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 well 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 your 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 by 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 to 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, it’s 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 the 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 theme, 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 of 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 startup 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 that 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 it 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 upfront to cover that. The amount of the setup fee will vary relative to how detailed and functionality-heavy the template is that’s being used.
Most professionals charge 50% of the setup 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 will often also find Website Care Plans available from having a website professional host your site. This can mean not having to worry about software updates, backups, content changes, and more.
If Template Sites are a house or a condo that’s already been built, then Custom Sites are dream homes that you design and build yourself.
It may take a little more time, and it may take a little more money, but its the best way to guarantee that your new website will be a perfect fit for your business.
Just like an architect designs custom blueprints, your website designer will create a custom design just for your site, and then build it to work with your specific goals and needs.
It’s very common for people to upgrade to a Custom Site after they have been in business for a while. Though Template Sites are a great deal when you are just starting out, they are easy to outgrow when you need more features like member logins, online courses, advanced blogs, live chat, event scheduling, and more.
Custom Site Pros
If you can dream it, you can build it with Custom Websites. These are high-end, built from scratch sites 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, with advanced functions to make it a valuable asset to your business, a Custom Site is the way to go.
Custom Site Cons
The biggest and most obvious con with Custom Sites is the cost. Not every website has $4,000+ to spend on a website, but if you can afford it the investment is worth it.
These websites also take longer to build than Template Sites. You should plan on at least two months from start to finish.
One-Time Costs ($4,000 – $10,000+)
Like we discussed above, when hiring a website developer, you are paying for professional services, which are often based on time spent working on the project.
Website set up is the most amount of work, and the most expensive part of the project. With Custom Sites you are paying for the time it takes to research, plan, design and develop, your project.
Custom Website Projects start around $4,000 and on average can go up to $10,000 if more advanced functionality is needed, like e-learning, membership, app integrations, or e-commerce.
These functions may require premium plugins and software integrations, (like email marketing integration, chatbots, and automation) which can also add to the price.
Recurring Fees ($50 – $200/month)
This is exactly the same as Template Sites. When your website is hosted by a professional your life is easier, and you have peace of mind, but it costs a little more.
Website maintenance is even more important with Custom Websites, as you will want to make sure you are protecting your investment.
How to Avoid Over Paying
If you want to make sure you are getting fair prices for your project, you can check out this website cost calculator and play around with some options so you can go into the buying process as an educated consumer.
Also, make sure you don’t waste time and money not vetting someone before you hire them.
It’s very common for new business owners to find a budget “website designer” that promises to make their site at unbelievably cheap prices.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Most of the time these people will either start on your website and not be able to complete it or deliver something way under your expectations.
This happens all the time, so it is very important that you find a website professional that has the experience and skills to complete your project. Make sure you find someone with a good reputation, work samples you can look at, and past customer testimonials.
If you want to schedule a meeting with us to talk about how we can make your website for you, we’d love to chat. You can click here and pick a time on our calendar to schedule a call.