If you are thinking about creating your own website, or one for your company then you have probably stumbled upon a fact that the prices are quite steep today. This article will help you to figure out how to reduce the cost of starting a website.

Why Have Website Costs Changed So Much?

Before I start to give out tips on how to reduce the cost of a site, you need to decide what kind of a website you want to develop. Because there is a huge difference in approach, depending on are you aiming to build a small website with the basic functions, or do you want a top of the line modern internet resource with all popular bells and whistles.

From the beginning of the 21st century the prices for a basic website didn’t change much. But the average price tag on the advanced website has skyrocketed. By the way, don’t forget the global inflation, because there is a huge difference between $2,000 20 years ago and $2,000 today. But why did this happen, why a simple website is cheaper now? Well, I will not bore you with a bunch of technical and economic details, that you don’t need to know, so here’s a short list:

  • High competition – there is a significantly larger amount of developer teams and freelancers today
  • Technical progress – modern developer tools are much easier to use on a basic level.

Okay, we have figured out why did the basic websites have become relatively cheaper, but why advanced and complicated websites are so expensive today? One of the answers is “responsive design”.

Responsive design is what allows the website to be displayed correctly on different devices. There are 232 possible screen sizes in 2017, so it takes quite some time to make sure that it is displayed properly. However, this is only one of the reasons. It is responsible only for 20% of the increase in the value of an advanced website.

The other reasons are the same as the ones responsible for the lower cost of a basic website. Today having a website for a company is not a luxury it’s a necessity. And big companies are trying really hard to have the best website on the internet. So the never stopping technical progress is keeping up, so every day there are new and new features that could be added to a website.

Now when have cleared the “Why does a website cost so much?” out of the way, we can focus on the important question – “How to reduce the cost of starting a site?”. The answer will be separated into two parts: one for an advanced site, one for a basic site.

How To Reduce The Cost Of An Advanced Site

If you need an advanced site for your company, or for yourself, then I can give you two major tips on how to reduce the cost of it:

  • Focus on the goal
  • Make an MVP first.

What do I mean by “focus on the goal”? When you will be in the process of building a website things will get exciting and you will be bombarded with all kinds of possible ideas, technologies, designs and so on. As any other person would, you would like them all to be included, you will want everything new and trending to be added to your site. This approach leads to an never ending cycle of development. This approach can add some extra cost to your website, not just in terms of money spent, but in terms of wasted time too.

But it is harder to do than it seems. So how to stay on point? One of the possible answers is to have a clear brief. This way you will know what you want from the start, it’s better to write it down though. Here are some tips to include in your website brief:

  • A summary of customer’s and administrator’s use cases
  • End goals of your website
  • A list of the most important pages
  • If you plan pages that are not static text and images, include a detailed explanation
  • Include an explanation of any back-office features
  • List all of the systems that the website should integrate with.

This list will help you to stay focused on what matters and also will provide any development team more than enough information to calculate the cost. Another way to not break a budget is to create an MVP (Minimum viable product). It’s a version of your site that offers just enough to demonstrate the future possibilities of the website and to generate feedback. The main benefits of this approach are:

  • It’s cheaper
  • You get on the market faster
  • Safety – since you are not investing much(time and money)
  • Better end product – because of the rich feedback generated by the MVP.

How To Reduce The Cost Of A Small Site

If you are building a site for a small company or just for yourself than the costs are significantly lower. The best way to build a site like that is to use a CMS platform. And I am going to assume that you are going to use WordPress. In this case, the costs of starting a website will consist of:

  • Hosting
  • Domain
  • Design
  • Plugins
  • WP developer salary.

How to not break your budget on this? Let’s break it down one by one.

  • Hosting – there no real cheap work around for this. Research the market and pick the one that is best suited for you. However, keep in mind, that you must have a reliable hosting
  • Domain – you have a chance to be creative on this one. Don’t waste money on buying a name on domain aftermarket. Create your own, it will be cheaper
  • Design – if you don’t have something special in mind then I am sure that free WordPress themes can cover everything you need
  • Plugins – pretty much the same situation as with the design. There are more than 40,000  free ones, but if you are looking for something you may have to pay up
  • WP developer salary – this one could be skipped if you are ready to dig through documentation and google a bit.

But, what if you are really low on budget and want to do everything by yourself. There is a cool way out now – website builders. This is ideal to those who are not tech savvy and want to build a website with minimal risks. They cost around $4-$25 per month. If you use a website builder you are free to leave or drop your idea anytime, and all you would lose is the payments you have already done. On the other hand, if your idea shows promise and the website is popular – you have a great starting point for further improvement.

Now you know how to create your own website without spending a fortune on it.