Overhead — or the lack thereof. Web design firms have brick and mortar offices, office equipment, employees, health insurance, business insurance, 401K plans, utility bills, etc. to contend with. That’s a lot of overhead.
I can keep my prices low because I don’t have any overhead. That’s one of the benefits of working from home.
I know that many domain registration websites offer web hosting — as do many hosting companies offer to register your domain for you (for a fee). Here’s the problem. What if, say, you find that the hosting service is very slow, or has strict limitations on disk space or bandwidth usage? If your domain was registered with the hosting service, it makes it very difficult to purchase hosting elsewhere and try to fight your old web host for access to the domain you purchased. Unfortunately, many people find out (too late) that the domain name they thought they owned was, in reality, registered by the hosting company and the ownership of the domain belongs to that company. Getting them to transfer ownership to you can be a very difficult task, indeed.
If you register your domain with, say, GoDaddy and host your website on the web hosting company of your choice, you have the power to point that domain name to your web hosting account. If, for any reason, you wish to leave your web host and move to another web host, you can simply access your domain name account and point your domain to the new hosting account. Keeping domain registration separate from web hosting gives you the freedom to do just that.
I prefer building websites on the WordPress platform because it offers better security, is constantly updated, is expandable, and it offers my customers an easy way to update and maintain their websites themselves. Plus, WordPress offers a much larger selection of free 3rd-party plug-ins than the other CMS (content management systems) formats offer.
Personally, my experience has taught me to never get your domain name and hosting from the same company. Most of the domain registrars offer web hosting, but it comes at a price. You may think you’re saving a few dollars, but, in the end, you are sacrificing performance and other features that you may have obtained from a separate hosting company.
The reason you want to keep the two separate is mostly about ownership. When you register your domain yourself with a site like GoDaddy or NetworkSolutions, you know you own that domain name. You have the power to point that domain to any web hosting company you wish to do business with. If, in the event you’re not happy with your hosting service, you can pick a new host and point your domain to that new host. Also, I have found that most of the domain registrars who offer web hosting have sub-part hosting packages and very slow performance. You’d be best not to host your site where you registered your domain.
The answer to this question can be summed up in two words… Sticker Shock. To be fair, there are a couple of variables at work, here. One variable is that they simply can’t post a starting price because each web design job is different. That is why they have a means for a potential client to ask for a quote. The other variable is, indeed, the fear of scaring off a potential customer by showing them, up front, what building a website is going to cost them.
I want my customers to have a reasonably good idea how much money they are looking at spending for a new website. Of course, the prices listed are only starting prices and the final quote can be substantially more than the starting price — depending upon added features, set-up time, and other customer requests.