If you’re starting your own business, there are lots of upfront costs to think about. Most of them are straightforward—office space, incorporation fees, and insurance, and even paper clips typically come with pretty clear price tags.
But it can be hard to nail down just how much a new website will cost, even though it’s one of the most important tools a small business can have. Design firms and developers rarely advertise a flat rate for a website, because each project is different. If you do your own research online, you’ll see articles estimating the cost at anywhere from a thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars in developer and design fees, not to mention added costs of domains, hosting, SEO consulting, logos and branding, marketing, and more.
It’s pretty amazing that the myth of the multi-thousand dollar website has persisted, since there are so many affordable options out there that will set you back less than $200 a year, and are actually easier and faster to use. In this post, I’ll talk about how much a website should really cost you (hint: it’s much less than you probably think).
Fact: Building a website used to be expensive, difficult, or both.
Let’s travel back in time 10 years. Or even five years. Back then, it was totally normal to pay an agency big bucks to build even a simple website. Most people don’t know how to code or design themselves, so of course, you’d need a pro to do it for you, right?
Or you could go the cheaper DIY route, but it would be a painstaking process with mediocre results. By the time you were done, you probably wished you hired a professional in the first place.
Fortunately, times have changed. DIY website builders have become easier to use, and they deliver better results than ever. Best of all, they typically cost a low monthly fee that’s less than what you’d pay to go to lunch. Not bad for a service that can single-handedly put your business on the map.
Fact: You probably don’t need to pay a professional to build your website
First, it’s important to note that many web designers and developers do really wonderful work. For some complex websites that require a lot of customization, it helps to have a professional in your corner, and it can be worth the money.
The costs make less and less sense, though, when you start talking about an “average” website. Most small business websites only need a few pages of information. And as we all know, a simple design is actually the most effective. Putting all of these factors together, you can see that in most cases, a DIY website builder is the best and most affordable option.
Yet I’ve encountered many small businesses who paid thousands of dollars for a professionally-designed website that isn’t much different from what they could have created themselves with an online website builder.
For example, Digital.com estimates that a basic informational website with very little customization, fewer than 20 pages, a couple of stock photos, and “no unique functionality” will set you back $2,000-$8,000 if done professionally….which is pretty amazing since you can get the exact same thing with a DIY website builder for less than a tenth of that cost.
Why do people keep paying that amount of money when there are cheaper options available? Lots of entrepreneurs think they don’t have the time, or think they might need to learn new coding skills or think the results might not be very professional or trustworthy if they do it themselves. “I don’t know a thing about web design,” you might hear them say. There are also a lot of agencies out there who try to make website building and design sound more complicated than it is, so that you think you can’t do it yourself and that you need to hire a pro.
So what does a DIY website cost, and what does it include?
Plans and packages vary by website builder, but you will typically pay $10-$50/mo to use the service. The nice thing is that this cost usually includes a custom domain, hosting, security, support, and other things that would cost extra if you hired a design agency.
But what if I have no technical or design skills? Isn’t it worth it to pay a pro to do this?
Professional designers can build great websites. The problem is after they’re done, you’re on your own. If you don’t know how to do any of the behind-the-scenes stuff on your website, you’ll be at the mercy of an agency or pro with a high hourly rate every time you want to change your hours or update your information. That’s not a sustainable option in the long run.
That’s why the best way to tackle a small business website is to do it yourself. That way you learn the system and you’re empowered to make any changes you need yourself, without anyone else acting as a gatekeeper.
What’s even better is that an AI-driven website builder like Jimdo Dolphin takes a lot of the guesswork out of the design and building stages. When you sign up, it will guide you through some questions and essentially build the website for you based on what you need and what your industry is—and it will do this all in just a few minutes. No weeks of meetings and back-and-forth with an agency.
Starting and running a small business includes a lot of intimidating up-front costs. But building a website shouldn’t have to be one of those. If you’re considering spending thousands of dollars on a custom-built site, I hope I’ve convinced you to reconsider and explore a DIY option first. A website builder like Jimdo Dolphin will deliver a beautiful, professional-looking design with all the pieces you need, for substantially less money. And you will love the results.