How much should you spend to start your author website? I hear from clients who before they come to me say that they’ve spent hundreds and are still left with a site that they can’t navigate, can’t update, and aren’t sure what to do with. So in today’s post I want to break down some of the basic costs of having a website.
For your website platform you can’t go wrong with self-hosted WordPress. Why? Because WordPress is so well-known that there are plenty of free themes and plugins for it that even if you don’t know how to code and can’t afford to pay a custom coder you still can get a decent to awesome looking site without a lot of up front money. Website hosting also gives you professionalism. A firstname.lastname@example.org email address looks so much more professional than you at yahoo.com or you at hotmail.com. I admit, I do give Gmail addresses a pass because they’re so nice to use and Google provides a lot of excellent features. But if you’re still using yahoo or AOL, please come into the 21st century.
Cost #1: Hosting
At My Author Home we offer website hosting for $11.50/mo, which is pretty average when you think about hosting. Expect to pay between $10-15/month for a good, reputable company. (No GoDaddy or 1:1 is not a good nor reputable company.) When you host with me, I’ll install WordPress, install a few of my favorite plugins including plugins for security, and get you set up and give some hand holding while you get up to speed. I’ll even set up your emails for you, so that’s a pretty awesome deal for authors. Plus, we’re author-owned which means we care about you and your business.
We also have free website hosting, which is a perfect way to get started without any upfront hosting costs.
Cost #2: Domain Name
Actually you get your domain name first, and then you get your hosting, though I can help you do that as well. For domain names, ssl certificates, and even hosting if you don’t want to use my services, I recommend NameCheap! Their prices are awesome. Their customer service is outstanding. And I’ve never had a problem with them, and believe me when I say that I register a TON of domain names. (*smiles*)
The other thing I like about namecheap is that you can transfer domains between accounts, so even if I register and set up you domain and hosting, I can then send the domain name over to you, so you have full control. If you like, you can add me as an authorized user for that domain so I can continue to make adjustments or changes if necessary, but you don’t have to either. I like giving authors full control.
Most .com domains cost about $11 for the first year.
Total cost so far? ~$25
Cost #3: Website Template and/or Design
This one is a little trickier. A full design of your website could cost as much as $500-1000. A template may be as little as $20 or as much as $150 or more. The premium template I use runs me $80/year, and since I have a developer license, I do offer it to My Author Home Free customers who have a paid monthly upgrade and those with paid hosting.
There are also a lot of really great free templates available. You could spend hours (days even) browsing the WordPress template directory for free templates. So this one doesn’t have to cost you anything.
With these three items out of the way, you can get started with creating your website. There may be other charges if you choose to use premium plugins or premium services, but for the most part, the cost to get started can easily be done for $25. Want to hire someone to help you or to set up your website for you? That will cost more, and part of my job at My Author Home is to make sure this process is as inexpensive and painless as possible.