As you look to establish an online presence for your business, you might ask how much does it cost to build a website? Expanding your brand requires an investment, and we are here to break down the different options to pursue as you utilize your marketing budget.
This article highlights the essential tools needed to build a website, how much a website typically costs, the cheapest way to start a website, and what goes into the cost of a website. We also evaluate the tradeoffs between building a website yourself through a website builder program or hiring it out to a professional.
What Tools Do You Need to Build a Website?
Building your website does not always require a professional developer. Even if you have never created a site before, you can accomplish this project thanks to the many internet tools. You can develop your site on any budget, but you must understand the essential tools needed so that you spend your money wisely. These elements include the domain name, website builder, and web hosting.
The domain name serves as your website’s address. Your visitors will type this domain into the URL so that they can visit your site. Much like when people type your home address into a GPS, your domain name works the same on the worldwide internet. Here is a more in-depth explanation. The internet is a massive network of computers communicating with each other through cables. Each computer has its own IP address, which is a numerical label that identifies that machine. Because these IP addresses are hard to remember, domain names attempt to solve the issue. If you wish to navigate to a website, you recall the domain name identifier and type it in the URL box. After you register your domain name, you earn the right to utilize it for your website’s identity for an entire year. You must renew your domain name annually from the same registrar if you want to keep it for your site. If you are no longer interested in using this domain name, you can let it expire and register for a new one. There are many sites you can use to register your domain name. These websites will allow you to perform a quick check to see if someone else is already using that domain name.
Website Builder and Content Management System (CMS)
A website builder is a program or platform that enables you to assemble a website efficiently. If your goal is to establish a presence on the internet quickly, a website builder provides a simple and straightforward process to create your website. Depending on the size of your website, this process could take a couple of hours. A website builder allows you to establish your domain and combine it with your brand, offerings, content, and other elements that align with your business goals. These platforms also provide drag-and-drop software that can customize features on your page. Not sure how to design or set up a theme? Most website builders provide hundreds of design layouts and website page templates. Website builders have all the tools you need to complete your projects, including a reliable support team if any issues arise.
Web hosting is a critical service that enables you or your organization to publish a webpage or website online. A web hosting service provider or web host is typically a business that deploys the necessary services and technologies to get your site live on the internet. Your website is stored on servers, which are specialized computers. When your potential site visitors want to go to your site, they type your domain into their URL box or browser. Their personal computer connects them to your server, which will deliver your webpage to them via the browser. Many hosting providers will require you to supply your own domain if you want to host with them. If you do not own a domain yet, most companies will typically assist you in buying one. There are various hosting providers, such as VPS hosting, shared hosting, blog hosting, WordPress hosting, dedicated hosting, and others. If you are a beginner, it would be best for you to start with WordPress hosting or shared hosting. Both options deliver the necessary features for someone who is on a budget. We especially recommend WordPress hosting if you are already building a WordPress site. Both WordPress and shared hosting have similar costs, but WordPress hosting includes WordPress pre-installed on your hosting account. This benefit eliminates the need to install WordPress manually.
How Much Does Building a Website Typically Cost?
So, how much does website hosting cost? Before we determine how much it costs to build or host a website, we should layout the different budget categories:
- Build a smaller website with a lower budget
- Build a custom website
- Build an online store
- Build an advanced website with enhanced features
Once you determine your overall goals, you can choose from a few methods in building your website. Each option has a significant impact on how much you will end up spending on the site. When you create content through a website builder, this could be free. But if you hire a web designer, the expenses could add up to over $5,000. The average upfront cost to build a website is typically around $200. There will also be an average monthly cost of $50 to maintain the site. You should budget slightly more than this amount if you elect to hire a developer or designer. These professionals will usually charge an upfront fee of $5,000-$6,000, including an annual, ongoing cost of $1,000 annually. So, what are the different elements that go into this total cost? Below are the typical web design rates and how much you can expect to pay for each:
- Website Domain: $12-$60
- SSL Certificate: $0-$200
- eCommerce Functionality: $20-$24,000
- Templates: $0-$200
- Website Content: $0-$5,000
- Apps and Integrations: $0-$100
- SEO and Marketing: $0-$90
Website builders are usually the most cost-effective strategy to build a website. Although WordPress is technically an open-source, free platform, you will need to pay for themes, plugins, hosting, and additional assistance from a developer. No matter what route you decide, begin with an end in mind and evaluate your long-term goals with the site. Ensure that whoever you work with, the professional fully understands your business goals, budget, and vision for your online presence.
