One of the most common questions we hear from our readers is: “How much does it cost to build a website?” We’re here to answer that question, and to help you put your money where it matters.
After 10 years of reviewing everything from web builders to hosting providers, you can bet we’ve made all the usual mistakes – meaning we can help you avoid them first-time!
First of all, let’s play a quick game: which website do you think costs the most?
What did you guess? If you chose Website A, then you’d be correct – it’s a custom-made site, meaning it probably cost around $5,000. The other two designs are… drum roll please… free website templates from DIY website builders Wix and Squarespace. With these builders, it costs a minimum of $12 to $13 per month to build an ad-free website.
It’s pretty hard to tell which design cost more just by looking at them, which shows that there is no right or wrong way to build a website. Building a website can cost as little as $6 per month with a website builder, while hiring a web designer can cost in excess of $10,000 upfront to design and build a site. As you can see, it’s important consider the varying costs before learning how to build a website.
How Much Does Building a Website Typically Cost?
On average, though, it costs around $200 to build a website, with an ongoing cost of around $50 per month to maintain it. This estimate is higher if you hire a designer or developer – expect an upfront charge of around $6,000, with an ongoing cost of $1,000 per year.
| Website Feature ||Upfront Website Cost|
| Website Domain ||$12 - $60|
| Website Hosting ||$35 - $600|
| SSL Certificate ||$0 - $200|
| Website Template or Theme ||$0 - $200|
| Ecommerce Functionality ||$20 - $24,000|
| Website Content ||$0 - $5,000|
| Apps and Integrations ||$0 - $100|
| SEO and Marketing ||$0 - $90|
There are three main ways to build a website: use a website builder, build with WordPress, or hire a web designer. Which method you choose will have a huge impact on how much your website costs. For example, creating content is free with a web builder, but can cost over $5,000 if you’re using a web designer.
Website builders are usually the cheapest way to build a website. While WordPress is technically a free, open-source platform, you have to pay for hosting, themes, and plugins, and even professional help from a developer, which can increase your total cost.
Hiring a web designer is the most expensive option. Realistically, you don’t want to pay less than $5,000 for a web designer, otherwise you might end up with a disappointing end result that you’re not happy with, but that you’ve still paid a few thousand for.
You need to choose the right method for you. Hiring a web designer is expensive, but it takes the technical hassle out of your hands. Using a website builder is cheap and easy, but you don’t get the same level of control as you do with WordPress. WordPress gives you flexibility, but it’s the most time consuming and hands-on approach.
We’ll walk you through each option, explore the various costs involved, and explain how to ask the right questions to get the most out of your money. Ready? Let’s go!
Website Builder Comparison Chart – Check out the best website builders side-by-side to make your decision even easier
10 Best Website Builders of 2020 – Use our expert reviews to help you decide which platform is right for you
Cheapest Website Builders – Learn how to build a beautiful website on a budget
$6 – $50 per month
|Website Builder Cost Breakdown||Required?||Price|| More Info |
|Monthly subscription||✔️||$6 - $50 per month|| This covers hosting, security, free themes, and built-in features. |
|Apps (optional)||✔️||$0 - $20+ per month|| You can install free or paid apps to expand your site’s functionality. |
|Themes||❌||$0|| You don’t have to pay for website builder themes. |
|Hosting||❌||$0|| You don’t have to pay for hosting – this is taken care of by your website builder. |
|Security||❌||$0|| You don’t have to pay extra for security – you get security features built in to your website builder to protect your site from threats. |
|Professional help||❌||$0|| Website builders are easy to use, so you don’t need to hire a developer. |
Using a website builder is the cheapest way to build a website, and is best for:
- Technical novices
- Anyone who needs a website live sooner rather than later
- Personal websites and portfolios
The full range of website builder prices range from free all the way up to around $500 per month. However, most new sites will fall within the $6 to $50 per month bracket.
Let’s address the elephant in the room first – the free plan. The truth is, if you’re building a website that anyone else is going to see, you need a paid plan instead of the free plan. This is because free plans come with various limitations, the most common being:
- Adverts displayed on your website
- A free, non-custom domain, such as www.mywebsite.wix.com
- Limited features, such as low storage and bandwidth allowances
- No ecommerce features, meaning you can’t sell online
- Basic customer support
The free plan is only suitable for trying out the website builder, seeing if it’s the right fit for you, and for building test sites to hone your skills and try out new ideas without any financial pressure.
