How Much Will a Website Cost Me?

It’s pretty much accepted that a writer (or any other small business) needs a website these days. The real question for many writers is “how much will a website cost me?” After all, most writers aren’t made of money.

The good news is that it is pretty inexpensive and easy these days to put up a website. If you want to go the shared hosting route and just have a blog, the cost can be free. Go to one of the shared sites like WordPress.com, Blogger or LiveJournal and you can be blogging immediately.

If you want your own website with full control over it, you want to go the self-hosting route.

To set up your own site, here’s what you’ll need:

Domain Name

This is the “address” of your website. janedoe.com, for example. To register a domain name (aka buying a domain) costs between $9 and$15 per year, depending on where you get it and if they’re offering any deals for buying additional services from them.

When registering a domain name, you can get it pretty much anywhere. There are many companies that will handle the domain registration for you – GoDaddy, Domain.com, Register.com, etc.

Many will offer additional services in addition to the domain name – like business registration and private registration. You don’t really need any additional services though private registration is nice. For a small fee, the domain registration company will list their own information as the contact for your domain, keeping your name and address hidden. A nice feature for when you become wildly famous and need some anonymity from zealous fans.

Hosting

After you’ve purchased your domain name, you’ll need somewhere to host your website. This means signing up with a hosting company – GoDaddy, HostGator, BlueHost, DreamHost, etc. Hosting runs from $5 – 15/month. You can sometimes get a lower price by paying for a year or two in advance.

Also, before you buy your domain name, check to see if the hosting company you’re going to go with offers free or reduced cost domain registration service. You could save a few bucks that way.

What Else?

That’s it. You need a domain and hosting to set up a website, so for about $10 to get your domain and up to $15/month to run it, you can have your own home on the Internet.

Sure there’s some set up involved in getting your site running, but the overall cost isn’t that expensive.

Your Turn

If you don’t have your own site yet, what are you waiting for?

5 thoughts on “How Much Will a Website Cost Me?

  1. Jason Black

    That's good, generally solid advice.

    I particularly like that you start with the domain name, because what so many people don't realize is that if you don't own your name, someone else ultimately has control over your online presence.

    The reason is that if a hosting company registers the name for you, then the domain name belongs to them, not to you. That matters because it means they control the master DNS entries for the domain name, not you.

    Register your own name. That way, no matter what happens, if your hosting company goes belly up or becomes evil or decides to jack up your monthly fees by a thousand percent or gets hacked or whatever else, all you have to do is sign up with a different provider, and change the master DNS entries for your domain yourself so they point to the new provider. Think about it: if you end up having enough trouble with a hosting company that you want to switch, do you really also want to have to fight them to get control of your domain name–which IS your online presence and your brand–also? Or would you rather that the keys to that kingdom were in your pocket?

  2. Cheryl Corbin

    Excellent point, Jason. I've heard a few horror stories of companies becoming evil as you say and it seems to be a nightmare to try to recover if you've left everything in the hands of one company. Better to be cautious and spread things around a bit to protect yourself.

  3. Caine

    If you plan on "Podcasting" your fiction then depending on who you use you may need more space/features that will cost more money. Libsyn is where a lot of people host "audio blogs" so I know they have options and the relatively new blogging provider POSTEROUS has all sorts of multi-media tie ins for free, you can use your own domain as well.

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