Building a website is essential for any individual or business that wants to establish an online presence. But, where do you start (especially if you don’t know website design and development!) and how much is a website going to cost you in Canada?
We can’t simply tell you that your website is going to cost you X amount of dollars. Wish it were that simple. It all depends on how large the website is, how professional do you want it to be, and how much functionality and additions do you need on your website.
BUT, we can provide you with an estimate of how much a website will cost you in Canada.
We’ll also guide you through the extra costs that are necessary in order to simply have your website online and the cost of maintenance. You’ll need a domain name, a hosting provider, a website development service provider, and either know how to maintain the website or pay someone to do it for you.
Step 1: You you need a domain name
The first step to launching a website is to select a domain name. There’s no avoiding this step. Every website has a domain name. It’s what you type in the address bar after “www”. Here are a few tips for choosing a domain name:
- Keep it simple: Your domain name should be easy to spell and easy to remember. The fewer the characters the better. Avoid using complicated words, symbols and numbers.
- Make it relevant: Your domain name should reflect what your website is about. If your website is for your business, then your domain name should contain a form of your business name in it.
- Use keywords: Using keywords in your domain name can help with search engine optimization (SEO). If you’re creating a website about yoga, you could use the word “yoga” in your domain name.
- Consider the extension: There are many different domain extensions to choose from, such as .com, .net, .org, and more. Typically .com is best if you intend to reach a global audience. But if you intend on attracting a more local audience, a country specific extension like .ca makes sense.
- Check availability: Before deciding on a domain name, make sure it’s available. The most difficult part of choosing a domain name is that most of your ideas will already be taken. You can use a domain registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap to check availability and register your domain.
Cost of a domain name in Canada
Typically, the cost of a domain name is low. It’s usually the lowest expense of launching a website. The typical cost usually ranges between $10 – $15 a year. It’s something that has to be renewed each year.
However, if you are looking for a domain name with few characters, then the odds are that it’s already taken. In this case, you will have to reach out to the owner and negotiate a price for the domain name.
Step 2: Picking a hosting plan
Once you have your domain name, it’s time to choose a hosting plan. Every website that is on the internet is hosted somewhere, and there’s a cost associated with this. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a hosting plan:
- Type of hosting: There are a variety of types of hosting plans available, including shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and more. Shared hosting is the most affordable option and is suitable for most small websites. While, dedicated hosting is more expensive but offers more speed, control and resources.
- Server location: The location of the hosting server can affect the speed and performance of your website. Consider the location of your target audience and choose a hosting plan with a server in a nearby location. It doesn’t help if you audience is from Canada, but the server hosting your website is in India.
- Customer support: Look for a hosting provider with good customer support. You’ll want to be able to get help quickly if you run into any technical issues, which will happen if you’re looking to have a website long-term, so it’s best to anticipate such problems.
- Security: Security should be a top priority when selecting a hosting plan. Look for a provider that offers SSL certificates, regular backups, and other security features to protect your website and data.
Cost of website hosting in Canada
The cost varies a lot here depending on the hosting plan you need. Most people reading this are looking to host a small website, used for their small business or side project. In that case, shared hosting fees will cost around $20 – $30 / month.
However, if your website is for a business you may want to consider getting managed hosting from your web developer. Managed hosting usually encompasses software updates, security updates, yearly SSL certificate purchase and installation, backups, and sometimes other services like adding additional content to your website for an additional cost.
If you’re tech savvy and have the time, then simply going with shared hosting will be enough. But keep in mind that if (more likely, when) something goes wrong with the website, it can be more costly to repair it rather than having to pay for managed hosting, which usually costs around $80 – $150 / month.
Website design & development
Once you’ve selected your domain name and hosting plan, it’s time to design and develop your website. Here a few things to consider:
- Are you looking for a professional website, for say, a business. Or simply a blog website dedicated to your hobby? A professional website will need to be handled by, cough, a professional. Which usually means hiring an agency to design and develop your website. While a website dedicated to a simple blog or hobby can be created by yourself on a platform like Wix.
- Plan out how many pages your website will be. The cost of a 20 page website is different from a 5 page website. Typically, business websites have at least the following pages: Home page, About page, Service page, and Contact page. Additional pages can be: FAQ page, Store Location page, Blog page, News page, pages dedicated to each service or product, etc. Sometimes an agency can help you figure out what pages you need, and make it work with your budget.
