Understanding Website Costs in 2024

Understanding Website Costs in 2024

At Bay Laurel, we often chat with clients who aren’t sure what to expect when it comes to website costs. To shed some light on this, we’ve dug into a recent Forbes article breaking down website expenses for this year. Let’s explore what goes into pricing a website, understanding website costs in 2024, and what you should keep in mind when planning your budget. 

Key Website Costs

Forbes highlights several core elements that factor into the overall cost of a website (Leonard, 2024):

Domain Name: $0 to $20 per year 

Think of your domain name as your online address. Many website builders throw in a free domain for the first year, but you’ll typically spend up to $20 annually for a standard domain. Fancy domain names based on popular keywords can cost way more, sometimes thousands. But most businesses can snag a great domain for under $20 a year.

Web Hosting: $30 to $500 per year 

Web hosting is what makes your site visible online. Prices vary based on your needs. Shared hosting is budget-friendly, while dedicated servers cost more. If you’re using a drag-and-drop website builder, hosting is often part of the package. More commonly, for WordPress or custom-built sites, you’ll need separate hosting. Expect to pay between $100 and $500 yearly. If you’re anticipating lots of traffic (over 100,000 monthly visitors), it’s smart to invest in a beefier hosting plan to keep your site running smoothly.

DIY Website Builder: $100 to $400+ per year 

If you’ve got the time, but not the money, platforms like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress.com offer all-in-one solutions at various price points. These are user-friendly with drag-and-drop features, making it easy for anyone to build a site without tech skills, but they can harm your business if not done correctly. Basic features might be cheap or free, but you’ll pay more for premium themes and advanced options. Most users find good value around $200-300 per year.

Image by Kelly Sikkema of woman designing website
Image by Kelly Sikkema

Professional Web Design: $2,000 to $75,000+

If you’re looking for a professional website or after a custom design, hiring a pro can significantly impact your costs. Here’s a rough breakdown:

  • Small Business Website (Up to 16 Pages): $2,000 to $9,000+ for design
  • Corporate Website (Up to 75 Pages): $10,000 to $35,000+ for design
  • E-Commerce Website (Up to 1,000 Products): $5,000 to $55,000+ for design
  • Website Application (Up to 2,000 Pages): $6,000 to $75,000+ for design

Investing in professional design not only makes your site look great but also improves user experience and boosts your credibility. 

SSL Certificate: $0 to $249 per year 

An SSL certificate keeps your website secure and protects user data. It’s a must-have for online stores to process payments safely. Many web hosts include a free SSL certificate, but you can also opt for premium ones from third-party providers for extra security features. Costs range from free to about $249 per year. Having an SSL certificate not only beefs up your site’s security but also helps with search engine rankings by showing search engines your site is trustworthy.

Extra Considerations

Forbes points out a few more factors that can influence your website’s cost:

  • Webmaster or Content Manager: $250 to $6,500+ per month 

For larger sites or those needing frequent updates, bringing in a webmaster or content manager can be a game-changer. Costs vary widely, from a few hours monthly to a full-time position.

  • Theme or Template: $0 to $100 (one-time fee) 

If you’re using WordPress, you might need to buy a theme. There are plenty of free options, but premium themes can run up to $100.

  • Add-ons and Plugins: Free to $100+ per year 

To boost your website’s functionality, you might want to invest in various add-ons or plugins. These tools can add features like testimonials, contact forms, and newsletter sign-ups. Many basic plugins are free, but premium versions or advanced features might come with a yearly fee.

Just be careful not to go overboard with plugins – too many can slow down your site. Focus on ones that truly enhance your visitors’ experience, keep them updated, and ditch any you’re not using.

  • Images and Design: $0 to $500+ per hour 

Your website needs visuals – think corporate images, product shots, and lifestyle photos. While you can use free images from sites like Pexels or Pixabay, custom photoshoots can cost $25 an image to $500 per hour.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): $500 to $6,000 per month 

Hiring an SEO specialist can run between $500 to $6,000 monthly, depending on what you need. This covers tasks like optimizing content, targeting keywords, and fixing technical issues that affect your site’s ranking.

Choosing What’s Right for Your Business

Every business has unique needs and budget constraints. While Forbes provides valuable insights into potential costs, it’s important to consider your specific goals and resources when planning your website.

If you’re just starting out, a DIY website builder or simple WordPress site might do the trick. But as your business grows, your online presence needs to keep up. That’s where investing in professional design and development can really pay off.

When making your decision, think about:

  • Long-term goals: Will your current website grow with your business?
  • Technical know-how: Can you manage and maintain the site in-house? Is it secure for your audience?
  • Brand image: Does your website truly reflect your brand and meet industry standards?
  • Functionality needs: Do you need features like e-commerce, custom apps, or integrations?
  • Marketing goals: How big a role does SEO and digital marketing play in your strategy?

Weighing these factors will help you make a smart decision about your website investment. A solid website is a must-have for any business in 2024. While costs can vary widely, understanding what goes into pricing can help you budget effectively and make informed decisions.

Wrapping Up

At Bay Laurel Solutions, we help 1-3 person ventures navigate the ins and outs of web development and branding. Whether you need a simple informational site or a complex e-commerce platform, we can create a solution that fits your needs and budget.

If you want to know how to take your business to the next level, consider our Brandforma program. Brandforma helps you find clarity, direction, and a meticulously built roadmap to reach your brand’s fullest potential. We begin with a mind-opening call featuring specific questions designed to spark strategic breakthroughs. Included with Brandforma is a comprehensive guide for launching, scaling, and attracting higher-value leads.

Remember, your website is often the first impression potential customers have of your business. A well-designed, functional site can boost your credibility, engage customers, and ultimately, improve your bottom line.

Reference: Leonard, K. (2024, April 14). How Much Does A Website Cost? (2024 Guide). Forbes. [https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/software/how-much-does-a-website-cost/]

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