The cost of building a website can vary widely, depending on what tools or services you use to build it. Creating a website yourself using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or site-building platform like Weebly costs between $50 and $250 per year, whereas professional web design fees range from $500 to more than $10,000.
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Here are the costs for do-it-yourself site building vs professional website design.
Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Website Building
The most affordable way of building a business website is to build it yourself, with total costs as low as $0 to $300, depending on themes and hosting. DIY sites are no longer only for those with technical know-how; drag-and-drop editors like Weebly and intuitive builders like WordPress make site creation easy for those with no coding knowledge.
DIY Website Costs Compared
|Best For||Simple, personal websites; not recommended for professional use||Feature-rich business websites for those with some technical knowledge||Professional websites for those with no technical knowledge|
|Price Per Year||$0||$60 to $300||$144 to $300|
|Domain Costs||Subdomains-only, such as name.weebly.com|
Free custom domain for one year, then $15/year through >Bluehost
|Free custom domain for one year; then $20/year|
|Add-on Costs||None||Optional premium themes and plugins; $10 to $100+ extra||Optional ecommerce upgrades; $48 to $204 extra|
|Time to Build||1 to 4 hours||1 to 4 hours||30 minutes to 2 hours|
Here are three main options for building your own website:
- Free plans with website builders: WordPress, Weebly, and other free hosting services let you build a website at no cost; most, however, include limited features, require you to use a subdomain, and frequently display ads on your site; a free web builder can be suitable for a personal website but is not recommended for professional use
- WordPress: WordPress is the most popular website-building platform; while free options are available, you can pay for hosting and a WordPress theme and set it up yourself but can be a little difficult for beginners.
- Drag-and-drop website builders: These new-generation builders are the easiest to use as they require no coding knowledge; while some users say customization can be limited, most plans include hosting and a domain name
Free website builders are not recommended for small businesses because they typically do not allow you to connect your own domain and typically display ads. This makes the site appear unprofessional. Given these undesirable features, we recommend focusing on WordPress and drag-and-drop editors like Weebly.
Build a DIY Website With WordPress
WordPress is one of the most popular website-building platforms due to its low cost, extensive features, and intuitive interface. There are hundreds of free WordPress themes available, serving as customizable website templates with an impressive range of functionality. Given these offerings, WordPress is a good option for small business sites, large ecommerce sites, and almost anything in between.
WordPress Website Cost
WordPress CMS is free. However, users must first buy hosting and a domain name before they can use the CMS to build their site. Web hosts like Bluehost offer great value with plans starting at $2.95 per month, including a free domain name.
There can be additional costs involved in building a website on WordPress, however. While many themes and plugins are free, some cost money. For example, premium themes can cost between $20 and $150, depending on design features, integrations, and functionality. Premium plugins range in price from $5 to $100. Those who choose to purchase premium themes or plugins do so because they are easier to use and include more functionality than free versions.
”Many free WordPress themes are available for setting up your blog, with the ability to expand to full functioning websites as your business grows. There are many WordPress YouTube videos to help a beginner get set up quickly.”
— Elaine Slatter, Founder, XL Consulting Group
Benefits of Building a Website With WordPress
WordPress is one of the most popular website platforms in the world — for good reason. It was one of the first CMS to allow noncoders to build complex sites using predesigned themes, plugins, integrations, and incredible menu-based customization options. Plus, it has always been free to use.
Here are the top reasons to use WordPress:
- Free themes: Themes serve as WordPress website templates; these can be found online for free and easily customized in WordPress; this makes building a site in WordPress simple — even for those without web design experience
- Code-free options: While coding has never been a core part of the WordPress site-building interface, it was once required to add specific customization; now, however, building a site has become even easier with site builder plugins that allow you to create a site using easy-to-use drag-and-drop, code-free editing
- Extensive capabilities: WordPress integrations and plugins can be added to WordPress sites for additional functionality, adding features like ecommerce product catalogs and email collection widgets; with 54,000 plugins and counting, customization options are almost endless
- Online resources: There’s a huge community of developers and WordPress users offering online support to others building their own professional websites; WordPress also offers its own collection of documentation and basic how-tos
- It’s free: WordPress CMS is free to use; the only expenses are purchasing a domain name — $12 to $18 per year — and monthly web hosting from $0 to $25 per month.