- Do you have an idea of how you want your website to be designed? Are there websites out there which you hope your website can look similar to? It’s always a good idea to find a few website designs you like to present to your web designer. This can often change the cost of the website. For example, a website that looks like Amazon will cost very different from your typical small business ecommerce website.
- Consider the functionality of your website. Are you planning to sell products online? Then you’ll need an ecommerce website, which has additional costs to it. Are you a realtor who needs to display all their properties on a map? Advanced functionalities have costs to them.
- Are you writing your own content or looking to have someone write it for you? If you’re not doing this yourself, then your web designer will have to bring a copywriter onboard to write content for you.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO is a digital marketing agency practice of optimizing your website for search engines like Google. Which means, having your website rank on the first page of Google so that customers can find your website. We’ll go over the cost of this later.
Overview: Cost of a website in Canada
The cost of a personal blog or hobbyist website using a platform like Wix: ranges from $30 – $100 / month. Typically, using services like Wix is only recommended for non-professional websites; websites which are more focused on a hobby or simple blog. Because you don’t own the Wix website –once you stop paying the monthly subscription, it’s no longer yours; you can’t move it somewhere else or download it. Wix websites are also very limited in their abilities to rank in search engines like Google.
The cost of a small business website: can range from $1000 – $5000. The range is wide, because as we mentioned before, the amount of pages you need and the extra functionalities will add to the website cost. For example, a 3 page website for your small business may cost you around $1500. While a 10 page website may cost you $5000.
The cost of a medium to large business website: can range from $6000 – $20,000. Again, the website cost will be determined by multiple factors such as number of pages and functionalities. A website that requires e-commerce, an interactive map, a product search function, will cost more than a website that only needs to display information (an informative website).
As you can see, the cost of a website in Canada varies a lot based on your goals. So before you rush to a web designer you definitely want to get an idea of what kind of website you want, it’s functionalities and how many pages it will be. However, many web designers will be happy to help you plan all this out (we certainly are, planning comes at no extra cost here at Take Two Digital Marketing!).
Once your website is live, it’s important to keep it up to date and maintain it regularly. Here are some tips for website maintenance:
- Regular backups: It’s absolutely essential that you regularly backup your website, especially if work is constantly being done on it. Website problems happen, and you want to be prepared for the worst for when it does happen. When something goes wrong and you have a recent backup of your website, it can save you thousands of dollars in repairs and data recovery.
- Software updates: The better and larger the website, the more likely you are to need regular software updates. Software always has new versions released. If you don’t update the software of the website, then there’s the risk of something breaking on your website.
- Security: Websites are often the target of hackers. Hackers who look for passwords, user information, credit card information, or who are looking to spread a virus. Your website should have security software installed on it.
- Content updates: This is something you can do yourself if you have the time. New content keeps your website fresh. It helps your website rank on Google, and it helps give the perception to customers that your business is still running.
- Performance optimization: With time, you will add content, images and perhaps videos on your website. This will slow down your website with time. Having it optimized every now and then will help your website run faster.
- Analytics: If your website is for a business that gets a lot of customers, then you will benefit a ton from looking at the analytics of the website. Checking to see which pages customers visit the most, and at which point they leave the website. These insights can help you retain customer attention and increase your sales.
Cost of website maintenance in Canada
As the website cost in Canada varies, so does the cost of maintaining your website –depending on how much you can do yourself, and how much you need a professional to do. Assuming you want to focus on your business and leave these tasks to a professional, website maintenance for a small business website will sometimes be included in a managed hosting plan (as mentioned earlier in this article), which ranges from $80 – $150 / month.
However, additional services like performance optimization, content updates and analytics run at an additional cost.
The website maintenance cost for a medium to large business website can range from $150 a month to thousands per month, especially if your business requires very regular content updates.
Overview of Website Costs in Canada
Purchasing and owning a domain name will typically cost you from $10 to $15 / year.
Managing the hosting yourself will typically cost you from $20 to $30 / month.
Hosting + Website Maintenance Cost
Having a professional host and managing your website will typically cost you from $80 to $150 / month.
Website Design and Development
For a hobbyist website designed by yourself, the cost will typically range from $30 to $100 / month.
For a small business website designed and developed by a professional, the cost will typically range from $1000 to $5000.
For a medium to large business website designed and developed by a professional, the cost will typically range from $6000 to $20,000.
Keep in mind that services such as content production, copywriting, search-engine-optimization, e-commerce management run at an additional cost.