How Much Does a Website Cost?
Do you need a website for your small business? Most people research your business online before they make a single purchasing decision. Not having a website—or having the wrong type of website—could hurt your earning potential in the era of digital-first shopping.
Whether you’re starting a new business or your business has been around longer than the internet, you still need a modern and professional website to serve as the foundation for your digital marketing efforts.
The only catch? No site is truly free, and calculating website costs can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve never built a website before. It’s important to control expenses, especially if you want to invest in advertising, so it’s good to have a ballpark understanding of how much a website should cost.
The amount you’ll pay for a website depends on how you build the site. For example, there are cost differences between using free or paid website builders. A DIY website redesign is often cheaper upfront than hiring a web developer, but isn’t always the right move in the long run.
So, how much does this cost, really?
Here’s the short answer:
- If you do it yourself, it can cost as little as $58 to launch.
- If you hire professionals, the average cost is $4,000 to $10,000 to launch.
In this article, we’ll break down the most common expenses associated with different types of website builds. After reading this guide, you’ll have a better idea of how much a website costs and what it takes to launch a winning website.
Table of Contents
- Creating an Effective Strategy for Websites
- The Factors That Affect Website Cost
- The Pros and Cons of Using Website Builders vs. a Web Developer
- How Much Does It Cost To Make a Website With a Builder?
- Free Content Management Systems (CMS) : Costs and Features
- The Costs of a Do-It-Yourself Website
- The Cost of Professional Web Design vs. DIY Website Builder
- Marketing Costs
- Summary: How Much Does a Website Cost
- How to Balance Website Cost With Business Results
- Take Action: Get an Effective Website That Boosts Sales
Creating an Effective Strategy for Websites
First things first, you need some kind of direction for your website. When you have a general idea or strategy, you’ll have an easier time building a website that supports your business goals.
Your business needs an effective website that positions you as an authority and builds trust with potential customers. The whole point of a website is to earn more business, and these three factors can either help or hurt the quality of your site:
- Content: This is the text, images, and videos on your site, as well as the underlying strategy that guides them. It can also affect off-site content, like social media.
- Design: This includes your website color palette and logo, as well as the look and feel of the site itself.
- Development: This is the technical side of your site that only search engines and developers will see, but it has a big impact on your site speed, search engine rankings, and user experience.
In our opinion, content is the number-one piece. This is what converts visitors into paying customers, clients, and buyers. Keep that in mind when you’re tallying up the costs of a website.
After all, there’s no point in launching a poorly-designed website that will hurt your business. Get your ducks in a row first and then price everything out to make the most of your website budget.
The Factors That Affect Website Cost
Every website is unique, so it’s hard to find sample website pricing online. Plus, it’s tough finding a professional web design agency that will openly share sample pricing without a phone call or meeting. To complicate matters, there’s a big gap between do-it-yourself and professional website pricing.
So, how much does it cost to build a website? Several factors affect the ultimate cost of your website. Generally, five factors affect website cost:
- How you build and host the website
- Who designs and builds the website (you versus a web developer or web designer)
- Who creates the content
- The number of pages created
- The functions required (more advanced functions require more time to build, which makes complex sites more expensive)
It also depends on the type of website you’re building. For example, a standard website usually starts out with five pages: Home, Services, Products, About, and Contact. An eCommerce website, on the other hand, might include those five pages but also have countless product pages.
Over time, you might need to add more features, content, and pages to your site to increase traffic and sales. That means you’ll likely have a monthly cost for maintaining your website, too—regardless of how you initially build it.
The Pros and Cons of Using Website Builders vs. a Web Developer
So many small businesses build their websites using builders. Unless you’re building something completely unique, you probably don’t need custom hand-coding. In some cases, website builders are a great
alternative for small businesses.
These builders generally fall into two categories: free and paid.
Should I Build My Website With a Builder?
It’s a good idea to use a website builder if your local business:
- Has little to no budget to hire a web design firm.
- Already has someone on the team with web design and content experience.
- Wants to test an idea before investing with a larger budget.
- Is hosting a temporary or one-time event.
Even then, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of website builders before you take the plunge.
Website Builder Pros
- Builders are mostly drag-and-drop and require little to no technical skills.