How to Set Up a WordPress Website
To create a WordPress website, start by purchasing a web hosting plan that includes a free domain, such as the entry-level plan with Bluehost. Then, go to WordPress.com and select the plan that’s right for you. Complete the setup process as prompted. Once WordPress is installed, browse themes from the main menu and begin building your site.
Build a DIY Website With Weebly
Weebly is an incredibly easy-to-use website builder that allows users to build a website quickly without code using its drag-and-drop editor. To create a website on Weebly, go to Weebly.com and create an account. Remember, businesses will want to select a premium plan so they can use their own domain name and have an ad-free site. Then, select a website template and customize it to fit your business.
Weebly Website Cost
Weebly starts at $12 per month or $144 per year for a basic professional website or $25 per month or $300 per year for an ecommerce site. Weebly’s pricing is all-inclusive, so themes/templates, plugins, and web hosting are all included in the monthly fee.
It’s also worth noting that Weebly is less expensive than other drag-and-drop web builders like Squarespace and Wix. While these competitors are very similar to Weebly in terms of ease of use, functionality, and capabilities, Weebly is often considered the easiest to use while also being the least expensive of industry-leading site builders. This makes it a great value.
Benefits of Building a Website With Weebly
The main benefit of using Weebly is that it is incredibly easy to use. No web design or coding knowledge is needed to build a professional-quality website. Its drag-and-drop interface is very intuitive, so it also requires little to no learning curve, unlike WordPress which has a more complicated interface.
Here are the top reasons to use Weebly:
- Easy to use: The drag-and-drop builder is very simple, so there isn’t much of a learning curve and training is seldom necessary; websites can be designed quickly without hiring a professional
- Affordability: Compared to hiring a professional to build your website, Weebly is very affordable at just $12 per month
- Hosting is included: Weebly is unique in that the monthly fee includes web hosting; this means you don’t have to pay for web hosting in addition to the monthly fee, nor do you have to take the time to connect web hosting to your website, like with WordPress
- Professional quality: Weebly sites can be built by those with no web design experience, and yet they still look and function as a professionally built website
- eCommerce capable: Those interested in selling online will find Weebly a good choice for building and managing an ecommerce site without web development knowledge
How to Set Up a Weebly Website
To start building your Weebly website, go to Weebly to sign up for a free account. From there, you can begin building your Weebly website by choosing a template and customizing it using the user-friendly, drag-and-drop website builder. For tips, step-by-step instructions, and a visual aid as you work through the process, check out our full guide to setting up a Weebly website.
Professional Website Building
If you don’t feel comfortable designing your own website or simply don’t have the time to do it yourself, consider hiring a professional website design service. This is best for those who aren’t confident in their web design skills and would prefer the job to be handled by a website professional. There are many different designers you can choose from. They range from freelancers to local and national web design companies.
Professional Website Costs Compared
|Best For||Finding a web design pro to build a professional website from scratch||Using a professional company to build a website without a high initial investment||Getting a handful of custom web designs you can choose from||Building a very complex or sophisticated website using a local company with a full web design team|
|Average Total Cost Per Year||$312-$1,300||$1,599||$612-$2,800||$2,012-$10,300|
|Time to Build||2-6 weeks||4-8 weeks||2-8 weeks||4-12 weeks|
Which Web Hosting Company is Right for You?
