How Much Does a Website Cost? | Site Building Options and Costs Compared

There was a time when building a website was only possible if you had technical skills. But now, anybody with an idea can build a website in three ways: using a website builder, hiring a professional designer, or with the help of WordPress.

Using a website builder is by far the most affordable way to build a website, costing as little as $6/month with the right tool.

While WordPress is a free tool, building a site with it will require you to buy web hosting, plugins, and themes according to your unique needs. You can expect a WordPress site to cost you between $11 and $50 a month to maintain.

With many professionals offering their services on the internet, hiring a professional website designer is easy. However, it’s not the fastest way to get a website online, and it also costs a lot of money. Depending on the type of site you want, a designer will charge you anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 and sometimes more.

It’s important to remember that a visitor will not be able to tell how the site was built when they visit it. So, there’s no right or wrong way to build a website. That said, considering the varying costs and factoring in your design and time requirements is vital before choosing how you’ll build your site.

To help you make the right decision, we’ve broken down the costs associated with the three ways of building a website in this post.

How Much Does Building a Website Typically Cost?

On average, building a site will cost you about $200 upfront, and you will need to pay ongoing costs of roughly $50 monthly to keep the site running.

The costs are much higher if you choose to work with a developer. You can expect a reasonable upfront cost of $6,000 to build the site, and you will need a yearly budget of about $1,000 to keep the site online.

Below is a quick breakdown of desirable site features and expected costs for your convenience:

Site FeatureCost Range (Upfront)
Site Domain$12 - $60
Hosting$35 - $600
SSL Certificate$0 - $200
Theme/Template$0 - $200
eCommerce Functionality$20 - $24,000
Website Content$0 - $5,000
Plugins, Apps, and Integrations$0 - $100
Marketing and SEO$0 - $90

The cost you incur for building your site largely depends on the method you choose to build it. Integrating different features and functions to a website costs different amounts of money. The costs of the features also vary according to the building method.

For instance, creating content with a website builder is typically free of charge. However, adding content to a site can cost over $5,000 if you work with a web developer.

Using a website builder is the most affordable way of building a site. You only have to pay for the site building tool, and you will get everything you need to get your site up and running. While configuration will be required, it will be straightforward and not as time-consuming as building a site on WordPress.

WordPress is an open-source tool that you don’t have to pay for. However, you will at the very least need to purchase plugins and themes to make a quality website with it. WordPress gives you a greater level of control over your site than website builders, making it a better option for some.

Depending on your requirements, you may also need a developer’s help to build your WordPress site. This will increase the cost of building a site further.

Hiring a web designer will take away your burden of configuration and other technical hassles. However, you will need to spend a lot of money to hire a web designer. Generally speaking, sites that customers pay less than $5,000 for miss the mark quality-wise, so paying less than $5,000 is not a good idea.

As mentioned earlier, there is no right or wrong way to build a website. You must choose the method that’s right for you. We walk you through the different costs of building a site with all three methods below.

How Much Does Building a Site with a Website Builder Cost?

Cost Breakdown (Ranges Between $6 – $50 Monthly)

DescriptionRequired?CostAdditional Information
Monthly SubscriptionYes$6 - $50 monthlyIncludes hosting, themes, security, and built-in features
Apps and Integrations (Optional)Yes$0 - $20+ monthlyFree and paid apps add more functionality to your site
ThemesNo$0Website builders offer themes for free with a subscription
HostingNo$0The monthly fee includes the cost of hosting
SecurityNo$0Security features are built into website builders and protect your website from threats
Professional SupportNo$0Hiring a developer to help is not necessary since website builders are easy to use and offer reliable customer support

Using a website builder is the easiest and most affordable way to build a website. You don’t have to hassle with anything technical, and for this reason, website builders are best for:

  • Technical novices
  • Those who need to build and get a website online fast
  • Individuals that need a website for personal use or a portfolio

Website builders are offered at a range of prices. Many website builders offer a free plan, but choosing to use a free plan is not a good idea since your site will have many limitations. A typical website builder’s free plan will have the following disadvantages:

  • Basic customer support
  • Non-custom domains that make your site difficult to access
  • Limited storage and bandwidth allowances
  • No access to eCommerce features, which means you cannot sell anything on your site
  • Advertisements that spoil the look of your website

These limitations of free plans make them suitable only for testing purposes. Using a free plan to build a site that anyone will see is not a good idea. These limitations give website builders a reputation for offering poor-quality sites. However, that is not the case as long as you find and pay for a high-quality website builder.

