costs and do the job yourself, another option is to start off with a premium, professionally-designed website template. The costs of such templates generally start at around $200. Some hosting companies may also provide templates which are included in a higher subscription fee.
3 – Marketing
Aside from paying for your domain subscription and Web hosting, another ongoing cost which, depending on your business, you will probably not be able to avoid, is marketing. Although there are many free ways to drive traffic to your website, there comes a point in time for many businesses where it is necessary to start paying for more exposure. This certainly does not mean, however, that you should start neglecting the free social media and search engine marketing methods. Using such methods is a core element to making a success online.
Paid Internet marketing generally involves pay-per-click or pay-per-view advertising. With most programs, you get to specify a daily budget for your advertising. This is good since it allows you to always be in control of how much you're spending. Your advertisements will appear on relevant pages, since they are matched to the content of the webpage that they appear on. Every time someone clicks on an advertisement and ends up at your website, you pay a few cents. This continues until your daily advertising budget is depleted.
In conclusion, the costs involved in getting your business on the information highway depend largely on how much work you do yourself. For a startup cost of as little of around $50, you can launch a business website provided that you do all of the design work yourself. If your requirements are higher and you plan to outsource all of the work involved, then the initial startup costs involved will almost certainly be in excess of $1000.
The market is extremely competitive. Costs for hosting, domain registration and Web design services vary greatly. To get the best deal and to enjoy the services that best suit your requirements, you should make sure to spend plenty of time on research.