Web Development Services g

If you have a small business, or are planning to start one, you also need to start budgeting for your online presence. And this is something people tend to want to skimp on, for a lot of reasons. Of course, being a new business finances may be tight. But there are other factors as well. Primarily, thinking that it should be easy or cheap, that anyone can do it, so you don’t need to budget much for it. Maybe you think you have your son or another relative do it for you on the cheap. However, if you do plan to go the route of a professional, I thought I’d give you a rundown of what to expect when it comes to small business website costs, because it’s not just a one and done. I’ll breakdown some of the monthly, annual, and one-time fees to give you an idea of what to expect so you can plan your budget.

Domain Name: $1 – $20 per year (typically)

A domain name is essentially a user-friendly address for a website. Imagine the internet as a giant city, and every website has a specific address made up of a bunch of numbers. These numbers, like, are called IP addresses, and they’re how computers actually find websites.

Domain names are like nicknames for these IP addresses. They’re much easier for people to remember, like “google.com” or “wikipedia.org”. So, instead of having to memorize a bunch of numbers, you can just type in a domain name to visit a website.

You can buy domain names from many registrars such as GoDaddy, NameCheap, or many web hosting companies, and they are going to vary in price. I generally tell folks to plan for $15 for a domain. Some places will sell them cheap for the first year, with an increase the second year. And of course, if you want to buy a premium domain, a highly desirable website address that’s typically short, memorable, it usually comes with a higher price tag.

Domain fees are annual but you can pay for multiple years at a time to make it easier.

Web Hosting: $5-$200 per month

Imagine a website as a house. You wouldn’t be able to have people visit your house if it wasn’t built and on a piece of land, right? Web hosting is like the land your website sits on. It’s a service that provides the space to store all the files and data that make up your website, and makes it accessible to anyone who wants to visit it online.

Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

  • Servers: These are special computers that are always connected to the internet. Web hosting companies own and maintain these servers.
  • Storage Space: Your website’s files, like code, images, and text, need to be stored somewhere. Web hosting companies rent out space on their servers for this purpose.
  • Accessibility: When someone types in your website’s address (URL) into their browser, their computer connects to the server where your website is stored. This allows them to see your website’s content.

There are different types of web hosting services available, depending on your website’s needs. And when it comes to web hosting, I usually say you get what you pay for. If you pay $5 a month for hosting, that’s going to be a lower quality host most of the time. And that may work if you have a very simple, low traffic website. So consider your website’s needs when you purchase hosting. I tend to recommend WordPress specific hosting companies, and here’s my list of recommendations.

Website Design: $1,500 – $10,000 and up

Website design is the process of creating the look and feel of a website. It involves planning the layout, choosing the visual elements like colors and fonts, and making sure the site is easy to use and navigate.

Here are some of the key aspects of website design:

  • User experience (UX design): This focuses on how users interact with the website. A well-designed website should be easy to find information on and complete tasks.
  • User interface (UI design): This is the visual design of the website, including the layout, colors, fonts, and images.
  • Aesthetics: This refers to the overall look and feel of the website. A website should be visually appealing and reflect the brand of the business or organization.

You may look at my price range and be like, what? Why is it so varied? Because graphic designers come with different levels of skill, experience, and education, and you pay for that. Hiring someone fresh out of school with no experience and nothing on their resume is likely to be less expensive than hiring someone who has twenty years of experience and a proven record of success.

Website Development: $1,500 – $10,000 and up

After you have your website design in hand, it’s time to turn that vision into reality. For us, since we only do WordPress sites, that means installing WordPress, building a new WordPress theme specific to the design created, and laying out all the content on the site’s pages for a simple site. If you have 100 pages, that’s going to cost more than setting up a simple site with 10 pages.

However, if you have a more complicated site, for example one that has e-commerce, membership capabilities, custom post types, extensive forms, then your site development may be more involved. For example, Dope Yogi is an online yoga library that allows users to buy a membership, login, and find the practice they want and watch anytime. Our friend Jennifer GoForth Gregory is a prolific writer, but also sells online courses, so her users need to be able to sign up for her online courses and then take the course.

My point on this is that depending on what kind of functionality you need, it will change the price of the website development to make sure all systems are working so your customers can use your site how you need them to.

Ongoing Support – $50 a month & up

One of the most often forgotten aspects of websites is support. We no longer live in a age of set it and forget it. Websites are dynamic, and they need upkeep. At a minimum, you need a plan in place for backups, security, and software updates to keep your site secure. (We offer a variety of WordPress support plans, FYI.)

Maintenance – $75 per hour and up

If you don’t want to learn to manage your own site, then you’ll probably need to hire help from someone to login and make changes to your site. Maintenance costs can sometimes be rolled into a support plan, or you may need to pay hourly for those changes and that will depend on the hourly rate of the person you hire. Our rate is $125, but I have seen lower costs.

Other possible expenses

  • Premium Plugins or Themes: If you have a site that requires premium software, like e-commerce extensions for WooCommerce or Directory or Membership software, expect to pay for those plugins. They will almost always be an annual fee. Cost for these plugins really varies depending on the vendor and functionality.
  • SSL Certificate: I have a rule and that is if your web hosting doesn’t come with SSL, go buy web hosting somewhere else. That should be included and I typically don’t trust a web host that doesn’t make sure all their sites are on SSL. But some will sell it separately.
  • Payment processing fees: If you want to take payments, expect to pay fees. Most don’t have a monthly fee, but will take a percentage of your sales.
  • Your website builder, if you use a DIY service. We build with WordPress, which is open source software and doesn’t have a fee to download or use, but if you use a DIY builder, you may have to pay fees for that.

Building a website is never a one and done, so expect there to be ongoing fees to keep your site up to date. Remember, your site is often the first experience someone has with your business and the first impression you can make. It’s worthwhile to make it a good impression.

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Amy Masson, Web Developer

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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