How Much Does it Cost To Create a Website?
In order to build a website, you need two things at the very minimum:
1) A domain name (anyname.com)
2) A web host (the company that stores your files and web pages)
Now, if you're looking for a free website, you're not going to find any recommendations here because that is quite honestly a bad move.
I ran a contest on my blog once and asked about regrets people had when starting their sites. One of the top regrets listed was using a free host.
Don't you want full ownership and control of your site? Well, if you go with a free host you won't have that, and it's never good to rent a website from a company that can do whatever they want to with your site at any time.
Plus, as you'll see below, the costs of starting a website are way cheaper than starting a business offline. When you put things into perspective, you realize what a great opportunity this can be at a relatively low cost.
Domains and Hosting
When I started building websites in 2008, domain names (yoursite.com) were $35/yr and hosting was $25/month.
Today, you can get both of those for much less.
Domain names at my company Website Palace costs $13.99/yr and hosting starts at $3.99 per month.
You can always upgrade your hosting package later if you wish, but I will say that if you choose either of the two higher end packages, you can create an unlimited number of sites on one account.
With both domains and hosting, you save if you pay for years/months in advance. So that's something to consider if you plan to keep your site for a long time.
If you go with Site Build It!, your hosting and domain name comes with the entire package and it's $29/month or $299/yr. You'll also receive a plethora of other tools. Learn more about Site Build It! here.
If you create an HTML website like this then you don't necessarily need software. You could learn HTML and CSS and build your site from scratch with help of my templates (which come free with any order from Website Palace) and Notepad.
Artisteer is more of a designer tool for beginners while Dreamweaver is a full developer tool for someone who really wants to learn the nuts and bolts of web design.
So Artisteer is going to give you more template designs and is easier to use, but it's not for someone who wants to learn code. With Dreamweaver, the templates are very plain, but it is setup so you actually learn web programming.
To be honest, Dreamweaver is quite advanced for most people. I took the time to learn it to build this website some years ago, but most people today choose WordPress.
If you use WordPress (comes free with paid hosting) you won't need any software because the themes come with the CMS platform. When you login to the Dashboard, you will search for a theme design and install the one of your choice.
Plus, WordPress gives you comment capability and a lot more functionality through plugins.
What do I mean by plugins? Let's say you want to create a shopping cart to sell products. You could install a plugin to execute that task rather than paying for an ecommerce solution from a web host. Many of the plugins are free.
Logo Design Costs
Thinking of getting a professional logo? You may want to consider investing in a logo design. This could cost anywhere between $20 and $500 depending on the quality and who you hire.
I used LogoMyWay for the logo on this site. Here's how it works. You hold a contest and designers from all over will submit entries for you to vote on. During the contest you can rank each entry and ask for edits on designs you like.
When the contest is over, you pick the logo you want, pay the designer and they send you the image files in several different high-quality formats.
So you can use your logo on shirts, mugs, hats, and of course the web.
You also get to choose the reward prize for the contest and the minimum for LogoMyWay is $200. Obviously, the higher the prize offered, the more (and better quality) logo entries you'll receive for your contest.
It's a pretty cool format because you get access to hundreds of designers from all over, and if you don't know exactly what you want, it's a great way to see many different renditions and ideas.
You can also get logos designed from places like Fiverr, Freelancer, oDesk, and Elance. Just remember, you typically get what you pay for. It may sound cool to get a $5 logo from Fiverr, but it will probably look like a $5 logo. :-)
Website Design Costs
Even though platforms like WordPress have revolutionized the methods of creating a website (because it comes with tons of free themes), you may still decide to have a professional theme created.
The benefit of doing this is you will get exactly what you want and not have to worry about tweaking someone else's work.
As cool as WordPress is, if you don't know CSS, PHP or have a theme that allows you to make the customizations you need, you may find yourself scratching your head when it comes to customizing your them.
That's why I typically use premium themes with WordPress because you get more customization options.
On my blog, I use The Prose Theme and there are quite a few customization options to choose from. For example, I can choose if I want one menu or two, and I can switch up the color scheme right from the admin area.
If I did not have a theme that has those kinds of customizations, I'd have to go into the editor and literally figure out how to edit the programming code. Not a fun task for the average WordPress user.
The Prose theme costs $85 and it was well worth it.
Also, the theme is mobile responsive. So your site will automatically adjust to display optimally on phones and smaller devices.
Try viewing this site on your phone or drag the corner of your browser to shrink the window. Notice how the site adjusts as the window gets smaller.
That's the beauty of a responsive site and what the Prose Theme will give you out the box.
What About Free Themes?
When you install WordPress, there are tons of free themes to choose from, but here's a warning...
One problem is that there is no support for them. So when WordPress upgrades their software, you're left in the dark if your theme is not compatible.
That means your design could break and you will be left on your own to fix it.
So even if you do decide to use WordPress, consider getting a premium theme.
Ecommerce / Shopping Carts
There are a couple of routes you could take here.
Back in the day, you almost had to invest in a full ecommerce/shopping cart solution through a web host or a company like Web Marketing Magic.
However, today you can install a WordPress plugin and integrate it with PayPal.
Clickbank costs $49 (one-time) for setup and they take 7% for every sale you make. eJunkie costs $5 per month and they do not take any commission on your sales.
So what about databases and other kinds of custom work you may want to done?
It's hard to say what this will cost because you'll likely have to get a quote from whomever will do the work.
For example, if you want a custom database created so you can store information and load it on your site in a special way then you could go to vWorker and get a quote.
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