Last Updated on January 9, 2022

Guide to Website Costs

Websites have become vital for both businesses and personal branding, especially over the past two years as more people research products and buy them online. Failing to have an online presence often means missing out on sales. 

Research shows 95% of Americans making $75,000 or more use the internet regularly. Of those people, 88% conduct product research online, and 81% make purchases online, according to Pew Research Center.

Other studies suggest that 81% of consumers conduct online research before buying. Bottom line: If you have a website, you stand a better chance of increasing sales. 

Of course, the big question is, how much does a website cost? From design costs to website creation, we’ll help small business owners explore the cost of a website.

Those who want a website have three main choices to build one. Depending on your business needs, you can: 

  1. Hire an independent website developer 
  2. Hire a digital marketing agency, or
  3. Do it yourself 

There are pros and cons to each decision, so you must consider all factors before deciding which way to go. Of course, each has a cost, but you can’t base your sole decision on cost because all websites are different.

1. Hire a website developer

$30 to $200 an hour

Hiring an independent website developer will cost anywhere from $30 to $200 an hour, and you don’t know how many hours it will take to build your website. It depends on how simple or complicated it is. 

A one-page site can be built in an hour or two, but an e-commerce site could take days of work. You can bid out projects like this on platforms like Fivver and Upwork. Some websites can cost upwards of $5,000 to $10,000 to use a professional developer.

Also, be aware that some freelance website designers, especially those new to the business, use web building services that have easy-to-create web builders, like GoDaddy. These are systems you could use yourself without a designer, so ask about their method before hiring them. 

A professional web designer should give you something you can’t get from a digital marketing agency or do it yourself. 

However, hiring a professional website developer may be the right choice if you:

  • Want personal attention during the website building process
  • Have a unique site that requires special skills
  • Don’t know how to build a site or don’t have the time 

2. Hire an agency 


Digital marketing agencies can be a good choice for many, especially if you don’t know much about promoting your site online. However, the cost is higher, with average simple website builds from a template running between $300 and $1,000. Some can cost $30,000 or more.

A $300 site will likely have a few pages and have limited features. It’s a site for small businesses looking for a minimal online presence. 

Sites priced at $30,000 are more of a “deluxe experience” for website visitors. It would include dozens of pages, a blog, and would likely have an entire storefront with multiple payment options. In addition, the site might coordinate inventory, send shipping reminders, track website behaviors, and more. This kind of site is aimed at high-traffic, already-established online stores.  

Digital marketing companies have a team of people that handle all aspects of a website build, so they’ll be able to help you judge what you need and what your costs will be. 

Most companies also go further than building a site to promote the site, making sure it gets ranked well on search engines, submitting your directory notices, and many other things most people don’t realize must be done. 

If you need SEO help, ask an agency if it’s a feature they provide. SEO is vital to getting your website seen by customers who will spend money, while content writing helps get search engines to rank your site higher. So it may be worth extra money if an agency can manage your SEO. 

3. DIY


Building your website is another option and can be good if you are a startup. It is by far the cheapest option, and there are many user-friendly website builders available. There are at least 20 platforms to choose from, so picking one can be overwhelming. 

Most don’t require you to have any coding knowledge, and some have builders where you can create a professional-looking site in just a few clicks. You’ll find drag-and-drop editors, landing page designers, and all of the tools needed to build a small business website. 

Some let you try it out for free, and others have costs as low as less than $5 a month with conditions. 

There are plenty of DIY website builders available. The one you pick should depend on the kind of site you want to set up. WordPress, Wix, or Weebly are good choices if you need a simple website. If you plan on building an e-commerce website, try Shopify or Squarespace

Some of these builders even come with added features, like email marketing or SEO services.

You should plan for website development costs no matter what kind of site you plan to build. 

Basic things are required before you start building a site. No matter who builds the site, you’ll need:

Domain name

You will need to pick a domain name. Ideally, the domain name is the same, or very similar to, your company name. You’ll also choose a website extension: .com, .net, or .org. Most businesses use .com.

Some business owners reserve their name in several extensions to protect their branding.

