Going online and establishing a presence on the World Wide Web need not be an expensive investment. You can have a professional-looking website up faster than ever and more affordable than ever.
If you have big ambitions or a large existing business or brand, hiring a web developer to build your website may be beneficial as your site will need to be well maintained, secure and capable of handling large volumes of web traffic.
But, if you’re just starting out and on a tight budget then all you need is a domain name, some web hosting, and a website theme template or website page builder, which will all cost you less than R1000 and save you thousands from not needing a web developer or a web designer.
So, let’s get started.
Understanding website costs
Owning a website is akin to owning an asset. There are several costs that go into having a professional website.
Your website’s domain name is the site’s address on the internet. For example, our domain name is www.thefrontline.co.za.
If you’re looking for a .com or a more popular domain name extension like i.o which is regularly used in the tech industry, a new available domain can cost you between R200 and R600.
Domains need to be renewed on an annual basis, so be sure to choose one that fits your budget.
When registering your domain name, you may find your self in the midst of an upsell for domain name privacy protection, which usually costs between R50 and R100 annually. Some domain registrars add this for free or include it in your domain name registration cost.
All domain name registration does is conceal the public registration information about the owner of a domain to avoid malicious actors using that information or receiving spam emails.
In other words, your name, email address and physical address used when registering your domain name, will be replaced with a generic one from the registrar which will handle privacy and communicate any messages which may need your attention.
Domain name privacy protection is optional, but may be beneficial – especially if you hate spam emails.
Your next cost will come from website hosting. Some hosting platforms may offer a free hosting package, but this is usually very limited and not ideal – especially if you want a fast loading professional website.
Do your research before committing. Know what your site will be about. For example, are you creating a basic corporate site to showcase your business, or are you wanting to create a site which needs to host loads of content like a blog, or do you plan on selling products?
The above questions will help you determine what level of hosting you will need. Shared hosing is the most affordable hosting type and can be great to start out. you van get on a shared hosting plan from as low R45 per month.
Web hosting is where your website files are stored and served from. Every time someone visits your website their browser requests the site files from the web host.
Shared hosting simply refers to multiple websites being hosted on the same server. Once your site grows in traffic you may need to upgrade to a dedicated server.
Some platforms also offer their own hosting plans, for example, if you start a blog over at WordPress.com, you can buy hosting with them, or if you start a Shopify store, you will have to have to make use their hosting.
To recap, getting a domain such as a .co.za will set you back +- R90 per year and started shared hosing package will cost you between R45 and R150 per year.
Website builders and premium themes
The last cost (which is optional) is a professional website theme. This is optional because many platforms have many free amazing themes available, or even free website builders which allow you to create whatever you want without needing a web designer.
Next, once you’ve decided on a domain name and the web hosting package you should know what content management systems are available for you.
For example: most shared web hosting comes with WordPress as an easily installable content management system and which powers a large portion of websites on the internet.
With WordPress you can build any type of website. If you have time and want complete creative control, then free page builders like Elementor and WP Page Bakery will allow you to create a professional looking website.
There are tons more page builders, and in most cases these page builders also have page templates and blocks which you can make use of to speed up your site building
If you’re strapped for time, you could look into buying a premade easily customisable theme for your website. Simply do a quick Google Search for: ‘WordPress Premium Themes’, or ‘Shopify Themes’ and you’ll find top tier themes to purchase, with costs ranging anywhere from R250 to R1000+ depending on the web designer and features of the theme.
A great place to start shopping is Themeforest.com, here you will find any theme you’re looking for, whether it be an ecommerce store template, a real estate website or even a news site, and if you need to extend a site’s functionality even further – you can visit Themeforest’s sister brand Codecanyon to buy code snippets or plugins for your site.
Buying a premium theme from a reputable marketplace Themeforest and choosing a theme from a active developer with good reviews will allow your site to stay up-to-date as you get free life-time updates whenever new versions of the theme rolls out or new features and demos are released.
So getting your own professional website for less than R1000 comes down to registering a domain name, choosing a web hosting package and website page builder or a premium website theme.