It’s the free plan that usually gives website builders a somewhat bad reputation for being cheap and poor quality, but that’s not the case as long as you choose a good quality builder. We try and test builders so that we can recommend the top brands to our readers, to help you build a better website and get more for your money.
Here’s the cream of the crop and how we rated them:
How Much Do the Best Website Builders Cost?
Wix and Weebly both come with free plans, while Squarespace provides a 14-day free trial. Weebly is unusual in that it also lets you sell online for free – however, you still need to upgrade to use your own domain and remove adverts from your site.
The cheapest paid plan for each builder is:
It’s worth noting that Weebly’s cheapest paid plan still comes with adverts on your site, so we recommend starting on the $12 per month plan instead.
Below, you can see a more in-depth breakdown of the prices involved with each builder:
|Free Plan / Free Trial||Cheapest Ad-Free Plan||Cheapest Ecommerce Plan||Most Expensive Plan|| Number of Plans |
|Wix||Free plan||$13||$23||$500|| 8 |
|Squarespace||14-day free trial||$12||$18||$40|| 4 |
|Weebly||Free plan||$12||$0||$26|| 4 |
Are Website Builders Worth Your Money?
With a high quality website builder, you can create a truly professional website. Sure, if you choose poor tools, then you’ll end up with a shoddy product – but if you’re careful about the builder you choose, then you can set yourself up for success.
What we’re trying to say is, it’s worth spending a little extra on a better builder than simply picking out the first one you find. You’ll get much better value for money from a builder such as Wix or Squarespace, for example, than a low-rated option such as SiteBuilder or 1&1 IONOS.
Here’s a breakdown to help you decide how much you might need to pay for a website builder for your website:
| Website Builder Price Plans || Usual Cost ||Who Should Use It?|
| Free Plan || $0 || Hobby builders |
Students building school projects
Anyone trying out website builders
| Basic Plan || $12 per month || Bloggers |
People building portfolios
| Ecommerce Plan || $18 - $50 per month || Online stores |
Businesses selling products on the side
| Enterprise Plan || $500 per month || Large businesses |
Large online stores
What Costs Are Involved Using a Website Builder?
Professional Help: $0
You won’t need to pay for any professional designers to help out with your site, as builders are easy to use and quick to get the hang of. You pay for a subscription, either monthly or annually, and this is the main cost you’ll need to budget for.
Domain Name: $12 per year
A lot of website builders include a free custom domain in their plans – this usually gives you a free domain of your choice for your first year, after which you’ll need to pay. Domains vary in price, but average around $12 per year for a common one such as .com.
Apps: $3 – $60 per month
If you want to add apps to your site, then there’s often a mix of free and paid ones to choose from. Paid apps aren’t usually expensive, ranging from $3 to $60 per month – you get to pick which apps to install and which plan you want, so you’re in total control of this cost.
Themes, Hosting, or Security: $0
You don’t need to pay for themes, hosting, or security for your website – these costs are all included in your website builder subscription.
Website Builder Cost: Summary
Average price range: $6 – $50 per month
The best website builders are:
- Wix: Starting at $13 per month
- Squarespace: Starting at $12 per month
- Weebly: Starting at $6 per month
What do you pay for?
- Subscription (monthly or annually): $6 – $50 per month
- Domain name: $12 per year
- Optional apps: $3 – $60 per month
Total cost estimate: $10 – $111 per month
Find out more
$35 – $780 upfront cost, then $11 – $50 per month
|WordPress Cost Breakdown||Required?||Price|| More Info |
|Monthly subscription||❌||$0|| WordPress is free |
|Apps / plugins (optional)||✔️||$0 - $100+ per month|| There are both free and premium plugins. Some charge a one-off fee, while others you need to pay monthly or annually to use. |
|Themes||✔️||$0 - $50+ upfront cost|| There are both free and premium themes. You only pay a one-off charge for premium themes, rather than an ongoing subscription. |
|Hosting||✔️||$2.95 - $50 per month|| Hosting is an essential cost. It’s rare to find a host that accepts monthly payments, so you should expect to pay a minimum of $35 per year upfront. |
|Security||✔️||$0 - $200 per year|| Security can come built-in to your hosting plan, but it’s worth investing in extra security measures. There are free security plugins you can choose from if you’re on a tight budget. |
|Professional help||❌||$80 - $180 per hour||This is an optional cost. If you’re building a custom site, chances are you’ll need a developer to help. This is the main factor that hikes up the cost of building a WordPress website.|
Using WordPress gives you a lot more control over your website – and your budget. It’s best for:
- Those with a little technical confidence
- Anyone who wants full customization
- Blogs, business sites, and very large websites
The cost of a WordPress website is pretty hard to pin down. It depends on a lot of different factors, because there’s a lot of different aspects to think about when setting up a WordPress site.
