Let’s set the stage. You’ve launched a business and it’s taken off faster than you could have ever dreamed. Your customers are supportive. People are sharing your content and you’re getting amazing feedback. Your customers are leaving you amazing reviews and telling all of their friends about you… but you’re still running your business through your Instagram DMs.
You’re spending time responding to DMs because you feel like you have to respond immediately, trying to figure out where that one client contacted you so you can get their information, copying and pasting messages about your services via DM, trying to keep track of Venmo requests, your email inbox is a mess, and the worst part you know your systems are holding you back from growing your business and making more money.
So, you start looking into creating a website, but you don’t even know where to start — Wix? Squarespace? GoDaddy? Shopify? Can I do it on my own or do I need to hire someone? Can I afford to hire someone?
WE GET IT. It can be extremely intimidating and you might not even know who to ask for help to get started. Enter: this blog post. If you’re a savvy biz owner like we know you are, you probably want to know the costs associated with getting a website up & running before you take the plunge. This blog post is dedicated to just that, so you can have a ballpark in mind and can plan for it before diving into the website world.
Let’s start with the essentials. What do you absolutely need in order to get a website up and running?
A domain is what someone types in to get to your website, for example, waterloostreet.co or google.com. There are many places to purchase a domain but we highly recommend GoDaddy. They have 24/7 support and we have used them for years without any issue. We do not recommend buying your domain through a website builder like Wix or Squarespace, because you’re usually actually purchasing your domain through a third party and it may be extremely difficult to transfer your domain should you choose to move to another website builder.
So how much does a domain cost? It depends! Domains typically run from $10-$20 per year, but some domains can be more expensive if your business name has frequently used keywords, like the location or your business industry. The good news? You can see exactly how much your domain costs by visiting GoDaddy and searching!
You’ve heard the names Squarespace, Wix, WordPress, and you may have even heard of Showit (our platform of choice). There are plenty of different website builders out there. If you want to compare the actual builders themselves, there are tons of comparison blogs out there. We have one comparing Showit vs. Squarespace that you can check out here.
But we’re here to talk about pricing. When it comes to the major players in website building, the prices are pretty standard across the board. Here’s how much you can expect to pay per platform.
We won’t get too technical with this section. Just know that if you choose to use Showit, Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress, you are paying your hosting cost to these platforms. If you choose to go with another option, make sure to research whether you will have to pay an additional cost for website hosting.
After purchasing your domain, choosing your platform, and setting up your accounts, it’s time to start building your website. No matter which platform you choose, it’s likely that there are free website templates available. What’s a website template? It’s a pre-built website design that allows you to plug in your photos and content and you’re good to go. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, but if you’re tech-savvy you can probably build a site using a free template.
There are some important things to consider when deciding what route you want to go when it comes to building your site.
Do you just need all of your content in one place (information about your services, frequently asked questions, contact information)? If you’re looking for a content-only site, you can probably use a free template or there are website templates on sites like Etsy and CreativeMarket that you can purchase for just about any platform.
If you’re looking at Showit, *shameless plug* we have a website template shop that not only gives you access to a beautiful template, but we offer a support window where you can contact us for help designing and installing your template. Website templates can really range in price, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for! Read the reviews. Look at the live demos to see if the site has what you need before purchasing.
Do you need more functionality and integrations? Do you have an online booking system you want to be embedded on your site or are you a blogger that needs an upgraded website with different category pages for all of your blogs, featured blog post sections, etc.? You may need a custom website, but it really depends on the specifics of your business, so speak with a website designer (we recommend speaking with multiple) before making a decision.
Are you a boutique or a business that sells products? Do you need an online storefront and a way for customers to shop your products online? You probably need an e-commerce website or integration, depending on the number of products you want to sell.
This will play a HUGE role in the outcome of your website. If you aren’t at all comfortable using technology and need a more simple, content site there are plenty of website designers that offer website template customizations. We like to call this a semi-custom option because you will purchase a website template of your choosing and the website designer will actually build out the site for you after you provide them with content and photos. Be sure to find a website designer you want to work with prior to purchasing a template. Many designers will only customize templates that are they built themselves.
That’s the question you’re here for, after all.
The cost of template customizations is usually the cost of a template plus the template customization cost. For template customization, you can expect this service to cost at least $1500, with the price going up from there depending on what the designer includes in this service.
For custom websites, you can expect to pay $2500 at minimum, with more experienced designers charging $5k-$10k.
If you’re looking at an e-commerce option, you’ll need to plan for the cost of the e-commerce platform, as well as the integration if you’re looking to integrate it with your custom website on another platform. We highly recommend Shopify as an e-commerce platform, but it really depends on what you’re selling (products vs. services). Shopify has plans starting at $29/month. You’ll want to mention this when you speak to a website designer, as they will likely build you a site on an e-commerce platform or, depending on your needs, integrate the e-commerce with a custom site. If you’re looking at a custom site on an e-commerce platform, you can expect to pay at least $8k. If you’re integrating e-commerce with a custom site, designers may charge an e-commerce add-on fee of at least $2k.
As you can see, the cost of a website really depends on your specific needs. The quickest way to get an idea of how much you’re looking to pay is to get on the phone with a couple of different website designers and get some quotes!
But, how do I find website designers I might want to work with? First, check out some websites you like and if you scroll to the bottom there will usually be a site credit that links to the designer’s website. The easiest route to go, though, is to ask for recommendations!
Any other questions? We’re here for you! You can always reach out to us. xo