Starting a business is an exciting venture, but from conception to execution the costs can quickly add up and your business plan will inevitably overlook some of them. And one of the places costs tend to hide is in web design. Despite the fact that there are countless free web design options available, building a professional page is full of little costs.

Here’s a peek at where they’re hiding out.

Your Domain

There are two types of domain names: the free names that are actually subdomains of WordPress and similar hosting sites and true domain names. If you’re starting a business, you need to invest in your own domain, separate from a hosting site. Domains vary in price from about $10 a year to upwards of $100 for high demand, high authority names. You want to own your domain name independently of your host because it makes it easier to migrate between platforms if necessary.

Professional Polish

If you look at all the advertisements, it seems like websites are a snap to build. Wix’s advertisements, for example, feature a range of celebrities and ordinary people discussing how simple it was to build their websites. WordPress offers similar assurances. The reality, though, is that you’ll need professional assistance to optimize your site for business purposes. You can choose plug-ins and build pages for days and still not accomplish what a professional designer could do in hours.

Budgeting And Tracking

Don’t be afraid to view your professional website as an investment. While they can get expensive, these are business startup costs and most businesses don’t report a profit during the first few years. Instead, they account for their losses on their taxes.

If you don’t deduct business expenses, you likely won’t be able to afford to pay your taxes during the first few years. By deducting business expenses, you may actually find your business is within its budget, despite seeking professional supports.

Emphasize Advertising

Advertising is an important part of building a successful business, even online, and you can’t do it for free. You’ll have to lay out some basic marketing costs to do things such as promote your posts, increase the reach of your Facebook page, and place advertisements on other sites. For every successful page, there are dozens – or even hundreds – of competitor pages hiding in the shadows. You want yours to stand out.

The Bottom Line

When experts examine the website building and design process in an attempt to determine how much building a website actually costs, they ended up facing more questions than answers. Every designer chooses different services, enters the process with a different budget, and takes on designing their site and launching features at a different pace. Some can build a passable website for $500, while others spend closer to $5,000. There is no cut and dry process or blueprint to follow.

At the end of the day, you get out what you put in; if you want to turn a process with your website, then you need to invest in comprehensive services from layout to content. Anything less will leave you with an overpriced hobby. Your entrepreneurial dreams deserve more than that.