On the one hand, WordPress is free. There are free themes and plugins too, so in theory, it should be easy to keep costs low. However, you might find you need a premium theme, and then there’s hosting to think about (and pay for). If you hire a WordPress developer, your total website cost could quickly creep up into the thousands.
There are various costs that can affect the total price of building a WordPress website, but the main one is hosting. You can get away with using free themes and plugins, but hosting is an essential and important cost that’s vital for getting your WordPress website online.
So, how much does it cost to host a WordPress website? It depends on your provider. There are tons of hosting providers out there to choose from, and some are better than others. For WordPress, we recommend using Bluehost (and so does WordPress itself, come to that!)
What’s the Best WordPress Hosting Provider?
Bluehost is the number one WordPress hosting provider, making it the highest quality host you can choose for your WordPress website. No, it’s not the cheapest on the market – but with prices starting at $2.95 per month, it’s not going to break the bank, either.
Why is it the best? Not only does it come with an official recommendation from WordPress itself, it also wowed us in our research – just check out its scores!
Okay, okay, we know what you’re wondering: Just how much will a Bluehost hosting plan cost me?
Here’s the quick answer: between $2.95 and $49.95 per month, depending on which plan you need. Here are the starting prices for each of Bluehost’s WordPress-specific hosting plans:
- Shared WordPress hosting: $2.95 per month, renews at $7.99 per month
- WooCommerce hosting: $6.95 per month, renews at $13.99 per month
- Managed WordPress hosting: $19.95 per month, renews at $29.99 per month
Bluehost’s WordPress specific hosting plans come with features to help you run your WordPress site, such as automatic backups and automatic WordPress installation, to save you time and hassle.
Find out more
How Much Do the Best Web Hosts Cost?
Although Bluehost is the best WordPress hosting provider, it’s not the only option. Here’s a quick run-down of the best WordPress hosting providers according to our research, and their prices plans:
|Money-back Guarantee||Cheapest Shared WordPress Hosting||Cheapest Managed WordPress Hosting||Cheapest WooCommerce Hosting|| Total Number of WordPress Plans |
|Bluehost||30 days||$2.95||$19.95||$6.95|| 9 |
|A2 Hosting||Anytime||$2.99||$11.99||❌|| 7 |
|HostGator||45 days||$5.95||❌||❌|| 3 |
Bluehost is the best overall, for both shared and managed WordPress hosting. A2 Hosting offers a strong set of managed WordPress plans, making it a great Bluehost alternative if you’re looking for something a tiny bit cheaper. HostGator only provides shared WordPress hosting, but it does it well – if at a higher price tag than its competitors.
You can see how we scored these WordPress hosts in our research below:
Other top WordPress hosts include:
- iPage – starting at $1.99 per month
- DreamHost – starting at $2.59 per month
- InMotion – starting at $4.99 per month
- SiteGround – starting at $11.95 per month
- WPEngine – starting at $25 per month
As you can see, there’s a lot of variation in how much it costs to host a WordPress website. Some hosts offer just shared or just managed WordPress hosting plans, which affects the price – managed hosting tends to be more expensive.
Of course, you don’t have to choose WordPress specific hosting, but we highly recommend it – you’ll save a lot of time and headaches by letting your host handle some of the techy stuff!
Which Type of Hosting Should You Pay For?
Managed WordPress, shared WordPress, ecommerce… how on earth are you supposed to pick the best one for you, and find one to suit your budget? You don’t want to overpay for a plan you don’t need – or shoot your site in the foot by skimping on a plan that’s too limiting for your needs.
