If you're about to create a website, the amount of money you're willing to spend on it is a significant factor to consider.
In short, setting up a website can cost you anywhere from just a few bucks per month to a few thousand, if not tens of thousands of dollars.
That sounds like a pretty broad estimate, right?
That's because you can create a website in three different ways: use a website builder, like Wix or Squarespace, build it using WordPress, or you could hire professional web designers and have them create it for you.
The pricing of these options varies significantly, and your choice will mostly depend on the budget and the type of website you want to build.
That's why we will break down each of these methods, find out how much they'll cost you and which options might be the best for you.
Website builders are the most affordable option. For example, Squarespace charges $16 per month for its cheapest pricing plan and $54 per month for the most expensive one, whereas Wix will set you back $4.50 for the basic plan and $26 for the VIP one.
All of these plans cover your custom domain and the SSL certificate while also giving you access to SEO features for improving your website's ranking in the search engine.
Furthermore, website builders are the easiest to use. You don't need to have any technical knowledge, and you can get your website up and running in just a few hours and have access to 24/7 customer care.
But website builders have their limitations. You'll be restricted by the templates they provide you.
Although you can tweak them to your liking, customization options are still limited. Thus, you might have a hard time making your website stand out from the rest.
So, should you use a website builder?
If you're on a tight budget, you don't have any technical expertise, and all you want is to set up a small business website or a blog quickly, then website builders can be an excellent option for you.
Unlike website builders, WordPress gives you more control over the customization and functionality of your website, as there are plenty of free and premium themes or plugins to choose from. The premium ones can cost up to a few hundred dollars.
Furthermore, building a website using WordPress will require some level of technical knowledge. So, if that's just not your thing, you might need to hire a WordPress developer, which can set you back between $60-80 per hour.
You have to think about SEO as well. Will you do it by yourself or work with digital marketing companies? The latter may bump up the costs a bit, but you might get a better return on investment.
Speaking of costs, building a website with WordPress will require a few additional payments. More specifically, you'll have to pay for the web domain, web hosting, and SSL certificate.
Providing the exact cost of each of these is difficult, as prices vary depending on multiple factors. So, let's discuss this in further detail.
Prices for registering a domain name start from a few dollars or even several thousand. That's because the cost of a domain name depends on its extension (.com, .org, .net, etc.), availability, registrar, and other elements.
But in general, a domain name with the .com extension on Domain.com starts from $9.99. Whereas on GoDaddy, a domain with the .net extension will set you back $14.99.
Keep in mind that domain names will require renewals yearly. Furthermore, registrars usually offer discounts on the first-year purchase, while renewals are much more costly.
Web hosting prices depend on the providers you choose and the type of hosting your website needs.
You've got three hosting options available: shared, virtual private servers (VPS), and dedicated.
Shared hosting is the cheapest option available. To get a general idea, Bluehost charges $2.95 per month for the most affordable shared hosting plan.
That's because you'll share resources, like disk space, CPU, and RAM, with other websites hosted on the same servers.
In other words, this option is best for small websites. But, once you or other websites hosted on the same server start gaining traction, the websites' performance might take a hit.
That's because there aren't enough resources available to keep up with the high volumes of traffic.
With VPS, you'll still share the same server with other websites. However, you'll have your dedicated portion of its resources.
Consequently, VPS hosting eliminates the risk of having performance affected by other websites, making it a good option for medium-sized websites.
With Bluehost, the cheapest VPS plan will cost you $18.99 per month.
With dedicated hosting, you'll have an entire server's resources at your disposal, meaning that's a great option for websites that generate lots of traffic.
The same provider has a starting price of $79.99 per month for a dedicated hosting plan.
The SSL certificate authenticates your website's identity and enables an encrypted connection.
In other words, SSL keeps the connection between users and websites secure and prevents potential hackers from modifying or reading the information transferred between websites and their visitors.
Usually, the SSL certificate is used for securing data transfer and logins, credit card transactions, etc. Once installed on a web server, the SSL certificate will activate the HTTPS protocol and display the padlock icon next to your website's URL once installed on a web server.
Without this certificate, your website's position in the search engine might take a hit, and the "Not Secure" label will appear in the address bar. This may lead users to abandon your website.
There are three types of SSL certificates: Domain Validation (DV), Organization Validation (OV), and Extended Validation (EV).
Although you can get free SSL certificates, they will only offer DV, which is not as secure as the other options.
Furthermore, in the event of an attack, paid SSL certificates come with a warranty, meaning that they'll pay out for any damages.
In terms of pricing, DV SSL certificates start from around $8 per year. OV and EV SSL certificates prices usually begin at $57 and $60 per year, respectively.
Pricing also depends on the type of warranty the SSL certificates provide.
All in all, the price of building a website using WordPress can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. That said, WordPress is suited both for smaller business websites or blogs and very large websites.
Furthermore, given the customization options it offers, WordPress will give your website much more room for growth. But, keep in mind that this will require a bit of technical know-how.
Professional website design agencies take your idea and can build your website from scratch. Thus, you'll be able to build a website that's specifically tailored to your company's and audience's needs. But, this takes time, and it will cost you.
You can expect to be charged between $5,000 and $10,000 for a simple website, including maintenance.
However, depending on your website's complexity, the features it will include, the number of pages it will contain, and whether you want designers to handle domains, hosting, plugins and maintenance, the prices can go even higher.
To cut down on the costs, you could purchase a premium WordPress theme and ask a designer to customize it for you. This method will cost you around $600.
But, keep in mind to not skimp on web designers. Otherwise, you may spend a few thousand dollars and still end up with a website that you're not happy with.
So are professional web designers worth it?
If you want to build a complex site and budget or time is not a problem, then the answer is yes.
For starters, custom-tailored solutions enable you to create a website that's unique and stands out from your competitors.
Secondly, most templates are designed to fit multiple purposes. They'll give you access to various features and components, some of which you may not need.
Although this may not seem like a big deal, these features will have a lot of code behind them, and that can negatively impact your website's performance.
On the other hand, web designers have complete control over the features you want to include. That said, you won't have to deal with any unnecessary code that will drag performance down.
Furthermore, custom websites usually come with a better user experience. That's because you have the freedom to create a website that is specifically catered to your target audience.
You can customize web pages based on your audience's needs, demographics, location, etc.
Lastly, a website that performs well caters to potential customers, and is unique will make you appear more professional in the eyes of your visitors.
Thus, you'll be able to earn their trust and establish yourself as an authority.
All in all, estimating the cost of building a website can get tricky. It depends on your chosen approach, the domains you pick, the hosting provider you'll work with, etc.
Website builders are the cheapest options. You can have your website up and running for anywhere from $4.50 to $54 per month.
This makes it an excellent option for people who don't have any technical expertise and want to run something minor, like a blog.
Think of WordPress as the middle ground. If you want access to more customization options and know something about coding, you can still create a small website without breaking the bank.
You can get a $10 domain, choose the $2.95/month hosting plan, maybe pay $8 for the SSL certificate and purchase a few plugins and you're ready to.
With more expensive hosting plans and premium themes and plugins, you can also set up serious websites.
But, if you want the real deal and budget is not a problem, you should hire professional web designers.
Although it may cost you a few thousand, or tens of thousands of dollars, you can be sure that your business website is set up for success.
Author’s Bio - Christopher is a digital marketing specialist at Digital Strategy One and a freelance blogger. He is focused on new web tech trends and digital voice distribution across different channels. In his free time, Christopher plays drums and Magic: the Gathering.