Category Archives: eCommerce

Having a website has become a necessity for most small businesses, but the development costs can be difficult to estimate because there are many factors that must be taken into consideration. You can pay as little as several thousand dollars or as much as $100,000+. After reading this article, you’ll be able to approximate the cost of creating a website for your business without having to ask for a price quote, hoping the real costs won’t exceed it.

how much does it cost to make a website for a business

How Much Does It Cost to Create a Website for a Small Business?

Creating a website for your business is a lot like building a house for your family. If you have a small family and an equally small budget, a large McMansion is simply out of the question. On the other hand, if your budget is large, you can afford to build a house with a few extra bedrooms just in case you decide to welcome another child, or several, into your family.

Some small businesses don’t need anything more than a one page website, which displays all information on a single page, making it easy to develop, deploy, and use. Depending on whether you decide to build a website from scratch or hire a professional to do it for you (more about the pros and cons of each of the two approaches later in this article), you can expect to pay anywhere from $3500 to $6000.

Small businesses that offer more products or services typically need a larger website with multiple pages and a content management system (CMS). How much does it cost to make a website for a business with multiple products or services? Anywhere from $10,000 to $35,000. The price range is so wide because there’s a huge difference between using a free CMS in its stock form and modifying it to better fit the needs of the business.

A Large-scale website with hundreds of pages, custom features, proprietary images, professionally optimized content, and other bells and whistles can cost as much as $100,000. Of course, most small businesses don’t spend anywhere near that amount on a website. Partnering up with a reputable web design and development company is the best way to ensure that you get the desired result at an adequate price.

Main Factors That Affect the Cost of a Website

We’ve already mentioned several factors that affect the cost of a website, and now is the time to look at them more closely so that you know exactly what to expect when building a new website.

  • Size: It’s pretty self-explanatory why a small website with just a couple of pages costs considerably less than a large e-commerce site with hundreds of product categories. That said, a website with 40 pages doesn’t necessarily have to be twice as expensive as a website with 20 pages. In most cases, the cost of a new page drops down considerably after the groundwork has been laid.
  • Design & Functionality: Just about any freelance web developer can use an open-source content management system and a template downloaded from the internet to create a website, but only skilled web developers and designers can build a custom website from scratch and add all the functionality the client asks. Of course, custom design and functionality cost more, noticeably increasing the overall cost of building a website.
  • Content Creation: Persuading visitors to take a certain action (make a reservation, order a product, ask for a price quote) takes a certain skill set that many business owners don’t have. Those who decide to hire a professional copywriter should expect to pay at least $0.15 per word. It’s also important to note that web content should be periodically updated to prevent it from becoming stale.
  • Hosting and Maintenance: Every website needs a domain name and web server to be accessible from the internet. Smaller websites can get away with basic web hosting packages, which typically cost just a few dollars a month. Larger websites, on the other hand, need enterprise-grade web hosting that in some cases can cost over $100 per month.
  • Search Engine Optimization: When calculating a small business website cost, it’s easy to forget about search engine optimization. However, a website that’s not optimized for search engines won’t attract any visitors, making SEO one of the most important ongoing expenses.

As you can see, the cost to build a website is affected by both indirect and direct expenses, some larger than others. Now that you have a better understanding of what goes into building a new website, we can describe in detail the two main approaches you can take.

Professional Website Versus DIY

To give you a better understanding of how much it can cost to create a website for your business, we need to explain the differences between two options when it comes to building a website from scratch.

how much does it cost to build a website for a small business

Approach 1: Hiring a Professional

Successful business owners understand their own strengths and know-how to maximize them. By hiring a professional web design and development company such as ComboApp, you can maintain a sharp focus on your core strengths and let someone with many years of experience with creating business websites secure your place on the web.

Because professional web designers and web developers have a good understanding of modern web technologies, they can create a business website that works flawlessly on all devices—desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets. They can also help you fill your site with engaging content and optimize it for search engines so that customers won’t have any trouble finding you.

