Is a professional website worth the cost?

Asking how much it costs to build a professional website is like asking how much it costs for a new suit, a new dress, or a new car. Even though there are millions of websites online, there isn’t a magic formula to come up with how much each site costs. Three important steps in the process of arriving at the answer include: identifythe purpose of your site, assess the principle cost component options, and listthe main site features your business requires.

What is the purpose for your site?

It doesn’t make sense to spend money to implement a level of quality that delivers capabilities that do not achieve your business goals. Simply put, the amount you decide to spend on a website should be based on the value it will deliver in meeting its stated purpose. Most business owners list the following objectives as the most important for their website:

  1. To provide relevant information to current and potential customers.
  2. To market your companies’ products and services.
  3. To allow customers an easy way to interact with your business (to ask questions, obtain quotes, submit a credit application and track orders).
  4. To complete the sale of your individual products and services online.


What Are The PrincipalCost Components of a Website?

*Domain Name – Domain name registration service is a yearly registration service for your web address or domain location provided by a domain registrar company such as GoDaddy or Network Solutions.

The cost for a domain name can be anywhere from $10 – $35 per year and you can typically prepay for your registration services for a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of up to 10 years.

*Web Hosting – This service is a monthly service for hosting and serving your website on the Internet.There are four different types of web hosting: Shared, Virtual Private Server (VPS), Dedicated, and Cloud Hosting. While all types of hosting servers will act as a storage center for your website, they differ in the amount of storage capacity, control, technical knowledge requirement, server speed, and reliability. Web hosting costs can range from $10 a year to a $1,000 depending on the type of hosting, the size of the site and the amount of traffic interaction.

*Email Hosting – An email hosting service is an Internet hosting service that operates email servers.

Generally POP mail will run you either free or $1 or $2 per month per user. Hosted email like Microsoft Exchange (includes calendars, scheduling, storage and anti-spam) costs from $10 to $20 a month.

*Layout and Design – While many older sites feature five or six tabs or headings and a traditional design  approach, the explosion of tablets and mobile devices as primary internet search methods has made a more complex responsive design approach a necessity. With 232 possible screen sizes in today’s world, it isn’t difficult to understand the rise in popularity of responsive design and the need to automatically adjust the website content to just the just the right size on any screen.The sitemap and design of a six page website ranges from $1,500 to $8,000. Low-cost/low-risk beginner sites are also available and are described here in the last paragraph.

*Content – Is the reason visitors come to your site.It is comprised of text, images, sound, video, and animation. The cost for a six page startup site will range from $250 to $2,000.

E-Commerce Functionality allows your customers to complete a purchase online without necessarily interacting with your staff. Programming and functionality enhancements for e-Commerce can add up to between $30,000 and $40,000.


Build It Yourself or Hire a Professional?

As a new business,it is never a good idea to build your own site even if you think you have some design skills as a graphic artist. This also goes for asking a family member, relative or friend to create it for you. Building a website requires not only graphic art skills, but also knowledge of information architecture, copywriting skills and marketing experience. Remember, it is your most important doorway to attract, engage and covert new customers.


In an effort to minimize the cost and maximize the return, I would recommend that you research and select a low cost ‘Starter’ package designed for Solo-preneurs and startups. This type of package typically costs $500 to 1,000 and comes with an entire marketing agency to help you launch like a professional.