- They include lots of free and paid templates, as well as stock images.
- Builders usually include website hosting and a domain, so you pay one price for everything.
- If you need added functionality, builders often come with integration options to connect with third-party services.
Website Builder Cons
- This is the big one. You own the words and images, but not the website design and website design files. The design and website files are part of the website-building platform. It’s similar to social media platforms. It’s your content, but you don’t own the Facebook or Instagram page. If you choose to move your website, you can export the words, images, and videos but you’ll need to re-design and re-develop it elsewhere.
- If you move your website, you may lose your search engine ranking and have to restart your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
- Design options and customization are limited.
- Website builders don’t address your website strategy or guide you on how to organize pages or create content.
What You Need To Know About Website Builders
Using a website builder costs anywhere from a few bucks a month to hundreds of dollars a year. There are so many website builders out there, so it usually comes down to the platform you like the best.
The most popular paid website builders are:
The downside is that it’s a lot of trouble to migrate away from a website builder, so make sure you understand what you’re getting into. Choose wisely.
Let’s do a deep dive into website builders and how much they could cost your business.
1. Wix Costs
Wix was founded in 2006 and is a publicly-traded company. According to its website, Wix has over 200 million users as of 2023.
It’s one of the most popular website builders and with good reason. Wix has a lot of integrations and hundreds of website templates to choose from. It even offers a free version—as long as you’re okay with displaying Wix ads on your website.
Every Wix plan includes hosting and a domain for either a monthly or annual fee:
2. Squarespace Costs
Squarespace was founded in 2003 and is a privately held company. According to its website, millions of businesses use Squarespace. Squarespace isn’t as big as Wix, but it offers the same features, more or less.
If you’re trying to choose between these website builders, go with the platform that you find more helpful or intuitive.
Every Squarespace plan includes hosting and a domain for either a monthly or annual fee:
3. Shopify Costs
While Wix and Squarespace offer both standard and eCommerce websites, Shopify focuses on eCommerce only. This makes it an ideal builder for small businesses that need help with product pages and payment processing.
Every Shopify plan comes with a free 14-day trial. Here’s what you can expect to pay once the trial ends:
- eCommerce websites start at $39 to $399 a month
- Additional eCommerce fees vary, but they’re about 3% per transaction
Free Content Management Systems (CMS) Costs and Features
Content management systems (CMS) make it easy for non-technical users to do maintenance, add features, and even integrate their website with social media—all without hiring a web designer. Joomla and Drupal are common options, but they aren’t nearly as popular or user-friendly as WordPress.org.
WordPress is a different type of builder tool. Initially released in 2003, it’s free and open-source. This means no one organization or business owns it.
Some businesses sign up for a WordPress.com site without realizing it isn’t the same as WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a private company that cleverly bought the domain name very early on (around 2005) and built a company around WordPress.
But if you want to use the true WordPress (which won’t require you to pay an arm and a leg), WordPress.org is your best bet.
WordPress.org is popular with local businesses that:
- May or may not have web design experience or a budget, but that want a user-friendly builder.
- Want to own their website and files outright.
- Need a custom look and feel to their site.
- Want to add specific functions that other paid website builders don’t offer.
- Want to boost organic search engine traffic through blogging and other marketing strategies.
- Need a customized domain for branding purposes.
Pros of WordPress Websites
- It’s open-source, which means it’s free.
- Because you have access to the core files, there is no limit to the customization or features you can add later.
- Nearly unlimited integration and template options (both free and paid).
- Excellent results for Google search engine optimization and digital marketing.
Cons of WordPress Websites
- While it has drag-and-drop options, WordPress has a steeper learning curve than website builder alternatives.
- You may need to hire a professional web designer to customize your website’s layout or function.
- You’ll need to update the website software monthly. See how to do that here.
- WordPress websites don’t help you create a strategy for organizing your website navigation or crafting digital marketing content.
- You may need to sign up for a GoDaddy website or a similar company to manage your hosting and domain.
