How much does it cost to build a website for a small business?

Angela S.

Owner &  Head Designer

Posted Feb.16 2021

So, you’re at the point where you need a website, but how much will it cost? I’ll break down exactly how much you can expect to pay and how to save money along the way.  

The cost of a website relies on 4 things:

  1. The cost of build
  2. The cost of your yearly fees (like hosting and domain)
  3. The cost of maintenance
  4. The cost of upgrades and marketing

Let’s explore each item, as well as…

  1. What the cost includes
  2. An estimated cost depending on website type
  3. How to save money and/or not to overpay

Ready? Let’s go!

 1. The cost of building a website

This is the initial cost of any website. Essentially, with a web builder this cost includes the initial setup, design, content and optimization of your site. 

If you are using a DIY web builder (like Squarespace, Wix, GoDaddy or one of the MANY others) you will be building it yourself. Does this mean you will save money? Absolutely not. Often, building a site on a DIY web builder can trap you, giving you restrictions and high yearly fees. More often than not, people give up and start from scratch with a professional built on WordPress.

I’ve got a whole list of why WordPress is the best choice for a website, you can read it here.

Essentially, I only recommend building a website using one of the DIY web builder’s if you are:

  • Tech savvy and design savvy
  • Have the time to build, maintain and upgrade the site for the foreseeable future
  • Understand you don’t own the site and you are OK with that (you can’t move it to a different CMS)
  • Understand the high yearly fees vs. a low yearly fee site
  • Understand your site will have less value

If you are planning on hiring a website designer, they should be able to give you a low-build cost option. A low, fast and efficient build (often referred to a “Launch-Pad” site) has a ton of perks, especially for small business owners. My favorite is the fact that you can make smarter, data-based decisions on how your site should grow. I make sites called “SmartySites”, which are similar to “Launch-Pad” style sites, except they are developed using a similar but different methodology and are not affiliated. Read more about this type of site here, and why you need one. 

What is the estimated cost? 

A website designer should be able to build you a site for $500 – $1500. A SmartySite or a Launch-Pad site is a lower cost, as it is made to be simpler and meant to grow. Many designers can build a simple site in a fast and inexpensive way, so depending on how big the site is, don’t pay more than $1500 (unless it is justified with a bigger and heavier site build). 

How to save money and not overpay

A great way to save money and time is with a “launch-pad” type website – can your designer make you one or will build it the traditional way? As well, you should be able to get an accurate quote on the cost of your website with specifics of what you will get. I made a list of 10 value-adding essentials for every website, plus a list of website needs for you to bring to your designer. See if you can get a website with everything on this list (and maybe more!). 

A SmartySite is a 'launch-pad' style website

What is a SmartySite?

  • A quickly built website that costs less to build than a traditional one
  • It looks and performs better than what you currently have
  • It is not your final website; it is a foundation
  • It collects analytics so you can continue to optimize and build the site from data

2. The cost of yearly fees

Every website needs hosting and a domain. DIY web builders will also charge for added ‘features’, so the yearly fees are usually much higher than a professionally made site.

A site made by a professional website designer shouldn’t charge you added yearly fees. However, not all providers are made equally; what perks can they offer you? Most offer the first year of your domain for free , but you should also get a free email address (so you can have professional communication with customers) and a free security certificate (to show your visitors you take privacy and security seriously, also giving you the ability to sell online and improve your SEO).

What is the estimated cost?

Hosting is typically $120-$175/year. Domain is typically $10 – $25/year. 

If you choosing a DIY web builder, expect to pay $120 – $216/year. The pricing substantially jumps when you are choosing to sell online (referred to as an ecommerce website), with costs ranging from $300 – $3500/year. Remember, you are restricted to their features and a website builder should be able to give you an ecommerce site with unlimited features for next to nothing (comparatively). 

How to save money and not overpay

First of all, get your list of needs in order. Where do you want to be in 5 years? Ask your designer if they can give you a clear outline of the costs according to what you need and budget accordingly. Also, yearly fees shouldn’t change drastically year-over-year.

3. The cost of maintenance

Maintenance is simple – it’s going in and making sure your site is working and functioning well. Getting Analytics on your site is crucial, because you can see the data of how your site is doing. If you find you’re not getting found on Google, add to your blog. Is your site too slow, did it crash or is it getting a poor SEO rating? Go in and make those changes asap. 

What is the estimated cost?

Your designer should offer a low-cost monthly maintenance for essentials like plugin upgrades and security checkups. I’d say $25-$100/month. For adding content, you will have to pay more for someone to do this for you, or do it yourself. Ask your designer if they can help you make edits, add blog posts and edit content yourself. 

How to save money and not overpay

Many designers will make big bucks on controlling your site and not giving you access. As a client, they force you to have to use them for any edit, big or small. They don’t help you understand the back-end. Ask your designer if they offer videos or training so you’re not helpless!

What should you look for when hiring a website designer? What questions should you ask?

I interviewed a local business owner who hired one and regretted it. By not asking the right questions, she had to pay in time, money and unneccesary stress. Read the guide & interview here.

4. The cost of upgrades and marketing

 

You’ve heard of the old saying, “if you build it, they will come”. It is definitely not true with websites! 

You have to promote your site offline and online (like on social media) to drive traffic to your site. You should be sharing the link, sharing your content and upgrading your site so it’s more user-friendly and gives a great user experience.

Adding a social media feed, events, selling products, adding a members-only section is all ways you can upgrade your site. 

What about ads? Well, you should try your hand at Facebook or Google ads that target your ideal customer (and go to a place on your site you know they’ll love). 

What is the estimated cost?

This is totally up to you! I plan to spend $20-$75/month on ads and am always researching new ways to upgrade my site. With a WordPress site, you have access to thousands of free plugins. 

How to save money and not overspend

Upgrades and marketing is essential, and you can choose how much you want to pay. The more you pay does not mean the better your site will be; you should be making data-based decisions for smart growth. Get a smart marketer to help will save you money in the long run. As well, as I mentioned, paying less on the build of your site will leave you with more money to spend on upgrading and marketing your site. 

Conclusion

There you have it! The cost of your website has many factors and they all have pros and cons. To see a my Ultimate Guide to a Website, click here.

For the typical SmartySite you can expect to pay the following:

$500 for the build, $125 for the first year domain & hosting, unlimited support, diy videos and training, free tips & tricks and transparent pricing for upgrades.

Plus, every SmartySite is built in as little as one week. 

We also offer everything on the 10 value-adding essentials checklist. Can your web designer do that?

We hope you liked this article! Please leave us a comment below.

If you want to learn more and speak with someone one-on-one, meet Angela for a virtual coffee (on us). 

Meet with me for free

Let’s meet and get you on your way to the website of your dreams