How much should a website cost you? If you have been thinking about it for quite some time you are not alone. Thousands of people look it up on the internet every single day. After all, everyone needs an online place to call their home right? Now, don’t say that Facebook is your home or Twitter is your paradise – they simply are nothing more than a place where you trade your precious time for nothing.
Why you must own your content
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks are like your friend’s place; you can visit them often but you cannot stay there forever. But your blog or website is like your home, where you are the king and you can decide what you want to write and talk about. Oh, by the way, owning a Facebook page with millions of fans doesn’t mean you can stay there forever. Everything about Facebook pages is totally wrong.
Why building your website matters – an example
Initially, Facebook wooed content creators with a robust platform for them to share their content online and anyone with a Facebook account can easily follow them. Once everyone jumped on the bandwagon and started sailing their ships on an ocean called Facebook pages, Facebook decided to turn them into money-making machines.
Facebook started to introduce new algorithm updates which gradually reduced the ‘total reach’ of the content shared by page owners. But what’s in it for them? (Meta) Giving people a clear and clutter-free news feed so that people can see only see posts from their friends? You must be kidding! They even added a separate tab on Facebook for following Facebook pages alone. They did this to make (or should I say force?) the page owners to promote their Facebook pages so that their content gets in front of many people who have already ‘liked’ their Facebook pages. What a shitty way to make money.
I had a Facebook page for my blog with a mere 1,500+ likes and it was constantly nagging me to boost my posts, as if I have got that much money to make them even richer, duh! At first, I thought it was an intelligent feature introduced to help page owners boost their best content. But later I realized that it suggested every single post with a slightly better engagement as a post worth boosting. It should have ended with this. But it didn’t.
I used to use Facebook mostly on my phone and I hadn’t got more than 250 friends (yes, I only added people whom I had met at some point in my life and I had a good feeling about them). Coming back to the point, every time I started to scroll through my news feed, it started to nag me with sample ad previews designed for my Facebook page’s posts. It wanted to lift the heavy work(?) of creating an advertisement for my posts – all they wanted is my money!
I do agree that making money is essential for any business and Facebook has learned it well, but these constant changes being implemented all the time is like an unnecessary headache. Facebook should at least give us the option to opt-out of these constant nagging to spend money on advertisements. Being ambitious is good, but being overly ambitious might prove fatal for their business at times. I just hope that they don’t learn it the hard way.
Okay, coming back to the topic – this is the major reason why you should stay away from creating the majority of content on a platform that you do not own. Or at least you should have a backup plan. If your readers/followers are genuinely interested in your content, they will be willing to follow you anywhere. A Facebook page cannot replace your blog, website, or your online store and it can definitely not help you with anything in the long run. So, instead of working hard for something which you don’t own, work for yourself.
How much should a website cost
The cost of designing and developing a website can easily range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. If you have got a friend like me, you can even get it designed for free. If you are a non-profit or you just don’t have enough money to hire a developer to create your first website, feel free to send me a message. I will try my best to accommodate your request.
Hiring a developer
The largest chunk of money allocated for creating your website will be spent on hiring a good web designer or developer. This is the most important step in creating your website. If you’re lucky enough, you will get a good designer who understands your requirements and get you started with a perfect website. If you are not lucky enough, only God can help you. There are two processes involved in creating any website – the design process and the development stage.
During the designing process, you will be outlining your requirements to the designer and they will come up with new ideas or suggestions on how you can improve your website model. Also, you will be provided with theme examples using demo websites. Once you have fully described your major requirements and the ideal model had been perfected in the designer’s mind, they will start working on it.
Once the designing phase is over, you should not interrupt the designer and pester them to keep adding new features. Wait for the prototype to arrive first. After that, you can ask them to add new features that you have got in your mind. During the development phase, the developer will start working on your website and once the website is fully designed and functional, they will contact you with the live link to your website.
Now, you can go to your website and if you are not satisfied with it, you can ask them to make a few minor changes here and there. You can’t expect them to make major changes unless you are ready to pay for overtime too. Every single change you ask the developer to make on your website (after the final site has been delivered to you) costs time and money.
