Updated October 4, 2019

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website

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Want to grow your small business? A professional website may help. Read on to learn how to get one and what it will cost you.

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A professional, clean website with customizable features can run between $50 and $5,000. That's a significant price difference.

Your costs will depend on the size and complexity of your website. Keep reading to learn more.

Know Your Needs

Before you start building your small business website, ask yourself these questions:

What's your budget?
The cost of a creating a small business website goes beyond the initial setup.

You will pay for:

  • Hosting
  • Debugging
  • Troubleshooting
  • Any additional features you need

These costs will be ongoing.

How will you manage your website?
Consider whether you want full control of your site or if you want a web designer or web developer to help.

By handing off work to a developer, you may wait for changes to be made. The lapse time will vary, depending on the contractor's workload.

Will you handle hosting and security issues?
Building and maintaining a small business website involves handling administrative and technical issues.

When you consider your budget and plan, consider whether you have the technical abilities to maintain your website. Technical issues involve constant care.

How to manage your website comes down to personal preference.

Your Site-Building Options

You have three choices when building a site for your business.

  1. Hire someone to make it from scratch.
  2. Build your site with WordPress.
  3. Use a drag-and-drop website builder.

We break down each below.

Hire Someone to Build Your Site From Scratch

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Hiring someone to build your website is a shortcut. If you have the money, it saves time and frustration.

You should hire someone to build your website if you:

  1. Are busy running your business
    Building and maintaining a small business website takes time you may not have.

  2. Have a larger budget
    If money is no concern, hire a web designer or developer to build your site exactly as you want it to be made.

Web developers and web designers are different.

  • Web designers: Build the outline for your site.
  • Web developers Actually construct and code that site.

Our estimates include the total price: developers and designers.

Pros:

  • Clean, polished final product
    Your site will be created by skilled professionals, which means it'll look exactly how you want.

  • Additional functionality
    If you need custom features, a developer can code them into your site.

    If you eventually want to make your site profitable, you may want to consider setting up a paid membership platform, which a developer can help you do. Check out this article from AccessAlly to learn why having a membership site can be a great option for content creators.

  • No WordPress knowledge needed
    WordPress can be difficult to learn. If you don't have the time or energy, this is an easier option.

  • Less time
    Hiring someone to build your website from scratch means you can focus on other aspects of your business.

Cons:

  • It's expensive
    Hiring a professional can cost as little as $1,000, but realistically, it will cost several thousand dollars. Keep reading for a detailed list of factors to consider before hiring a developer and designer.

  • Maintenance needs
    In addition to the upfront costs, you will need someone to maintain your website over the years. This specialist will handle updates and any issues that arise.

Cost

Having a professional build your entire website can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000. The figure depends on the number of pages and the amount of customization.

Building your site depends on your comfort level with the technology AND budget constraints.

Factors to Consider

  • Page Volume
    Web developers have set page rates. For example, a 10-page website package costs around $3,000. More pages cost extra, starting at $100/page.

  • Custom Site Layout
    Your website will start with a theme or template. From there, the template will need to be customized to fit your needs. Expect to pay more for elaborate customizations—up to $100/page.

  • Custom Images/Graphics
    Sleek new graphics and custom images take your website to the next level, but be prepared to pay for them. Depending on your needs, you may have to hire a custom graphics design specialist.

Build your own graphics to save money. Try Canva, a free online tool that lets you build graphics with pre-made templates and tools.

  • Custom Programming
    Every small business website has its own unique needs. Some features will be easy to find as plug-ins (for example, an image carousel or payment calculator).

    However, some features may not be available as plug-ins, or the plug-ins won't work correctly the first time. Budget in extra money and time to handle these possible inconsistencies.

  • Design Revisions
    Factor in revision costs for your website. Every site starts with a concept design. The client (you) then reviews that concept.

    Web designers offer new revisions incorporating the client's needs. Expect to pay for each revision—the cost may a couple hundred dollars or more.

    Depending on your business needs, it may be worth it to hire an in-house web designer. If you do, be sure to read this list of interview questions from 118Group to find the best web designer for your team.

  • Content Creation
    Every website needs solid, relevant content. A new website will need new content; older websites may need to rehash older content or add new content.

    This can mean an additional five to 50 pages, depending on the small business.

If you're on a budget, there are other ways to get your website live. Keep reading to learn more.

Build Your Website Using WordPress

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WordPress is the step between a custom and cookie-cutter site. It gives you everything you need to build your small business website.

