The cost to build a website varies widely, depending on factors such as which platform it’s built on and what features are needed. A DIY website using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or site builders like Squarespace cost around $12 to $15 per month, whereas the cost to have a site professionally built can range from a few hundred to over $10,000, with ongoing costs around $3 to $25 per month for web hosting.
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The 3 Ways to Build a Website
There are three main options when it comes to building a website: build it yourself using a CMS such as WordPress, build it yourself using an all-in-one site builder such as Squarespace, or hire a professional web designer. The most affordable option is to build it yourself, which will cost around $100 upfront to build a WordPress site and around $12 per month for a site using a site builder.
Here are the three main ways to build a website:
- Option 1: Build it yourself using WordPress
- Option 2: Build it yourself using an all-in-one site builder
- Option 3: Hire a professional web designer
Interested in learning more about what you’ll need to build your own website, including web design, platforms, and step-by-step instructions? Learn how to build your small business website.
Website Costs Compared (by Development Type)
All-in-one site builders (e.g., Squarespace)
WordPress, created by a professional web designer or firm
Who It’s Right For
Businesses with some technical aptitude looking to build a highly customizable site
Those that want to easily build and maintain a site in-house
Businesses with complex site needs that require coding
Cost to Build (Approx.)
~$0 - $100
$500 - $10,000+
Cost to Maintain (Approx.)
~$3 - $20/mo.
~12 - $30/mo.
~$3 - $500+
Option 1: Build Your Own Site Using WordPress + Cost
WordPress is one of the most popular platforms due to its low cost, extensive features, and vast customization capabilities. WordPress is free to use, though there are costs involved with building and maintaining one. These include buying a domain name and web hosting as well as optional extras such as premium themes and plugins. In total, building your own WordPress site can cost under $100 and only around $3 to $10 per month in ongoing costs for web hosting.
Here are the five main costs involved in building and maintaining a WordPress website:
- Domain name (required): Every site needs a domain name, or URL, such as www.yourbusiness.com. You can buy one from domain name registrars such as GoDaddy or Google Domains for around $12 to $15 per year, or you can get one for free with many of the top web hosting plans.
- Web hosting (required): In order to be live on the web, sites need web hosting. Though this sounds technical, it’s actually pretty easy to get and set up. It’s also quite affordable with feature-rich plans that include many extras, such as a free domain name for as little as $3 per month from Bluehost.
- Premium theme (optional): WordPress themes serve as website templates and while you can choose a free theme, many opt to invest in a premium theme. The reason is it that premium themes give users more design features, integrations, and functionality, which not only make it easier to customize your site but also faster, making them worth the cost of around $30 to $75.
- Premium plugins (optional): Plugins give WordPress sites additional features and capabilities, from added security to built-in search engine optimization (SEO) tools. While a basic free version of most plugins is available, many will choose to upgrade to a premium plugin for more features and capabilities at a cost varying from $5 to over $100.
- Your time (required): While it’s entirely possible to build a WordPress site without any web design experience or coding knowledge, it does involve a learning curve and it will require time. Consider your time and whether it may be worth using an all-in-one site builder or hiring a pro.
Pros & Cons
WordPress comes with a lot of pros, from being an affordable open source platform that’s highly customizable and generally built for good SEO. It’s not without its downsides, though. For example, it can be a difficult platform to build a site with, it may be more vulnerable to security breaches as it is an open source platform, and frequent updates are required.
Can be difficult to use
Vulnerable to security issues
Good for SEO
Frequent updates required
How to Build a WordPress Site
It’s possible to easily build a WordPress website without any coding knowledge. To do this, start by getting a web hosting plan that includes extras such as a free domain. Use the one-click WordPress installation to automatically connect your domain and web hosting plan. Next, choose a theme, install plugins, add pages, and create your header, footer, and navigation. Finally, customize pages and launch your site.
Get the complete step-by-step instructions on how to make a WordPress website, including a video tutorial.
Who Should Use WordPress?
WordPress is the world’s leading CMS, with over 75 million sites worldwide. Businesses of all sizes across all industries use WordPress because it’s incredibly customizable and flexible. It’s best for those who are building a site with unique features as well as those who have the time to invest in learning the platform upfront in order to have a very low ongoing cost.
Tip: Save money by getting web hosting first. Many of the 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 having to manually connect your domain name and web hosting to WordPress by using one-click WordPress installation.
