This article is part of a larger series on Small Business Websites.
Websites are a key component in a business’ success—local, brick-and-mortar businesses included. And yet, according to the SBA, nearly 40% of small businesses don’t have a website. This is likely because websites were once either very expensive or very difficult to set up. However, websites are easier—and cheaper—than ever to build with costs as little as nothing to build and around $10 per month to maintain, so there’s no excuse not to have one.
Website Costs by Development Type
Website costs vary greatly, largely based on the type of site you need and how you choose to build it. For example, the cheapest option is to build it yourself either with WordPress (as low as $2.95 per month for web hosting with Bluehost) or a site builder such as Squarespace ($12 per month). The most expensive option is outsourcing to a marketing agency or web design firm, which ranges from as low as a few hundred dollars to over $10,000.
Here are the three primary ways to get a website:
- Build your own using WordPress: Best for those with some technical aptitude (or the time and interest to learn) looking to build a highly customizable site.
- Build your own using an all-in-one site builder: Best option for those who want to easily build and maintain their own website in-house and at an affordable price.
- Hire a professional: Ideal for businesses with complex site needs and established companies with the resources to hire an expert web development team. Learn more about whether or not you should hire a web designer or build your own site.
Want to learn more about what’s involved with building your own site before choosing which way you’ll build it? Check out our article on what to expect when building your small business website.
3 Ways to Build a Website (Costs Compared)
Build It Yourself With WordPress
Build It Yourself With an All-in-One
Hire a Professional
Cost to Build (Approx.)
~$0 to $100
$500 to $10,000+
Cost per Month (Ongoing Cost)
~$3 to $20 per month
~12 to $18 per month
~$3 to $500
Same as a standard website using free plugins
~$23 to $26 per month
On the higher end of average costs
Select the method that’s of interest to you to learn more about it:
Option 1: Build Your Own WordPress Website
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) due to its low cost, extensive features, and vast customization capabilities. While WordPress is a free, open source platform, that doesn’t mean it’s not without costs. For example, you’ll need a domain name and web hosting as well as optional extras, such as premium themes and plugins. In total, expect to pay around $100 to build a WordPress site and around $3 to $10 per month thereafter.
Take a look at the full breakdown of the real costs of building a WordPress website.
WordPress Costs at a Glance
$12 per year
You can get a domain from a domain name registrar or free through a web hosting plan
$5 per month
Web hosting ranges widely
WordPress comes with a steep learning curve, so consider what your time is worth
Premium Theme (Optional)
Using a premium theme will likely save you time, but it’s not mandatory
Premium Plugins (Optional)
~$5 per month
Keep in mind that most plugins offer a free version, so you may not need premium versions
How to Build Your Own WordPress Website
Building your own WordPress website involves a good amount of time and effort—even if you’re an experienced web designer. And if you’re new to WordPress, expect a steep learning curve.
To build a WordPress website, start by getting a web hosting plan and a domain. Then, use your web host’s one-click WordPress installation tool, find and install one of the best WordPress themes, and install and activate all of the plugins you wish to use. Finally, begin customizing your website.
For more insight, get the step-by-step instructions on how to make a WordPress website.
Pro tip: Save money by getting web hosting first. Many top web hosting providers, such as Bluehost, offer a free domain, a free SSL, and free business email as part of their plans for as little as $2.95 per month. Doing so will also spare you the headache of manually connecting your domain name and web hosting to WordPress by using the one-click WordPress installation.
Option 2: Build Your Own Using a Site Builder
Hands down, one of the easiest and affordable ways to build a professional website is by using an all-in-one site builder. These site builders include everything needed to build a site, including a domain name, web hosting, and template. They also offer user-friendly, drag-and-drop editing interfaces, making it as simple as possible to build a code-free site. The leading site builders include Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and GoDaddy, which cost around $6 to $26 per month.
Here are the best all-in-one website builders and what they cost:
- Squarespace: Best overall website builder known for top-notch web design and built-in marketing tools to help grow new businesses with plans starting at $12 per month.
- Wix: The best website builder for those who want the most customization capabilities given its vast flexibility thanks to its drag-and-drop site editor. Plans start at $14 per month.
- Weebly: Most beginner-friendly and affordable ecommerce website builder with plans as low as $6 per month.
