When people ask for specifics pertaining to website creation costs, many of them don’t understand just how hard it is to answer the question accurately; there are tons of different factors that go into website pricing, and giving an exact answer without more information is practically impossible. In the following article, I’ll do my best to give you a general idea of what to expect when it comes to pricing, and I’ll break down different options to help you choose the web solution that best fits your needs.
There’s good news for people who need a website on a budget; some website creation tools like Wix and Weebly give you the opportunity to produce a professional looking website at absolutely no cost. These aren’t cheap and slow sites that are riddled with advertisements; these online tools give you the opportunity to create a professional looking site with absolutely no experience.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “you get what you pay for.” Well, this also rings true when dealing with website creation tools. Their basic packages work great, but if you’re willing to fork over some extra money, you can buy inexpensive upgrades. The silver lining is that they’re pretty cheap, so you save money by avoiding developer costs. If you’re willing to spend a bit of money on your site, you increase your site’s functionality by leaps and bounds.
In this article, I’ll explore some of the most common ways to get your website up and running, and I’ll delve into the pros, cons and pricing of each method.
Online Creation Tools
As I mentioned earlier, Wix and Weebly lead the pack when it comes to tools that make building your site easy. Both of these tools use a simple and intuitive interface, so someone with absolutely no coding experience can manipulate templates to create a design that is perfect for them.
Lots of people have a strange reaction when they hear the word template; they automatically associate templates with cheap websites that don’t function like they should. This isn’t the case when it comes to Wix or Weebly, and people are surprised that you can add functionality like photo sliders, social media buttons and shopping carts without paying a penny.
You can use both Wix and Weebly to build a website for free, but it does come with one major drawback. When you build a free website using their platform, you can’t choose your own URL, so you end up with a URL like www.yoursite.weebly.com or www.yoursite.wix.com.
Oddly formatted URLs don’t exactly scream professionalism, so if you’re creating a serious website, it makes sense to cough up some cash to register a domain name. Weebly and Wix both charge extra for this, but fortunately, they don’t charge very much.
When you upgrade your account, you get a professional looking domain at a discounted price. Upgrading to Wix premium will cost you about 10 to 20 dollars per month, but the service includes your very own personalized domain, hosting and Wix removes its branding from your site.
If you choose Weebly, you’re looking at about 8 to 25 dollars per month depending on how much functionality you need; a basic site is pretty cheap, but a top-of-the-line e-commerce site will run you a little more. Either way, when it comes to the cost to make a website, the prices for these services are hard to beat.
Use A Content Management System
A Content Management System (CMS) takes a bit of knowledge to set up, but it does make creating your website easier than starting from scratch. It’s because of this that tons of people are switching to a CMS for their website needs.
The CMS platforms that the majority of people use are: WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Since WordPress is the most common, it’s the one that I’ll be concentrating on.
WordPress was created as a simple way to manage blogs, but it has grown into a fully operational management platform that can be tweaked and changed in countless numbers of ways. The great thing about WordPress is that you can install it in seconds. Beginners can get a site up quickly, and they can use WordPress plugins to add functionality to their sites.
You can download or buy various WordPress themes that change the look and feel of your site, so it’s similar to the site building tools that Wix and Weebly offer, but WordPress themes give you more control. You can even find themes that have drag-and-drop functionality to make things easier from a design perspective. Simply download a theme and fine tune it by adding plugins or manipulating the theme’s code.
Setting up a WordPress site isn’t very expensive, but if you’ve never used a CMS before, be ready to put in some time to learn more about it. If you have the time and willingness to learn how to make changes, then you’ll be able to get your site up and running without professional help.
When you host your own WordPress site, expect to spend around:
- $140 per year for hosting
- $10-$12 per year for your domain name
- About $50 for a WordPress theme
In total, it’ll cost you around $200 to get your website going, but it gets cheaper later because you don’t have to make yearly payments for your WordPress theme.
Use A Professional Design Firm
If you really want to go all out and spend some money, you can hire a design firm to create a site for you. Just so you know, they’re probably going to use a basic CMS like Joomla or WordPress when building your site; this is especially true if you need something pretty simple.
There are exceptions, but it’s likely that you don’t need anything fancy for your first website. I like to tell people that they should give building a website a shot on their own. Use a site-building tool or a CMS to get your content on the web. You’ll learn a ton, and once you do, you’ll be able to tweak your content and theme as you see fit without having to call a professional.
It’s hard to estimate how much a web firm charges for their services; it really depends on the quality of the firm and how complicated your site is. If you really think hiring a professional firm is a good option, then make sure to hire one with exceptional customer service; you’re going to be dealing with the firm every time your site needs to be changed or adjusted.
Here’s some estimated costs for common scenarios involving a web design firm:
- You can use a novice designer or freelancer, and it’ll cost you about $100.
- An experienced designer who has a solid portfolio will cost about $800 to $1,000 for the same site.
- A professional agency can build your site from scratch, but it’ll cost you $10,000 or more.
In these scenarios, you still pay for hosting and domain registration, so expect to pay at least $100 per year on top of development costs.
So, now you know why it’s hard to give an exact price when asked about the cost to make a website; the answer is anywhere from zero to thousands of dollars. I think that you should experiment with low-cost sites at first; you learn a lot, and you don’t have to shell out tons of money for a design firm that’s using something like WordPress anyways.