Every business needs a website, but it can range from free to several thousand dollars depending on the type of site and what it needs to do. In today’s digital world, there is no way to survive without a website, but how much do you want to invest.

The cost to start a website is an important part of the decision-making process. Your website is your digital storefront. It’s the first thing customers see when they look you up online. Do you want them to see a shabby storefront or a sparkling one that pleases to eye?

We’ll examine the price ranges for various sites and what you get with them.

Cost to Start a Website: Budgeting

Before you begin hiring developers or doing research, determine what your budget is for the website and what you want it to do. Are you a small business that just needs something informational to identify your business online?

Are you an e-commerce store that needs people to see and order products? Are you a physical location that also does e-commerce? Are you a major industry with thousands of products on your site?

Depending on the type of business you are and the needs of the website determine the overall price.

Website Hosting

If you want your website to be seen, it has to be hosted on a server. There are three basic types: shared, virtual private, and dedicated. With shared hosting, you share the server power with several other websites.

This is the most common for smaller websites, but if one of the websites sees an influx of traffic it can slow or even break your site. A shared server also doesn’t allow for much control.

A virtual private network is similar to shared in that many websites use it, but they all have their own piece of the server power. Your site isn’t impacted by traffic or issues with the other sites on the server.

If you want total hosting control, then you have a dedicated server. Your site is the only one on the server, so there is no one else. Server hosting can cost as little as $20 for a shared server to many hundreds for a dedicated server.

Free Websites are Not Worth It

You’ve probably seen commercials online for free websites development platforms that make it easy to have a website up in just a few minutes. These free services will create a website for you, but they are incredibly limited.

They use templates that are generic and look the same for everyone. You can’t put images and text where you want unless it fits in with the template. It’s difficult to manage SEO and other digital marketing for these sites because you don’t have control of the backend.

You don’t have access to the code for customization and often don’t have e-commerce capability. You could create a website for free using drag and drop templates, but you won’t be seen on search engines, and you’ll look like every other business that uses that service.

Developing a Site Yourself

WordPress is one of the most prevalent platforms available to make a website, and it’s free. It does have more flexibility than most other free platforms, can integrate e-commerce through WooCommerce, and lets you choose from thousands of templates.

If you choose to develop the site yourself, then the cost could be zero, but it will cost you time. WordPress makes it easy to create a website, but if you don’t have experience in creating a site, especially if you want to integrate e-commerce, then you’ll be at it for hours.

If something breaks, then you must fix it and you don’t have anyone in your corner. There are some costs to do-it-yourself WordPress web development if you want to purchase custom themes or plugins.

This can cost you as little as $20 or run you a few hundred dollars, which is an affordable website. You’ll also need hosting which can cost a few hundred per year.

Customized WordPress Site

When you build a website, it needs to be the best it can be. You need to have a great user experience, branding, and a great look. You can only get this with custom programming.

It provides the best flexibility, plugin support, security and creates a website that looks great and is navigable by customers. If you use WooCommerce, then they make sure you check out that everything works.

If there are any issues, then the developer works with you to fix them. When it comes to creating a custom-designed WordPress website it can cost anywhere from $400 to a few thousand depending on the time and what is required.

Generally, the larger the site, the larger the cost.

E-commerce Sites

A website design service that specializes in specific e-commerce platforms is necessary for the best outcome. Many sites such as Shopify require a lot of work to create a proper website. They also have aspects for SEO, but if you want the best look, find a developer that specializes in that specific platform.

The cost depends on the developer and what needs to be done to the site. The more products and customization, the higher the cost. A good e-commerce site can run anywhere from $800 to several thousand dollars.

Many times, the developer will want to add digital marketing services to the site as well such as PPC advertising or SEO. This upselling allows the developer to work on your site to make it faster, add schema markup and other technical issues to improve the overall design that wasn’t included in the original price.

Create Your Website

When you start a business, you need to think about your website. The cost to start a website could be free or several thousands of dollars. It’s important to not underestimate the importance of your business website.

If you want to learn more about the cost of building a website, then check out our services.