You can often buy the domain name through the website builder that you use. In some cases, the building platform offers a free domain for a year or two. If you’re working with a designer or agency, they can take care of this for you.

Website hosting 

Once you build a site, it must be hosted. Web hosts have a bunch of different monthly charges, but if you’re building a simple business site, you can go with shared storage. It’s the cheapest option and usually only costs a few dollars a month. Many DIY web-building platforms have introductory deals with no setup fees that are ideal for beginners.

Larger sites or e-commerce sites will likely pay more for hosting plans. You may need dedicated hosting or hosting specific to an online store, which will cost several hundred dollars a month.

Try hosting providers like HostGator or Bluehost.

Website content 

Content could be something you create, depending on your site and its purpose. For example, content can be products, a how-to guide, news articles, or information about your company and its services. If you aren’t prone to writing, you can hire copywriting services.

All content should be created upfront for the main site.

Many content writers work on platforms like Fivver, Upwork, and Freelancer and for content marketing companies like Textbroker, who hire writers. Content costs vary, but you can expect to pay around $25-50 for a well-written article.

Social media accounts

Most website builders allow you to link your social media channels to your new website. So, you’ll need to set up several social accounts to support your business. Remember, you don’t need a presence on every channel. Instead, pick the ones that are best suited for your business. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are the most common.

If you want to boost your website, you can look for additional features. These add-ons will add to your average cost but will likely improve functionality, appearance, and the user experience.

Apps and integrations

You may want extra features depending on your custom website. Apps and integrations can be anything from a language translation app to adding a video player to your homepage.

You might upgrade from free templates to premium themes to improve appearance. These premium plugins can cost up to $100 each, although the price range for most is cheaper.

SEO and marketing

Building a site is just the start. Now you need people to find it. To do so, you need SEO or search engine optimization.

A lack of SEO and marketing means your site won’t be seen. SEO features cost around $90 a year, but some DIY programs include some SEO features for free. Hiring a professional marketer is an option, but they will cost upwards of $1,000 a year. That could be feasible if the traffic an agency generates gives you a return-on-investment.

Payment and shipping integration

You’ll need back-end services for online stores that allow people to pay easily and have products shipped with ease. The cost of this feature will range, but builders like WooCommerce offer these features in their premium packages.

The final amount depends on how large your store is, how many products you have, and how global you want it to be.

You will need to decide what kind of website you are building. That depends on your purpose, but some sites can combine a few elements, like a business site with a blog or a picture gallery. Here is a list of the most common types of websites, along with their cost of building:

Potential cost: $1,064

Blogs became popular about 15 years ago as people began posting thoughts and creative work online. That transitioned into many creating paid blogs with subscribers and advertising revenue. 

You can create a blog on just about anything, but it should be something you’re passionate about. From fashion and makeup to grilling and organizing closets, there are blogs on many topics. 

A WordPress site is the most popular option for blogs, but costs will vary. For example, getting a simple blog up and running could cost $1,064 if you use email marketing and content calendar apps to support it. 

Cost breakdown

  • Domain name: $9-14 a year
  • Web hosting plan: Shared hosting: $3-7 a year
  • Website builder: Free 
  • Web content initial costs: (20 posts) $25 each, total of $500
  • Social media: Free 

Apps and integrations

  • Constant Contact (Email marketing): $20/month
  • Loomly (Content calendar): $26/month


  • Yoast: Free

Total = $1,064

Potential cost: $442

A business or corporate website is one of the most common types of sites. This site is used primarily to promote the business, its services, and its products. 

A basic site has about four pages, including a homepage, about us, services, and contact us pages. It’s meant to give a business an online presence, that’s it. It’s not meant to capture leads or post regular content. 

Those who build their own website can expect to pay around $442 to build a site like this. 

