If you want to set up a website, you may be wondering exactly how much it’s going to cost. If you have researched this topic at all, you probably found that there’s no simple answer to this. There are several different costs, and each of them depends on the choices you make.
When you build a website, you must consider factors such as the domain, web hosting, any applications you use (for example shopping cart application, WordPress themes and premium plugins) and other possible expenses such as advertising. You can purchase each of these things separately or find them grouped together in package deals.
Costs of Building a Website
In this article, we are going to be exploring the various costs of setting up a website to help you break it down. For our purposes, we’re going to assume that you want your own domain name and web hosting (as opposed to using a blog service such as Blogger.com).
The first thing you need if you want a website is a domain name. This is your web URL that allows people to find your site. It also gives you a unique brand on the web that no one else can use.
Finding a domain name can sometimes be a little challenging, as you must find one that no one else has already registered. The cost is not very high, unless you try to purchase a premium domain (one that is very desirable and/or established). A new domain generally costs around $10 per year.
You can buy a domain at a domain registrar, such as GoDaddy.com or NameCheap.com. Some web hosting companies will provide you with a free domain when you sign up for hosting, which allows you to avoid this expense altogether. Generally, however, the free registration is only for a year so you’ll have to start paying the annual fee after the first year is up.
Web hosting is the main expense that you have to pay to create a website. In fact, it’s the only one that’s really mandatory (as you can get a free domain with the hosting in many cases).
You will find many different web hosting companies on the web vying for your business. I would suggest using a large and established one, as smaller ones can be risky. You don’t want to use a web host that might not be in business a year from now, or one that doesn’t provide optimum security for your site.
When you first sign up for web hosting, you will probably want shared hosting, which is the most reasonable option. This simply means that you are sharing a server with many other users. This is safe and secure, provided that you are using a reputable web hosting company.
Shared web hosting varies in price, but it usually ranges from $5 to $10 per month. You can often find special promotions and coupons to lower the cost. If you want to get a very low monthly rate on web hosting, such as $3 or $4 per month, you will usually have to sign up for 2 or 3 years up front.
WordPress Themes and other Software
If you buy a web hosting plan from a quality web host, there is no additional software that you absolutely must purchase. Your web hosting plan will include a variety of useful applications for free. These include blogging applications like WordPress, image galleries, forum software and content management systems such as Joomla and Drupal.
That said, it can still be good to have some high end web editing software, such as Dreamweaver. This can make your life easier, and allow you to perform a variety of tasks more efficiently than free tools. If you use WordPress, you can also get premium WordPress themes from a good provider, such as Elegant Themes. Anyway, if you do not want to spend this money right now, it’s not exactly essential.
It’s often helping to have high quality image or video editing software. This will depend on your needs and the type of site you have. Software such as Photoshop makes it easier to create, edit and manage your images. Again, however, you can always get by with free tools if you have to.
Other Possible Expenses
There are many tools, services and software applications that you might need or want to enhance your website. None of these are essential for creating a website, but many will allow you to do do many important tasks more efficiently. Let’s discuss some of them below.
Advertising and Marketing
This is a major expense for many online businesses. Many web hosts give you a free coupons for advertising services such as Google AdWords or Facebook ads. These free advertising coupons will definitely help you to get more traffic especially when you are just starting out with a new website.
WordPress Themes and Plugins
These are software that help you perform many different functions with WordPress. You can find many great WordPress themes and plugins for free on the Internet. Premium themes and advanced plugins, however, cost something.
Premium Web Hosting Services
You might eventually want to upgrade to a higher level of hosting, such as VPS (Virtual Private Server), Cloud hosting or dedicated hosting. These are all more costly than shared hosting, but give you more flexibility and security for your site.
Many web hosts also offer services such as premium support that add to your monthly bill. This is not necessary for the average website, however. It’s more aimed at larger, commercial sites.
Can you get web hosting for free?
You may have seen ads for free web hosting. This does exist, but you have to be careful and understand the limitations. Some free web hosting will force you to put up with advertising, which will divert your visitors away from whatever your message may be.
If you really want to avoid the cost of web hosting, you can find free web hosts that don’t make you display their ads. Aside from Weebly, there are others, such as Blogger.com and WordPress.com.
Even if you pay for it, web hosting is not a major expense. If you are thinking about building an online business, spending $5 or so per month shouldn’t be a serious obstacle.
The above gives you an idea of the basic costs of building a website. As you can see, the essential costs are not very high. You only really need a domain and web hosting, and even the latter can be free, for example from Weebly.
If your budget is limited, you can start off spending very little on your website. You can rely on free tools and software, whether provided by the web host or ones you find elsewhere. You can gradually upgrade as your budget allows it.
The only significant cost that you can’t really get for free is advertising. Even here, however, you can use free methods to generate traffic.
The cost of building and maintaining a website is minimal compared to almost any other type of business. If you shop around and research your options, you will find that you can accomplish a great deal on a very small budget!