How to Create a Website for Your Business. A Guide for Every Budget Size.
No matter your budget, you can have a website
What To Expect
In today's world, every company needs a website. Most businesses that are in-person service-based don't need anything too crazy. Though your website should inform visitors of all the services you offer and a little about your company. Additionally, having a way for someone to contact you, such as a contact form, and if you have an office that customers visit you at, your location too. If your business model has straight forward pricing and isn't job-specific, strongly consider listing prices on your website. That will cut down on inquiries about pricing if they can find it on your website.
Below are what you can get for a website budget ranging from less than $500 to $75,000+. To see if your needs align with your budget, read through each of the budget ranges. You may find you have budgeted too much or maybe not enough.
In all of the budget ranges, you should expect your website to be mobile-friendly. Meaning your website will look good on a phone, laptop, or tablet.
$500 or Less
Having a limited budget or no budget at all for a website can be a problem. Not to worry, Squarespace is an excellent option for you. You can select from one of their many pre-built themes in only a few clicks and have your website live.
One of the downsides to using SquareSpace is that your website's design is not unique, and there is about a 99% chance that another website looks the same. Another problem with using a service like this is that you don't own your website. If you stop paying, your website goes away. You can't move it somewhere else. There will be an ongoing monthly fee for as long as you want to keep your website live.
$500 - $2,500
You have a small budget but enough of a budget that you can find someone to create a website for you. You will be looking to hire individuals (also called freelancers). Freelancers you will find in this range are new college graduates or people who will set up a WordPress website for you and install a pre-built theme on it. Don't anticipate anything custom at this price. You may find it but keep your expectations in check.
Now, this has one of the same problems as before. Your website will very likely look the same as someone else's. The big plus now is you own it. The code that runs your website is yours. You can do whatever you want with it. Another big positive to this is you pay a one time fee for your website. Though you do need web hosting to host your website. Web hosts are inexpensive, ranging from $60 - $180 a year. Typically at this price, you will be looking at shared web hosting.
$2,500 - $7,500
In the $2,500 - $7,500 price range, you should expect to get a design customized to your requirements. Again, in this range, you will be looking to hire a freelancer. If you need some custom-tailored features for your website or integrations with other services you use, you should be able to have one or two of them here.
All the positives of the previous range apply here too. You own the code, pay a one time fee, and now it shouldn't be a "theme" site. You will additionally need a web host here too.
$7,500 - $25,000
With a budget of $7,500 - $25,000, you will be able to attain a freelancer, or possibly a pair of freelancers. These freelancers are more experienced and can build you more of the custom features you need. You should be able to get quite a few tailored features for your website or other integrations too.
All the positives of the previous range apply again here too. You own the code, pay a one time expense, and it will be custom to your needs. One additional plus you should gain in this range is having a better web host. The people you hire should be capable of setting up a virtual private server (or VPS) for you that will be faster and more secure than using shared web hosting. The good news on this is the actual cost of the VPS is the same as shared hosting, but the people you hired will possibly charge you an annual fee to maintain your web server. It is 100% worth it; you will notice a significant difference in how quickly your website loads.
$25,000 - $75,000
In the $25,000 - $75,000 price range, you should look into hiring a web design agency to build your website. With an agency, the benefits are they already have employees specializing in many areas. These areas range from; graphic design, web design, web development, SEO, and more. Chances are good that you can have the design agency create your business cards, stationery, and even a logo, too, along with your website. Meaning your website, branding, and business cards will all be cohesive.
Again at this price point, you own the code, and after you pay for it can do whatever you want with it. It will be custom made for you. You should also be able to have them set up a VPS for your website too.
If you have planned to spend more than $75,000 for a website, you should consider bringing it in-house, as you likely have ongoing needs. It will be cheaper, in the long run, to pay a full-time salary compared to paying one-off contractors continuously. The need to have in-house designers, developers, SEO's, or content writers hopefully isn't a surprise to you. Chances are pretty good, you need some very custom features for your business model or if your business is 100% online-based or close to it.
Only a Guideline
One thing to remember, this is only meant to be used as a general guideline, not an absolute, because "Only a Sith, deals in absolutes". Depending on where you live, prices could vary significantly. It is hard to give rock-solid prices for websites when dealing in generalities, as it depends on your exact needs.
How To Answer "What Is Your Budget?"
Answering that question can be tricky. Is this person trying to get as much money out of you as they can? If someone asks you this question, instead, tell them what you need out of a website. Then have them tell you how much that will cost. It is similar to when you take your car to a mechanic. You tell them what you need or what is wrong and then they will tell you how much it will cost. Be careful if someone won't do that and insist you tell them your budget first. That is a red flag, and you should be cautious in how you preceded.
Paying Hourly Vs. Project-Based Billing
For large projects, such as creating a website, we always recommend getting an actual price. This way, if someone tells you it will cost $3000 to make your website and you are satisfied with that, you know after it is completed, you won't be invoiced for $5000.
The problem with hourly based billing for projects is who really knows how long it actually took. There is too much uncertainty. Even if you are told it will probably cost X amount, but after it is completed, you find out the cost is twice the initial quote. Hourly billing is acceptable if it is for small or "quick" projects, such as updating some content. On that note, don't be afraid to ask for a project price, no matter the scope of the project.
Know What You Are Paying For
Make sure you know what you will be paying for before you begin. Who is responsible for content? Who will be adding the content to the website? Who will update content in the future? Is there any type of warranty?
Final Tips and Notes
We would recommend if you require web hosting to have your own web hosting account. One that you created, with your credit card attached to it. This will make things easier down the road if you want to hire a different person to update your website. Then the person or company that initially created it won't be able to affect your site because they are bitter. Additionally, do not be surprised if you are required to pay half upfront and the other half when the work is done. Paying half upfront is a pretty standard practice in this industry.
Customers Call Your Business, Not Your Cell Phone
Tired of using your personal cell phone number for your business? Give your business its own phone number.
No additional hardware is required. Use it alongside your current phone. Customers will see your business number when you call them. Not your cell phone number.
Get started by entering an area code below.
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It is not the most exciting thing, but you should have them
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