cost to start a website featured

Starting a website or blog shouldn’t break the bank, but it also shouldn’t be a completely free process (if you want it to look good and represent your domain name, at least). Expect to pay a few start-up costs in order to have a successful website/blog. So how much should it realistically cost to start a website?

First, you need to know all your options, and you need to know where to begin.

1. Choose a Domain Name

This is the first step to starting a website or blog. We use NameCheap because it’s cheap! And, you get free SSL, further increasing your savings.

Search and buy domains from Namecheap

Your domain will need to be registered on an annual basis; however, some websites offer 2-year promotions when registering for the first time. For our example, we will use the cheapest option available, which is $8.88/year at NameCheap. There are no upfront fees for this option.

You should not skimp out on choosing a domain name. Having a personalized custom domain will increase the professionalism and trustworthiness of your business. It will also rank higher on search engines if you choose a domain name that is related to the content on your site.

2. Choose a Website Builder

You will want a quality website builder at this point in the game where you can add your custom domain. The best free program to create your website is WordPress. WordPress will allow you to choose one of the many premade themes or templates to customize as your own. If you have consulted a graphic designer to create your custom website, you can also upload the template to use on WordPress.


Choosing WordPress to create your website is highly recommended as WordPress is free and does not add to the cost of starting a website.

3. Host Your Website

This is the last piece of the puzzle when starting a website. Your website will need a place to store the files, html, codes, images, etc. if you want your website to work (and what good is a website if you can’t see it when you type in the URL?). This is where web hosting is comes in.

Now, before we discuss how much it costs to host your website, you need to decide if you want shared hosting or managed hosting.

Shared Hosting

If you are looking to stay as cheap as possible, then you should probably choose shared hosting. Shared hosting is a single server that houses other websites including yours. This means memory, data, disk space, etc. that can cause a website to run slow or fast is stored on this single shared server.

web hosting

The benefit of choosing shared hosting is in the money. You can host your website for as little as about $3.00 per month. This type of hosting service would be for businesses that are looking to limit startup costs and are not worried about the speed of a server.

Our favorite and recommended shared web host for WordPress is BigScoots. Yes, we know you see BlueHost everywhere, but we personally think that is because of their aggressive affiliate marketing. BigScoots is reliable, fast, and has great support.

Managed Hosting

You know the old saying, “You get what you pay for?” Well, it rings true with managed hosting. If you had rather rest assured knowing your website is in good hands, then you should probably choose a managed host for your WordPress site.

managed hosting

A managed host means every aspect of your website will essentially be taken care of through the web hosting company. This includes server issues, WordPress updates, backing up files, security issues, you name it.

Managed hosting is at least $20 per month, and the best compatible managed web host for WordPress is WP Engine. There are many reputable companies that use WP Engine to host their WordPress sites, such as MyFitnessPal and Yelp.

Other Added Costs

Let’s say you want to add a few personalized touches to your website. Maybe a specialized logo, graphic banner, or customized icons? You can hire a web graphic designer to design these enhancements for you at a fairly inexpensive cost. Some web designers will cost more then others so do your research.

One WordPress guru we found online will create a web banner, web graphics, custom icons, and make website touch-ups for only $29.00. Take a look at our detailed look at outsourcing site work for more info.

Let’s say you want a completely original website layout, template, and design. You will want to pay a graphic web designer to create this for you. Depending on what you want and who you find to do this, you can keep this affordable or make it steep.

Don’t forget premium themes can go a long way toward providing a customized look. Two great options are Blossom Themes (that is what this site was built with) and Astra.

The cheapest option we found online for creating a from-scratch WordPress website design template was $99.00; however, the most expensive was $2,499!

Marketing your site will also cost you. This number can vary, therefore know your customers, your budget and what you expect the results of this added expense should be. This could be a startup cost or on-going.

If this is an on-going cost, Google Analytics can be used to determine if you are generating new or more traffic after running a few marketing campaigns. You can also market your site on your different social media platforms. This is usually free unless you hire web designers, run ads or subscribe to other marketing tactics.

Totaling the Costs

Let’s look at the entire spectrum as a whole. After all, you can make this as affordable or expensive as you want. (Remember: website design is free if you use WordPress.)

Cheapest Option

The cheapest of cheap options for you to start a website will include the following:

  • 8.88/year – domain registration
  • $36.00/year ($3.00/month) – website hosting

This is a grand total of $44.88 per year to start a website by choosing the cheapest options available. This would give you a basic website with little to no marketing budgeted.

Midway Option

Let’s say you don’t need the best of the best, but you also don’t want to share your host website. This will give you an idea of how much it will cost if you choose to pay a little more in certain areas of your website:

  • $8.88/year – domain registration
  • $240.00/year ($20.00/month) – website hosting

This is a grand total of $248.88 per year to start a website by choosing a managed web host.

Expensive Option

Let’s say you are Rich Aunt Pennybags and money isn’t an option when it comes to paying for a website (lucky you). This is what it would cost you up front to start your website:

  • $8.88/year – domain registration
  • $240.00/year ($20.00/month) – website hosting
  • $2,499 one time – custom website design

You will need to look at this option in two ways. First, to start the website, it will cost you a grand total of $2,747.88. However, you will only have to pay the website design cost of $2,499 one time.

This makes the grand total of $248.88 per year to maintain your managed host website.

Spend Some Money to Make Some Money

As you can see, starting a website doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor, but it will cost you a little bit each year. While you definitely don’t have to choose to purchase a website design of $2,499, you can try to budget for a $99 template to kick your website up a notch.

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