How Much Money do I need to Create a Website?

Having a website created for your company, or relaunching your website can be an expensive, and confusing endeavor. Your costs will vary based on the scope and needs of your site.

Will you need a simple website that is purely informational, with some basic information about your company including address and phone?  Will you need an e-commerce enabled site, to sell clothes or to integrate with Amazon Marketplace? All these factors will determine the costs for which you will need to budget. As you network, find out what website developers have worked for other companies in developing new and relaunching current websites.  Costs associated with website development can range from $2,000 to $100,000. It’s a large spectrum, and just depends on your needs and requirements.

Essential Website Needs

Essential Website Needs

Before you begin to open your wallet up, it’s important to know what you absolutely MUST have to start a new website.

First, you’ll need a domain name for your website. Say you’re Bob, and you want to start selling tools. Your URL, what people will type into the search area on your browser, is your domain name. But say bobstools.com is already taken (it is). You’ll need to have a unique site name that hasn’t been taken. To have a domain name will cost you at least $20 and up per year. You’ll spend up to $300 a year if you want a unique domain extension, i.e. some other than .com. How does one go about getting a domain name? Simply search online, and you’ll come up with many answers.

Additionally, if you are going to have an e-commerce enabled website, you’ll need an SSL certificate. The secure socket layer will encrypt sensitive information like log in data and credit cards. Digital certificates serve as the backbone of internet security. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, sometimes called digital certificates, are used to establish an encrypted connection between a browser or user’s computer and a server or website. The SSL connection protects sensitive data, such as credit card information, exchanged during each visit, which is called a session, from being intercepted from non-authorized parties. Information about SSL’s can be found here. An SSL can cost up to $1,000 a month but also as low as $10.

Finally, a content management system, often abbreviated as CMS, is software that helps users create, manage, and modify content on a website without the need for specialized technical knowledge. In simpler language, a content management system is a tool that helps you build a website without needing to write all the code from scratch (or even know how to code at all). Instead of building your own system for creating web pages, storing images, and other functions, the content management system handles all that basic infrastructure stuff for you so that you can focus on more forward-facing parts of your website. CMS can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $45,000 if you want a Microsoft product. All the cost variations reflect your needs for your site. If your website generates $500,000 a month in sales, you will be spending a lot on your CMS.

Finally, let’s look at prices for small, and medium to large companies.

Website Options for Small Business

If you feel like tackling your website on your own, there are online companies such as Wix.com, SquareSpace.com, and famous GoDaddy.com, among many others. However, it’s important to note, these tools are often complicated, but these sites are highly configurable, but still require some coding, graphic design, and other knowledge to create a custom, attractive look. These can be excellent options for any business looking to do it themselves. If you prefer to hire an agency, small business websites, typically range from one to 20 pages.  For around $2,000 you can inform your customer about your products or services, prices, availability, location and contact information. If you choose to have a multiple page website, which will cost slightly more, you have the ability to show various projects your company has completed, lines of clothing, product categories, or just simply the different capabilities your company offers listed on a second page, keeping your site clean and simple.

Medium- and Larger-Sized Business Sites

Medium size business sites are typically between 20 and 75 pages on average. These websites are designed knowing there will be changes and updates. Instead of being charged hourly rates to make such changes, a content management system, used by you or your employees, enables you to do most of the basic additions without prior coding or web designing knowledge. Most larger company websites will be e-commerce enabled, meaning you will have the capability to sell your products online, which will be physical products, such as clothing, tools, lab supplies, etc. It’s hard to put legal services into a shopping cart! Because you will be selling products, your site will need an SSL, as discussed earlier. For a medium size company costs can range from $5,000 to $50,000, annually, depending on the functionality of the site.

Large companies can have up to tens of thousands of pages. Take a look at GE.com. Their large array of companies are all listed on the home page, and each division has their own page. The home site probably has 50,000 pages you can link to from the home page. The average large size company can spend up to $100,000, annually, if you’re not a GE sized business.

Marketing Copy

Copywriting and marketing
     The final piece of the cost puzzle for your website cost is copywriting and content marketing. Copy writers can cost $50,000 on average if they are on salary, or as low as $500 per few pages for your site for a freelancer. Typically, smaller companies whose site changes just periodically, will hire a freelance writer. The advantages are low costs, and other expenses (health care, 401(k)) are covered by the agency you choose. Larger companies will hire a copy and proofreader, and will usually have a staff of writers that work daily writing about products, releases , or the newest trends.  

Content marketing is what can set you apart from your competition. Blogs, videos, images, graphs, or even a podcast can set you apart from the others. A good digital video camera can cost as little as $50, while large scale, professional production can cost up to $5,000.

What you spend, like all the topics covered here, will depend on one thing: needs. As a company grows, so must the budget for your website.

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