In most cases, professional web design and development companies are happy to provide ongoing maintenance and support to keep your website fresh and secure. This is especially important if you intend to collect customer information for the purpose of selling goods or services online. According to recent cybersecurity statistics, 43 percent of cyber-attacks target small businesses, and a single data breach can irreparably damage the reputation of any small business in an instant.

Of course, there are some downsides to hiring a professional. The biggest downside is the fact that this approach requires an investment of at least several thousand dollars. Small businesses that are just starting out typically don’t have a lot of money in their budget to allocate for web design and development, which is why it’s not uncommon for them to attempt to build a website from scratch on their own.

Approach 2: Do It Yourself (DIY)

Small business owners who are interested in creating a website while spending as little money as possible can choose the DIY approach if they feel confident in their technical skills and understanding of modern web design principles and development techniques.

To build a website from scratch, you need the following components:

  • Domain name (between $10 and $200 a year): Every website needs a domain name (URL) so that people can easily find it in search engines and visit it by entering it in their web browser. The most common domain name extensions (the last part of a domain name) include .com, .org, and .net, and they cost around $10 a year. There are, however, some exotic domain name extensions that cost as much as $200. Purchasing a registered domain name is a whole different game entirely, and small businesses should avoid it.
  • SSL certificate (between $0 and $200 a year): These days, websites are expected to have an SSL certificate issued by an authorized certification authority. An SSL certificate allows encrypting sensitive data and protecting the privacy of site visitors. The good news is that any small business can get an SSL certificate for free thanks to Let’s Encrypt, a non-profit certificate authority run by Internet Security Research Group.
  • Website hosting (between $10 and $100 a month): To make your website accessible from the internet, you need to host it on a server, which is where web hosting services come in, allowing you to put your site online for as little as $10 a month. Most small businesses can start with the most affordable web hosting plan and upgrade when they start getting more traffic.

These three components provide the foundation upon which you can create a business website using a CMS like WordPress and Drupal or by coding it from scratch in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other markup and programming languages.

The obvious benefit of the DIY approach is its low cost. For just a few hundred dollars per year and some personal time investment, a small business can establish a web presence, which is less than what any professional web design and development company would charge.

The problem is that this is where the benefits of the DIY approach end. Anyone who is interested in creating a business website shouldn’t be asking, “How much does it cost to build a website for a small business?” Instead, they should be asking, “How much does it cost to build a website that looks professional and functions flawlessly?”

While a professional web design and development company guarantees professional results, the DIY approach doesn’t guarantee even basic functionality or security. There are many small business owners who had invested hundreds of hours into creating a business website but ended up with something any professional could have done in a few hours.

For this reason alone, the DIY approach can be recommended only to small business owners who have plenty of free time and already possess the necessary technical knowledge and design skills.

Conclusion

In the 21st century, small businesses across all industries need to operate both offline and online, and that’s possible only with a modern website that works just as well on mobile devices as it does on desktop computers. For most small businesses, building a website from scratch by themselves isn’t a good choice unless they already have the necessary skills and plenty of free time.

creating a website for your business

A reputable web design and development company like ComboApp is able to create a professional business website at a price most small businesses can afford and provide value-added services such as search engine optimization and marketing.

For a limited time ComboApp is offering free marketing strategy audits to businesses affected by COVID-19 crisis. We can help you navigate through this challenging time and come out stronger and more prepared for what comes next.

FAQs

How much does a website cost in 2020?

Building a website in 2020 can cost you as little as several thousand dollars or as much as $100,000; it all depends on the approach you choose and the complexity of the website. If all you need is a one-page landing and you have the skills to create it yourself, then you should be able to get it up and running for next to nothing. But if you would like to hire a web design and development company to develop a large e-commerce site for you, be ready to spend a considerable amount of money.

How much time does it take to create a business website?

Just like when it comes to estimating the cost of building a website, determining the amount of time required to create a website depends on many different factors. A capable web design and development company should be able to put together a one-page landing just in a few days, but it may take it a month or more to finish an e-commerce site with hundreds of product pages.

What is WordPress, and how much does it cost?