If the website builder you’re interested in offers a free plan, it’s a good idea to get a feel for it with the free plan.

The lack of financial pressure will make it easier for you to get used to configuring a site with the user interface. It will allow you to test out new ideas without feeling intimidated.

When you feel comfortable with the website builder after using the free plan, you can get a paid plan and launch your site without the aforementioned limitations.

The cost of paid website builders ranges from as little as $6 to about $500 per month. That said, most website builders cost between $6 and $50 a month.

What is the Price of the Best Website Builders?

There are a handful of popular website builders in the market that you can rely on. Squarespace, Shopify, Weebly, and Wix are some of the best website builders in the industry.

If you want to try out a website builder for free, both Weebly and Wix offer free plans. You can sign up right away and try their services out. Squarespace is considered the best all-around website builder by many, and while the company doesn’t offer a free plan, you can try the builder out with a 14-day free trial.

Shopify also offers a 14-day free trial, but you must remember that the Shopify website builder primarily caters to those in the eCommerce space.

It’s important to note that Weebly allows you to sell products online using the free plan. However, Weebly’s free plan gives you a non-customizable domain and puts ads on your site, so you will need to upgrade to a paid plan if you want your site to look professional.

Let’s compare the cheapest plans for the recommended website builders:

While Weebly offers the most affordable plan, the $6/month plan will not remove the ads from your site. So, if you want to build your site with Weebly, we recommend that you get the $12/month plan instead.

Below is a breakdown of the prices of the various plans offered by each website builder:

Website BuilderFree Plan Offered?Most Affordable Ad-Free PlanMost Affordable eCommerce PlanMost Expensive PlanTotal Plans Offered
Squarespace14-day free trial$12/month$18/month$40/month4
Shopify14-day free trial$29/month$29/month$299/month3
WeeblyYes$12/month-$25/month4
WixYes$18/month$28/month$500/month8

Is A Website Builder Worth the Money?

Using a high-quality website builder is a sure-shot way to create a professional website. However, if you use poor tools, your website will not look and function well. Carefully picking the right website builder is key to building a site that sets you up for success.

It’s undoubtedly worth spending more money to get the best website builder possible. Picking the first one you find without looking into all of your options will likely result in you having a shoddy website.

There are hundreds of website builders available, and it’s best to avoid using low-rated options. You are better off with slightly more expensive website builders like Squarespace and Wix. The end result of using these website builders will undoubtedly be worth your hard-earned dollars.

Here is a breakdown of the various plans offered to help you get a rough idea of how much you will pay to build your site with a website builder:

Website Builder PlansTypical Monthly PriceWho Should Use It
Free Plan$0Individuals trying out website builders Students working on school projects Private bloggers Hobbyist website builders
Basic plan$12Professionals that need a portfolio Small businesses Bloggers
eCommerce plan$18 - $50+Online stores Businesses selling products
Enterprise plan$500Large businesses and online stores

What Are the Costs Involved with Using a Quality Website Builder?

Professional Help/Developer Support: $0

Website builders are exceptionally intuitive, and most of your site-building process will be intuitive. Chances are, you won’t need to go through a tutorial or read a guide to learn to use a website builder.

Even if you get stuck in your site-building process, the company’s customer support will offer you all the help you need.

For this reason, paying a professional designer to help you is not necessary when using a website builder. The only money you will pay will be for the monthly or annual subscription, and optionally some helpful apps and integrations.

Custom Domain Name: $12 Yearly

Most website builders offer their customers a free custom domain for the first year. This will save you the cost of purchasing a domain name in the first year of hosting your site.

However, after your first year of using a website builder, you will need to pay to keep your domain name. The cost of your domain name depends on a variety of factors. But the average .com domain name isn’t pricey. You can expect to pay a $12 yearly fee for your domain.

Apps and Integrations: $3 – $60 Monthly

Adding apps to a website with a website builder is quite easy, and there is no technical hassle involved. However, you will need to choose from a mix of free and paid apps.

Paid apps aren’t expensive and lie in the $3 – $60 range, and you always have at least a handful of different options to pick from. In other words, you will always be in complete control of the cost.

