How much does a website cost to build?
The answer can be a bit difficult to nail down. That’s why, in this article, we’re going to share all the info you need to figure out how much it costs to build a website for your small business or eCommerce site.
As a bonus, we’ve also included a section at the end with tips you can use to stay on budget when building your website.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
Table of Contents
- What Do You Need to Build a Website?
- What’s the Cost of Building a Small Business Website?
- What’s the Cost of Building an eCommerce Website?
- How to Stay On Budget When Building Your Website
What Do You Need to Build a Website?
You basically have 3 options for how to go about building your website, and they come with pretty different price tags:
- Hire a Freelancer: You can hire a freelancer to build your website for you, using tools like Upwork or Fiverr, for a few thousand dollars.
- Hire an Agency: Hiring an agency might be cost-prohibitive for a small business. Some websites can cost tens of thousands of dollars!
- Do It Yourself: You can build a website on your own for a few hundred dollars using the process we outline in this post.
The final cost of your website will largely depend on the type of site you build. An eCommerce store is going to have a lot of moving parts like payment gateways, product pages, shopping carts, and inventory, so it’s going to cost more to build than a simple blog.
Adding things like additional plugins, third-party services, and apps that increase the functionality of your site are all likely to add to the cost.
There are 4 non-negotiable things that every website must have:
- Domain Name
- Website Hosting
- Website Builder (or Content Management System)
- Site Maintenance & Other Ongoing Costs
Let’s explore each of these in more detail.
If you want a specific domain name for your site, you’ll need to register it.
Once you register a domain name, it’s yours for a year. Of course, you can keep renewing the domain registration and hang onto the name forever if you want. Or, if you get tired of it, you can let the registration expire.
When you let the registration expire, that frees up the name so somebody else can buy it.
Need some cool ideas for your domain name? Check out the best blog name generators.
If your domain name is your website’s address, your hosting is the house or storage where all your things go.
Web hosting companies store your files and deliver content to your visitors when they come to your site.
Plus, web hosts also work to maintain internet connectivity to keep your site up and accessible to people no matter when they visit or from where they’re visiting.
There are two different types of hosting that we’re going to cover in this post: shared hosting and managed hosting.
Shared hosting is a hosting solution where your website shares web server resources with a number of other websites. This type of hosting is typically offered at a much more affordable rate than managed hosting.
Personal sites, bloggers, small business sites, or low traffic websites should consider using shared hosting.
Shared hosting usually comes with tools that make it really easy to manage your domains, websites, and emails.
And, speaking of emails… with shared hosting, you can set up a business email on your domain without spending any extra money.
Shared hosting does have its drawbacks, of course.
Your website may have a slow server response time when compared to managed hosting, causing pages to load slowly. And, you might see frequent downtimes with some shared hosting companies.
Best Shared Hosting Option:
Bluehost is the best shared hosting service provider. We always recommend it and it’s one of the few hosting companies recommended by WordPress.org.
Bluehost includes a free domain for the first year with all of their plans, as well as great security features, one-click WordPress installation, free business email, daily backups, and so much more!
You can extend the functionality of your site with optional addons for content delivery, domain privacy, a unique IP address, or additional site security.
Managed hosting provides the most powerful technologies to make sure your website is secure and fast.
Managed hosting companies take care of all of your hosting related concerns like updates, backups, security, and they provide premium customer service to ensure that any problems are resolved as quickly as possible.
With managed hosting your files will always be safe, secure, and up-to-date, and you won’t have to remember to do anything.
On the downside, managed hosting can be very expensive—especially when compared to a shared host. Plus these hosting companies may not allow you to use certain plugins if those plugins might slow down your site.
Managed hosting is also only available for WordPress. While shared hosting lets you host any site you want, managed hosting companies only allow WordPress sites on their servers.
Best Managed Hosting Option:
WP Engine is the best managed hosting provider and is known for providing fast, reliable, and secure service.
This managed hosting option comes with features like a free content delivery network, daily backups, free SSL, automatic caching, and a one-click staging tool that makes it super easy to test changes to your website.
WP Engine provides free site migration at no cost, handles all updates, and provides premium support.
Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an experienced developer, you’ll want to use a website builder to create your website.
Website builders make it easy to create a gorgeous website that looks just the way you want. And, you can quickly and easily add all the features you need.
We always recommend going the self-hosted WordPress route through Bluehost when building a website because it gives you limitless flexibility to create and customize your site while maintaining complete control.
If you’re interested in seeing what else is out there, you can read all about the best website builders for small business.
Site Maintenance & Other Ongoing Costs
Ongoing costs will include the obvious things like renewal costs and site maintenance, but also the other things you might not have thought about, like marketing.
Yeah, marketing. Because once you have a website you actually have to put content on it and make it appealing to visitors.
These costs cover anything that keeps your site functioning in tiptop shape.
- Hosting & domain renewals
- Software updates
- License renewals (for themes and plugins)
- SSL certificate renewal
- Site security and backups
Marketing costs can vary pretty widely, depending on your needs.