WordPress is a popular free and open-source content management system used by TechCrunch, BBC America, PlayStation, Skype, Sony, The New Yorker, Variety, Microsoft News Center, Quartz, The Walt Disney Company, and many other notable organizations and brands. It can be set up in just a few minutes and customized to fit the needs of anyone from small businesses to large enterprises.

Is search engine optimization necessary?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is not necessary but absolutely recommended for businesses that want to increase their discoverability and findability on the web.

Is it cheap or costly to modify an existing website?

That depends on the complexity of the website and the technologies used to create it. Simpler websites created using HTML and CSS only can be modified very easily, while custom content management systems with a complex backend can be a real challenge even for an experienced web development company.

The rapid outbreak of COVID-19, the deadly infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has rendered many traditional marketing methods useless, forcing businesses across all industries to leverage digital marketing channels in their fight for survival.

While some businesses are already skilled in digital marketing because they’ve been doing it for years, other businesses barely know what digital marketing is. Regardless of which group you belong to, this article will explain to you everything you need to know to effectively use digital marketing during these trying times.

What Is Digital Marketing?

The term digital marketing refers to all marketing efforts that utilize the internet or other digital technology to promote products and services. It was coined in the 1990s, and it didn’t take a long time for it to become the hottest topic in the marketing industry.

By the late 2000s, most major businesses had registered their own domain names and understood the role of digital marketing and digital technologies such as desktop computers and mobile phones. Today, businesses spend over $100 billion on digital marketing worldwide, and the figure is only expected to grow.

Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing includes marketing channels such as printed media, billboards, snail-mail, and trade shows. What traditional marketing channels have in common is their ability to convey a brand message loud and clear to a large audience in a non-interactive way.

Digital marketing channels, on the other hand, are inherently interactional because they produce instant feedback, which can take the form of views, clicks, likes, comments, retweets, and other actions.

role of digital marketing for business growth

They are also far more precise, allowing businesses to target each individual customer with a customized message that’s likely to produce the best marketing results. This is akin to printing a different magazine ad for each subscriber or airing a thousand versions of the same TV commercial.

When Traditional Marketing Channels Shut Down

Despite the numerous benefits of digital marketing, many businesses have until recently relied solely on traditional marketing channels.

In every town, there are mom and pop businesses whose customers know about them solely thanks to naturally occurring word-of-mouth referrals. On the other end of the spectrum are B2B companies that promote their products and services exclusively at trade shows and exhibitions attended by other companies operating in the same industry. Between these two extreme ends of the traditional marketing spectrum are countless small and medium-sized businesses that spend significant amounts of money on print advertising and billboards.

All businesses that have so far been faithful to traditional marketing channels are among those who are hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic and the social distancing measures implemented by countries around the world to slow down its spread.

With people sheltering in place and avoiding interaction with others as much as possible, even the most captivating billboards are next to useless, and the same goes for print ads in magazines no one’s buying because everyone can read the news on the internet without stepping a foot outside the door. Unsurprisingly, all large B2B events, such as Cisco Live and the Gartner Marketing Symposium, have already been canceled by their organizers, and nobody knows how long it will take for them to come back.

So, with all traditional marketing channels shut down, how can businesses communicate with existing and potential customers alike? The answer is, of course, digital marketing.

The Role of Digital Marketing in a Time of Crisis

Since the only way to fight the new virus at the moment is to hunker down at home, that’s what people around the world are doing. To entertain themselves, most individuals have been browsing the web, and this is evident from web usage statistics. Since the novel coronavirus crossed the borders of China, traffic to popular websites increased significantly, and so did mobile phone data usage.

To stay in touch with loved ones and connect with the outside world, many people have turned to social media platforms, virtually all of which have experienced a significant increase in user activity. Digitally savvy businesses have been quick to notice the opportunity to deliver the meaningful engagement digital users in a time of crisis crave.

“We have seen a real spike during the last few weeks from companies wishing to create or update websites, launch new e-commerce channels and create social media campaigns focused on home-workers and a real focus on using influencers and SEO to reach new audiences,” said Scott Jones, CEO of 123 Internet Group.

Businesses that have no previous experience with digital marketing should reallocate their marketing budgets and finally embrace the plethora of digital marketing channels that are available today. Getting started with it is nowhere near as complicated as it may seem, and the results can be nearly instantaneous.