Hosting, Theme, and Security Features: $0

Website builders offer a vast array of templates and themes free of cost, so you will not need to pay for them. Further, the hosting and security costs are included in the subscription cost.

Website Builder Cost: Summary

The average cost of website builder: $6 – $50 monthly

Best website builders:

  • Squarespace: Starting at $12/month
  • Shopify: Starting at $29/month
  • Weebly: Starting at $6/month
  • Wix: Starting at $18/month

Cost breakdown:

  • Subscription: $6 – $50 monthly
  • Domain name: $12 yearly
  • Apps (optional): $3 – $60 monthly

Total cost: $10 – $111 monthly

How Much Does a Building a Site Using WordPress Cost?

Cost Breakdown ($35 – $780 Upfront, $11 – $50 Monthly Thereafter)

DescriptionRequired?PriceAdditional Information
SubscriptionNo$0WordPress is an open-source tool
PluginsYes$0 - $100+ monthlyThere are several useful free plugins and powerful paid plugins available for WordPress. While some paid tools have a one-time cost, others charge a monthly fee.
ThemesYes$0 - $50+ one-time costWordPress has a rich offering of free and premium themes. You could get by with a free theme, but paid themes typically look better and offer additional functionality. 
HostingYes$2.95 - $50 monthlyWordPress is a standalone site-building tool and does not offer hosting like website builders do. Hosting companies generally do not accept monthly payments, and you can expect to shell out around $35 yearly for hosting your site. 
SecurityYes$0 - $200 annuallySome hosting companies provide security features. However, it’s worth spending on security plugins to backup and safeguard your website. If you’re on a tight budget, make sure you install a free security plugin.
Developer supportNo$80 - $180 per hourWordPress is more challenging to configure than website builders. However, you will not need to pay a developer for support unless you want a fully custom website.

WordPress provides users with more design flexibility and offers more control over the site than website builders. For the versatility it offers, WordPress is very economical. Using WordPress to build a site is a good idea for:

  • Individuals who are more technically confident
  • Those who want to be able to customize their site fully
  • Bloggers, business owners, and any large sites

Estimating the cost of a WordPress site is tricky because it depends on several factors. WordPress is free and has a large community of developers offering free themes and plugins. So, it’s easy to assume that the cost of building a WordPress site will be low. However, many paid themes and plugins are available at varying costs.

You may find yourself wanting to use a premium theme and needing expensive plugins to build your site the way you like it.

There is also the option of hiring a WordPress developer who will help you customize your site – but this will bring the cost of building the site up to thousands of dollars.

While you can get away with using free themes and plugins, you will need to bear the cost of hosting your site. Different providers offer hosting at different prices, and there is no shortage of good hosting companies.

What Company Offers the Best WordPress Hosting?

Bluehost is officially recommended by WordPress and has been offering reliable hosting for over 18 years now. The company hosts over two million websites and offers affordable plans, making it hard not to recommend.

While Bluehost doesn’t offer the most affordable plans in the industry, with plans starting at $2.95/month, it won’t burn a hole in your wallet.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the starting prices of Bluehost plans to help you get an idea of how much hosting will cost you:

  • Shared WordPress hosting: $2.95/month, renews at $7.99/month
  • WooCommerce hosting: $6.95/month, renews at $13.99/month
  • Managed WordPress hosting: $19.95/month, renews at $29.99/month

The shared WordPress hosting plans come with features such as automatic WordPress installation and backups, saving you time and hassle. It also removes the need for you to get a backup plugin.

How Much Does the Best Web Hosting Cost?

While Bluehost is objectively the best WordPress hosting option, it is not the only hosting provider that offers excellent WordPress hosting plans.

Here is a brief look into some of the other hosting options and their respective prices:

Hosting CompanyMoney-Back GuaranteeMost Affordable Shared WordPress Hosting Plan CostMost Affordable Managed WordPress Hosting Plan CostMost Affordable WooCommerce Hosting Plan CostTotal WordPress Plans Offered
Bluehost30 days$2.95$19.95$6.959
A2 HostingAnytime$2.99$11.99-7
HostGator45 days$5.95--3

Overall, Bluehost offers the best-quality shared and managed WordPress plans at reasonable prices. While A2 Hosting offers a good selection of managed WordPress hosting plans, it is not officially recommended by WordPress. However, it is still a reliable hosting provider if you’re looking for slightly cheaper hosting plans.

