There are only a handful of questions that every single customer is bound to ask me right out of the gate. One of those being, how much does it cost to build a website in New Hampshire?
The answer is that it all boils down to how much work is involved. Specifically, the 2 factors that determine how much work is involved are the size and complexity of your site.
That means a nice-looking, professional 10-page informational website with standard customization is going to cost less than a highly customized 50-page website with all the bells and whistles.
In terms of actual dollars, the cost to build a website for a small business could be less than $1,000 or more than $10,000.
That’s a big price range. So let’s break things down so you can get a realistic estimate for what it will cost to design and develop your website.
Two Options For Designing And Developing A Small Business Website in NH
OPTION 1: Hire A Professional Web Designer
If you’re super busy running your business and/or you’re just not a “techie” person, then you need to hire someone to build your site for you. It’s just that simple.
However, if you’ve searched online and visited sites of website designers/developers, you’ve probably encountered:
- No prices listed at all.
- Prices all over the map, from ridiculously cheap to super expensive.
The good news is we rolled up our sleeves and did the research for you regarding what it costs to build (or redesign) a small business website in New Hampshire.
For web designers that did list their prices, we found the going rate in 2019 to build a modern, professional small business website was typically $2,000-$6,000 but could be as much as $20,000 depending on the number of pages on the site and the amount of customization required.
NOTE: Website design and website development are often used together, but they’re two very different things. Website design is like working with an architect to create the blueprint for your house. Website development is like working with a contractor to actually build your house. The 2019 pricing estimates listed above are for website design *as well as* website development (i.e. the complete, all-inclusive cost).
Now that you have a ballpark idea of what things cost, let’s take a closer look at the specific factors affecting the price of building a small business website:
- Page volume. What if a web development firm offers a 10-page website package for $3,000, but your site needs 25 pages? A good rule of thumb is to add about $100/page for each page over and above what’s included in their standard website package. In this example, 15 additional pages would an additional $1,500. Add this amount to the original base price of $3,000 and the new total is $4,500. Every situation will vary, but at least this gives you a reasonable cost estimate based on common pricing in the industry.
- Custom site layout. Every website starts out with a theme or template, but that’s just a starting point. That theme or template needs to be customized so it looks how you want it to look and matches your company brand. The more customization required, the greater the cost.
- Custom images & graphics. Fancy images and graphics can give your site a one-of-a-kind look, but it comes at a price. In addition, sophisticated visual effects often require special editing software and/or the services of a custom graphic design specialist.
- Custom programming. Sometimes you can find a plugin that will provide the functionality you want right out of the box (i.e. image carousel, membership portal, payment calculator, etc). Other times, getting your site to do what you want requires significant trial/error and testing. It a perfect world, everything would be plug-and-play and work perfectly the first time — but that’s rarely the case.
- Number of design revisions. Most website projects start with an initial concept design (kind of like a rough draft) based on what the client said they want. It’s then common for website designers to offer 1 or 2 rounds of design revisions to incorporate their client’s change requests to arrive at the final design. But I’ve seen designers offer as many 3-5 rounds of design revisions. Each design iteration comes at a price, which adds to the overall cost of the project. In my experience, 1-2 rounds of design revisions are more than sufficient 99% of the time.
- Content creation. Solid, thoughtful content is the foundation of any great website. If you’re launching a new site but don’t have any content yet, it needs to be created. If you have an existing site but the content is weak, stale or outdated, it’ll need to be refined or enhanced. Depending on how much information you need to publish, your website might have 5-10 pages or more than 50. (The largest site my office ever built had over 800 pages!)
PRO TIP # 1: If you want to hire a professional to help you with your website, but you don’t feel like you can afford one lump sum payment upfront, see if they offer a way to finance. That way you get a really nice website right now to help grow your business, but not deplete your bank account.