The catch? You need to put it together yourself.

With time and patience, you can learn how to build a WordPress site yourself. You can also set up the basics and pay a developer to finalize customizations to save money.

Choose this option if:

  • You have a flexible budget to pay for setup and ongoing maintenance, as needed.

  • You want more control over your website. That means managing hosting yourself, or paying for WordPress developers to step in.

  • You want advanced features on your website. Some of these features may need to be custom coded. If something breaks, you will have to fix it yourself or pay someone to help.

  • You want the freedom to customize and edit your website. This also means taking on the responsibility of managing your website day-to-day.

Pros:

  • Control over your site
    Once you know how to use WordPress, you will have the power to make changes to your site as needed, without lag time.

  • Long-term affordability
    In theory, it only takes a few things to get your WordPress site live, including a domain name and monthly hosting (more on those below).

    Over time, it remains an affordable option because you can control the elements that make up your site.

Cons:

  • Plug-ins may conflict with site design
    Some WordPress plug-ins may conflict with your custom website. You may need a developer to fix the issue. That will cost you extra money.

  • Hard to navigate
    It's no secret that WordPress is difficult to learn, at first. Once you know the basics, you will have full control.

You can find thousands of guides online to help with the worst WordPress struggles, including this start point from WordPress itself.

Wordpress Cost

The materials you need to get your website live with WordPress are not expensive—about $20 upfront, plus monthly hosting costs.

But expect to spend at least $1,000 in total to get your website up and running with WordPress. Here's a list of other features you'll need to consider.

Domain Name
The domain name is the URL part of your website: YourWebsite.com. A domain name will cost you about $10 to $15 a year to register.

Hosting
Websites need to rent space on the internet to exist. A web hosting service provides that space, at a cost.

Web hosting starts at $5/month for basic packages with Bluehost, HostGator, or a similar hosting service. Start with a basic package and upgrade if you expect more page views or need extras.

You can buy your domain name and hosting together to save money. Some hosting services will give you a free domain name.

SSL Certificate
No matter the type of small business website, you should still secure your site with an HTTPS protocol.

You can get an SSL certificate for as little as $10/year. Double-check your hosting package: some hosting services will give you an SSL certificate for free.

Premium Website Themes
You can find thousands of free themes. But consider a premium one for your small business site.

You get what you pay for with website themes, so expect to spend between $100 and $500 for a solid theme.

Buying a premium theme from a reputable site (we recommend StudioPress) ensures you get a quality, reliable theme with solid coding to back it up.

Premium Plug-ins
Premium plug-ins can take your website to the next level. Depending on how many you need, plug-ins can cost $15 to $200 or more.

Some are one-time purchases while others have annual fees. Be careful with plug-ins. Some may not work as advertised; others may not work with your theme. Expect trial and error.

Stock Photos
Unless you're a professional photographer, you will need high-quality images for your website. Try Bigstock or iStockPhoto for quality images.

To save money on photos, you can find high-quality, royalty-free images on Burst.

WARNING: Do not copy and paste any photos or media onto your website without the explicit permission of the photographer. Otherwise, you risk being sued.

Familiarize yourself with copyright law before building your website. Buying the image is much cheaper than a lawsuit.

Education
Even if you have built a website before, chances are you will run into issues. Budget at least $50 to educate yourself on the systems, whether that means buying books or enrolling in HTML coding classes.

Other Expenses
Once your website is up and running, you'll still need to handle updates, maintenance, and licenses.

This may include annual hosting fees and possibly annual licensing fees (if you have premium plug-ins). As your business and website grow, you may want to hire freelancers to create content. That will be another added cost.

You'll also have to update and maintain the technical side of the website. This includes:

  • Installing updates and security patches.

  • Protecting your website from hackers.

  • Maintaining an offsite backup system (in case of hardware failure or user error).

If you have an internal server error, you will also need to know how to bring your website back online.

Consider the Time Cost
Even if you have experience in site-building, it will take at least 30 hours to get your website up and running.

If you've never built a website before, expect to spend 3-4 times as long. This doesn't include the time spent on the maintenance issues described above.

Hiring Someone to Maintain Site

A WordPress developer can help with changes and technical upgrades. Even those familiar with WordPress need specialists to help with certain tasks.

You can hire an experienced web developer starting at $100/hour. In most situations, the higher the fee, the more experienced developer.

Before you hire a freelancer, be sure to double-check their experience and make sure they have the skills to help you.

