Your website is the digital forefront of your startup. How can you judge the cost of making a website? Does it come down to the cool, flashy effects that are added? Or the uniqueness of the design? Maybe it’s the type of font you choose for it?
It is crucial that you boil down the components of your potential website. You must decide where you want the flashy, eye-catching features that will draw attention and where you want to include the informative chunks that will bring in customers.
If you are a stranger to the world of coding and digital design, your only option is an outside hire. So when a freelancer or web designer offers to make your website, how do you know how much to pay them? The last thing you want to do is spend more money than necessary on website design, so let’s break down the cost to get you the most bang for your buck:
Having pretty effects for your website means more money from your pocket. Associate your website with your business. Ask yourself if it is more of a priority for your site to be an easily-accessible information highway or if your startup is more about the image and prestigious look. These factors play a big role in how much money you should invest into design. Web designers may base the pricing not by the skill required to create the design, rather than the amount of time it takes to put it together.
The most striking aspects of your website should be on its homepage, so just because the homepage won’t have as much content as your other pages doesn’t mean it will be easier to make. If your business will be blog-based and continuously release new content, a well-crafted blog page will trump a generic looking one, even if the content itself isn’t that good — spending $1,000 to 3,000 solely on design is important. Any more than that may be overcharging, unless you already have a solid audience or specific requirements. A business website, however, will require a more hefty investment into appearance because it can serve as a marketing tool to sell your company’s image, based on how much you are willing to put into it.
Keep in mind that creating a website shouldn’t be limited to the designer. You are also a designer (even if you aren’t) when it comes to providing an outside perspective of looks. Be the Picasso of your website — it is your website, after all! Providing input on how you envision your website looking is important from the start to ensure you get an end result that you’re happy with — work with the freelancer to brainstorm so that there’s no clashing of ideas. The web designer can’t read your mind, so remain vocal. At the end of the day, it is up to you how you want your company to be portrayed online.
Domain & Hosting
Who doesn’t want their domain to simply be “companyname.com?” Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy — web domains are taken left and right, so sometimes you have to be part of your web host subdomain, which is something like “companyname.host.com.” To avoid having to settle, be sure to claim your domain name as soon as possible, before someone else does. A domain name will cost you on average $10 per year, according to sitewizard.com.
The end goal is to have the most visitors and customers possible. This means more network traffic. The host to your website must have the firepower to handle a large number of visitors without crashing or slowing down. At some point in life, everyone has closed a website because it was too slow. Being powered by a commercial web host will give you more reliable content-management and traffic control.
One popular host is WordPress, which is ranked #1 for CMS Hosting Service, powering 1 in 4 websites net-wide (27.5%) according to websitehostinginsider. Another popular host is Godaddy, which has been successfully operating since 1997. These programs will cost between $10 and $200 per month depending on the host and the set up will cost around $50 to $150 by freelancer.
Don’t choose a host service just because it’s cheap! Free host services have frequent “down” times, which makes your page inaccessible during those periods. An estimated $500 million is lost each year in the US alone due to single-second delay, reducing conversion rates up to 7%, according to Websitehostinginsider.com.
Maintenance & Troubleshooting
Once your site is up and running, don’t think you’re good to go. Your freelancer will work on making sure no virtual hiccups occur for the visitors and that everything continues working as it should. The freelancer will also be adding any necessary updates or modifications, long after the final product is finished. Either way, you must keep this continued cost in mind if you want your website to keep running smoothly.
One alternative to hiring a freelancer is using a DIY site like Wix, which uses a drag-and-drop model with pre-made designs that mostly cater to blogging and biographical websites. Even the entrepreneur that repels technology can make a website on Wix. This may seem safer for your budget and it is, but only in the short-run.
To get an estimate on the cost of your website, your freelancer, who must have the experience and familiarity to take on a business site, should charge between $4000 to $7000, depending on any special perks or custom factors that you want to add. This may seem hefty, but it is important to invest in your digital presence. How people view you online is worth a significant investment for a fast, easy-to-navigate, appealing website.