PRO TIP # 2: Be careful with “budget pricing”. Unusually low prices often mean you’ll get shoddy workmanship, unpleasant experience or they’ll nickel and dime you for every little thing. As the saying goes, you usually get what you pay for.
OPTION 2: Attempt To Do It Yourself (DIY)
If you have a basic understanding of web technology and you’re fine doing the work yourself, you can totally build your own website.
The raw materials you’ll need aren’t horribly expensive:
- Domain name: $10-$12/year to register a new domain. There are a zillion registrars to choose from. I prefer NameCheap.com. For tips on buying an existing domain, click here
- Website hosting: Costs range from about $100/year for standard web hosting from companies like BlueHost or HostGator to $300-$500+/year for more robust web hosting from companies like WPengine or SiteGround — which really isn’t needed until your site is getting gobs of traffic (i.e. more than 100,000 visitors/month), at which time you could upgrade to a web server with more horsepower.
- SSL certificate. Even if you don’t plan to sell things directly from your site, you’ll still want to secure your site with HTTPS protocol. You can get an SSL certificate for as little as free, provided by your host, or as much as $200-300/year. Shop around, but don’t buy more than you actually need.
- Premium website theme. $100-$150. There are hundreds if not thousands of themes to choose from. Some free, some paid. I urge you to spend a few bucks and get a quality theme. Don’t skimp here. You’ll thank me later. We’ve experimented with many website themes over the years and the ones we now use exclusively, both for our own site as well as our clients’ sites are from StudioPress — great design + solid coding.
- Premium plugins. $100-$200. As with website themes, you usually get what you pay for. Do yourself a favor and invest a few dollars to get quality plugins. For example, two premium plugins we use on nearly every site we build are Gravity Forms and Envira Gallery. Yes, there are lots of free plugins and many of them are very good. But there are also lots of bad plugins that don’t work as advertised and will waste a bunch of your time. So be careful.
- Stock photos. If you’re a good photographer or you already have high-quality images for your site, then you’re all set. But chances are you’ll need to purchase some images to dress up your site a bit. The two places we recommend are BigStockPhoto.com and iStockPhoto.com. They have lots of high-quality, royalty-free images at reasonable prices. In most cases, you can probably get all that you need (at least initially) for $50-200. After that, you just buy what you need as your website evolves. UPDATE: Here’s an image site we just learned about where you can get free, high-resolution, royalty-free images for your website >> Burst (from Shopify). The only drawback is there’s a limited selection. But the images they do have are very nice. IMPORTANT: Never, ever, ever just copy/paste images from other sources onto your site, unless you’re 1000% certain you have permission. Otherwise, you can get sued. Play it safe and just purchase your images — it’s way less expensive than a lawsuit — and you’ll sleep better.
- Education. $25-$300. Unless you work on websites every day, you’re probably going to have to buy a few books or take an online course or two to learn Photoshop, HTML/CSS coding language, etc. to get yourself up to speed in one or more areas of website design and development.
In total, you’re realistically looking at about $300-$600 in expenses to get up and running.
Obviously the main cost with the DIY option is your time.
Even for a “simple” site, don’t be surprised if it takes you 20-40 hours to produce something of decent quality you can be proud of. And that’s assuming you’re already somewhat familiar with how to build a website. If you’re totally new to this, multiply that time estimate by 2x or 3x. I’m not exaggerating by any stretch.
Building a modern, well-engineered website is way more time-consuming than most people realize. But if you have more time than money right now and you don’t get overwhelmed by web technology, the DIY approach is a perfectly viable option.
Don’t Forget About Updates, Maintenance & Licenses
To use a homeowner analogy, once you sign the papers and get the keys to your house it doesn’t end there. You’ll be regularly investing time, effort and money to upkeep and maintain your house.
Regarding expenses, you’ll have annual hosting fees and perhaps annual licensing fees for premium plugins. Chances are you’ll also be purchasing new images as your site expands. If you get busy, you may need to periodically hire freelancers to assist you in writing new content or creating custom videos for your site.
