When we're approached by a small business owner who is looking for help creating a website the first thing we're often asked is: “I need a web site. How much would you charge to make one?”
This question usually comes up before we're told what the website is for. Website prices can vary greatly from free to a lot of money. We've heard of sites priced more than $250,000! We have not had the opportunity to build a 250K website at DeCarlo Studios yet. Our websites are priced towards the other end of the scale. So lets talk prices, and we’ll start with the price everyone creating their first business website wants to hear: Free!
FREE Business Websites
The free sites are the do-it-yourself web sites. Our mothers always tell us that nothing is free and everything costs something. You’ve seen the commercials from Intuit, Wix, 1&1, Homestead and others. Just set up an account, and you can build a website yourself, for free, in less than an hour. These are great for small startups with little to no marketing budget. The sites let you choose from their pre-designed templates and photos. You can upload your photos and copy and paste your content right into the template. Once you are happy with your results, publish your site and you are up and running live online – YES!
A free website sounds great, so why would anyone need to pay for a website?
The free sites are free with some strings attached, of course. We will use Intuit as an example because we use Intuit Quickbooks and we love the software.
Intuit’s Starter Package limits you to a five page website and it is free for the first month. After the first month, you’ll be charged $7.99 per month starting in the second month. The next package up from the starter is the Intuit Business Package; still free for the first month and then priced at $19.95 per month, which is less than $250 per year. Still a do-it-yourself site, but with more features and up to 100 pages. The Intuit Business Plus Package is priced at $59.99 per month and offers unlimited pages, three domains, 50 mail boxes and a bunch of other useful tools. So Intuit offers first month free and under $100 per year for the Startup Package, and up to $720 a year for the do-it-yourself Business Plus Package. This should be within any do-it-yourself startup budget.
Other FREE website providers are:
If you need a website and think the FREE websites fit your budget of $0 to hundreds of dollars per year, here is a link to the top 10 free website builders. Spend some time reading the reviews to see which fits you the best.
Free website companies offer a low cost way for startup businesses to have a website for $0-Less than $1,000 per year. You will need to put in the time to write your content and set things up, but small startups have more time than money. This is a good way for the startup owner to train themselves to define their marketing message and focus their new website on their target market.
DeCarlo Studios has worked with companies that quickly outgrew the startup site and requested that we create a fresh website redesign for them. One problem we encounter often is in trying to move the domain names and hosting from the free site hosts. The hosts’ set up migration makes it complicated to migrate away from them and easy to stay with them. And the migration has to be done in a specific order to prevent the site from going down for days or weeks during the migration. These difficulties should not be a major problem for a web development company. The process must be mapped out on paper before the migration begins.
Overall, we think that Free website companies are a great match for some new startups and small businesses, especially for the low- to no-budget crowd. Technology continues to make new things possible every day that were not possible just a few years ago.