Average Cost of Custom Website Building
For larger enterprises or those with a more extensive budget, custom website building is a viable option. You should budget anywhere between $8,750 and $38,000 for custom website development. Below is an overall breakdown of the different phases and steps that make up this price.
UX (user experience) design consists of the processes and systems that design teams implement to create a memorable experience for your website visitors. This experience includes the integration of different product elements, such as design, branding, function, and usability. UX and UI (user interface) design are interchangeable terms, although UI is a subcategory of UX. When you hire a UX designer, he or she will be responsible for the whole process of integrating and acquiring elements for design, branding, usability, and function. You and the team create this branding message much before your potential customer or reader visits your website. Websites that optimize user experience should cater to the target market’s consumption and goals. UX designers do not only create products and websites that are usable, but they develop efficiency, fun, and pleasure. When it comes to the critical tools, UX designers leverage the following:
- Adobe Creative Cloud
UX/UI designers deploy these tools to capture the attention of your audience. The internet is a busy place full of information, and many end users do not have long attention spans. You invest in UX/UI design to direct attention to your brand, gain more leads, and increase sales for your business.
What does the overall UX/UI design process look like?
There are three main phrases in which the UX/UI design team will approach your website design.
The team will define your ideal customer, target market, and individual preferences. What will users hope to achieve when they arrive at your website? UX/UI design seeks to design an experience that delivers value as quickly as possible. The research stage also includes competitive analysis and benchmarking to see what other similar companies are doing.
In this stage, the UI/UX design team will create wireframes, which display a blueprint of element placement. The team will collaborate with you to optimally position the essential components on the site. This discussion will cover just about anything, including the placement of any forms, blogs, or engaging elements.
This final step is the final formation of the user interface. The prototype displays how the app or website will show on mobile devices. Collaboration between you and the design team is critical because you break down the small details with the project and what needs to be adjusted.
Backend development makes the website’s front end possible because it stores all the data used for the front end. The backend of the site includes the application, database, and server. Developers work on the backend build and maintain the technology that fuels these different components. Some of the tools used include Node.js, Express.js, Nest.js, and .NET. Because the backend is the heart of the website, it contributes to a large part of the development cost. Back-end development costs range between $4,000 and $12,500. The different factors that influence this cost include complex queries, integration with third-party services, and non-standard data processing like audio.
Cost of Using Website Builders
If you partner with a high-quality website builder, you can form a stunning, professional website. Some companies provide better tools than others, but you can create success for your business by choosing carefully. Below is a straightforward breakdown of how much you can expect to pay when you go with a trusted website builder.
Before you invest in the right website builder plan, you must ask yourself what your business goals are. The size of your business, your target audience, and the products and services you sell will all play a factor. Below are the standard web development pricing models if you go with a website builder.
- Free Plan ($0): this plan is excellent for private bloggers, hobby websites, and students who utilize a website builder for school projects.
- Basic Plan ($12 per month): the basic plan is ideal for small businesses trying to get off the ground, those who are expanding a portfolio, and standard bloggers.
- eCommerce Plan ($18-$50 per month): for a business that sells products online, the eCommerce plan is ideal for all types of online stores.
- Enterprise Plan ($500 per month): when a business is ready to scale, the Enterprise plan is ideal for larger online stores.
In addition to the upfront monthly cost for each of these plans, there are a few other costs you should account for:
- Domain name ($12 per year) – some website builders will supply a complimentary domain name of your choice, but standard domain names will range around $12 per year.
- Applications and add-ons ($3-$60 per month) – adding apps to your website will help enhance the user experience. Website builders will offer both free and options for you.
Professional help, hosting, themes, and security will usually be free if you choose a quality website builder. These programs make it so easy that you will not need to pay a professional.
As you can see, there are various options to build your brand and take your website to the next level. We highlighted all the costs in creating your website, including hiring a professional and utilizing a website builder. Not that you have a clear vision of the different alternatives, you can now deploy your budget accordingly. Designing your website is more than the upfront cost. It is the value of your time, design skills, and tech skills. Maybe hiring a professional will allow you to focus on the other vital aspects of your business. Perhaps you could invest your time into learning the necessary skills to utilize a website builder. If you are still unsure about the direction you want to take, here is a quick recap of our estimates:
- Website builder: $6 – $50 per month (cheapest way to build a website)
- Hire a professional: $500 – $10,000 (most expensive option, but a small investment of your time)
- WordPress Web Hosting Services: Upfront cost of $30-$800 and then $10-$50 per month afterward