Your site will also require routine technical maintenance to promptly install updates and security patches to WordPress core files and WordPress plugins to protect your site from being hacked. Yes, even small business sites are now targets for hackers.
If you’re comfortable doing these updates yourself, that’s great. But you need to be aware that sometimes updates cause your site to break (or totally crash) and you have to know what to do if/when that happens. For example, are you prepared to deal with this …
You’re also going to need an offsite backup system so your website can quickly be restored in the event that a catastrophic hardware failure, software failure or user error crashes your site. Not trying to scare you, but these things really do happen from time to time. Yes, even here in New Hampshire!
If you’d prefer not to burden yourself with all the behind-the-scenes technical upkeep of your site, there are companies that offer website maintenance plans ranging from $40-$300/month depending on the services you need.
PRO TIP: You can avoid some annual licensing fees if you work with a web developer that maintains a “developer’s license” for premium WordPress plugins that might be used on your site. In other words, their developer’s license covers your annual licensing fees.
Another website operating expense is adding new content and functionality to your site as it matures and evolves. For example, after producing a bunch of how-to videos you might want to add a video library to your site. Or maybe as your business grows you might choose to integrate a marketing automation system.
If you can handle your site’s technical upgrades yourself, great. Otherwise, you’ll need to hire a specialist to do this for you. Going rates in 2019 for a competent, experienced web developer are $100-$125/hour.
The amount of website technical upgrades varies greatly from business to business. For example, we have clients that only need $300-$500 worth of technical assistance per year, while others spend $5,000-$10,000 per year with us. In either case, it’s way cheaper than hiring someone full time.
Avoid These Costly Website Mistakes In New Hampshire
Since building my first WordPress website back in 2007, I’ve wasted a TON of time and money — either due to bad information or bad decisions, or both. Chalk it up as experience, I guess. However, there’s no need for you to repeat those same mistakes. In no particular order, here’s what to watch out for:
- Faulty, untested technology. The theme and plugins you use to build your site matter. There is a lot of shoddy coding out there that can result in security risks, software incompatibilities, and site instability. Stick with proven, name brands that have been around awhile, have been thoroughly tested and are continually supported. Use premium digital components. Otherwise, you’ll be constantly fixing things that keep breaking, or worse — having to rebuild your entire site.
- Incompetent idiots. Beware of knuckleheads that know just enough to make them dangerous. A few years ago I hired a subcontractor to assist with some custom programming on a large project. A few weeks into the project it became clear he didn’t know what he was doing. He talked a good game, but couldn’t deliver. So I fired him and cut my losses — but only after wasting precious time and money on a project with a deadline. It’s impossible to get it right every time, but do your best to vet people carefully before you hire them.
- Bad advice and information. This is what has cost me more time and money than anything. Tens of thousands of dollars, plus countless rabbit holes that lead to nowhere. Years of my life I will never get back. The topics weren’t always website design and development, they included ancillary topics like SEO, PPC advertising, Facebook marketing, content marketing, etc. In retrospect, most of it was hype and fluff that didn’t deliver. The bottom line is that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Regardless of what “secret” the hucksters are selling today, sustained success takes time and effort. Period.
The Shortcut To Building A Great Website In New Hampshire
If you can afford it, pay an experienced web designer/developer to build your site for you. It’ll save you tons of time, money and headaches — plus the finished product will be better.
Once upon a time, I did my own car repairs — changed the oil, put on new brake pads, installed a fan belt or replaced the water pump.
But with today’s cars, forget it. I pop the hood and have a panic attack. If my car needs service, I take it straight to the dealership or a qualified mechanic.
Like cars, today’s websites are way more complicated than the websites of 10-15 years ago.
If funds are tight right now, there’s nothing wrong with attempting the DIY approach to building your company website. Just do the best you can.
But if funds are available, hire someone. You’ll thank me later.