If you’re building a brand, you’ll need a website, whether it’s a one-page portfolio or a full-on eCommerce store. But how much does it cost to build a website?
That’s inevitably one of the first questions you’ll have, but in truth, website development costs vary.
It all depends on how much work is required to build a website that suits your needs.
The good news is that you have plenty of options when it comes to choosing a website development process. The even better news is that this article breaks them all down for you.
Criteria for understanding website building costs
To answer the question “how much does it cost to build a website?” as thoroughly as we can, let’s first identify some critical criteria.
However you choose to build a website, the main components are always the same: you’ll need somewhere to host it, a domain name, an interface, and tools to help people find it.
So why are website development costs so varied?
It’s down to how you build your site. You could use a website builder, take a more DIY approach and use a CMS platform, or opt for hiring a professional to do all the work.
To understand what web development route you’ll need to go down, here’s an explanation of each necessary website feature:
At the start of your website development journey, you’ll be wondering, “how much does a website cost?” But let’s be more specific.
There are three main ways to create a website, and breaking down the development costs per option will give you the most informed answer. So we’ll be answering:
How much does a website cost using a website builder? Users pay per month or per year to build and design websites without touching code with this option.
How much does a website cost using a CMS? The highly flexible option, a content management system (CMS), and s open-source software for users with some experience.
How much does a website cost using custom code? This option enables users to have a completely bespoke site but prepare to pay a massive premium.
Whether you want a completely custom website or you’re happy to work with website builders, every site needs a host.
Web hosting is where you store your website’s files on a server – essentially your website’s home – and you can pick from solutions like shared, VPS, or dedicated hosting.
Here’s how you’ll have to approach hosting depending on how you create a website:
- Website builder – Hosting is included in the cost of using a website builder, so you won’t need to find a host.
- CMS – If you use a CMS like WordPress, you’ll have to source a hosting provider for your website.
- Custom code – Similar to using CMS, you’ll need to pay for a host, although often your web designers will find one for you.
Just like physical locations, websites need addresses to be found. Your domain name is key to your site’s identity so whichever route you take, expect to pay for one.
You’ll have to find a unique domain name and register it with an ICANN-accredited domain registrar. A domain name is essentially rented, so factor the cost as an annual spend.
Domain name costs vary, and the extension most notably influences the price range – also called a top-level domain (TLD) – that you go for. Here are some examples:
- .com – The most popular and desirable domain name extension, .com is ideal for a business website, and you’ll probably need to pay a premium for it.
- .online – An affordable option, this TLD would suit a small business website or someone promoting their personal brand.
- .shop – This extension will set you back a few dollars per year and is ideal for an eCommerce website.
Website design is just as important as the infrastructure of a site. Web design impacts how users perceive and interact with your website, so this part requires time and energy.
The cost to create a custom site design varies wildly depending on how you’re building a website in the first place.
In fact, your design requirements will often be the deciding factor in which route you choose – builder, CMS, or hiring a professional.
Here’s a brief estimate of website design cost across the three main options:
With a website builder – There are no extra web design costs here. You pick a ready-made template and customize color, typography, and layout using intuitive drag and drop editors on a grid system.
With a CMS like WordPress – As its open-source software, you get plenty of design freedom. Choose from thousands of themes to build a custom website. Sites like ThemeForest offer WordPress themes from $13 to nearly $4000.
With a custom-coded website – The only limit is your imagination (and budget). The cost of creating a bespoke layout with a web designer depends on your branding needs and the level of complexity. Expect to pay upwards of $4000.
Functionality and features
If you’re building a business website, you’ll want the room to grow. So it’s essential to figure out early on how you can add extra functions and – more importantly – what that will cost.
Even a small business website deserves the best eCommerce functionality, blog or forum pages, and other exciting add-ons.
Like design, this aspect of website development can vary in complexity and, therefore, in cost. Here’s an idea of how functionality is added at all three levels:
With a website builder – You’ll need to pay for an eCommerce plan to get necessary functions like a checkout and inventory planning. It’s all built-in, but you can add integrations like Facebook Shop and specific payment gateways.
With a CMS like WordPress – Download and use plugins or extensions to get added functionality. While some plugins are free, premium options can cost up to $200. Open-source software is an ideal platform for bloggers.
With a custom-coded website – To add eCommerce functionality like payment gateways, tax calculators, inventory management, and product pages, you’ll need to pay a premium development cost of around $10,000 upwards.
Marketing and SEO
You can’t rely on design alone to attract visitors to your website. Whether you’re running a business or showcasing a portfolio, you’ll need to pull some marketing strings.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is key to pushing your site to the top of search rankings, and it helps to use some of the best SEO tools to get you started.
Your marketing and website efforts won’t happen in a silo – you need an integrated toolkit to get people interested in your site pages. Here’s what you’ll generally require:
With a website builder – A decent option will be optimized out of the box to improve SEO essentials like page load speed, plus you’ll get in-built tools like Google Tag Manager. You can also pay for marketing extras like pay-per-click (PPC) ads.
With a CMS like WordPress – You can implement plugins like Yoast SEO or use some strategies to promote your business, like PPC ads or affiliate marketing. Alternatively, hire marketing assistance at an hourly rate.
With a custom-coded website – It’s possible to factor marketing and SEO tools into your overall website development cost so that your website is optimized from the get-go. Or use a dedicated team or agency for an hourly fee.
Just like any finely tuned machine, websites should be taken care of after the initial web development stage.
Some essential tasks are required to maintain a website, from software updates to security checks and website backups. Here’s how involved you can expect to be:
With a website builder – There are no website maintenance costs for you to take care of, as the cost of maintaining your site’s functionality is built into your plan.
With a CMS like WordPress – You can set your site to update its core functions automatically, add plugins to do the work, or hire a service.
With a custom-coded website – You can often factor maintenance into
your website development cost, but if not, an IT specialist can help at an hourly rate.
Cost of building a website with a website builder
Website builders have revolutionized the online experience for everyone who wants to have a presence on the internet.
Easy and affordable, these platforms are built to be used by anyone who wants a website or online store. So, how much does it cost to build a website with a website builder?
There are several options available – let’s check out some of the key players:
Known for speed and an impressive AI toolkit, Zyro offers four price plans for business and eCommerce websites, starting from $23 up to $30 per month.
With over 500 design templates and packed with features, Wix…