Getting Started with Digital Marketing

In many ways, it has never been easier to get started with digital marketing because of the wide variety of digital marketing channels available:

digital marketing vs. traditional marketing

  • Paid search: Search engines like Google have become the entry points to the web, and any business can appear right at the top of the first search results page just by bidding on keywords relevant to the user’s search query. Paid search marketing delivers predictable results, and it can be easily scaled up or down to fit any digital marketing budget.
  • SEO & content marketing: Instead of relying solely on paid search, businesses should also strive to increase their visibility by performing searching engine optimization, or just SEO for short. SEO is most effective when combined with content marketing, whose purpose is to attract and retain a clearly defined audience by targeting it with valuable, educational content. Unlike paid search, SEO and content marketing don’t produce immediate results, but their long-term impact can be massive. During the ongoing pandemic, many businesses have been educating their customers about its impact on their industry and helping them cope with the gloomy situation by publishing informative blog posts and sharing interesting content.
  • Social media: With billions of users around the world, social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are among the most popular destinations on the web. Businesses can use them to engage their customers and share all kinds of content, ranging from behind-the-scenes pictures to lighthearted jokes intended to keep their spirits up.
  • Webinars and podcasts: Live, virtual events are currently the only way for many businesses to engage potential customers face-to-face and provide them with informative content. For example, a local bike shop may host a public webinar to give helpful bike maintenance tips to essential workers whose only means of transportation is their bicycle. Podcasts are another effective marketing channel that can be used to engage customers who are stuck at home and don’t have much to do. If you have an interesting story to tell, you can appear as a guest on a podcast related to your niche, or you can simply advertise on any popular podcast whose audience will likely be receptive to your message.
  • Email: Thanks to smartphones, email is, once again, one of the most effective digital marketing channels. If you already have an existing customer base, you can reach out to it with a personalized email campaign featuring coronavirus-related tips, special promotions, or any other engaging content.

Regardless of which digital marketing channel you decide to start with, you need to keep in mind what consumers expect from businesses during a crisis and adjust your digital marketing tactics accordingly.

First and foremost, be mindful of your tone and avoid being humorous or inappropriately casual. Even a well-meaning joke may offend consumers who have been hit by the pandemic hard. Instead, be positive, helpful, and inspirational.

Unless you’re one of the businesses that have been deemed essential, you should focus on providing value to your community. Simply seeking conversions is guaranteed to turn people against you and possibly even result in a massive online backlash.

Finally, don’t promise what you can’t deliver. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the entire global economy, so there’s no reason to hide the fact that you can deliver products or services as quickly as you can normally.

By keeping in mind these essential digital marketing tactics, you will be able to get your digital marketing campaign off to a great start and make the most out of the current situation.

The Future of Digital Marketing

The sad truth is that the novel coronavirus won’t disappear anytime soon. Leading experts estimate that life won’t get back to normal until 2021 because it takes some time to build herd immunity and develop an effective vaccine or cure.

how digital marketing can help your business during crisis

For this reason alone, the role of digital marketing will only become more important. The global digital marketing software market size alone is expected to reach $151.8 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 17.4 percent from 2020 to 2027, according to research conducted by Grand View Research.

Businesses that had until recently relied exclusively on traditional marketing channels need to come to terms with the revelation that the future of marketing is digital and act before it’s too late. Those who do will have the best chance of surviving not only this crisis but also the next one.

Conclusion

The year 2020 will go down in history as the year the world changed. Many businesses will also remember it as the year when traditional marketing channels ceased being effective. If your business is among those that still rely on the old marketing tools, now is the time to start planning your digital marketing strategy and prepare yourself for doing business in the new, virus-conscious environment.

 

For a limited time ComboApp is offering free marketing strategy audits to businesses affected by COVID-19 crisis. We can help you navigate through this challenging time and come out stronger and more prepared for what comes next.

