Hiring an individual or an agency to make a website for your small business generally ranges from $500 to $10,000. If you need e-commerce functionality or advanced web applications, you are looking at $6,000 to $30,000 or even more. Large, enterprise sites like Amazon can cost over $100,000.
If that feels like a big range, it’s because it is. If you ask most developers about website pricing, a normal response is “That depends.” And that’s true. Depending on your needs, goals, and budget, your website costs can vary drastically.
It’s common to compare website pricing to house pricing. Like building a home, your website costs will depend on the size and functionality of your project, and the time and effort of the professionals you hire to build it.
But let’s talk specifics. By the end of this article you’ll be able to figure out how much the website for your business should cost, and the best way to build it.
Before we dive into the different types of website packages available and how much they will cost, let’s quickly go over the two ways you’ll pay for your site: one-time set up fees and recurring costs.
One-Time Website Set Up Fees
Just like you have to buy supplies and hire designers and contractors to build your home, you will also have to pay some money to have someone set up your website.
The exact amount of your set up fee will depend on how much professional help you’ll need. It’s all about how much work is involved, the size and complexity of the site you are building, and how long the project will take to complete.
You are basically paying for professional services for the design, development, and implementation of your website’s appearance and functionality at an hourly rate.
Website professionals and agencies usually have an hourly rate ranging from $50 – $200 an hour. You can estimate setting up your website taking from 20 to 50 hours, or $1,000 to $10,000.
Not in your budget? Keep reading to learn about DIY options.
Monthly Recurring Website Fees
Every website needs to have two things: a domain name and website hosting.
When your site users type in your website address (domain name) in their browser, they will be directed to your website files stored on your server (website hosting).
Most website builders (like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress.com) include hosting in their plans. If you choose to self-host, costs can range from $1 to $20 every month, with an average of about $8 a month.
You should keep in mind that there are cons for going too cheap with your web host. Most of the time they are on shared servers that can slow down you site and annoy customers and hurt search results rankings. They also usually charge extra for features like security and backups.
Domain names can also sometimes be included in your hosting plan, or you can buy one for around $10 to $15 a year. Domain names must be renewed every year. If you don’t renew, someone else can buy it, so it’s very important you keep up on this.
You CAN go without a domain name on some free website builder plans, but if you are serious about your business, I wouldn’t suggest it. It looks really unprofessional (your address will be something like yourbusiness.wordpress.com) and they are super affordable.
Recurring fees will grow relative to the size and complexity of your website. For example, if you need premium plugins you may also have to pay yearly licensing fees.
If you use a website developer to build and manage your website, they may offer a website maintenance care plan that can bundle many of these costs in one easy monthly payment. These usually range from $50 to $500 a month, and are great for businesses that have the budget and don’t want to be bothered stressing about website maintenance.
Types of Websites
From DIY to full-service custom design and development, you have choices when picking the type of website that works best for you and your business.
When you decide which option choose here, make sure to take into account how much work and time you want to put into your website project, how comfortable you are with internet technology, and what your realistic budget is.
This will be your most affordable option, but it will take the most amount of time and work.
A lot of people look to do-it-yourself when they are first starting out, and that’s reasonable. It’s possible that you are comfortable with technology, have time to do the work, and your marketing budget is close to empty.
If that’s the case, your best bet is to pick a page builder. WordPress.com is my favorite, because it’s very easy to upgrade your site when your business grows and your website needs a more professional design and more features. Almost 30% of websites on the internet are run on WordPress, so it’s likely your web designer will use it too when it’s time for you to hire one. Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace are other popular DIY website builder options.
You can also try not using a builder site, and creating your website on your own. If that’s the case, you’ll need to buy your own hosting, domain name, and install WordPress on your server. This is not recommended unless you have at least some experience with website development technologies.
If you want to DIY an eCommerce, look to Shopify. Shopify stores can get pretty advanced, so if you are working with a big store, its still probably best to hire a website expert, but they also have options for basic, easy sites.
DIY Website Pros
Using a website builder is affordable and user-friendly. They are great for people that don’t have any experience making websites and will support you through he process.
If you choose to self-host WordPress on your own server, it can be the best value for your money.
DIY Website Cons
You are going to spend time and money building your website that you could be spending on other parts of your business. Plan on taking at least 20 to 40 hours of your time to build a simple site you will be proud of. Double that if you want to self-host WordPress.
You’ll also have to spend time learning the process. Even for simple builder sites you’ll have to take some time to figure out how their specific software works. And that’s not including the time it will take you to choose the right builder for you.
If you are not comfortable with technology, and this sounds like a nightmare to you, look to another option.
One-Time Costs: $0 – $300
Many website builders don’t have a one-time cost, just a monthly fee (sometimes paid annually).
If you are self hosting, you may choose to buy a premium WordPress them, and they generally cost between $50 to $300. You can also find free themes, but you’ll find that you get better designs, better options, and better support with a premium theme.