Here are four ways to hire a professional to build your website:
- Fiverr: Fiverr is an online database of freelance professionals; you can search specifically for web designers, many of whom offer services at very low prices; this is a great option for businesses with a limited budget
- Hibu: Hibu is one of the cheapest ways to have a website custom built without a big upfront investment; instead of charging clients upfront, it has a small initial design cost followed by a $100 monthly service fee; it also manages your search engine optimization SEO efforts
- 99Designs: If you’re not sure what sort of design you want for your website, 99Designs is a great option; web designers will submit custom designs, and you get to choose which one you want to purchase
- Web design companies: Around 10 years ago, hiring a web design company was the main avenue to build a professional website; now, it has become the best option for businesses in need of very complex and/or sophisticated sites
Each professional web development option is suited for different businesses. To determine which is best for your business, consider factors like budget if a freelancer or team of designers is necessary, and what the complexity of your site will be. For example, those building a simple business site probably won’t need to pay a premium to use a local design company, whereas a business with a complex ecommerce site might find want a development team.
Fiverr: Hire a Professional Freelancer
Fiverr is an online marketplace where you can search and connect with professional freelancers who offer their services at competitive rates. You can see each individual freelancer’s skills and abilities, as well as public ratings and reviews from previous customers.
Benefits of Building a Website With Fiverr
The main benefit of choosing Fiverr to find a web design pro is that it is very low cost. As a platform for finding experience web design freelancers, it is also nice that you can see exactly how much each freelancer charges for their services, how long it will take them to complete the job, and public reviews from previous clients.
Here are the top reasons for using a Fiverr freelancer:
- Cheap: Fiverr is one of the cheapest ways to find a professional web design freelancer to build your website; prices averaging around $300 to $1,000 for complete website builds
- Transparency: The whole process of finding a Fiverr freelancer is clear and transparent; you can see exact pricing for services, turnaround time, average response times, and reviews from previous clients
- Peace of mind: Hiring freelancers can come with risks, although when you hire a freelancer on Fiverr, you get the peace of mind knowing freelancers are backed by the Fiverr platform; this means that Fiverr can help you resolve any issues that may arise
Fiverr Website Cost
The cost of hiring a freelance designer on Fiverr varies but averages around $300 to $1,000. Another aspect that varies with Fiverr website cost is what platform the site is being built on. For example, a site that uses custom coding will cost more than a site built with a WordPress theme.
Hibu: Work with a Professional Web Design Agency
Hibu is a professional marketing and web design agency that offers web design packages starting at $399. After the initial design cost of around $399, depending on the complexity of your site, users will then pay an ongoing monthly $100 service and hosting fee. This is one of the cheapest ways to get a website built by a team of professionals.
Benefits of Building a Website With Hibu
The benefits of building a site with Hibu is that it doesn’t require a large initial investment, compared to other full-service web design companies. Also, because sites are custom-built by a team of professionals, sites are known for having great built-in SEO features that help your site’s search rankings.
Here are the top reasons to use Hibu for your site building:
- Full-service design & development: Hibu is a full-service web design and development company that gives clients an end-to-end web design service, from initial design concepts to long-term web hosting
- Low upfront investment: Compared to other web design firms, Hibu is very affordable; instead of charging a high initial fee, it spreads out costs with a $100 monthly hosting fee
- Professional team: Websites built with Hibu are built by a team of professionals with extensive web design and development experience; this can ensure sites both look professional and function properly
Hibu Website Cost
The cost of having a professional website built with Hibu is around $399 for a standard website and then $100 per month thereafter on a 12-month contract. This, however, is only an average; Hibu uses a quote-based system to determine individual costs based on each client’s web design needs.
Use 99designs to Get a Custom Designed Website
If you’re looking for a custom designed site, we recommend trying 99designs. It’s a design platform where you submit the details of your design project and designers respond with proposals for how they will build your site. This gives you many unique design concepts to choose from. It’s a great option for those who want to see many options before settling on one.
Benefits of Choosing 99designs to Build a Custom Website
The primary selling point of 99designs is the number of design options it gives you. This is because you get designs from a number of different web designers, all vying to become your web designer. It is also a fairly low-cost way of getting a custom website and is best for those who don’t already have a specific design in mind.
