Building a website from the ground up can be a costly venture, but it’s worth the investment. Why? Because your website is one of your most important marketing tools.

When budgeting for web development, there are five important costs to keep in mind.

1. Domain Name Registration

Before you can even start building your website, you need to register a domain name. Registering your domain name is the simplest and most economical step in the web development process.

Ideally, when registering your domain name, you’ll:

  • Use your business’s or organization’s name
  • Purchase several years at a time, or set up an “auto-renew” feature

Let’s say that you decided not to purchase several years at a time or set up automatic renewal of your domain. What happens next?

If your domain registration expires and you fail to renew it, someone else can purchase your domain name. There are people who purchase domains for the purpose of re-selling it back to the original owner at a much higher price. Don’t make this mistake.

Purchasing a domain name from a domain registrar, like GoDaddy.com, Hover.com or Namecheap.com, will cost between $2 and $20 per year.

website development process written on black chalkboard

2. Web Hosting

Registering your domain name is the first step in the process. The second step is purchasing web hosting.

Think of web hosting as renting office space on the Internet. It’s where your site files are stored and visitors arrive to see your website. But just as you wouldn’t house your business in any location in town, you shouldn’t just choose any web hosting company.

The right host will produce faster page load speeds and provide support when you need it. Hosting costs can vary greatly, from $15 per year to hundreds of dollars per month. But on average, businesses spend between $30 and $50 per month on hosting.

Some important things to look for when choosing a host include:

  • Service availability of 95%-99% (i.e. your website will be up and running 95%-99% of the time).
  • Database or application function
  • Basic backup and restoration
  • Hosting website files with access via sFTP, FTP or some other file manager

The best way to find a good host is to go off of the recommendation of a trusted friend or colleague. If you don’t have this option, research the web host company and read customer reviews before making a final decision.

3. Web Development

The cost of web development varies greatly and will depend on a number of factors.

  • Will you build the website through a web builder, like Wix.com, or will you use a web development company?
  • What type of website are you building? Is it an e-commerce site?
  • What is the size of the website?

As a general rule of thumb, you don’t want to budget anything less than $5,000 for web development. Keep in mind that your costs may be significantly higher or slightly lower, depending on your individual needs.

Prices for website design, web development and SEO vary. A freelance will likely be cheaper than an agency but an agency will likely have more resources to pull upon to give you a one stop solution. The pricing for websites is like asking “how long is a piece of string” or “how much is a car” it depends on some requirements fundamental to your project. You are always best to speak with a web design agency but you could also use a handy tool such as a website cost calculator to get a ballpark cost whilst in the research stage.

4. Maintenance, Promotion and Marketing

Once your website has been built, you’ll need to maintain it and market it. These costs should not be overlooked, as they play an integral role in your long-term success.

Just like with web development, the cost of maintenance and marketing can vary greatly. These costs will be ongoing and will likely require the help of a professional.