We’ll quickly walk you through the different types of WordPress hosting, and hopefully point you in the direction of the plan that’s best for you, your site, and your budget.
| Hosting Types || Usual Cost ||Who Should Use It?|
| Shared WordPress || $2 - $15 per month || New builders on a budget |
Bloggers (small blogs)
People creating personal portfolios
Students building school projects
| Managed WordPress || $20 - $60 per month || Bloggers (larger blogs) |
People building large portfolios
| Ecommerce || $7 - $30 per month || Online stores |
Businesses selling products on the side
The cheapest type of hosting is shared WordPress hosting, so if you’re looking to keep costs as low as possible, then that’s the place to start. We recommend Bluehost’s $2.95 per month Basic plan, which is perfect for new WordPress sites, small blogs, and personal portfolios.
However, it’s worth knowing that shared hosting is the most basic type of hosting – hence why it’s the cheapest. Your site shares its resources with other sites, meaning that you’re more susceptible to crashes and security breaches.
For larger sites that need to handle more traffic, and automate even more of the technical side so that you can focus on growing your site, check out managed WordPress hosting. It’s more expensive, but that’s because it works harder for you.
Bluehost’s managed WordPress hosting starts at $19.95 per month, which gives you daily backups, a marketing center, and domain privacy, among other things.
If you’re building an online store, you’ll need either managed WordPress hosting, or specialized ecommerce hosting – one example is Bluehost’s WooCommerce plans, starting at $6.95 per month.
What Extra Costs Are Involved Using WordPress?
Okay, so we’ve covered the main cost associated with creating a WordPress website. But what about other costs aside from hosting? Let’s run through how much it costs to build a website when you consider extras such as domains, plugins, and themes.
Professional Help: $300 – $100 per hour
Many beginners use WordPress, but if you want a complex or custom website, then chances are you might need to hire a WordPress developer to help make your ideas a reality. This is optional, so we won’t be factoring this cost into the final WordPress total, as many people build quite happily without a developer’s help.
However, if you do need to hire someone to help you with your WordPress site, you’re looking at a cost anywhere between $30 and $100+ per hour. Usually, the more you pay, the better the developer is likely to be – but always do your research before hiring someone.
Spending around $100 per hour on a developer may sound like a lot, but that’s within the average cost you should expect to pay for a capable WordPress specialist.
Domain Name: $12 – $60 per year
You need a domain for your WordPress website to help people find you online!
Unlike with website builders, you don’t get a free branded subdomain, so you need to pick out a custom domain from day one. This is usually part of the sign-up process when you create a hosting account, making the whole registering process super easy.
Domains vary in price depending on the hosting provider you register with, and the domain you pick (such as .com versus .rich) – these two factors will hugely affect how much you should expect to pay for your domain.
On average, though, domains cost anywhere between $12 and $60 per year. The good news is that some web hosts, such as Bluehost, give you a custom domain for free for your first year – after that, you’ll need to pay the yearly domain fee.
Plugins: $0 – $100+ per year
Plugins add functionality to your WordPress website, such as contact forms, testimonials, newsletter subscriptions, and whatever else you want your site to have! Popular plugins include adding ecommerce or multilingual functionality to your WordPress website.
There are free plugins and paid plugins, so it’s up to you how much you want to spend adding new features to your site. Some plugins come with different plans, so that you can start off using the free plan and then upgrade to unlock a better version.
The cost of plugins range from $0 to $100+ per year.
Themes: $0 – $50 per theme
Just like plugins, there are both free and premium themes for you to choose from. Free themes are a great way of getting started, and you can find some stylish ones in the WordPress theme directory. Just bear in mind that they might not be as professional or loaded with features as premium themes, which can cause you to rely more heavily on plugins further down the line.
Premium themes tend to be around $50, but can reach up beyond the $200 mark – however, this is a one-time charge, after which the theme is yours to customize and edit for as long as you wish.
The upside to using a premium theme is that it usually comes with more support and regular updates, to stop it breaking or becoming outdated, and also has features built-in to save you spending money on premium plugins. Think of it as a theme and plugin bundle!
It’s totally your choice whether to use a free or premium theme – just remember to think about your website and its essential features when choosing.
Security: $0 – $200 per year
Any hosting provider worth its salt will come with security features built into its plans. However, WordPress sites can be pretty vulnerable to online attacks, so it’s worth investing in some extra security measures.
There are free security plugins available – for example, Sucuri is a security plugin that scans, blocks, and removes threats from your site. The plugin is free, but if you want a Sucuri account and access to all its features, then the cheapest Sucuri plan costs $199.99 per year.