Here are the top reasons to use 99designs to build a website:
- Variety of design options: Instead of getting one or two designs to choose from and customizing them yourself, you get a number of designs from different web designers; this provides a good deal of variety for those who aren’t sure what they want
- Low cost: Compared to hiring a web design firm for a custom built website, 99designs is an affordable way of having a website built by professionals
- Reduces web design revisions: Since you get to choose from a number of different designs that all meet your specific web design needs and criteria, you will go through fewer design revisions; your chosen design will already fit your needs and wants
99designs Website Cost
99designs charges users based on the number of pages they need on their site. Typically, a mobile-friendly homepage costs $300 and each additional web page costs around $150. The actual amount will vary based on design features and required coding work.
Local Web Design Company
For those who want a website but need guidance picking the right design and deciding on functionality, a local web design company might be the best option. It will be able to walk you through the entire design and build process so you can see your site take shape — and make changes along the way.
Benefits of Using a Local Web Design Company
Businesses that choose to use a local web design company typically do so because they need a complex website and want the one-on-one attention a local firm can provide. Working with a local company also adds an extra layer of accountability; these companies depend on the quality of both in-person service and design to continue getting clients.
Here are the main reasons to use a local web design company:
- Great for complex sites: Those who are looking to have a site built that is far more complex than a basic business website will find working with a local team of experts is beneficial; multiple professionals can add its expertise to a multilayered project
- One-on-one service: Local companies can offer in-person meetings and more personal service, which fits the needs of companies building out-of-the-ordinary and complex websites
- Accountability: While this is key for the livelihood of any web designer, local companies must provide both quality in-person service and expert design; this ensures that the site-building process is smooth and that the final product meets clients’ needs
For those who are considering using a professional design firm, it is often recommended that you have your designers build your site on WordPress. This allows you to take over website maintenance easily should you choose to end your relationship with the design company.
Best Website Building Tools
Website building tools are designed to make site building and maintenance as easy as possible. From SEO tools to image sourcing and graphic design tools, there are many that help nontech-savvy users create a robust, successful web presence.
Here are the best website building tools for small businesses:
- Canva: This is a free and easy-to-use drag-and-drop graphic design tool that does not require graphic design knowledge
- Pixabay: Use this site to find free stock photos that you can use on your website
- Google Analytics: Track your site’s traffic and visitor engagement with this robust analytics tools
- Google Keyword Planner Tool: Research keywords to find those with high search volume and traffic, which you can use within your website’s copy to help improve its search ranking
- Pingdom: Test your website’s speed to ensure your pages are loading quickly and troubleshoot if your site is loading slowly
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do I Find Free Website Hosting?
There are a number of free web hosting providers available. When choosing one, consider the amount of storage, bandwidth, uptime, and security the hosting provider offers. To help you find the best one for your business, read our article on the best website hosting services.
How Do I Choose the Best WordPress Theme?
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. Learn more about WordPress themes and how to install one.
How Much Does it Cost to Build an eCommerce Site?
Like any website, the cost to build an ecommerce-specific site can vary greatly from $0 to more than $10,000. The price variance is based primarily on whether you’re building the site in-house or hiring a professional web development team. If you’re interested in building your own ecommerce site, read our article on the best ecommerce website builders.
Which Is Better: Weebly or WordPress?
Weebly and WordPress are both great website builders. Generally, Weebly is easier to use, although WordPress has more robust customization options. Get more details and discover, which is better for your business: Weebly vs WordPress.
Websites are essential to your business’s online presence, but you don’t need to pay an outrageous amount of money to get one. If you’re a small business owner who needs a basic website with information about your company, consider using a DIY website builder like WordPress or Weebly. Those who want more customization options should consider hiring a professional designer.
Before building a website, you will need web hosting. It can be difficult to choose a web host with so many options available, so to make it easy we recommend Bluehost. Try Bluehost for just $2.95 per month for reliable web hosting that includes a free domain, free custom email addresses, and more. Click here to get started.