If you have some web development experience of your own, why not try coding your site yourself? This article from HelloSign will teach you how to work smarter, instead of harder, when you rewrite different parts of your software.

Use a Drag-and-Drop Website Builder

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Fully-automated website builders let you make a site without any prior coding knowledge.

Drag-and-drop tools make it easier to put your website together. All the technical aspects are automated, so you do not need any prior coding knowledge.

You should go with a website builder if:

  • This is your first website
    Drag-and-drop builders code your website behind-the-scenes. Using a website builder like Wix or Weebly can make the process less overwhelming for first-time website builders.

  • You have limited time
    You don't have time to learn how to code or learn WordPress.

  • You have a smaller budget
    A drag-and-drop builder keeps costs low. You will manage the website, which saves money. These websites have technical teams to maintain your site, too, to save money in the long term.

  • You don't need custom designs or software
    You will be able to use the technical features available to you through your website builder. Most website builders nowadays have almost everything you need.

Thinking of starting a blog? Check out Create and Go's article for everything you need to know to get your blog up and running.

The Basics

Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly are three of the most popular website builders.

  1. Wix
    It has hundreds of free templates, unlimited pages, and reliable hosting for free.

    Upgrade to a premium plan (starting at $11/month) for additional features like storage, bandwidth, and vouchers for ads.

  2. Squarespace
    They give you a 14-day trial period to draft your website. The company is known for their sleek and stunning website design.

    Monthly pricing for a business website with Squarespace starts at $18. That includes unlimited bandwidth, a professional email, advanced website metrics, and more.

  3. Weebly
    You'll get hundreds of templates and reliable hosting for free.

    Rates for small business website start at $12/month and include a free domain and credit for Google Ads.

    Unlike other options, Weebly lets you access the code of your template to make changes to the code.

Website builders remove technical barriers to building your website. But those aren't the only advantages to website builders. Read on!

Pros:

  • No coding knowledge needing
    Using a website builder is great for someone who has never built a website before. Sites like Wix and Weebly have support and technical teams to help maintain your website.

  • Automated technology
    Behind the scenes, the website builder has automated the technical aspects of your website.

  • Learn the basics
    Using a website builder teaches you to experiment while limiting your financial risks. It's a good starting point if you have never built a website before or have limited time.

  • Don't sweat the details
    You don't have to worry about finding hosting options, setting up FTP, or linking your domain name. All of that is done by the website builder. This saves a lot of time.

Cons:

  • Limited options
    You can only do what the site builder's technology allows since you are stuck inside their ecosystem. If you want to expand or add features later on, you will have to create a new site.

  • Long-term costs
    Using a website builder ties you to the program. If the company raises their monthly rates, you are cornered into paying them.

Wondering how to maximize your business with email marketing? Blogging Wizard explains how to build a substantial list of email subscribers and grow your business.

Builder Cost

The overhead costs for using a website builder are low. It's fast and easy to get your website live. Here's the breakdown of the fees:

  • Website Builder Fee
    Monthly rates for a website builder like Wix start at $5/month, and Squarespace plans start at $12/month. It's a small cost compared to WordPress.

  • Template
    Each website builder offers free and paid template options. Web designers and graphic designers can create your website in place of a template, but expect to pay at least $500. This option is less common.

  • Maintenance
    Website builders handle all the maintenance so you won't pay extra here.

  • Education
    If you need help, Google your questions or reach out to the technical team for free.

Expect to spend $10/month to start. The cost depends on the monthly website builder plan.

Costly Mistakes

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Building a website is not a perfect science. But avoid these errors to save yourself move—and frustration.

  • Untested Technology
    The quality of your themes and plug-ins matter. Cutting corners sounds good for your budget, but bad coding can wreak havoc: security risks, site instability, and more.

    Spend the money to pay for legitimate themes and plug-ins to avoid having to constantly fix errors.

  • Incompetent Hires
    Chances are, you're not familiar with technology. But you will be able to tell when someone is selling you snake oil. When you realize someone doesn't know what he's doing, cut him loose.

  • Bad Information
    When it comes to technology, you get what you pay for. Don't fall for amazing programs that buy you followers or promise the best SEO in no time at all. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Bottom Line

The cost of building a website, from start to finish, does not have to be a mystery. With a better understanding of the resources you will need, you will have a better idea what direction you will take.

When the website is complete, remember to add the link to your business cards and tell your clients.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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