The Costs of a Do-It-Yourself Website
Curious about the costs of doing a website yourself? The scope of the project determines how much you’ll pay, but here’s an overview of what a DIY website will usually cost:
- Paid website platform (without eCommerce): $22 to $63
- Paid website platform (with eCommerce): $33 to $314 (plus 3% credit card processing fees)
- Free Content Management System (CMS) (without eCommerce): $17 to $33
- Free Content Management System (CMS) (with eCommerce): $17 to $33 (plus 3% credit card processing fees)
But this is just the upfront cost for your website’s framework. You also need to consider how much you’ll spend on:
- Domain name
- Website hosting
- A website builder
Let’s look at how much your business will need to spend to build a fully functional website.
How Much Is a Domain Name for a Website?
Cost: $10 to $15 annually
You can order your domain name from lots of different places. If
possible, try to buy your domain from the same company that manages your hosting. This isn’t required, but it certainly saves time.
How Much Is Website Hosting?
Cost: $48 to $500 annually
Hosting costs have a wide range because this depends on the level of service you pay for and the amount of traffic to your website.
Low-cost web hosting services have abysmal support, so don’t go with the lowest prices.
If you’re using a paid website builder like Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify, your hosting is included in the plan.
If you’re using WordPress, you need to pay for website hosting separately. We recommend Siteground, but you’re free to choose whoever you want. Just make sure the hosting company offers:
- Daily rolling 30-day website backups
- Free SSL
- Free domain email
- Great support from human beings
How Much Is a Website Builder?
- Wix, Squarespace or Shopify: $16 to $48 a month
- Wix, Squarespace or Shopify with ecommerce: $39 to $399 a month (plus 3% credit card processing fees)
- WordPress: Free
- WordPress with eCommerce: Free (plus 3% credit card processing fees through a third party)
The Cost of Professional Web Design vs. a DIY Website Builder
How much does a website cost if you hire a web design agency?
- Cost without eCommerce: $4,000 to $15,000
- Cost with eCommerce: $5,000 to $50,000 (plus 3% credit card processing fees)
- Average: $4,000 to $10,000
The short answer is that there is no recommended minimum or maximum dollar amount for a professionally-designed website. It comes down to balancing your goals with your budget and finding professionals you trust to design and build your website.
There are four core cost areas to consider when hiring a professional web designer or agency:
- Website design and development costs (template or custom)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) costs
- Logo and brand style costs
- Content creation costs
Investment ranges can also vary if the web design agency is using a template to design your website or if it’s a custom design.
Professional Template-Designed Website Costs
- Template-designed website (SEO, logo, brand style guide, and content): $4,000 to $10,000
- Template-designed website (eCommerce, SEO, logo, brand style guide, and
content): $6,000 to $15,000 (plus 3% credit card processing fees through a third party)
Professional Custom-Designed Website Costs
- Custom-designed website (SEO, logo, brand style guide, and content): $6,000 to $15,000
- Custom-designed website (eCommerce, SEO, logo, brand style guide, and content): $6,000 to $50,000 (plus 3% credit card processing fees through a third party)>
Website Design and Development Costs
Need a general idea? Here are the average costs you can expect with a pro web designer:
- Template-designed website costs: $2,000 to $5,000
- Template-designed website costs with eCommerce: $3,000 to $7,000
- Custom-designed website costs: $3,500 to $15,000
- Custom-designed website costs with eCommerce: $3,000 to $40,000
When hiring a professional, the bulk of your budget will go toward design and development. Even with today’s technology, designing and building a website can take 20 to 60 hours, or longer, depending on the scope of the project, the number pages, and features.
Business is cutthroat, so when in doubt, get a unique website design. If your budget allows for it, custom designs typically get better business results.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a must-have for any website. Even if you’re using different marketing channels to boost sales, almost every shopper will do their own research online before buying anything.
Your agency should offer this as part of your website design and development costs. Walk away from any “professional” if they don’t offer SEO as part of their services.
Logo and Brand Style Guide
Cost: $1,000 to $10,000
This informs the design direction and feel of the website. A professionally-designed logo and brand style guide increase the perceived value of your website and business. Before hiring anyone, make sure to review their portfolio. Every logo designer has their own style, so choose someone whose style complements your brand vision.
If you hire a web design agency or independent logo designer, make sure the logo comes with a brand style guide. You can get your logo from the same company as the website or you can get them from separate sources if you prefer.