Sucuri isn’t the only option, so it’s worth doing some research. Other popular choices include:
WordPress Website Cost: Summary
Average price range: $200 upfront cost, $11 – $50 per month ongoing cost
WordPress cost: free!
The best web hosts are:
- Bluehost: Starting at $2.95 per month
- A2 Hosting: Starting at $2.99 per month
- HostGator: Starting at $5.95 per month
What do you pay for?
- Hosting subscription: $2.95 – $50 per month
- Domain name: $12 per year
- Premium plugins (optional): $5 – $100+ (some one-off, some ongoing)
- Premium themes (optional): $55 – $200+ (one-off)
Total cost estimate:
Upfront cost: $250
Ongoing cost: $3.95 – $150 per month
Note: It’s worth knowing that hosting providers often charge you for your plan upfront. So if you choose a 12-month plan, you’ll be paying a lump sum rather than month-by-month. This means you could pay an upfront fee of $35 to $600 upfront for hosting alone, depending on which plan you choose.
Find out more
- Discover the Best Cheap Web Hosts and compare over 50 of the cheapest plans in our helpful review
- Want a closer look at the Best WordPress Hosting Providers? Find out more in our full comparison
- Read our WordPress Pricing review for an even closer look at the costs involved in creating a WordPress website
$5,000 – $30,000 upfront cost
|Web Designer Cost Breakdown||Required?||Price|| More Info |
|Monthly subscription||✔️||$500 - $1,000 per year|| You may end up paying an ongoing fee, but this depends on your contract with your designer, and how much maintenance you need. |
|Apps / plugins (optional)||❌||$0|| Your designer will include these in your site if you’ve asked for certain features, meaning it’s included in their quote. |
|Themes||❌||$0|| If your designer is building from scratch, then this cost is included in their quote. Alternatively, you can buy a theme and ask a designer to customize it for you, in which case you need to pay for a theme yourself first. |
|Hosting||✔️||$2.95 - $50|| Hosting is an essential cost. Some designers handle this for you, but others don’t, so always check. Remember that hosting is usually charged per year, so expect to pay at least $35 per year upfront. |
|Security||✔️||$0 - $200 per year|| Security can come built into your hosting plan, but it’s worth investing in extra security measures. There are free security plugins you can use to keep costs low. |
|Professional help||✔️||$5,000 - $30,000 upfront cost|| You’re paying an expert to design and create your website for you. If the site is super complex, you’ll also need to hire them on an ongoing basis to make edits to your site. |
Hiring a web designer to plan and create your site puts your project firmly in the hands of the professionals. You don’t get to totally sit back and relax – you’ll need to work with your web designer to create a site you love – but it does take a lot of the heavy lifting away from you.
Hiring a web designer is best for:
- Anyone needing a very complex website
- Those with zero time or technical confidence
- Big budgets and big, custom websites
This is possibly the hardest cost to estimate, because different web designers will charge different rates depending on the project and their own experience. You might choose an agency or a freelancer, and this will also affect the cost.
On the whole though, you’re looking at a cost between $5,000 and $30,000 to get someone to create your website for you.
We tried and reviewed the design agency Hibu, so we can give you a more accurate estimate based on their charge rates. However, remember that other agencies and freelancers will have their own pricing tables.
When we tested Hibu, we paid an upfront cost of $449, and then an ongoing fee of $129 per month.
Hibu’s upfront quotes range between $99 and $449, which covers the creation of your website. This is dependent on how many pages you need, which features you want, and if you need to sell through your site.
There is then an ongoing fee, which ranges from $99 to $159 per month. This covers hosting and security, grants access to support, and lets you create maintenance requests.
Price is pretty important here, because if you pay less than $5,000, you could end up with a poorly designed website – and run into problems pretty quickly as you try to maintain it. This is not an option if you’re not confident in your budget, so don’t overstretch yourself!
What Affects the Cost Of Hiring a Web Designer?
Here are some things to think about when hiring a web designer, which will all factor into the final cost of building your website:
- How complex is your website plan?
- Do you want the designer to handle hosting, domains, and plugins for you? Or do you just want them to design and build your site?
- Will you need them to carry out ongoing maintenance on your site? Or will you do this yourself?
- Do you have a premade template you want the designer to customize? Or do you want the designer to build your site from scratch?
- What sort of features do you need? For example, will you be selling online?
