For small businesses, having a high-quality website is a must to attract new clients and customers. These days most people go to the internet first when looking for goods or services and are more likely to trust businesses that have well-designed, modern-looking websites.
In other words, building and maintaining a website is a necessary business expenditure.
But just how much should you budget for your business’s website?
Pricing your website can be a difficult task for anyone, especially if you're just starting out.
The cost will vary based on a lot of factors, including the type of website you want and how you choose to build and host your website.
Taking all of this into consideration, the average of creating and maintaining a website for a small business can be anywhere from $200 to $10,000.
Summary: How much does it cost to build a website for a small business?
- If you’re setting up a website for your small business, your costs will vary depending on what kind of website you want, how you choose to build it, and what kind of maintenance it requires.
- If you build a simple website for your business yourself, your total cost could be as low as a few hundred dollars or less.
- If you choose to hire a professional and/or build a larger website with more complex functionality, your costs will increase, and you could be looking at up to $10,000.
Factors Impacting Your Small Business’s Web Design Costs
There is a broad range of factors that will influence the cost of designing and building your website. These include:
- What kind of website and features you want.
- Whether you use a DIY website builder or hire a professional to build your website.
- How much original content you produce (and whether you need to hire a copywriter for it).
Let’s take an in-depth look at these different factors and break down how much you can expect to pay for each.
Website Building Costs
Not all websites are created equal, and the biggest determining factor when it comes to how much your website will cost is what kind of website you want.
Let’s say that you run a small photography business. You want to set up a website, but you don’t need anything fancy: just a landing page with your contact information and a portfolio to display your work.
A simple website like this is easy to build with a DIY website builder such as Wix, which offers professional site plans starting at $22/month and business/eCommerce plans starting at $27/month.
Not only will your monthly subscription costs be low, but by building and managing your website yourself, you’ll save a lot on labor costs.
This kind of website is really more like an online business card, advertising your product or services to a wide audience.
However, most small businesses need more than a simple portfolio or basic eCommerce site.
More advanced features, such as the ability to schedule bookings, accept payments, manage a large inventory of products, and host large amounts of content, will all drive the cost of building and maintaining your website up.
DIY vs Professional Web Design Costs
So, how much money exactly are we talking about here?
Let’s break down the costs of building a website for your small business using a DIY website builder vs. hiring a professional web designer to build your site.
If you want to build your business’s website yourself, there are a lot of great DIY website builders that you can choose from.
Most allow you to choose from a broad library of themes and come with simple, user-friendly drag-and-drop editing tools that make customizing your website easy.
If you choose to build your website yourself with a DIY website builder, you can expect to pay between $25 – $200 a month.
There are cheaper and more expensive exceptions, of course: Zyro, for example, offers an eCommerce-enabled plan for only $3.99 a month.
But in general, it’s safe to say that you should budget around $50 a month for a DIY website builder subscription.
If you want to build your website and are willing to put in a little more effort, you can use a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress to build your website.
WordPress is the most popular CMS around the globe, as it offers an ideal balance of user-friendliness and customizability.
WordPress is open-source software, meaning it’s free to download.
However, you’ll still have to pay for a subscription, as well as potentially a theme for your website (some are free, others are an average of $5-$20 a month) and plug-ins to enable different features (generally $0-$50 a month).
As you can see, there are a lot of different tools you can use to build a sleek, functional website for your business. However, building your own website isn’t always the best option.
If you want to hire a professional to design your business’s website, your costs will be higher.
Some professional/freelance web designers charge a flat fee for their services, while others charge by the hour.
And just like with a DIY website builder, the complexity of the website you want will also affect the price.
All of these different factors mean that the cost of hiring a web designer can vary pretty widely.
However, you should plan to pay at least $200 for a simple, portfolio-style website and up to $2,000 for more complex, eCommerce-enabled websites.
Hiring a web agency to build your business’s website is another option, but this is far pricier and can easily get up to $10,000.
Whether you choose to use a DIY website builder or hire a professional, you should be mindful of the fact that designing and building your website is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the total overall cost of having a website for your business.
Let’s take a look at some of the other factors influencing how much your website will cost.
Images and Copywriting (Content Costs)
A website is only as good as its content.
Any good, professional website will have engaging visual and textual content geared towards its particular audience, and the cost of producing this content will vary based on how you choose to do it.
If you create all the images and write all the articles and other textual content for your business yourself, then your labor costs will be relatively low.
However, you may need to pay for the copyright to certain types of visual content, as well as pay a copywriter to produce written content for your site.
As for copyrighted images or other visual content, you may choose to pay more based on how much you feel your website really needs to have that particular content, or you may choose to go with a cheaper option.
Email Marketing Services
Professional emailing services will also add additional cost to your business’s website, but they’re an essential part of engaging with and building your audience.
With professional email hosting, you can create a custom email address and design unique email marketing campaigns.
In addition to the costs of building your website, you’ll also need to factor maintenance costs into your budget.
These include the costs of web hosting, domain registration, SSL certificates, and more.
Let’s take a detailed look at some of these factors and break down how much you should expect to pay for each.
Domain Name Registration
Your domain name is an extremely important aspect of your website.
It’s the first thing that your audience will see, and for the sake of simplicity and branding, your website’s domain name should be the same (or very similar) to your business’s name.