Mobile commerce grows rapidly as more users browse products and make purchases from mobile devices. Smartphone spending had increased on 96% during Q1 2016, according to eRetail Sales Index. While many retail companies hesitate to develop mobile apps, the trend is clear: Clutch survey shows that half of all surveyed businesses will have an app by the next year.

Having a great shopping app can help a retailer to reach consumers on mobile platforms, drive more sales, and increase brand recognition. However, you should make sure that your potential customers know about the app and will definitely use it. Placing links to the app on your website and QR-codes on offline promotions may attract some users, but to garner maximum reach, you should use more time-tested and effective marketing methods.

The app marketing agency ComboApp shares marketing tips for shopping apps that can be easily incorporated into a general promotion strategy.

1. Make sure the app provides real value to users

Marketing services for a retail app

Who is your target audience? What features will they find useful? If your consumers are mostly millenials, they will enjoy social engagement with the app. If they’re baby-boomers, put an emphasis on helpful information on the products your app offers. Make sure your promotional message will describe additional opportunities for app users, such as:

  • Customized push notifications about sales and discounts
  • Trackers for deliveries and packages
  • Creation and management of shopping and wish lists
  • Sharing product pics to social networks to get feedback
  • An interactive map to navigate through the store

To find more ideas, check out the strategies of successful retail apps such as Net-A-Porter and ASOS.

The secret here is to describe the advantages of the app’s features and translate this message consistently through all available channels (i.e. website, social media, emails, offline promo, app promo page).

2. Benefit from owned media

Social media channels for promoting a retail app

Websites, blogs, and social media accounts are the main channels for promoting an app. People visit them for additional information and insight. It won’t help to make links to your app download page that look like annoying ad banners. Instead, place them in a form of essential information and additional feature.

  • Create informative posts to describe all advantages of your shopping app, and share these posts across social media.
  • Add appealing screenshots of the app that will show off its functions and opportunities.
  • Always add relevant hashtags to social media posts for increased visibility.

3. Motivate users to market your app

Motivate users to market your app

First, add a little bit of virality. World of mouth works more effectively than advertising. Think of a referral network that increases viral sharing though customers. It can be additional features, discounts, or little offline incentives for those who invite users to install the app. Make it easy for users to spread information from the app in social networks through sharing buttons. Ideally, each new user invites one more user after an install, which leads the app into a viral cycle:

Then, ask speakers and exhibitors to share information on the event app through their social media outlets. In order to encourage installs, speakers can also add some key takeaways from their presentations into the app in advance.

4. Optimize the app download page

App Store Optimization for marketing your app 

Users may find your shopping app through an app store search. To increase your app’s visibility in search results, use ASO (app store optimization techniques):

  • The app title should contain the main keywords, which users will use in order to find the shopping app: brand name, product titles. Browse your competitors’ app descriptions and think about the most sought-after terms to include.
  • Use 3-4 keywords in the app description. Include information on the app’s functions and features. Add screenshots and a promo video if possible.
  • Optimize in-app content and promo-site texts. That way, users will be able to find your app through a simple search.

By optimizing your app’s presence on the app store, you will increase the chance for users to find it through search and download.

5. Increase user engagement

Increase user engagement for your retail app

App installs are only half the battle. A larger part of customers may never use the app after downloading it. Use reminders to encourage users to engage with the app in order to fully benefit from its features:

– Push notifications are a great method for re-engagement. However, this method is quite intrusive, so remember to keep the messages brief and informative. Do not send more than 1 push notification per day. Use pushes to make important announcements or provide customized reminders.

– Facebook Engagement Ads are a more delicate way of engaging existing or potential app users. An engagement ad in the Facebook news feed will be shown to users who have downloaded an app or liked the brand’s page.

Marketing a shopping app takes a great deal of time and effort, but it pays off with higher rates of customer engagement and brand loyalty. Be sure to test out all the different promotional methods and find which method works best for your niche and target audience.

Good luck!

Need some help with your mobile app marketing efforts?

ComboApp has been helping app developments and companies successfully market their mobile apps since 2009.

Simply call us at 773.305.0886 or click on the Contact Us button in the header of this site. We look forward to helping you become the next unicorn!

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Have a question? Interested in our services?

Let’s chat.