“What is the cost of a web site?”, is one question I’ve been asked countless times at parties and social gatherings. And it’s no surprise because I’ve been in the web development business for over 10 years now. I started at the time of the dot com bust and after wading through the tough initial years I have been able to launch many successful online ventures.
Anyway, coming back to the question at hand, sadly, it doesn’t have a straightforward answer. This is primarily because a website cost depends on the type of web site you want to develop.
Assuming that most people require a simple web site whose sole purpose is to give their business a face online, here is a breakdown of the costs involved in web site development.
By the way, if you don’t want to spend any money, I suggest you read how to create a personal web site for free. However, please note, for a serious web presence you do need to fork out some money. And there is one thing I’ve noticed over the years – the cost of a website has decreased.
A domain name like google.com or webdevelopersnotes.com is your online identity. Contrary to what some web hosting companies would have you believe, domain names don’t come for free though they are very cheap nowadays. I suggest you register a domain name separately and don’t couple it with web hosting (see below). I also advice is buying a domain name from a reputable company such as Network Solutions. You might need to pay a couple of dollars more, but you are assured of the service and reliability. Network Solutions incidentally was the first company in the world to sell domain names and they are still probably one of the most respected registrars.
Depending on the extension such as .com, .co.uk (United Kingdom), .co.in (India) etc., the cost of a domain name will vary but only slightly. For about $10-$30, you can get a domain name for a year. However, if you are serious about your online endeavour I strongly recommend you register the name for multiple years because you may get a good deal on such a package.
A website is just a bunch of web pages and their associated files such as images, audio and video and it needs to be stored on a web server – a computer that’s connected to the internet 24/7 to ensure its available at all times. To host a web site, you take a part of a web server’s hard disk space on rent. Thus, just like domain name, you can purchase a web hosting package for one or multiple years, however, in this case, I suggest you don’t go beyond a 2 years.
The cost of hosting a web site on a web server has come down drastically because of improvements in technology, and excellent web hosting packages as offered by companies such as Hostgator and Lunarpages can be procured for about $100 per year. Why do I recommend these companies? Because I use them myself – they are reliable and ideal for small and medium size websites. Also the features in these web hosting packages are one of the best in the industry. One small bit of advice: do not purchase hosting and domain name from one company especially when they couple the two and offer the name free which might be tempting if you want to save a few dollars.
Oftentimes I’ve found that people who are just starting out tend to get confused when faced with a barrage of different web hosting packages. Obviously everyone wants the best product at the best price. However, Things such as customer service cannot be quantified so easily and this is where the two reliable web hosting companies I mentioned before stand above the rest. The starting web hosting plan from either of the two companies would be just fine for you. I have websites that get close to a million visitors per month hosted on both Hostgator and Lunarpages.
The final website cost is obviously the charge involved in designing and development. Because of the stateless structure of the internet, you are no longer restricted to local web development firms. Hiring a company from India, for instance, will bring down cost of website development substantially. Anyway, depending on the type of web site you want, the cost will vary from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
When choosing a web development company, always look at their portfolio. Also check out how they communicate – are they quick enough to respond to your questions and do they offer honest and straightforward replies?
OK, so here we are – the website cost will include the price of a domain name and web hosting which should be about $120-$150. The rest is the development cost which, like I mentioned, depends on the type of web site; a simple web presence with about 20-30 web pages should not be more than $500 from a company based in India.
Just before I close, there are two more costs involved though not directly – the web site maintenance cost and the price for search engine optimization. Please refer these individual pages for more information.
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