On the other hand, HostGator only offers shared WordPress hosting plans and does not have any managed WordPress plans. While the services are reliable, the plans are more expensive than those offered by its competitors.

Some other top WordPress hosting providers include:

  • DreamHost: Starting at $2.59/month
  • iPage: Starting at $1.99/month
  • SiteGround: Starting at $11.95/month
  • InMotion: Starting at $4.99/month
  • WPEngine: Starting at $25/month

With the best WordPress hosting options listed above, it’s easy to see that the cost of hosting a WordPress site can vary widely. Some hosting providers only offer shared plans, while others only offer managed plans. Managed hosting tends to be more expensive, but it also takes away a lot of the hassle of managing a WordPress site.

You don’t have to use WordPress hosting plans – you can get a regular shared plan and set up WordPress on your account. However, WordPress-specific plans come with features that will make building and maintaining your site easier.

We recommend using WordPress-specific plans, especially if you’ve never built a website before.

What Type of Hosting You Should Pay For

Picking between shared, managed, and eCommerce plans can be confusing since many options may fit your budget.

Ideally, you want to get a hosting plan that offers a rich set of helpful features at a reasonable price. Below, you can find the different types of hosting, respective plan costs, and a brief guide on who should use the plan.

Hosting Plan TypeCost RangeWho Should Use It
Shared WordPress Hosting$2 - $15 monthlyIndividuals new to website building Those on a budget Students building a project Professionals building a portfolio Hobbyist website builders
Managed WordPress Hosting$20 - $60 monthlyBloggers Individuals/businesses with large portfolios Businesses
eCommerce Hosting$7 - $30 monthlyeCommerce stores Businesses selling products online

Additional Details About Hosting Types

Shared WordPress hosting is the most affordable type of hosting. If you want to keep the costs low, getting a shared plan is a good idea. Bluehost’s $2.95/month basic shared WordPress hosting plans is perfect for new sites, whether you’re building a blog or a portfolio.

But it’s important to remember that with these plans, your site will share resources with other sites. This makes your website more susceptible to crashes and security issues.

For a larger site that attracts more traffic, a shared hosting plan will not suffice. For this reason, sites that attract more traffic use managed WordPress hosting plans.

In addition to handling more traffic, managed plans also automate more WordPress features, leaving you with less work to do. For this reason, managed WordPress hosting plans are significantly more expensive than shared plans.

Bluehost’s managed WordPress plans start at $19.95/month, giving you access to features such as marketing center, daily backups, and domain privacy.

If you’re using WordPress to build an eCommerce store, you must use either managed WordPress hosting or eCommerce hosting plans.

What Are Additional Costs Involved Using WordPress?

Now that we have covered the main costs associated with running a WordPress site, let’s run through the other costs you may incur when you build a site with WordPress.

Professional Help/Developer Support: $30 – $100 Hourly

WordPress has an intuitive interface geared for beginner use. However, if pre-built themes do not satisfy your site’s needs, you may need to hire a WordPress developer to build the site you want.

Hiring a developer is optional and often not necessary, so factoring these costs into the total is not required. The majority of WordPress users can build a site without a developer’s help.

If you end up needing to hire a professional, you can expect to pay between $30 and $100 hourly. Generally speaking, the more you pay, the better services you get. That said, you must do your due diligence before hiring a developer.

While spending $100/hour to pay a developer may sound excessive, it is the average cost of hiring a capable WordPress specialist who will build the site you want.

Custom Domain Name: $12 – $60 Annually

Having an attractive and easy to type domain is one of the key steps to driving people to your site. While website builders tend to offer custom domains for free for the first year, most hosting companies do not offer this advantage. You will also not get a free branded domain like website builders offer.

You will need to buy a domain before you get hosting since hosting companies typically require you to enter your domain name when signing up.

The price of your domain will depend on the provider and the kind of domain you purchase (for instance, .com or .me). These are the key determining factors of the price of your domain.

On average, a domain name costs between $12 and $60 annually. However, if you get Bluehost hosting, you will get a custom domain for free for the first year. After your first year with Bluehost, you will need to pay the standard yearly fee for your domain.

Plugins: $0 – $100+ Yearly

WordPress plugins add features such as contact forms and newsletter popups to your WordPress site. Besides eCommerce features, plugins can also add security and customization features to a website. Therefore, plugins are an essential part of most sites.

