So, How Much Does a Website Cost?

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So, how much does a website cost? The cost associated with a website ownership can be broadly categorized as A. Domain & Hosting; B. Designing & Development and C. Marketing.

Here's a quick list with explanation:
Domain & Hosting: A domain is nothing but your website's address, like www.yourbusinessname.com and that you can buy from yahoo, godaddy or many other domain sellers online. I've seen these selling anywhere from $0.99 - $9.95/ year depending upon the availability, seller, and sometimes even period you buy it for, i.e. 5 year registration may get you some discount but you will have to pay full price for 1 year or a .net may be cheaper than .com. Hosting or server cost in layman terms is the online space where your website resides, it's the cost of keeping your website online. Again depending on who you get it from and what you need this can be anywhere from $4.99 for shared servers to a couple hundred dollars a month for virtual dedicated servers. These are ongoing cost for the life for your website and are usually billed annually however, you can always prepay and register your domain for more whatever number of years you wish. Similarly, although hosting cost is advertised as per month but most providers would bill you annually (upfront in most cases).

Design & Development: The graphic designing the user interface, the design of look and feel of your website, designing what your customers see when they come on your website and programming, i.e. putting all the pieces together to bring the website to existence and function as expected, is covered under the design and development cost. Depending on whether you're dealing with a college kid or a freelancer, a small web design firm or a big company, the cost can vary drastically ($500 - $10,000 all quotes for the same project). Basically, you get what you pay for, holds true but when you're dealing with reputed firms or brands or big players, mostly you'll be paying for the reputation and brand and not the actual work as a comparative quality of work could be done at much lower price at a smaller company. So, my suggestion is to shop around, ask for samples, client references and recent work done, weigh all the options and then make the decision. This cost could be tricky, as it can be a one time cost or an ongoing or a periodic depending on your requirements of modification in the design &/ or addition of new functionalities to the website. If yours is a small static website and you don't plan to modify it frequently, cost would be one time, if yours is the kind of website that you need frequent updates and modification, it's an on going cost. A website built on a robust CMS (Content Management System) can be a bit expensive (than the regular html pages) to begin with but it gives you all the freedom to manage and update your website all by yourself, so you can add, delete and modify the WebPages through a user friendly admin dashboard without incurring extra cost or having to wait on your designer to do that work for you.

Marketing:  This is an ongoing cost and the more you spend (at right places and right time), the more you earn. The major cost of marketing is TIME... your and your staff's time. Let me tell you that the most important factor behind a website's success is its marketing, you may have a very fancy website but if you &/or your staff doesn't have time or motivation to market it then it is as good as thousands of other similar websites sitting idle today... Having a successful website is just like having a successful business so it takes a good deal of time, money and efforts. You have to budget time to market your website. And in today's day & age of information, social media networking and marketing opportunities that require nothing but time, any business would have to be very negligent to not take advantage of all that is out there and that too for FREE.

So, when you're talking to about building a website next time, don't just ask "how much it costs", try to give all the details on your project and ask the companies for an estimate and ask them for details about how they plan on building the website, ask them if they will be developing your site on a CMS or not, if not how easy and or difficult would it be to modify content, add/ delete pages from the site, do the basic maintenance in general... I can't emphasize enough on this but please shop around ask for estimates, portfolio, see who has done what at what price and how successful those websites are, how happy the former clients are... and remember the golden rule "if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is."

Devesh Dwivedi is a successful Management Consultant, Entrepreneur, with a diverse professional background, consulted and worked for a wide range of businesses from start-ups to Fortune 50. One of the all time Top Experts in Small Business & Startup category on Linkedin and an open networker available to help entrepreneurs and businesses. For more information please visit www.idea2inception.com

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