How much does it cost to run a Squarespace website?
They say that the best things in life are free, but sadly that isn't the case for running your beloved website.
There are inherent costs associated with running, operating and maintaining a website and there’s no way around it - you've got to pay to play.
I get asked a lot about how much it costs to run a website and in all honestly, the answer is that "it depends". I know, I know! You were hoping for a set amount but I just can't give you that because there are so many variables.
What I can do, however, is share with you the set cost of running a Squarespace website (meaning : the expenses you can't skip) AND fill you in on the other expenses that you can expect to pay to keep your site up and running.
Many people are happy to talk candidly about the income their website earns (read : money in) but it's harder to get people to open up about the actual operating costs and expenses (read : money out). Lucky for you, I have no such hangup :) If you've been following my blog for a while, you know I LOVE talking about money (examples here and here) and giving you a behind the scenes look at how much it actually costs to run a website and have an online business, so let's dive right in!
Cost of designing a website vs cost of running a website
Before we dive deep into the topic of website expenses, I should clarify that this post is only talking about how much it costs to RUN a Squarespace website. I’m not addressing how much it costs to build and design a Squarespace website today, and that’s because it can be done at so many price points.
Some people have a budget of exactly zero dollars and end up taking a DIY route for their Squarespace website’s build and design. They choose a Squarespace template and stick to it super closely, read blog posts and watch video tutorials until they have something that works. I have a popular free 7 day email courses called Launch Your Best Site that teaches you exactly how to build and design a Squarespace website on your own, and it's a great resource for those who want to do it all themselves. If you go this route, it won’t cost anything extra but from my experience, it is quite clear when someone who isn’t a web designer did a DIY job on their site. It’s better than nothing, obviously, but it is rarely their dream website on the first attempt.
On the flip side, many website owners would rather just pay a professional (like me!) to build and design their Squarespace sites. They want it done right with little/no effort on their part and are happy to pass this off to an expert. The cost will change depending on which designer you choose to work with, the scope and size of the website, whether e-commerce is included, any major customizations or integrations, and a whole lot more. Be sure to check out my custom Squarespace website Design & Development package if you are interested in working with me on your website.
Hope that clears things up :)
Alright now that we are all clear on the scope of "costs related to running a website", let's take a look at those expenses!
Fixed Squarespace website costs
Outside of the costs related to designing and building a website, there are 2 fixed costs that you can expect to pay in order to run a Squarespace website. These are your non-negotiables.
All Squarespace sites on an annual billing plan include one free custom domain (more info on that here) but I strongly recommend purchasing a domain through a 3rd party domain provider instead. Expect to pay $10-20 per year for a domain.
Squarespace hosting plans
Squarespace has several different plans and pricing options, but most of my clients go with the $18/month Business website plan. This includes hosting, templates and 24/7 support.
Additional website costs
After you’ve purchased a domain and picked your Squarespace plan, there are other costs related to running a website that you can anticipate. Some of these might not apply to your website, but it's a good idea to keep them in mind before you end up with a surprise bill!
Email service provider
I'm a firm believer that every website needs an email list and depending on what provider you go with or how many subscribers you have, you might have to start paying for it. Many websites start off with Mailchimp because they have a really easy integration with Squarespace (info here) and you can start for free. Once your list starts growing and your needs develop, you might switch to another provider and have to start paying.
Social media scheduler
Unless you plan to post to social media in real time, you will need to use a social media scheduler.
Boardbooster is one of my favourite and most valuable tools to use on my Pinterest account, and it helps send thousands of visitors to my website every month. Plans start at $5/month but you can try out Boardbooster for free by using my link! I strongly recommend you leverage Pinterest because it is one of the easiest ways to increase traffic to your website and grow your online business.
Design assets are definitely required to run a website and if you plan to create them yourself, Canva is a super popular tool. The basic account is free to use or their Work plan is an affordable $12.95/month. Adobe Creative Cloud is more robust and has several different pricing plans depending on what you need.
G Suite (email address for custom domain)
Your website or online business will look a whole lot more legit when you stop using your old @hotmail.com address! It's time to leverage your custom domain and create an associated email address to go along with it, and that's where G Suite comes in. Squarespace has a great offer where you can receive a free year of G Suite on most annual billing plans, otherwise plans start at $5/month.
You might decide to purchase a Squarespace plugin to get certain customizations. Plugins from Squarestudio costs between $1-$59.
Most of the time you'll be fine with Squarespace's free 24/7 support but there might be times when you need additional or personalized tech support. Services like Use Sixty start at $1/minute for live video support.
Even more website related expenses
Yep, there's more! Just when you thought you had all your website expenses accounted for, I'm here to share the extended list :)
There are a whole lot of other expenses related to running your website that you might not have thought of and they may or may not apply to you/your business, so please run these past your accountant or bookkeeper.
- Skype for business or Google Hangouts
- Internet and cell phone plans
- Scheduling platform like Acuity
- Office/co-working space fees
- Technology: computer, laptop, mic, webcam, mouse, etc.
- Payment processing fees (PayPal, Stripe)
- Networking events, conferences, classes or courses for in person or online
- Professional services (lawyer, accountant, etc.)
- Advertising or promotion (Facebook ads, Google Adwords, etc.)
Track your website expenses
I’ve said it before but money is energy so you have to give it the attention and respect it deserves. If you want to successfully monetize your website, you MUST pay attention to what's coming in and going out.
Believe it or not, you should track all money related to your website from day one, even if you aren't earning any money yet and only have expenses.
It costs money to run a website so you need to be tracking all expenses from the start. This is the "money out" stage but hopefully you'll be able to monetize your website before you end up with a pile of bills.
But don’t let that scare you! I recommend using a tool like my Income Tracker Spreadsheets to log all income and expenses related to your website. You can learn more about this product here and watch my video tutorial to see it in action!
Whether you use my Income Tracker Spreadsheets or keep track of your income and expense in another way, you MUST pay attention to money in/money out if you want to successfully run your website.
No matter what type of website you run, you should always have a good understanding of your expenses and how you can offset them through income and monetization.
Running a Squarespace website is extremely affordable, even when you start taking on additional expenses. The base costs of the domain and Squarespace hosting plan are pretty much on par with what you'd pay for a decent bottle of wine every month and in my opinion, that's a very fair trade for the ability to build an online business and have a digital platform. #worthit
As your website grows and you start taking it seriously, your monthly expenses will increase. And that's something to celebrate! But please make sure that you're tracking all expenses related to your website as soon as you can. Best case scenario you'll be on top of this from day one but there's no time like the present to start tracking your website's expenses.
Shameless plug : My Income Tracker Spreadsheets is a wonderful tool that will help you to record the income and expenses related to your website. Learn about it here or watch my video tutorial to see it in action!
Now it's your turn to tell me, do you know how much it costs to run your Squarespace website? What are your monthly expenses? Have your expenses increased as your website has grown? Do you run your website with minimal expenses or are you happy to pay for tools and services? I'd love to know so leave me a note in the comments below!
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