- GoDaddy: Best website builder for service-based businesses looking to turn their website into a 24/7 receptionist with its robust built-in booking system. Plans start at $9.99 per month.
Need help deciding which is right for you? Get a more detailed look at the best website builders for small businesses.
The main benefit of using a site builder is that it makes building a professional-looking site incredibly easy—and at an affordable price. The drag-and-drop editing interfaces are generally very intuitive, requiring little to no learning curve and enabling anyone to build a site quickly. The downsides are that site builders aren’t as customizable as WordPress, may not be as good for search engine optimization (SEO), and ecommerce plans can get expensive.
How to Build a Website Using a Site Builder
Site builders make building a professional site quick and easy without requiring any technical expertise or coding knowledge. While the steps vary depending on which site builder you choose, the process remains largely the same. First, navigate to the site builder and create an account. Then, choose a theme or template and customize your template. To go live, upgrade to a premium plan and connect your domain.
Follow the step-by-step instructions by platform or learn more about the best website builders:
Option 3: Hire a Professional
Not everyone wants to build their own website, and it can be worth leaving it to the experts. Depending on how you go about hiring a pro and the requirements of your site, the cost will range from $400 to over $10,000.
Another cost is ongoing maintenance, which varies from as little as $5 per month for web hosting to hundreds if you hire an agency that provides ongoing monthly website management services.
Here are the three most common ways to get a professionally built website:
- Web design firm: Best for building sites with unique functionalities that require complex code.
- Full-service marketing agency: Best for building a site designed to get found in search and generate leads, as a marketing agency will have a lot of knowledge on this.
- Freelance web designer: Best for affordably building a simple, informational website.
Most small businesses will find that a freelancer from, say, Upwork or Fiverr is sufficient. However, also keep in mind that the cost to build a website with a marketing agency is often surprisingly affordable. For example, Hibu builds professional websites for as low as $400—making it cheaper than many freelancers while giving you a team with more expertise.
Hiring a Pro (Costs Compared)
Web Design Firm
Cheapest ---------------------------------------------------- Most Expensive
Cost to Build
$300 to $5,500
$400 to $5,500
$3,000 to $10,000+
Cost to Maintain
$5 to $25 per month
$5 to $500 per month*
$5 to $200 per month*
*Note: The cost to maintain varies greatly for marketing agencies and web design firms based on whether your ongoing cost involves web hosting costs only or if it includes ongoing professional website management services.
Get an idea of how much it will cost to have your website professionally built for you by getting a free, no-obligation quote from Hibu today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I get a free domain name?
There are few legit ways to get a free domain name. The first is through a web hosting plan, such as with Bluehost for just $2.95 per month, and the second is with a site builder plan, such as Squarespace for just $12 per month. The third is to use a free domain name registrar, such as Freenom. However, you can’t get a professional domain extension, such as a .com or .net, so businesses are advised against using them. Learn more about how to get a free domain name.
What are the best WordPress themes?
The best WordPress theme will depend on what type of website you need and the aesthetic you want. Choose the theme that comes with the features and design that you need to ensure minimal customization.
How much does it cost to build an ecommerce site?
Like any website, the cost to build an ecommerce site can vary greatly, from $0 to over $10,000. The largest factor in how affordable or expensive your ecommerce site is to build is whether you build it yourself using a site builder or WordPress, or if you outsource it to a web development team. If you’re interested in building your own, check out the best ecommerce website builders.
Which is better: Squarespace vs WordPress?
Squarespace and WordPress are both top website builders, and for a good reason. Generally, Squarespace is much more user-friendly as it includes everything a business needs to build and launch a site, from a free domain and web hosting to a drag-and-drop site editor for just $12 per month. WordPress offers more customization capabilities and may be better for search engine optimization (SEO), but it requires some technical skills. Get the full breakdown of Squarespace vs WordPress.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on hiring a web designer, nor do you have to know code to build your own professional website. Professionally designed sites no longer come with a jaw-dropping price tag. Instead, it’s possible to get one for as low as a few hundred dollars from marketing agencies, such as Hibu. If that isn’t affordable enough, you can also easily build your own site for just $12 per month with a site builder, such as Squarespace.