But simply deciding on a domain name isn’t enough. You’ll have to check whether your chosen domain is available (i.e., that no one else is using it) and then pay to register it with a certified domain registrar.
The cost of registering a domain name is usually around $10-$20 a year, so it’s safe to say that it won’t put too big of a dent in your business’s budget.
When you’re looking for a domain registrar, make sure you choose one that is accredited by ICANN (the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).
This non-profit organization regulates most DNS and IP services on the internet, and ICANN accreditation is a good way to know that you’ve chosen a reputable domain registrar.
GoDaddy is one of the most popular domain registrars, but there are other options as well, such as Bluehost or Namecheap.
An SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate is an encryption protocol that protects web browsers and servers by encrypting any data sent by visitors to your website.
You can tell if a website has an SSL certificate based on whether there is a little lock symbol in the search bar to the left of the website’s URL.
Having an SSL certificate is necessary for establishing both your website’s security and the trust of your audience, so it’s absolutely worth the expense.
Many website building and/or hosting plans will include a free SSL certificate with their plans, which saves you the trouble of having to take care of it (and pay for it) separately.
However, if you do have to get an SSL certificate separately, the price will vary depending on what type of SSL certificate you need.
A single-domain SSL certificate, which protects and encrypts just one website, can be as cheap as $5 a year.
Wildcard SSL certificates and multi-domain SSL certifications, both of which are designed to protect multiple domains and/or subdomains, will cost you between $50-$60 a year.
There are other types of SSL certification, too, but for a small business website, you can expect to pay between $5 and $50 for your SSL certification if it isn’t included in your website building or hosting plan.
Web Hosting Service
Your web host is like the place where your website lives, and choosing the right web hosting provider is essential for creating a website that helps your business grow.
If you choose to design your own website with a DIY website builder, then you may not have to worry about hosting – many website builders take care of it for you.
However, if you do need to choose your own, then the web hosting company and the type of hosting you choose will largely depend on the size and complexity of your website.
If your business is just getting started out and you don’t anticipate a high level of web traffic right away, then shared hosting is a great, budget-friendly option. Shared hosting plans generally range from $2-$12/month, where Bluehost and SiteGround are the two most popular options.
However, if you do anticipate a lot of traffic, or if your website will include large amounts of content, then cloud VPS hosting or dedicated hosting might be a better fit.
VPS hosting plans cost between $10-$150 monthly, and dedicated hosting starts at around $80 and can go all the way up to $1700 a month.
There are other options, too, such as cloud hosting and managed WordPress hosting, and you’ll need to do your research and figure out what’s best for your business’s website.
If you’ve hired a professional web designer or agency to build your site, you can also ask them for their recommendation (in fact, most web agencies will already have hosting companies that they work with).
Whether you build your website yourself using a DIY website builder or hire a professional, adding eCommerce functionality to your website will increase your costs.
If you’ve hired a professional to build your website from scratch, then the cost of adding eCommerce features will depend on the rate that particular web designer charges.
However, if you go the more common route of using a DIY website builder that offers eCommerce website templates, your first and foremost cost will be your monthly (or yearly) payment plan.
Estimating the total cost of having eCommerce functionality on your website is a bit tricky since different eCommerce plans will have different pricing and additional costs of doing business, such as transaction fees.
When you use an eCommerce website builder such as Squarespace, the company will also take a percentage of all sales that are conducted on your website.
This varies depending on the company and the plan you’ve chosen, but it’s generally around 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
If your plan doesn’t include web hosting, then you’ll also need to factor in monthly payments of between $29-$250.
All in all, if you want an eCommerce-enabled website for your business, you’ll likely be looking at somewhere between $30-$300 a month, not including transaction fees.
Just like any other kind of machine, your website will need regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly.
Website maintenance includes things like regular software updates and backups, as well as security checks and troubleshooting any problems that arise.
Most web hosting companies and website builders will include regular backups and software updates with their service and will offer free customer service if any problems arise.
As such, if you’ve opted to build your website using a website builder, you likely won’t have to worry about paying extra for website maintenance.
However, if you’ve hired a web designer, the cost for regular website maintenance can range from $500 to $1,000 per year.
What is the average cost to create a website for a small business?
Although the cost is highly variable, creating a website for a small business can cost anywhere from $100 – $2,000 or more.
How much does it cost to maintain a website for a small business?
The average cost of maintenance for your business’s website can be anywhere between $5 and $500 a month, depending on factors such as the size of your website, its features, and how you built it (whether you hired a web developer or used a DIY website builder/web host).
Is it possible to get a free domain name for my website?
There aren’t very many legitimate (i.e., legal) ways to get a free domain name.
Many website builders and web hosting companies offer a free domain name for the first year as part of the package of features in their plans, and this is a great opportunity to take advantage of.
However, when you consider that the cost of registering a domain name is rarely more than $20 a year, you probably shouldn’t spend too much time searching for a way to get your domain for free.
After all, it’s hardly going to be your business’s biggest expense in the website building process.
The bottom line is that the cost of building a website for your business will totally depend on how you do it and what kind of website your business requires.
Fortunately for small businesses, you really don’t need to break the bank to create a functional, sleek website.
There are tons of great DIY website builders that make it possible to build even more complex, eCommerce-enabled websites easily and without the need to hire a professional.
If you do the research and put in the time, you’ll likely be able to keep the cost of setting up your website under $1,000.