Website Cost & Options for Small Businesses

“How much does a website cost?” is a common question for small business owners, and it’s one that can only be answered by considering several other factors.

How will the site be used? Are you selling online? How diverse are your markets and visitors? Will it be membership-based? Can the operator perform maintenance, or will a vendor need to be paid for those functions? And so on.

Depending on the size of your business and specific online needs, the cost of a website will vary. From a simple do-it-yourself site to a custom-designed product, anything is possible. A look at the landscape from different perspectives will give you an idea of how to budget for costs. Read on for four ways small business owners tackle the question: How much does a website cost?

1) The Marketing Expert: Follow The Rule of Four

John Schneble, president at Steelteal Marketing, says that there are four general price ranges for websites:

•Under $1,000: These will typically have one person designing and developing; have little—if any—custom design, and no real strategic input. They’re often a simple microsite or select few pages with basic contact information and details about a business’ products and services.

•$1,000-$2,500: At this cost, small business owners should expect strategic insight, as well as some input on information architecture and social media marketing. Some basic customization should also be possible.

•$2,500-$5,000: This is often the ideal range for most small business websites. You should get comprehensive, thoughtful input on the design and functionality (both of which should support your business goals and social media integration).

•Over $5,000: This cost is for larger websites (100+ pages) and/or those with e-commerce functionality, both of which require a larger time investment from a design and development perspective.

When looking at cost options for your website, be sure to seek multiple quotes, ask for referrals from similar businesses or throughout your network, and shop around. You want a website that meets all of your practical business needs without breaking the bank.

2) The Hands-On Small Business Owner: D.I.Y.

Patrick Crosby, owner/operator of Patrick’s Pest Control, puts his money on Intuit’s (now Homestead) website services.

“I’ve been using (Homestead’s) website services since I started my business in October 2010. I never designed or knew how to make a website until then,” he says.

“The cost is very low, about $6 a month, and I can even process credit cards. The website looks amazing because I can insert photos and have four pages. I have used analytics to track customer views, what pages they look at and how long they stay on pages. I have a #3 ranking on Google’s first page due in part to good reviews, and to (Homestead’s) hosting at about $15 a month. The payoff is worth the cost.”

For a simple approach, outsourcing your website’s design and hosting needs for a low monthly fee is a great solution for many small businesses. More complex needs and business objectives will lead to more complex sites (and much higher costs).

3) The Tech Exec: By the Numbers

Scott Darden, president of Devizan Inc., shares some general pricing guidelines from his perspective:

•Domain name registration: $10-$15/year

•SSL certificate (more expensive certificates add higher levels of trustworthiness): $70-$300/year

•Hosting: $40-$200/year

•Content delivery network: $50-$250/year

•Development tools and templates: $100-$200

•Design, including page layouts and graphic design: $400-$1,600

•Development, including coding the markup and scripting: $600-$2,000

•Maintenance (depends on how well-designed the site is): $400-$1,800/year

•Payment processing (a higher percentage of sales means a lower monthly fixed charge): $0-$250/year

Bottom line cost? Between $1,100-$3,800 initially, with $600-$2,800 budgeted per year for maintenance and optimization.

4) The Web Designer: Pay As You Go

Micahlynn Rivera, lead designer at Dominical Design & Development, works with small businesses on their websites.

“We try to help small businesses that are tight on funds, so we offer monthly payment programs for our website-design services,” she says. “Monthly payments are based on 24-month contract.”

Website cost breakdown:

•Basic website: $65/month ($1,300 if paid upfront)

•Expanded website: $120/month ($2,425 if paid upfront)

•Hosting: $13-$19/month Large/custom websites: $4,500+ (and $40+/month for hosting)

•Ongoing website maintenance of about three hours monthly: $195/month

•Domain name averages: $12/year

•Ongoing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of one hour per week to optimize new website content (blog, new page, etc.) based on keyword research and push to other channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.): $260/month.


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