- Photography/Videography: $50 to $300 per hour
- Photography (Headshots): $100 to $300 per session
- Website Content Writer: $250 to $1,000 per page
Don’t treat content as an afterthought. This is the meat of your website, and it’s what visitors will rely on to decide whether they want to buy from you.
Some web design agencies will create all of the website content for you, while others won’t. Providing the content yourself may save you money, but you might get better results by leaving it to the professionals. Hire content writers that have experience writing for conversions to boost your site performance.
Summary: How Much Does a Website Cost
Do-It-Yourself Website Costs
Paid Website Building Platform
- A website without eCommerce: $22 to $63
- A website with eCommerce: $33 to $314 (3% credit card processing fees paid separately)
Free Content Management System (CMS)
- A website without eCommerce: $17 to $33
- A website with eCommerce: $17 to $33 (3% credit card processing fees paid separately)
Professional Web Design Costs
- Cost without eCommerce: $4,000 to $15,000
- Cost with eCommerce: $5,000 to $50,000 (3% credit card processing fees paid separately)
- Average: $4,000 to $10,000
How to Balance Website Cost With Business Results
While every business has a budget, your business will be better off if you consider your website as a marketing investment instead of a business expense. This is a tool for growth: a thoughtfully-designed website will help your business thrive.
Try to aim for the most unique and effective website your budget will allow. But before deciding on your budget (and whether you should DIY or hire a pro), clarify what you need from your website.
Frame your decision-making with these things in mind:
Your goal is to launch a winning website that you can build on over time. But the longer you take to launch this website, the more money you’ll lose.
While you should want and expect the best possible website, avoid getting stuck in the “perfection loop.” Business owners stuck in this loop continually revise their sites without ever launching them.
The perfect website doesn’t exist. Liberate yourself from this impossible expectation.
Instead, set a deadline and launch the best possible website during that window. A good timeframe from start to launch is 30 to 90 days, depending on the size of your website.
Another way to avoid perfectionism is to keep things simple. Avoid generating a bunch of ideas; that will only overwhelm you.
Once you launch your site, you can add more pages, products, services, and blog posts. You can always make updates and optimizations based on what you learn about your shoppers, so don’t worry: there’s time to add to the site in the future.
Clarify Your Website Design Project With the Right Questions
Not sure where to start? Ask yourself these questions to clarify what you need from a site:
- Do I need eCommerce?
- How many products will I launch with?
- How many services will I launch with?
- Would I consider myself “tech savvy” when it comes to software and computers?
- Do I know how to design a website or should I hire someone?
- Do I know how to design a logo and brand style guide or should I hire someone?
- Do I know how to write for SEO and conversions or should I hire someone?
- Do I know how to take great photos and videos or should I hire someone?
- Do I need any extra features, like membership logins or recurring customer billing?
- Do I know how to add that extra feature or should I hire someone?
Build a Tentative Sitemap
Based on how you answer these questions, calculate the number of pages you need based on the products and services you launch with.
But don’t list all of your services on one page. Each product or service should have its own page for:
- Search engine rankings: Search engines rank pages that focus on one product or service higher than pages with a bunch of products or services.
- Visitor conversions: Prospective customers need help solving a problem. If they visit a webpage with every product/service listed in one long list, it creates confusion. The visitor becomes overwhelmed and doesn’t make a decision. Instead, they leave.
Organize your website pages something like this:
- All Services (links to product/services pages)
- Product/Service #1
- Product/Service #2
Building this sitemap out ahead of time will narrow your focus and help you build a launch-ready site in less time.
Stick To Your Budget and Timeframe
With the information above, you’re ready to set a reasonable budget based on your project scope.
It’s also good to give yourself a deadline within the next 30 to 90 days to complete this project.
Time is money, after all. Every day your website isn’t live is another day of lost revenue.
Setting a deadline and budget at the start makes it easier to design an effective site that offers value to your business.
Take Action: Get an Effective Website That Boosts Sales
Building a website is a valuable endeavor for any business, but we know it can still feel overwhelming. If you aren’t sure where to start, get in touch with Prime Web SA. Our custom website packages help small businesses enjoy all of the benefits of digital marketing with the perks of professional guidance.