- How many pages is your website going to be? You’ll need to know this beforehand to get an accurate quote.
It’s often a good idea to manage your own hosting and domain name, because then it’s in your name and under your control. This makes running your site easier, and gives you a bigger say over your site – for example, it’ll make moving hosting providers much easier.
Cost of Building a Website: Web Designer Breakdown
So, what exactly are the costs involved in hiring a web designer? The table below breaks down the different factors that you pay for, to give you a better idea of exactly what you’re paying for, and the average costs involved:
|Factors|| Hiring a Web Designer |
|Setup|| $160 |
|Design & Building|| $5,000 |
|Content Creation|| $500 |
|Training to Use it|| $600 |
|Maintenance|| $500 |
|Total|| $6,760 |
This highlights some of the often unseen costs of using a web designer, such as having to train to use your own website after they’ve made it. The average cost of hiring a web designer to build your website is $6,760.
You’ll likely find there’s some overlap here with the WordPress building method, because many designers and developers use WordPress to create their sites.
In fact, one way of cutting down the cost of hiring a web designer is to buy a premium WordPress theme and then ask the designer to customize it for you, rather than getting them to build you a site from scratch. If you’re looking to save where you can, this is a good middle-ground, which we’ll discuss in more detail next!
How to Reduce the Cost of Hiring a Web Designer
Okay, you might be thinking you can’t afford to spend over $6,000 for a web designer to create your site. What you mustn’t do is find a designer with dirt-cheap prices to save funds – you won’t get value for your money this way.
If you’re super tight for cash, the reality is you should probably head to either the website builder or WordPress section of this article, because a web designer is supposed to cost thousands of dollars. You usually get what you pay for when it comes to hiring a designer!
However, there is a way to slightly lower the cost of hiring a designer to create your site. And that’s to buy a premade WordPress theme, and ask a designer to customize it for you.
This option is “in-between” a DIY website and a fully custom built website design.
You can hire a designer to help customize a premade template into something unique just for you.
This is a good option if you are not ready for an entirely custom website, and if pre-made templates are not exactly what you want.
You can pay by the hour or by the project for design customizations.
Expect to pay between $300 and $1,000 for template customization – the average is around $600 for this sort of service.
The cost varies depending on how much work you want to be done, such as adding a header image, moving the logo, creating a fixed navigation bar, changing the overall layout design etc.
However, for a full, custom job from a capable designer, you’re looking at at least $10,000.
How Much Does It Cost to Create Website Content? $50 – $80 per hour
Once the framework of your site has been designed, you need content for your website. Designers can charge for content creation by the hour, or by project:
- $50 – $80 per hour
- $250 – $500 minimum charge per project. This may include a minimum of 3 pages, and additional pages will be a slightly cheaper.
- Logo or branding design will be about $100 – $1500 depending on the extent of the branding design you need.
You may also want to budget for ongoing maintenance costs. That’s usually about $100 – $500 per year, provided you don’t make any major alterations to your website design.
Here’s a summary of the various costs involved in hiring a professional to build your site for you:
|Website Setup Costs|| Hosting Cost: $5 – $250/month |
Hiring a Pro to Set Up: $50 – $200 (1-time fee)
Time: 1 to 6 hours
|Website Builder Software Learning Costs|| Paid Tutorials: $50/month |
Time to Learn Basics: Few hours
Time to Learn WordPress: Weeks
|Website Design Costs|| Basic Templates: $35 – $50 |
Premium Templates: $80 – $200
Template Alterations: $300 – $1,000
Custom Design: $5,000 – $10,000+
|Website Building Costs|| Free if you do it yourself (but will cost you time) |
Hourly Costs of a Designer: $50 – $80/hour
Average Cost of Content Population: $500 – $5,000*
The range is wide as it depends on how much content you have, and how many pages.
|Website Maintenance Costs|| Developer Cost: $100 – $180 per hour |
Estimated Annual Cost: $500 – $1,000
Overall, the most expensive option is to hire a web designer to build you a site from scratch. This will cost you somewhere around the $10,000 mark. There are certain things you can do to bring the cost down, such as keeping your site to a minimum number of pages and being ruthless with the features you need.
You can save some money by buying a premade theme, and then asking a designer to customize it for you – this customization usually costs around $600.
However, what you mustn’t do is try to save money by hiring a web designer on the cheap. You’ll still end up paying a few thousand, and chances are you’ll end up with a website you’re not 100% happy with!