There are hundreds of excellent plugins available for free for WordPress. But most powerful features of these plugins are locked behind a paywall.

It’s up to you to decide what features you think are worth paying for. While most paid plugins have a one-off fee, others have various plans that you can choose from. You can always try a plugin’s free version out and later upgrade to a paid version according to your wants and needs.

The cost of plugins averages around $50, but some plugins cost over $100 a year to own.

Themes: $0 – $50

There are hundreds of free themes available that you can customize to your liking. Using a free theme is an excellent way to get started since they are stylish enough out of the box. That said, paid themes are generally more professional-looking and come with additional features.

If you use a free theme to start your site, you may find yourself needing to rely on plugins heavily to run your site later down the road. Installing too many plugins can slow down the loading speeds of your site.

Paid themes typically cost about $50, but the market’s top options cost over $200. It’s important to note that you only need to buy a theme once and do not need to pay a subscription cost. After you buy a theme, you can customize it for as long as you wish.

Premium themes are updated regularly, and development teams offer reliable support. This is often not the case for free themes. The regular updates ensure that the theme doesn’t break or get outdated, saving you the money you may need to spend on plugins in the long run.

Depending on your goals for your website, you may be able to get by with a free theme. That said, overall, it’s worth spending money on a premium theme since it will save you from hassles in the long run.

Website Security: $0 – $200 Annually

Top hosting providers offer plans with security features built into them. Generally speaking, WordPress sites are vulnerable to online attacks, which makes taking measures to protect your site essential.

At a minimum, installing a free security plugin like Sucuri is the right way to go. It will scan your site and remove threats. Sucuri also offers paid plans that proactively protect your website from attacks. Sucuri’s paid plans start at $199.99 annually.

Further Reading: A Simple Guide to Website Security

There are several other security options you can choose from:

Cost of Building WordPress Website: Summary

  • The average cost of building a WordPress site: About $200 upfront, $11 – $50 monthly ongoing costs
  • WordPress Price: free

Best hosting providers:

  • DreamHost: Starting at $2.59/month
  • iPage: Starting at $1.99/month
  • SiteGround: Starting at $11.95/month
  • InMotion: Starting at $4.99/month
  • WPEngine: Starting at $25/month

Cost breakdown:

  • Hosting price: $2.95 – $50 monthly
  • Domain name cost: $12 annually
  • Premium plugins: $5 – $100+ (may be one-time cost or ongoing cost)
  • Premium themes: $55 – $200+ (one-time cost)

Total estimate:

  • Upfront cost: $200
  • Ongoing cost: $2.95 – $150 monthly

You must remember that hosting companies require you to pay the annual cost of hosting upfront. In other words, even if you get an affordable hosting plan, you will need to pay a lumpsum cost of between $35 and $120 for hosting your site. If you get a more expensive plan, you may need to pay up to $600 upfront.

How Much Does Building a Site with A Website Designer Cost?

Cost Breakdown ($5,000 – $30,000 Upfront)

DescriptionRequired?Cost RangeAdditional Information
SubscriptionYes$500 - $1,000 yearlyDepending on your contract with the web designer, you may need to pay an ongoing fee. That said, the amount you pay depends entirely upon how much maintenance your site needs.
Apps and Integrations (optional)No$0Web designers include the apps you request on your website and include the charges in your quote.
ThemesNo$0If you’ve asked the web designer to build your site from scratch, the cost of the theme is included in the quote. However, you can also buy a theme and ask the designer to customize it to your liking. In this case, you will need to pay for the theme separately.
HostingYes$2.95 - $50While some designers take care of the hosting for you, most don’t offer hosting, and you will need to pay for it. Remember that you will need to pay the hosting costs upfront, so you will need a budget of at least $35 yearly for it.
SecurityYes$0 - $200 yearlySome hosting providers offer security features with their plans. But investing in additional security measures is always worth it. Installing a free security plugin is a must if you cannot afford a paid plugin.
Developer SupportYes$5,000 - $30,000 upfrontWeb designers are experts that will create your website per your requirements. If the site you envision is complex, the designer may ask you to pay an ongoing cost to maintain your site.

Hiring a website designer to help you plan and build your site puts the site in a professional’s hands. While you won’t need to spend hours configuring your site, you will need to work with your designer to build the site according to your requirements.