Cost breakdown

  • Domain name: $9-14 a year
  • Web hosting plan: Shared hosting: $3-7 a year
  • Website builder: Free to $15 a month
  • Web content initial costs: $250 for basic content on 3-4 pages
  • Social media: Free 

Apps and integrations

  • Ninja Forms: Free
  • Pretty Links: Free
  • MailChimp: Free


  • Yoast: Free  

Total = $442/year

Potential cost: $899

Many non-profits have websites to promote their causes and to accept donations. A website is a good way to get a non-profit’s message out and include information about projects, fund drives, and legislation involving its cause. It also is a good way to recruit volunteers and promote events.

The cost of a non-profit website depends on its purpose. If it’s a basic website, similar to the basic business website, it will cost $899. 

If you want the site to attract leads, collect donations, and offer educational content to donors, that’s a more involved site. You’ll need more plugins, which will increase your yearly cost. 

Cost breakdown

  • Domain name: $9-14 a year
  • Web hosting plan: Shared hosting: $3-7 a year
  • Website builder: Free to $15 a month
  • Web content initial costs: $500 to create content for main pages
  • Social media: Free 

Apps and integrations

  • Testimonials widget: Free
  • OptinMonster: $108/year
  • Events Calendar: $99/year 


  • Yoast: Free

Donation integrations

  • Give: Free

Total = $899

Potential cost: $100

E-commerce sites are a fast-growing category as many businesses incorporate them into their websites. E-commerce sites are where products are sold directly online. They list the products, a description, and a price. 

The website includes a way for customers to order and pay using credit, debit cards, or merchant payment systems like PayPal, Square, or Venmo. Shipping is also factored in where the purchased product is shipped from either the business or a warehouse.

Again, you can create a store on your own with a site like Shopify. It will cost around $1000. This is ideal for people who are selling homemade goods or who are managing small inventory. 

Cost breakdown

  • Domain name: $9-14 a year
  • Web hosting plan: VPN hosting: $30 a year
  • Website builder: Shopify: $348/year 
  • Web content initial costs: $500 for website content 
  • Social media: Free 

Apps and integrations 

  • Loox (Product photos and reviews): $120/year
  • Forminator (Create forms): Free
  • Feed for Google Shopping: Free


  • Yoast: Free

Payment integration

  • Woocommerce: No monthly cost, but 1.75% + $.30 of every transaction made.

Total = $1,007

Potential cost: $300

Portfolio sites are those that promote a person. People usually use these types of websites as job-hunting tools. These sites are used by CEOs, authors, artists, and anyone who wants to show their work and promote themselves.

These are relatively easy to create yourself. There are plenty of ready-made templates available. To DIY, you’ll spend up to $312 on templates and necessities. 

Cost breakdown

  • Domain name: $9-14 a year
  • Web hosting plan: Shared hosting: $3-7 a year
  • Website builder: Free 
  • Web content initial costs: Free (You’ll write what’s needed)
  • Social media: Free

Apps and integrations

  • Templates: $150-300
  • Portfolio Gallery: Free
  • Media Grid: Free

Total = $162-312 a year

How do you start an online store without buying inventory?

Many begin an online store using dropshipping. That is where you partner with a manufacturer to put their products in your store, and the orders are shipped from the manufacturer’s warehouse.

What is the most important thing about having a website?

The most important thing is to have your website perform well with traffic to bring you money. That is where money should be invested. Website revenue could come from more business for your company, more freelance projects, donations, product sales, or a full-time job.

How do you handle website maintenance?

A site owner is responsible for maintenance. In some cases, an in-house IT person handles the tasks or, if you’re a business of one, you’ll need to address the backend updates yourself. Maintenance costs can run about $100 a year.

How do you ensure a website has the best user experience?

Create a visually appealing site, easy to navigate, and provides a simple, secure check-out. During the development process, be sure to focus on these critical areas. For security purposes, make sure your site has an SSL certificate, which provides a certain level of security to your site.

Is web hosting necessary?

Yes. You can build a site, but no one will see it without web hosting. Web hosts are what make your site accessible to the public.

What’s the easiest website builder to use?

There are dozens of easy-to-use builders, but one of the most popular is WordPress. WordPress was once known as a blog builder, but it has grown into a well-used builder for all kinds of sites. Users like its drop-and-drag editor, free plugins, and ready-made WordPress themes that make design a snap.