How much should I budget for a new website?
Whether you hire someone to build your first website for you or you do it yourself (DIY), there are common expenses that you can expect to pay.
If you have someone create your website for you, you can expect these common costs on top of the fee to contract their services. Keep in mind, you’re typically not paying just for time to build the website. You’re also paying for their knowledge and expertise in the form of website strategy and consulting. Which saves a ton of time when you aren’t sure what you need or how to put it all together!
In this post, I’ll explain the costs you can expect from each category when budgeting for your new website.
Some of the links contained in this article are affiliate links. This means that I may receive a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase from the affiliate. I only recommend products and services that I know or trust to be of high quality, whether an affiliate relationship is in place or not.
Most people don’t realize this, but running a website is not free. It requires expenses to keep it up and running. Most website expenses recur on a monthly or annual basis.
At the very least, you need to purchase a domain and website hosting account.
I’m assuming that you’re reading this post because you’re going to be running a website for business purposes. That means, you’ll also need a professional email address, email marketing service, and WordPress theme & plugins.
Of course, there are many other expenses you might incur to run your online business. This post is intended to give you an idea of the bare minimum website expenses.
You can think of your website domain like your street address. This is how people will find you. If you are just getting started and stressing out about what domain you should use, start simple.
You can use your name.
Avoid hyphens and confusing spellings.
I recommend NameCheap to purchase your domain names because it also includes free privacy protection.
Cost: Starting at $8.88/year
You can think of website hosting as the actual building located at your street address. This is where you’ll store the files associated with your website. You need a place (server) to store your files. You can purchase shared hosting to start with.
I recommend SiteGround hosting.
Cost: Starting at $3.95/month
Professional Email / Email Hosting
Once you purchase your domain name, you can get a professional email address instead of using a gmail address.
Zoho offers a free (and paid) email hosting plans to get you started.
Or, if you love your gmail account and everything that comes along with it, sign up for GSuite (starting at $5 / month).
Cost: Starting from $0 to $5/month
If you want to collect email addresses and grow an email list, you must use an email marketing service. There are CAN-SPAM laws that you must comply with.
If you want to test the waters, then start with a service like Mailchimp. You can get started for free and upgrade or change providers as your list grows.
If you don’t want to use Mailchimp, then ActiveCampaign starts at $9/month for their Lite plan.
Cost: Starting from $0 to $9/month
WordPress is open source software and can be installed by using your hosting company’s wizard tool. Once you install WordPress successfully, you’ll need to install a theme. WordPress comes with some default themes that install automatically. More than likely, you’ve got an idea for how you want your website to look. So, you’ll need to change the default theme to something else.
Find a theme that matches the design you want for your website. You can think of it like a “skin” for the website.
GeneratePress is a great, lightweight theme. You can start with the free version and upgrade to premium if you need the additional features. You can choose pre-built templates.
Additionally, you can install the Beaver Builder plugin for drag & drop functionality to make it look exactly how you want it.
Themes range from free to premium. Many themes offered for free are limited in support and ability to customize.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, I recommend the Thrive Themes Membership. You get access to all of their themes and plugins.
Inside the Thrive Themes Membership, you’ll find list-building plugins, headline optimization, visual page builder, landing pages, quiz builder, and more!
Their products are conversion-focused, and I love how easy it is to use. Plus, their training library is excellent!
Cost: Starting at free; $49.95 for GeneratePress Premium; $228/year for Thrive Themes membership (includes all plugins and themes)
Plugins are little pieces of code that add additional functionality to the WordPress software.
Plugins range from free to paid, depending on the extent of the functionality.
Common plugins include:
- Backup plugins
- Security plugins
- Membership site plugins
- Visual site builder plugins
- Calendar plugins
- Contact form plugins
And so much more!!
You can use plugins to extend functionality of your website or blog on the front-end or the back-end.
Cost: Starting at free; cost of paid plugins varies depending on the plugin (as you can see, that’s why I love the Thrive Membership!)
DIY vs. Custom Design & Development
To DIY your first website, you can anticipate spending about $200 depending on your choice of themes and plugins. If you’re scrappy, you can definitely create your first website for less than $100 by making the best out of free themes and plugins.
However, if you’re a solo business owner or small business looking to hire a professional web designer or developer, expect rates between $3,000 – 7,000 depending on the complexity, functionality, and size of your website. If you have an online store, expect rates much higher (especially if you have a large number of items to sell).
Most designers and developers split the total cost into two to three payments.
However, I offer the option to make up to six payments on my website package.
If you’re just getting started with a side hustle or starting a new business, it’s a good idea to attempt the DIY route first. This way, you know what’s involved with building and maintaining a website.
There are so many great resources, templates, and tutorials to help you start simple.
If you get stuck, you can always ask for professional help – an hour of troubleshooting or consulting. I’m happy to provide a website review and make recommendations.
It’s time to hire a professional if … you’re an established business that needs to improve your online presence. Or, you’ve already built your own DIY website, but have outgrown it and are ready to step up your game.
You can certainly get started with your first website for less than $100 when you DIY. But, keep in mind, that you may need to spend more money on tools that allow you to accomplish the tasks you need without knowing how to code.
Most of us are going to opt for the premium themes and / or plugins, so let’s say you purchase the following:
|Email Hosting||~ $0-60|
|Email Marketing Service||~ $0-108|
Keep in mind, that most hosting companies will lock in a low rate for the initial term, then increase the rate at renewal. So, if you start at $3.95–3.99/month, then your renewal rate could be around $7.95-$11.99/mo.
As you can see, you can expect to spend at least $60 for first year of domain & hosting, but you should anticipate spending at least $150 per year for subsequent years.
Also, premium themes and plugins are typically annual licenses. You’ll want to renew these when they come due so that you can keep your website software up-to-date with the recent security and maintenance updates!