Overall, though, hiring a developer will take away a lot of the legwork you would need to put in to build your site.

Hiring a website designer is a good idea for:

  • Individuals that need a complicated website
  • Anyone that doesn’t have the time or the technical confidence to build a site
  • Those with a big budget for a custom site

Estimating the cost of building a site with a designer accurately is difficult to do. Different individuals have different needs, and designers charge different rates depending on their expertise and the project’s requirements. You could hire a freelancer or work with an agency, and who you work with will also dictate the cost.

You can expect to spend anywhere between $5,000 and $30,000 to get a designer to build your website.

Bear in mind that paying less than $5,000 for a site is not a good idea since there’s a good chance you will get a poorly designed website.

What Factors Affect the Cost of Working with A Web Designer?

Some factors that influence the cost of building a site with the help of a website designer include:

  • The complexity of the website plan
  • Whether you want to designer to handle the hosting, domains, and integrations for you
  • Whether you need the designer to maintain your website continually
  • Whether you want your website built from scratch or want the designer to customize a template for you
  • The kind of features you need from your site
  • The size of your site in pages

Getting the domain name and managing the hosting yourself is a good idea. It is both cheaper to do and gives you more control over your website. For instance, if you grow unsatisfied with a hosting company, you will be able to move your site yourself easily.

Cost of Building a Website: Web Designer Breakdown

There are different elements to building a site with a web designer. We’ve broken down the costs of the various aspects of the site to give you a clear picture of the average costs involved:

Website AspectWeb Designer Cost
Setup$160
Design and Building$5,000
Content Creation$500
Training to Use a Site$600
Maintenance$500
Total Cost$6,760

A lot goes into building a site, and the table above highlights the obscure costs of working with a web designer. For instance, web designers train their clients to use the website correctly after building it.

With all the various expenses itemized, the average cost of building a site with the help of a web designer is $6,760.

One way to cut down the cost of hiring a web designer is to purchase a premium theme you like and ask the designer to customize it to your liking. Customizing a site is faster and easier than building one from scratch and will cost you less money.

How to Reduce the Cost of Hiring a Web Designer

It is common not to have a $6,000 – $7,000 budget for hiring a web designer. However, looking for a web designer that will charge you less money is not the right way to go. You will not get the value for your money and will end up with a shoddy site.

If you don’t have the budget for a web designer, it’s best to use either a website builder or WordPress to build your site. Web design is a lot of work and what may seem like an unnecessarily high cost to you is only reasonable for web designers to charge for their work.

While you can get away with free themes and plugins in WordPress, you get what you pay for when working with web designers.

That said, there is a way for you to bring down the cost of hiring a designer slightly. Buying a premium WordPress theme and asking a designer to customize it for you can save you thousands of dollars.

Doing this is the perfect option if you don’t need an entirely custom website, but a pre-made theme doesn’t meet your needs completely either. Designers will charge you by the hour for theme customizations.

You can expect to pay between $300 and $1,000 to get a WordPress theme customized to your liking. On average, this type of customization costs $600. But the costs will depend on how much work the theme needs to meet your requirements.

On the other hand, a capable designer will charge you at least $10,000 to build a fully custom website according to your requirements.

What Are the Costs of Creating Website Content? $50 – $80/Hour

After the framework of your website is ready, you will need to upload content on it. Web designers typically charge clients by the hour for creating content for a website. However, some designers also charge by the project. You can expect to pay:

  • $50 – $80 per hour
  • $250 – $500 per project that typically includes a minimum of three pages
  • $100 – $1500 for logo and branding design, depending on the extent of branding design required

Ideally, you will also want to have a budget for maintenance costs. Granted you don’t make significant changes to your site’s design, this will cost you between $100 – $500 per year.