What’s the Cost of Building a Small Business Website?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what a website needs, let’s get into specifics.
How much does a website cost for a small business?
For a simple small business website, we recommend using self-hosted WordPress with Bluehost to reduce your hosting and domain costs. This will leave you with money to put towards other premium tools you may need later.
A domain name will cost around $14.99/year and a decent shared hosting plan comes in at about $7.99/month. That brings your total to $110.87/year to start a small business website and keep it running.
Your next step will be to design your site.
While there are tons of free WordPress themes available, we encourage you to choose a premium theme created for businesses or choose another responsive WordPress theme that has the features you’re looking for.
You’ll also want to make sure that the theme you choose comes with access to support and updates.
You’ll likely need to use a combination of free and premium plugins to get the functionality you’re looking for from your site without spending a ton of money.
Here are some awesome premium plugins that are essential for your small business website.
Plugins to Boost Functionality
WPForms (Pro): The Pro version of WPForms gives you all the features you need to create any type of form you’ll want for your site. This includes PayPal and Stripe payments, conversational forms, email marketing integration, and more.
You can create a form for your site in minutes!
Plugins for Marketing
MonsterInsights Pro: The best Google Analytics plugin helps you see where your users are coming from and what they do on your website, letting you quickly and easily make data-driven decisions to grow your business. MonsterInsights does that from the comfort of the WordPress dashboard.
Plugins for Security
UpdraftPlus (Pro): This is the premium version of the UpdraftPlus plugin. It comes with incremental backups, automatic backups before updates, and remote storage locations to keep your backups secure.
Sucuri Firewall: Sucuri offers website firewall and malware protection.
There are many, many more plugins and tools you might want to use. In fact, WordPress has over 55,000 plugins. If you need help deciding on the right plugins for your site, check out our guide to the best WordPress plugins.
The total cost of a DIY website for your small business is probably going to come in around $500-$1000. This depends on the plugins, themes, and services you use, and it could be more or less.
What’s the Cost of Building an eCommerce Website?
If the small business that you’re starting is an eCommerce website, your needs are a little different. So, how much does a website cost if you’re building an eCommerce site?
You’re still going to need hosting and a domain, but you’re also going to need an SSL certificate to securely transfer customer data (credit card info, usernames, passwords, etc.) for $69.99/year.
We recommend self-hosted WordPress with the Bluehost eCommerce plan that gives you a free domain and SSL certificate in addition to a discount on hosting costs. All in all, it’ll be around $190/year to get started.
Once you get your domain and hosting, you’ll need to choose an eCommerce plugin for your WordPress site.
WooCommerce is the most popular WordPress eCommerce plugin. It’s a free plugin that lets you build powerful online stores to sell your products and services.
There are also several paid addons for additional features.
When you have your WooCommerce settings configured, you’ll need to choose a WooCommerce-ready WordPress theme. There are, of course, plenty of free and premium templates available; the premium templates will usually give you access to support or additional features.
Here are some premium services that you want on your eCommerce website to ensure that it’s operating to its full ability.
WPForms: Add customer contact and feedback forms.
Soliloquy: Show off your products with beautiful product sliders.
Constant Contact: Stay in contact with this powerful email marketing service.
MonsterInsights: Track eCommerce performance with real-time stats using Google Analytics.
BackupBuddy: Make sure a crash doesn’t keep you down long with automatic WordPress backups.
Sucuri: Keep your site safe and secure with this website firewall and malware scanner.
There are also quite a few plugins built specifically for WooCommerce that can increase the functionality of your online store. Check out our list of the best WooCommerce plugins.
The total cost of building an eCommerce website with WordPress is $1000-$3000. Remember, the cost could be higher depending on the number of premium addons and services you include.
How to Stay On Budget When Building Your Website
To recap, a small business site can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars—not including marketing.
So, how can you stay on budget when building your website?
1. Start small. Just because other websites in your industry have a certain fancy feature, doesn’t mean that you need it right now.
Stick with the features that you know you need in order to provide fast and quality service to your visitors and customers.
As your WordPress site grows, you can add more bells and whistles if you want.
2. Start with budget items. Use free plugins and templates when possible. Once you start getting visitors, consider adding premiums features, like a more robust template, paid backup plugin, email marketing, and more.
The same goes for eCommerce sites. If you’re focusing on providing high-quality content on your really fast site, and your products and services are top-notch, nobody is going to care that you’re using a less expensive website theme.
3. Optimize your website. Visitors should have an excellent user experience on your site. Make sure to optimize your site so it’s fast and smooth.
As your site grows, you may also need to optimize your WordPress server on a regular basis. Depending on how big your site gets, this may mean moving to managed WordPress hosting.
There you have it! Now you finally have an answer to the age-old question “how much does a website cost?” The answer is “as much as you let it!” 😉
What are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite host or website builder? Tips to keep the costs down? Let us know in the comments!