Because of my occupation I’m regularly asked this question. And guess what, I still can’t answer it clearly. Each single website has a unique set of requirements and factors that contribute to its cost. No two websites are alike, so there’s no ready price tags for different types of websites.
Believe me or not, the difference in the cost can be unthinkable: the same project with the same ‘requirements document’ can be priced at $2,000 by one web design agency and $20,000 by another.
The margins are blurred, so it makes sense to know which offer is the most reasonable for your particular case and why. With this thought in mind I’ve decided to do some maths. Please note, that the following figures are applied to estimating the cost of a typical, small business website (basic CMS, social media widgets, up to 25 pages, nothing extraordinary).
Domain name – $10 per year.
Hosting – $30 – $200 (depending on hosting provider and specific requirements/add-ons).
Website design and development – 50-80 working hours and up.
Ongoing maintenance – $400-600 a year and up (depending on how often you’re going to update the website).
Marketing (offline/online) – $500 monthly and up.
Given the fierce online competition in virtually all possible industries, a business needs to have a very strong web presence to differentiate itself from the competition. Thus, it makes sense to pay attention to your website’s uniqueness in the first place.
However, these aren’t the end calculations, since there are many other factors that can equally lower and raise the cost. Here are a few:
Do you already have graphics (logo, imagery, etc.)?
Do you need any extra functionality? How difficult is it to implement? (eCommerce, user management, multiple forms and alike).
Who will be responsible for the website’s maintenance?
So, the conclusion is: if you have most of the elements ready at your fingertips, and you’re not going to delegate website maintenance to a third party, and if you have some rudimentary knowledge of how websites are being born, you can significantly cut costs. But you will still have to purchase a domain and a hosting package. So why not try a website builder?
Some of the site constructors offer full-featured plans at the cost of the reliable hosting plan, or even cheaper. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that a website builder can substitute an army of professional developers, designers and marketers. But I’m sure it can certainly make your life easier :), especially if you’re planning to build a simple, informational website. So, below I’ve compiled website builders that might interest you.
uCoz ($0 – $10.99 per month). With this SaaS platform you can have your website up and running using your own domain name free of charge. The only downside is that you’ll have to display their system copyright and advertisement on your pages. To get rid of the ad you have to upgrade your account (the cheapest option is $3.09). Because this website builder allows you to make changes directly in your website’s code, anyone is capable of building a personalized web presence there. For more details read my uCoz Review.
Zoho Sites ($0 – $39 per year). This website builder is developed by Zoho.com, a powerful, award-winning corporation that has launched 25+ powerful online applications. At the moment, Zoho Corporation serves more than six million customers online. Their ‘Sites’ project encompasses probably all their available extensions making the platform a very competitive web service in the niche. For more details read my Zoho Sites Review.
Webydo ($0 – $7.90/$9.90 per month). Webydo primarily caters to the professional web designers’ needs. It’s geared towards creating elegant, eye-catching websites with rich imagery that are easy to update and edit. Webydo has a very smart inbuilt CMS allowing web designers to manage several projects simultaneously. Furthermore, since recently they can even bill their clients using their baked-in Bill Your Client function. For more details read my Webydo Review.
So, if you’re about to build a website, I highly recommend doing some research before hiring anyone, signing any contracts or creating a paid account with a website builder. Informed means armed!