Below is a cost breakdown of hiring a professional web designer to build your site:

Website Setup CostHosting: $5 - $250/month Hiring a professional for setup: $50 - $200 Time: Between one and six hours
Website Software Learning CostTutorial cost: $50/month Time to learn basic customization: A few hours Time to learn WordPress: A few weeks
Website Design CostBasic template cost: $35 - $50 Premium template cost: $80 - $200 Theme customization: $300 - $1,000 Custom design: $5,000 - $10,000+
Website Building CostsFree when you do it yourself Hiring a designer: $50 – $80/hour Content population cost: $500 – $5,000, depending on how many pages of content is required
Website Maintenance CostsDeveloper cost: $100 – $180/hour Estimated Annual Cost: $500 – $1,000

Cost of Building Site with Web Designer: Summary

Averages price: $6,000 – $10,000+

  • Upfront: $5,000 – $10,000+
  • Ongoing: $500 – $1,000 yearly

What you pay for:

  • Web design
  • Site creation
  • Content creation
  • Ongoing maintenance
  • Hosting and security are included in some packages (do your due diligence)

Total cost estimate:

  • Upfront: $6,760
  • Ongoing: $500 – $1,000 yearly

Before You Begin Building a Site

Building a website is by far one of the most exciting things you can do on the internet. Having an ambitious vision for your site is fine, but setting unrealistic expectations will only set you up for disappointment. Don’t expect too much too soon, and stay focused.

Here’s a list of tips that will help you save money throughout the process.

#1 Start Small

Building a website is challenging even if you have access to easy-to-use website builders. You must take time to practice and get the hang of website building before expecting amazing results.

The best way to do this is to use a free or a cheap option to lessen the pressure of making your efforts worth the money.

By starting small and not putting in a lot of money into a project, you will limit the potential loss and reduce the odds of making common mistakes down the road. Remember to have fun with your project!

#2 Be Realistic

Dreaming of complex programming, exclusive designs, and several interactable elements on the site right when you begin building a site is unrealistic. Setting achievable goals is vital when you first begin working on websites.

While this doesn’t mean your site will look boring, new websites are never as functional as Amazon and Facebook. Make sure you set out to build a site within the scope of your toolset and skill. The following factors determine what kind of website you can build:

  • Budget: If you have a big budget, you can add fancy features to your site.
  • Technical skill: The better you are with using a website builder/WordPress, the better your site will look.
  • Time: The more time you have, the longer you can work on your site.

This doesn’t mean that if you’re on a low budget, don’t have any technical skills, or can’t find the time to work on your site will lead to a failed site. All it means is that you will need to spend your time and money smartly to build the best site possible.

#3 Ask the Right Questions

You should now know the answer to “how much does a website cost?” However, there are some other questions you must work out the answers to when you start building a site.

#1 What Is My Budget Realistically?

Your budget primarily determines what your building options are. If you have a limited budget, you will not be able to hire a web designer. You will be better off using a website builder or WordPress to build your site.

It is important to remember that building a site has upfront and ongoing costs associated with it. In general, website builders have the lowest upfront costs, and building a site with WordPress has more upfront costs.

Hiring a web designer is the most expensive option but does not involve ongoing costs unless you make an ongoing contract with the designer.

If you want your website to succeed, you must set a firm budget before building a site. Planning the budget as you go is not a reliable way to run a site and increases the chances of getting sidetracked. When you have a set budget, you will avoid overpaying for things.

When setting a budget, never begin with the fancy features you want your site to have. Begin by working out how much you have and then figure out what you can get for your money.

#2 How Will I Manage the Website?

You could manage your site yourself or give it to a developer to manage for you. We recommend that you run your site yourself since you will be able to make changes to it at any time. But this will require you to be careful about your actions on the site.

For instance, if you work with a designer to build a custom website, you may find that installing a plugin breaks the site. In this case, you will need a developer to fix it for you.

The disadvantage of handing off your site to someone else to manage is that you will need to wait for them to make the changes. You may not need to wait long, but your wait times depend entirely on how busy the developer is.

In terms of cost, managing the site yourself is cheaper since you don’t have to pay any ongoing fees to a developer.

#3 What Features Does the Site Need: Now, Later, and Ideally?

Planning a website is an exciting undertaking. It is natural to want all the features on your site. However, planning out a complex website will make the process more troublesome than you’d expect. Fortunately, you don’t need to build a feature-rich site to attract users and customers.

Having a ruthless mindset is important when building a site. Ask yourself what features you need and features your site cannot function without.

Break down your website building plan into three parts:

  • What features does the site need initially to get it up and running?
  • What features will the site need later when it’s in the growing stages?
  • What features are not essential but nice to have?

Questioning the need of every feature will ensure that you build a lean and functional site and don’t waste time trying to dress it up. Separate your ideas for the site by asking yourself these questions to avoid losing sight of what’s important.