Option 2: Build Your Own Site Using a Site Builder
There are a number of all-in-one site builders available that make it easy for anyone to build a site on their own—no technical expertise or coding knowledge required. These site builders include everything needed to build a site, including a domain name, web hosting, templates, and user-friendly, drag-and-drop editing interfaces. The leading site builders include Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and GoDaddy, which all cost around $12 to $15 per month.
Site Builders: Costs & Inclusions
Starting Price for Business Plans
$12 per month
$13 per month
$12 per month
$10 per month
Starting Price for Ecommerce Plans
$26 per month
$23 per month
$26 per month
$25 per month
Web Hosting Included
Drag-and-Drop Site Editor
Free with annual plans
Free with annual plans
Pros & Cons
The main benefit of using a site builder is that they make 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 SEO, and ecommerce plans can get expensive.
Ultra-easy to use
May lack customization capabilities
Everything is included
SEO tools may be insufficient
Build a professional site quickly
Ecommerce plans can be costly
How to Build a Site Using a Site Builder
No matter which site builder you choose, the process of building a website will be more or less the same. To start, go to the platform of your choice and create an account. Then, choose a template or theme, add pages, and begin customizing your site. When finished building your site, select a business plan (approximately $12 per month), choose a domain name (if you don’t already own one), and launch your site.
Who Should Use a Site Builder?
All-in-one site builders a good choice for most small businesses that want to build and manage their site in-house easily and affordably. Site builders are also a good choice for those who need to get a site designed and launched as soon as possible, as site builders make it easy to quickly build a professional site without any technical expertise or coding knowledge.
Tip: Save money by using a site builder that includes a free domain name and SSL certificate, such as Squarespace.
Option 3: Hire a Professional Web Designer
Those who don’t feel comfortable designing their own website, or simply don’t have the time to, should consider hiring a professional website design service. There are many different ways to get a professionally built site, from using a full-service marketing agency, such as Hibu, using a web design firm, or hiring a freelance web designer. Depending on which you choose and the requirements of your site, the cost will range from $300 to over $10,000.
Here are the three most common ways to get a professionally built website:
- Full-service marketing agency
- Web design firm
Pros & Cons
Let’s look at the pros and cons of hiring a professional web designer. First and foremost, it will most likely be the most expensive way to get a site, and it will also take the longest and give you the least control over your site. However, it will save you time and help ensure your site is high-quality and built to get found in search.
Get a professionally-built site
Can be expensive
Save yourself time (and energy)
Built to get found in search
Often takes a lot of time
Who Should Use a Professional Web Designer?
Hiring a web designer 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. It’s also best for those who lack time, need a highly customized site, or have the budget and want the peace of mind of having a professionally built site.
Tip: It’s possible to get a professionally built website at an affordable price through providers such as Hibu. Website costs vary based on your individual needs, but pricing starts at as little as $99.
7 Money-saving Website 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 non-tech-savvy users create a robust, successful web presence.
Here are the seven best website building tools to save you money:
- 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 tool.
- 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.
- Ubersuggest: Similar to the Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest is a free keyword research tool. Where it differs is that it’s much more user-friendly and geared towards helping users build a site for SEO.
- Pingdom: Test your website’s speed to ensure your pages are loading quickly and troubleshoot if your site is loading slowly.
- Fiverr: In the cases where you’re in need of a helping hand, consider Fiverr. There you can find freelancers for one-off tasks for anything from designing a logo to installing your WordPress theme or writing custom code for as little as $5.
There are all sorts of free and low-cost tools that can help save you money and build a better website. Chances are that no matter what you need, there’s a tool or resource to help you, so it’s worth taking the time to research and find these tools.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I get a free domain name?
There are two 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. Get all of the details on 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. 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 site can vary greatly, from $0 to over $10,000. The largest factor in how affordable or expensive your ecommerce site will be is whether you build it yourself using a site builder or WordPress, or if you outsource 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 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 SEO, but it requires some technical skills. Get the full breakdown of Squarespace vs WordPress.
Bottom Line: How Much Does a Website Cost
Websites are essential to your business’ online presence, but you don’t need to pay thousands, or even hundreds, to get one. If you’re a small business owner who needs a basic website with common functionalities at an affordable price, you’ll likely find building your own with WordPress or Squarespace to be your best bet.
Those looking to build a site with WordPress should be sure to avoid making the mistake many make of not buying web hosting first. The reason being is that by getting web hosting first, you’ll save money getting a free domain name and time by using one-click WordPress installation. It can be difficult to choose a web host with so many options available, so to make it easy, we recommend Bluehost, which offers all of these extras for as little as $2.95 per month.