The Basic Building Blocks of a Website, and Their Costs If you're looking to set up a new home on the internet, should you do it yourself or hire additional help?
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Thanks to developments in technology, the vast majority of us don't need to spend thousands of dollars on a website.
There are solutions even a tech neophyte can use to build a website easily and at an affordable price -- all without touching a single line of code. Let's take a quick look at the different components that make up a website and the services available to create one.
Domain. A domain is the unique name of your website (for example: entrepreneur.com). This is what your visitors type into the address bar to get to your website. On average, a .com domain costs anywhere from $10 to $20 annually. Prices can drop significantly if you purchase multiple years in advance.
Related: The 5 Key Factors of Website Success
Hosting. A host stores your website files and makes your website accessible online. Files can include PNG, JPG, MP3, HTML and PHP. Hosting generally costs about $4 to $25 a month. However, it can run a lot higher if your site requires special hosting due to heavy traffic or intensive applications.
Design. A website's design is composed of colors, shapes and visuals. It's the look and feel of the website minus content. Design is the area that has the most variability in pricing. Cost ranges based on the following preferences: custom logo, $50 to $300; premium/custom template, $10 to $100; novice designer, $100 to $200; professional designer, $100 to $700; and small web design agency, more than $1,500.
Advanced functionality. Advanced features can bump the cost of your site significantly. As mobile has become an integral part of the internet, websites need to be optimized for all screen sizes. You can choose a responsive design or create a version of your website that is designed for each device.
E-commerce is another popular addition. Online stores can vary from simple to complex. If you're running a small mom-and-pop shop, a DIY store will most likely suffice. However, if you are hoping to build a catalog that rivals Target, there will be a high price-tag to accompany that power.
Now that we've covered what makes a website, let's look at the three main routes you can take to build a site.
DIY. Creating a website with a DIY website builder such as Jimdo, Wix or Wordpress is the most affordable option, and yields professional results without having to deal with coding or a backend view. You have control of what your website looks like and all changes to your website show up instantly. Website builders come equipped with built-in templates. Make sure to shop around and compare the features offered by different services. Prices can range from free to $300.
Professional. The reasons to choose to work with a professional include time, money and practicality. Whatever your situation, it's advisable that you ask a few questions such as: Will I be able to update the site myself? If not, do I pay per update? Ultimately, it's highly recommended that you at least have partial control of your website. This includes ensuring that the domain is registered under your name. Prices can range from $500 to $2,500.
Enterprise. A corporation that needs a complex website will have to invest considerably in the development of its site. Corporate websites need to communicate a lot of information to a variety of audiences and therefore, tend to be of a substantial size with thousands of pages. Other advanced features that are required are multi-user login, large databases and audit logs. Apart from the initial price, you will have ongoing costs -- updates and maintenance -- that will have to be done through the agency, web designer or developer. High-end hosting, such as cloud solutions, will be necessary. Prices start at $10,000.
What's right for me? Be realistic with what's essential for your website. Are you turning your hobby into a business? Do you have a small shop? A DIY website builder will more than suffice. A majority of individuals and businesses looking to build a website will fall into this category.
However, if you've analyzed your particular situation and concluded that you need professional aid in creating your site, there are a wide range of options to fit your needs. Rest assured, building your website is affordable and doesn't have to break the bank.