Remember, businesses don’t fail if they don’t have the most attractive and feature-rich site in the industry. All you need is a website that checks the essential boxes for your visitors. A functional and lean site is as attractive as users need it to be.

It’s also important to remember that websites are not a one-off creation. Your site will grow with time and need features that it didn’t need before. You can upgrade your site as you go, but you don’t need any advanced features initially.

Focus on building a basic website and plan to add more features to it when you begin to understand what your visitors want from your site.

#4 Do I Want to Handle the Technicalities Myself?

Does the idea of getting hands-on with your website seem exciting? Managing a website and handling the day-to-day aspects can be fun for some. However, you can also choose to leave it up to a developer to look after your site.

There is no right or wrong choice. Maybe you want to try your hand at managing the SEO aspects of your website but do not want to worry about your site’s security. Or maybe you don’t want to take the hassle yourself at all.

Regardless, it is vital to think about how you want to be involved with your website sooner than later. It determines the building method you choose and the money you will need to invest in the website.

Building a website takes time. Some have the time to put together a website, while others don’t. Nonetheless, there is always a website-building method that will suit you.

Remember that regardless of how you choose to build your website, you will need to budget your time just like you budget your money. If you have a full-time job, building a site as a side hustle will be difficult for you. You may not have the time to do all the tasks pertaining to your site.

You must dedicate a realistic amount of time to building your site consistently. The amount of time you can spend building the site will help you determine which site-building method is suitable for you.

Being honest with yourself about how much time you have to work on the site will ensure that you can pull it off with the right method.

After you figure out how much time and money you can invest into building your website, you will know what it will cost you to build a website.

Here’s a summary of the building methods to help you decide which method suits you according to the time and budget you have:

  • Website builder: If you want to build a site without learning technical skills, using a website builder is right for you. It is also right for you if you are on a low budget and want a professional-looking site without much hassle. Running a site using a website builder is easy and doesn’t cost much money or time.
  • WordPress: If you want to be able to fully customize your site to your liking and don’t mind handling the technicalities, building a site with WordPress is a good idea. Bear in mind that you will need a high budget compared to website builders, but you won’t need thousands of dollars. As your site gains traction, you may have the option of hiring a developer for help.
  • Web designer: If you have a large budget and prefer that someone else handle all aspects of your site, hiring a web designer is the right way to go. We also recommend hiring a designer if you have a complex vision for your site that needs technical ability that you don’t have.

Conclusion: How Much Will Building a Website Cost You?

Now that you understand the monetary and personal costs of building a site using different methods, it’s time to decide which method you’ll use.

It’s important to remember that money is not the only resource you will need to build a site. You need time, technical skills, design skills, market knowledge, and several other resources to pull it off.

Learning these skills shouldn’t be too challenging if you have time on your hands. That said, if you’re pressed for time on most days, delegating the site-building process is the best way to go about it.

Make sure you also think about how you want to run your site after it’s built since it will help you make the most of your time and money in the long term. Building a site has some unique costs, so here’s a recap of the estimates to help you find the right option.

Website Cost: Recap

  • Website builder: cheapest option, costing between $6 and $50 per month
  • WordPress: Relatively low-cost option, $35 – $780 upfront cost and between $11 and $50 monthly ongoing cost. You have complete control over how cheap or pricey your site will be.
  • Web designer: Most expensive option costing between $5,00 and $10,000 or more. However, it entails a minimum time investment.

Some people have a tight budget, while others can play with a big budget. But there is always a website building option for everybody. Getting the most out of your time and money is the most important thing.

Using a website builder is recommended if:

  • You have a low budget
  • You haven’t built a website before
  • You don’t have a lot of time for building a site
  • You want to create your site yourself
  • You don’t want to deal with technicalities

Using WordPress to build a site is recommended if:

  • You have a relatively high budget
  • You want to customize your site and have control over it
  • You have a lot of time on your hands
  • You enjoy dealing with technical aspects

Hiring a web designer is recommended if:

  • You have a big budget
  • You don’t want to build a site yourself
  • You don’t have the time to work on a website
  • Your website’s design is too complex
  • Letting a professional manage your site sounds like a good idea

Building a site can be very affordable if you want, but that’s beside the point. You need to pick the right method, so you get the most value from your money.

With this guide, you know how to make your site worth every cent it costs.

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