Recurring Fees ($0 – $299/month)
Some page builders (like WordPress.com and Wix) have a free plan. So yes, it is possible to make a website for free. Though there are downsides.
Free websites usually have advertisements on them, page builder branding, and they don’t allow you to use a custom domain name. Your website address would be something like mybusinessname.wordpress.com. If you are starting out with absolutely no money, it’s an option available to you, but it doesn’t make your business look very professional. We would suggest at least upgrading to remove ads and connect a domain name.
Premium plans with website builders usually range from about $4 to $45 a month. Shopify’s most expensive plan is $299 a month.
Hosting is usually included with page builders, but if you want to install WordPress on your own, you have to pay for hosting yourself. This usually runs from $5 to $50 a month.
The main cost with DIY will be your time. Plan on spending at least 20 to 40 hours of your life building a simple site you can be proud of.
If you are desperately trying to add more hours to the day, and the thought of having to figure out how to make your website mobile friendly makes you feel a little sick, you are going to want to look into a do-it-for-me option.
Template sites are a great first website for your new business. You don’t have to take time away from other important day-to-day business operations to do it yourself, and it costs much than a custom build. So it will fit in your start up marketing budget.
Back to our websites as a house analogy. Usually when you are looking at buying your first home you look for a condo or a house has already been built, and then you modify it for your needs.
That’s pretty much what happens when you get a template website. You pick a pre-made design and structure, and your website professional takes your content and branding and makes the site yours. You save money, and time, by working with something that already exists.
With a template website you can get a website that fits in your budget AND have someone else do all the work. You may not get all the fancy bells and whistles as a custom website, but maybe you don’t need that right now.
Template Site Pros
Most functionality is already built into template websites, so will not need much developer intervention. Because your website professional doesn’t have to do as much work to get your site built, it’s much more affordable than other do-it-for-me options. It’s a great compromise to hiring a web designer to build your work for you, while not breaking your budget.
Template Site Cons
Layout and design limitations with Template Sites can make customizing the site costly down the road. You may have to hire a developer to make custom changes to the code if you want to make changes to the design that aren’t part of the original template.
Since you are using a pre-made design, you may also see other business websites that look similar to your own.
One-Time Costs ($190 – $1,490 set up fees)
When you are working with any service professional you are usually paying for the time it takes them to provide the service, plus the professional experience they have.
Since the initial set up of a website takes the most time, you’ll have to pay your developer a fee up front to cover that. The amount of the set up fee will vary relative to how detailed and functionality-heavy the template is that’s being used.
Most professionals charge 50% of the set up fee before they start work and the remaining 50% before the site is launched.
Small businesses that work with agencies will usually spend between $1,500 and $5,000 on their websites first build, so this solution fits right in that average.
Recurring Fees ($50 – $200/month)
Hosting with a website professional usually starts at around $50/month. Though you can find cheaper hosting elsewhere, here you are paying for the convenience of not having to manage your hosting, deal with technical support, and worry about making sure your site doesn’t go down. They also usually use higher quality hosts that are faster and more secure.
You can also pay more a month for increased services like included content changes, software updates, backups, etc
Websites are like houses (starter site = apartment, growth site = house you buy, custom site = house you build). Website design is the blueprint, Website development is the contractor that bills. also like a house, you need to spend time, money, and energy maintaining it. install updates and security patches, backups. website maintenance plans can cover this, and may also cover licensing fees for premium plugins.
If you want a unique look and feel to your site, it’s time to hire a developer for a custom website). this is like building a house.
A lot of people also upgrade to a custom site after they have been in business for a while. Most people don’t need a lot of bells and whistles when just starting out, but as you grow you may want to add more specialized features. member login, a blog. live chat, event scheduling
If you can dream it, you can build it with Custom Websites. These are high-end, built from scratch websites that are made just for your business. If you want a great looking site that shows your customers that you are a high-quality, trustworthy brand, this is the option for you. Online stores, social networks, membership sites, and web apps all fall into this category as well. The major con here is for sure the cost, but if you have the budget, this investment is worth it.
One-Time Costs ($4,000 – $10,000)
Recurring Fees ($50 – $200/month)
plugins and other subscriptions can raise this price more. like premium forms, email marketing integration, chat bots. Automation.
E-Commerce and Web Apps
If you want to sell products or services online, 24/7, possibly all over the world, then you need a website with ecommerce functionality.
connect to other apps
web apps are custom web programming, which is costly
You have two options when it comes to ecommerce: hosted or self-hosted.
One-Time Costs ($6,000 – $30,000+)
Recurring Fees ($200 – $500+/month)
How to Avoid Over Paying
Make sure you aren’t double paying for the same features. Make sure you don’t hire someone that doesn’t know what they are doing, and then you have to hire someone more expensive to fix it. It may look appealing to go with a low cost designer, but it can be risky. be careful with budget pricing, as you usually get what you pay for. don’t waste time and money by not vetting someone before you hire them. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.