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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.