Web Designer Website Cost: Summary
Average price range: $6,000 – $10,000+
Upfront cost: $5,000 – $10,000+
Ongoing charge: $500 – $1,000 per year
What do you pay for?
- Security and hosting included in some packages (always check)
- Web design
- Website creation
- Content creation
- Ongoing maintenance
Total cost estimate:
Upfront cost: $6,760
Ongoing cost: $500 – $1,000 per year
Find out more
- Got the budget, but unsure about how best to work with a designer? Our 8 Tips For Working With a Web Designer has got you covered
Building a website is, in our opinion, one of the most exciting things you can do. And it’s understandable, even advisable, to have big dreams for your website. But don’t get carried away and expect too much too soon.
Here are some tips that we’ve put together, to help you save money further down the line.
Everyone makes mistakes the first time they build a website, so take the time to practise. There are plenty of free and cheap options where you can brush up on your building skills, without the pressure of knowing you’ve got a lot of money invested in the project.
Starting out small limits your potential losses, and reduces the chance of you falling over common stumbling blocks later on (when you’ve got more money on the line). Just have fun to start with!
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You might have big plans for your website. You could be dreaming of all the bells and whistles, complex programming, shiny design features, and interactive elements galore – but remember to be realistic, and set achievable goals for yourself when you’re starting out.
A new website isn’t going to match up to the likes of Amazon or Facebook, for example. It doesn’t have to be boring, but it should be within your scope to create. There are three main things that determine how high you can set your website goals:
- Your budget – the bigger your budget, the more you can spend on fancy features.
- Your tech skills – the more advanced your tech skills, the more you can do yourself.
- Your time – the more time you have, the more work you can put into your site.
This isn’t to say that if you’re broke, busy, or a total tech novice that you’ll end up with a lame website – it simply means you need to spend your time and money wisely to get the best results. We’ll show you how to do this in the rest of our guide!
Ask the Right Questions
We already know the first question: How much does a website cost? But there are other questions you need to ask to work out the answer, and keep sight of the bigger picture.
Your budget doesn’t have to hold you back, but it does affect your building options. If you’re on a tight budget, for example, you probably won’t be able to afford a professional web designer – meaning you’ll be better off choosing WordPress or a website builder, rather than risking a sketchy hire job.
Remember that there are two main costs you need to budget for:
- The upfront cost of the website’s design and setup
- The ongoing costs of maintaining your website
We’ll get into more specific numbers below, but as a general rule, website builders have the lowest upfront costs, while WordPress usually requires a larger upfront sum to get started. Hiring a website designer remains the most expensive option, but you won’t pay any ongoing fees unless you arrange an ongoing contract with your web designer.
Setting a firm budget before starting is essential for success. It means you won’t overpay for things you don’t need, and it will also help your project stay on-track.
There’s nothing worse than giving yourself or a web designer a budget, then realizing you got your calculations wrong and need to cut the budget in half once the project is underway. Chances are, this will result in a website you’re not 100% happy with!
Always be realistic when setting your budget. Don’t start with all the fancy features you want and bend over backwards trying to scrape the funds together. Work out how much you have to spend, and then look at what you can get for your money to plan your project.
You can either choose to manage your website yourself, or you can hand it off to a developer to free up your time.
The benefit of running the site yourself is that you don’t have to wait for changes to be made by your developer – you can edit your site any time you like. However, it also means that you need to be careful about the actions you’re taking on your site.
For example, if you have a custom-built website, you might find that installing certain plugins can interfere with custom code and break parts of your website, which you’ll then need to get a developer to fix for you.
The main downside to letting someone else manage your website is that you’ll have to wait for them to get round to it – and wait times will vary depending on how busy your developer is. This means it always pays to get your requests in with plenty of time to spare, so that you don’t miss any time sensitive deadlines.
In terms of website cost, it can be more expensive to have a developer manage your website for you, because you’ll be paying ongoing fees to have them work on your site.
It’s natural to want everything when you’re planning your website. But jumping feet first into a complex website is likely to bring more trouble than it’s worth. You don’t need an all singing, all dancing website to get the job done or bring the money in.
Instead of trying to build an overly complicated website, be ruthless. What features do you really need right now? What are the features your website can’t function without?
Separate your ideas into three sections:
- What features do you need now to get your website up and running?
