Having a website is essential to any business or organization, as it can be our #1 sales tool and our #1 marketing asset.
If you have started a business and you are already selling your products or services, (or you work on your own as a freelancer), there’s no doubt you need an advertising and marketing strategy to promote yourself, find more clients and sell more. The internet is a resource that cannot be overlooked or wasted.
Let’s get down to it:
How much does it cost?
From $0 to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The first thing to keep in mind when considering the cost of a website is: you’ll always get what you pay for. Additionally, in case you are considering doing it on your own, a learning curve will always be required. That time can prevent you from your more important working activities.
The cost for a website varies, and the range is extensive. It depends on the technologies and providers needed for building it.
Approximately, the costs for building a website are:
- Domain: From $0 per year
- Hosting: From $0 per year
- Business email: From $5 for each user per year
- SSL Certificate: From $0 per year
- Website Template: From $0
What if I build it?
In reality, building a website may not require any money investment. Providers exist that offer sub-domains as a web address; the most well-known free websites are from Google.
The approximate cost to register a domain starts from $9 dollars per year for the most common extensions: .com, .org, .net, among others. Extensions can vary wildly, some costing less or some much more.
Likewise, the hosting can be acquired for free and enable the website templates to be modified to the website’s needs. However, providers exist that offer integral hosting solutions, to include: domain name, business emails, website administrator, even tools to help you build it.
What if I hire a website developer?
In this case costs can vary a lot, from $8 to $90 dollars per hour. The difference is dependent on the skills and knowledge of the developer, as well as the quality of their work.
In the US a good web developer, for approximately $150 dollars, can build a basic fully functional and high-end design website. Additionally, this would include all the tools needed to promote your products or services, and have a better presence on the internet. This can be completed and operational in just a few days.
There are websites that require more complex functions and tools that do require teams of designers, developers, and DevOps (among other specialists) who can pull projects for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their projects tend to have a launch-pad website within the first 2 to 3 months.
What does it take?
To build a website, you need the following:
- Solid business model
- Website itself
- SSL Certificate
- Legal notices (for some cases)
- Maintenance and continuous improvement
Get involved. It is essential to know the fundamentals of how the tools work that you are going to use for selling.
2. Business Model
Many people mistakenly think about getting a website without having defined ahead of time a solid business model. This results in confusion and paralysis about where to start.
After defining a solid business model, the next focus is knowing the kind of persona the website will be focused on. At this point, it is important to also identify the main goal for the website. This is critical to know the type of website needed to execute the desired functions.
Goals and Planning
Before we think about the functions and the visual impact we want to achieve with our website, first we need to define the type of website we are going to build according to our business model.
Types of websites
There are different types of websites, and solutions needed to build the tools within the website.
Within the most popular are:
- Online store (e-commerce)
- Point of sale
- Online courses (LMS)
- Donations and crowdfunding
- Stock administrator (WMS)
- Logistics administrator (TMS)
- Resource planner (ERP)
- Social network
- Search engine
- Banking and finances
Before we build the website, we need to define the look and feel, the functions and tools we are to implement.
UI/UX; User interface and user experience. Today designers implement designing methodologies that focus on enhancing user experience, specifically to insure that the user finds what they need quickly and easily.
Think about this example: If you need a dentist and look on the internet, you enter a website within the results. When you enter the website you may not find what you were looking for, such as an option for scheduling an appointment or for solving a query. The conclusion is: the website’s design is not the best. The website should have an appointment scheduler, an FAQ section and an information chatbot.
Now that we have the design of every screen of our website for both desktop and mobile versions, it is time to do the programming to actually build the website.
There are many programming languages to create different tools, and many frameworks that make the programming easier and quicker.
Likewise, many website builders don’t require programming knowledge. WordPress is the most popular and versatile example of this kind of website builder.
The development can be done in a testing environment such as a local machine or online, using an IP address or a testing web address. Additionally, if it is a large project where a big team is required, it is highly possible a git repository will be used. Once done, reviewed, tested and quality assured, we can now launch our website.
The domain name for our website is how people are going to find us on the internet. Therefore, we need to acquire a domain name that is easy to read, digest and remember.
We have the website programmed, working with the functions and tools ready to achieve its goals. It is now time to load it into a server and connect it to our domain.
There are many hosting providers with whom you can get a domain name. Also, these companies also provide different kinds of servers for different kinds of websites:
- Shared server
- Dedicated server VPS (Virtual Private Server)
- Cloud hosting
Some companies available for great hosting plans are:
Now that you have a presence on the web, you can now start sending emails with your Gmail account, Yahoo, or Hotmail. You can contact your clients from your business email address (e.g.: [email protected]).
Hosting companies that offer domain registration, usually also offer email services. Furthermore, here are some email companies that provide superior resources.
- Gmail (Google Cloud)
- Outlook (Office 365)
- Workmail (AWS)
8. SSL Certificate
An SSL Certificate will help you keep the data sent through your website secure, from sending a message to making a transaction online. Examples of this data include: name, email, phone, age, sex, occupation, credit card, and other desired data.
Also, having an SSL Certificate will help you improve the ranking of your website within the search engine results. Some search engines have started giving preference to those sites that have an SSL Certificate. Very soon they will stop indexing them altogether.
9. Legal Notice
If you are to collect data from your visitors at your website, you must let them know and describe what data you are collecting and how that data is going to be used.
Also, if the website is a platform that manages user accounts, you must give notice of the terms and conditions for using the platform.
Some of the most common notes are:
- Private Policy
- Terms and conditions
If you think your website is complete because it is on live and everything works properly, you are mistaken. Really, a website is never completed.
When you launch your website live for everyone to see, you will realize there will always be new ideas and tools you will want to add to your website. Also, constant updates are always essential for keeping an avant-garde website.
Likewise, constant backups of our website will always keep us confident that if for any reason our website stops working, we will always have the latest version available.