Any business who wants to improve their customer base should have a website. A website is a 24 hour a day marketing tool that not only presents your business message any time of day, but can be a tool that attracts new customers through search engine optimization and search engine marketing.
If you don’t have a website, it’s time to get yours ready. However, what does a website really cost? Here are some things to consider when forming your website budget.
Your domain is vital, as it needs to be easy for customers to remember so they can find you online. A domain might simply be your business name, but take into consideration SEO strategies as well. By incorporating smart keywords into your domain name, you increase the likelihood that your website will appear in the search results.
Unfortunately, with the hundreds of millions of domains already registered, it is most likely that your top-choice domain is unavailable as a .com. Consider opting for a .net or .org version, which are both considered the “runner up” sub-domains to .com. Or you may wish to buy a .co domain, which some predict could be the second best domain extension after .com.
A .com, .org, or .net domain usually costs $10 per year, but .co domains are currently priced at $30 per year because the extension was just released in July and is experiencing high demand.
You must have a place to host your website where it is connected to the internet. Hosting packages can be as little as $3 to $7 a month for shared server hosting or up to $200 per month or more for dedicated server hosting packages. As a new website, a shared server is usually more than sufficient for the amount of bandwidth you will need.
You can save money on your website by using templates and simply entering your business information. Usually website builders are offered for free with new web hosting accounts. If you operate a small business, this may be a great option.
However, if you need a customized website with professional programming and applications like database search capability, shopping cart software, or Flash animation, expect to pay about $100 an hour or more, and expect a bill of at least $1,000 on up.
Need a logo? How about other customized graphics or photos? If you want your website to shine, expect to pay a graphic artist about $50 to $100 per hour for designing your images.
It’s best to continually update your website to be attractive to search engines. You can write your own content, including blog posts and/or articles, but a professional will do it right every time. Expect about $20 to $50 per hour for content development services.
While there are certainly start-up costs associated with getting your business online, a website will pay back your business in dividends.