- What features do you need later, once your site has found its feet and needs an update to keep it bringing in conversions?
- What features would be nice to have, in an ideal world? These aren’t essential now or in the near future, and should be left out of your plans!
Questioning each feature will help you to create a lean, functional website that focuses on getting the job done, rather than wasting time trying to dress it up too much and losing sight of your end goals.
Your business won’t fail if you don’t have the most beautiful, most perfect, most complex website on the block. Trust us – focus on creating a site that ticks the essential boxes for your visitors, and you’ll be off to a great start.
Remember that a website isn’t a one-off creation, either. Your site will continue to grow and evolve over time, so you can always upgrade it when you need to start adding more advanced features.
Start off with the basics, then add more features once you understand exactly what your visitors are looking for and how well your business plan is working.
Are you ready and raring to get hands on with your website, and manage all aspects of the day to day running? Or would you like to leave the technical side to someone else to look after?
Perhaps you just want to dip your toe into the technical waters – to try your hand at SEO, but not have to worry about your site’s security or hosting, for example.
Think about these things sooner rather than later, because this will directly impact which website building method you choose. This is where you need to think about the other costs of building a website, apart from money. Building a website takes time – some people are rich in time, while others are short on it. Either way, there’s a building method to suit you.
You need to budget your time just like you need to budget your money. If you’re a working mom with a full-time job and starting a new side hustle, for example, you probably don’t have time to run all the technical maintenance needed for WordPress.
The amount of time you can realistically and regularly spend on your website will influence your decision about which method is right for you. Be honest with yourself about how much time you can put in, and pick accordingly.
By thinking about all these things before you start building your website, you’ll find you can get a more accurate answer to the question: how much will my website cost? You’ll be in a better position to both save money, and make your money go further in building your website.
Here’s a quick summary to help you get an idea of which building method might best suit your needs and your budget:
- Website Builders: If you want to dip your toe into the world of website building without worrying about your technical skills or needing a large budget, website builders are perfect for creating a professional site without any hassle. You can run your own site without investing too much time or money.
- WordPress: If you want full control over your website, don’t mind handling the technical side of things, and have wriggle room in your budget, then WordPress is a sensible option. You also have the choice to hire a developer to help you if you want.
- Web Designer: If you have a big budget and would prefer someone else to handle everything, then a web designer can take the work out of your hands. This is also recommended if you have complex needs beyond your own technical abilities.
Next, we’ll recap the three main methods of building a website and how much it costs to build a website with each one, to help you pick the best value option for you.
We’ve walked you through the costs involved in making a website, from using a website builder to hiring a professional designer to build it for you. Hopefully you now have a clearer idea of the best method for you, and which one best suits your budget.
Remember that working out how much a website costs isn’t just about money. It’s also about the other resources you have, such as time, tech skills, and design skills. If you have tons of time, you can learn new skills, but if you’re pressed for time and have a large budget, you can delegate the work to a professional.
Thinking about what you want from your site, how much time and money you can realistically put into your site, and how you want to run your site on a day to day basis, will all help you make the most of your money in the long run.
Although every site comes with its own unique set of costs, here’s a recap of our estimates, to help you pick the best option for you.
Website Cost: Recap
- Use a website builder: $6 – $50 per month – cheapest option
- Use WordPress: $35 – $780 upfront cost, $11 – $50 per month ongoing cost – lots of control over how cheap (or expensive) your site ends up being
- Hire a web designer: $500 – $10,000+ – minimal time investment, but most expensive option
Whether you’re counting out every cent or have a huge budget to play with, there is a website building option for you. The most important thing is to get value for your money. Here’s a summary of each method to help you pick the right one for you:
We recommend using a website builder if:
- You have a tight budget
- You’re a first-time builder
- You’re short on time
- You want to have a go at creating a site yourself
- You don’t want to deal with all the technical stuff
We recommend using WordPress if:
- You have a little more wriggle room in your budget
- You want total control over your site
- You have plenty of time
- You want a high level of customization
- You’d enjoy handling all the technical stuff
We recommend using a web designer if:
- You have a large budget
- You don’t want the responsibility of creating a site yourself
- You’re very short on time
- You need a very complex or custom design
- You’d be happy letting a professional manage your site
Building a website doesn’t have to be expensive – as long as you pick the right method and get value for your money, your website will be worth every cent. Happy building!