You can easily hire a professional web developer from sites like Upwork, Freelancer, Toptal, Guru, 99designs, PeoplePerHour, and WordPress Jobs. Before you hire someone from these freelance sites, have a good look at their profile reviews/ratings. If your website requirement is simple, it won’t take more than a few hours but if it is quite complex it can easily take more than a day. By outsourcing this work to freelancers, you can save yourself from the complexities involved. Thus, hiring a good web designer should cost you around $40 to $60 (website design cost per hour).
Not all websites cost the same to design and develop. Very simple websites cost no more than $50 to develop and a website with a few pages of content can go up by $100. If the website is going to be complex with more work for the developer, then it can easily take anywhere from $300 to $500 per website. But if you are going to transfer your blog from WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress, it will cost anywhere from just $50 to $150 per site just for the transfer alone.
If you choose a free blogging platform like WordPress to manage your site, the cost will be very less compared to other premium solutions. WordPress is free and open-source software, meaning, anyone can download and use WordPress for free. That’s one of the major reasons why WordPress is so popular among new website owners. Next comes choosing a perfect theme for your website and installing extra plugins to add additional functionalities to your site. As you keep adding new features to your site, your website design cost will increase accordingly.
Domain name registration and a web hosting plan
The very basic building blocks of a website are its domain name and web hosting server. The domain name is the address or URL of your site using which people can locate your website on the internet (like google.com, facebook.com, musical.ly, etc). In this case, ‘antonyagnel.com’ is my domain name and anyone searching for or entering it in their browser’s address bar will be taken to my blog. Registering a standard ‘.com’ domain name costs anywhere between $10 to $15 per year and you can register your domain name with Namecheap if you need a trusted and ICANN- accredited domain name registrar. You must always register your domain name with an accredited registrar as they are accredited by ICANN for meeting the requirements of a standard. It usually means that they have been assessed against recognized standards to demonstrate their competence, impartiality, and capability.
Next, you need a place where your website’s files can be stored and served to your site’s visitors. Though any computer can be used as a web hosting server, you cannot use your PC to keep your website online throughout the day 24 x 7 for 365 days. That’s the reason why we need to buy a web hosting plan from one of the many professional web hosting companies available out there. Since it is business for them, they are more experienced and can be trusted with hosting your website. SiteGround and Bluehost are the two best web hosting platforms available out there for hosting your first website. You can get started with either of these web hosts first and then upgrade the hosting plan or migrate your site to any other hosting company as your website requirement grows.
Since you are just starting out, you can go with their basic shared web hosting plans which will cost you around $3.95 per month. If you don’t know how to choose the best web hosting plan for your website, read this post first.
Totally, it will cost you around $60 to $70 per year for domain name registration and a good web hosting plan.
How to minimize website design and development cost
Though I can easily suggest that you must create your own website if you need to keep the costs down, I must speak realistically and meet the demands of this article. First of all, don’t go for custom theme design and development for your website right away, always use existing themes or templates instead. I have come across many instances where new website owners are tricked into buying custom theme development for their website when they could have easily used an existing free template or theme to achieve the same output. Second, don’t buy premium SSL certificates for your blog. Go with a web host like SiteGround which offers free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates for all plans (HTTPS).
Third, don’t hire a web developer for publishing content on your website – you can easily do it by yourself. Why spend $50 for that per month when you can easily publish all the content by yourself? Fourth, go for free stock photography websites like Pexels or Unsplash to get beautiful and professional images for your website instead of going for a premium stock photography site like Shutterstock. Finally, for designing custom images and graphics, use a free graphic design tool like Canva instead of hiring a graphic designer to create your logo, website header image, blog post featured images, infographics, etc.
Thus I hope that you found this post useful in understanding the costs involved in website creation and how much it will cost you in total for creating your website. I guess you can now strike off the ‘how much will it cost for a website’ question from your mind peacefully.