How Much Does a Website Cost in 2021

13 min. read
If you're wondering "how much does a website cost in 2021?", you're in luck! We have the answer in this post below. A must-read for every potential web owner who wants to invest into an online platform for their business.

There has never been a better or more critical time to invest in a business website. In today's digital age, you can't afford not to have a digital presence. 


And why is that?


Because without a website, people will question the credibility of your business. 


They'll think: If it's not online, it's probably a scam.


What's more, having a website can increase your chances of getting leads and convert those leads into paying customers. 


Overall, a website is the perfect place to showcase your products and services, display your best reviews and testimonials, and encourage customers to make a purchase. 


The biggest concern people have when it comes to taking their businesses online has to do with the price. 


They want to know: How much will it cost? 


We have good news coming your way. There's a solution that will work for you, regardless of your budget. 


In this extensive but informative guide, we'll analyze the top three methods for creating a website, ranging from the most affordable to the most expensive. 


We'll see the costs associated with each method and give our two cents for why you should and shouldn't opt for each one of them.


Let's dive in!


How Much Does a Website Cost?

Before we dive deep into numbers-heavy content and data-rich tables, let's play a little game!


Here are three examples of a fine website design. Can you guess which of the websites is the most expensive?


If you guessed the second one, you would be correct!


The second website is the most expensive out of the three because it's custom-built by a web designer(s). The other two are free templates from the website builders Wix and Squarespace.


And that's the first thing you have to remember before we move on.


There are three major types of websites: those built with a website builder, those that are custom-made, and those that are built with WordPress. 


In other words, the answer to the question "how much does a website cost" depends on how a website is built.


Generally, website builders are the cheapest option. For 10$-30$ per month, you'll get free web templates, customization options to create your site as you prefer, storage space, web hosting, eCommerce options, mobile-friendly options, and more. 


Building a site with WordPress is free as it's an open-source platform. However, you'll need to pay for hosting, themes, and plugins. The price becomes even higher if you hire a developer to help you with the more technical stuff. 


The most expensive option is hiring a web designer. These are highly talented professionals who are experienced in the field of building high-performing websites. Their price varies, depending on their experience level. 


In general, it can cost around $200 to build a basic website using a website builder, with the addition of $35-$50 per month in maintenance fees. The price goes up when you hire a web designer or developer. A custom website's starting point can cost you $5,000 and more, plus $1,000 for maintenance fees per year. 


Each option comes with its pros and cons. It's up to you to consider which option will be the most suitable for your business. 


In the following paragraphs, we'll be discussing the price in detail for each one of these options. 


But first, let's answer some of the most common questions!


What Is a Domain Name?

Let's imagine you want to visit Amazon's website to buy a holiday present for your friend. You click on the browser URL bar and type: www.amazon.com


That's Amazon's domain name.


When you build your own website, purchasing your own domain name will be essential. That'll be the address people type in their URL bar to visit your site. 


Your domain name will be specific to you. No one will have the same domain name as you. Similar, yes. Identical, no. 


To get the rights of a domain name, you have to purchase it first and register it annually. 


Buying and renewing a domain name would typically cost you between $2 and $20 per year, depending on the domain extension or the domain registrar you choose.


What Is Web Hosting?

If your house is where all your belongings are stored, web hosting is the place where all the files of your website live.


Web hosting providers store your website on their servers, allowing your visitors to access your site at any time.


Choosing a reliable hosting provider is critical as website hosting greatly impacts your site's loading speed, uptime, and the overall customer experience of your visitors.


Web hosting can range from a few dollars per month to as much as $10,000 yearly. It all depends on the type of web hosting. For example, shared hosting is the cheapest type of hosting that costs anywhere from $3 to $15 per month.The cost of managed hosting can cost you anywhere from $30/month to more than $500 per month. On the other hand, dedicated hosting is the most expensive kind that costs $80-$800 per month. 


If you opt for web hosting from a website builder like Wix, you'll spend around $60 to $180 per year.

What Is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate is like an online ID card that says, "this website is safe and secure from outside threats." 


These certificates come with a cryptographic key that turns your customers' sensitive information into an unreadable format. This is known as encryption.


You can expect to pay from $0 to $1,000 per year. Some website builders provide an SSL certificate for free. If you're building a custom-made site or hosting your site on WordPress, companies like GoDaddy, Comodo, and Norton are reputable vendors for SSL certificates.


What Is Web Design?

Web design is more than just designing visually appealing graphics. It includes a website's overall functionality, such as web apps, mobile apps, and user interface design. It's one of the more expensive aspects of building a website that directly impacts the performance of your site


Visitors should be able to navigate your site with ease, find relevant content, and have a positive user experience from other devices such as tablets and mobile phones.


In addition, a good web design will not only impress visitors but also search engines. If your site is fast, functional, and usable, Google will display it higher in search results.


On average, the cost for building a website ranges between $1,000 and more than $15,000. The price will depend on several factors, including the website's size, style, and functionality features.


What Is a Content Management System (CMS)?

Content Management System (CMS) is a software that helps you create, manage, and modify your website's content. 


Best of all? You don't have to possess any advanced technical knowledge.


A CMS is convenient for publishing blog posts, adding new web pages, storing images, and updating your essential contact information.


Some popular CMSs include WordPress, Exai, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, Squarespace, and Wix. 


The cost of a content management system varies. If you want a CMS to be built into your website, this can be very expensive. Some CMSs like WordPress are 100% free.


What Is an eCommerce Functionality?

The online world is diverse and comes packed with all kinds of websites, starting from static websites and portfolios to blogs and social networks.


eCommerce websites are another common type of websites that have become quite popular in recent years. 


For a website to become an eCommerce website, it needs to be upgraded with an eCommerce functionality.


An eCommerce functionality means adding a payment processing system, installing payment gateways, launching product pages, and more. 


The price of adding an eCommerce functionality ranges between $2,000 to $25,000. It depends on several factors such as the number of products, average daily and monthly orders, the size of your eCommerce business, etc.

What Is Website Maintenance?

Do you know how you regularly check your car for leaks and damages? Well, website maintenance is the process of checking your website to see whether it's performing well. 


It’s about keeping up with security updates, encouraging traffic growth, and making sure Google is happy. In fact, website maintenance services are an essential ingredient for engaging and retaining customers.


The average price for monthly website maintenance is $35 to $5,000 per month, depending on your business and website.


Building a Website With a Website Builder

Website builders are an excellent option if you're a newbie to the online world and not particularly tech-savvy. 


Here's why:

  • You can create a website using a drag-and-drop editor that lets you add text, upload images, change colors, and move elements—all with a simple click and drag of the mouse and without writing a single line of code. 

  • You can always come back to the website and make edits, even if it's already published. As website builders are cloud-based, you can log in from any device, make the changes, click save, and voila: the site will be updated. 

  • You don't have to possess any design skills to create a visually-appealing site. All website builders come with plenty of ready-to-go templates that can be customized to fit your needs and style. 

  • All website builders come with a library of free and paid tools and applications to add to your site to improve its functionality. Some of these tools and apps will be pre-built into the website builders, while others can be installed as add-ons.

  • You'll find that most website builders come with several pricing plans equipped with a different set of features to fit different needs and budgets. Also, some website builders offer free hosting services and free domain names. 

So, how much does a website cost if it's built with a website builder? 


Here's a rough overview of the associated costs:


Website Builder Costs Price Additional Info
Monthly Subscription $6-$50 per month Website builders offer several pricing plans.
Hosting Included Hosting is included with all website builders.
Domain Sometimes included Some website builders offer free domain vouchers for 1 year. After the expiration of the first year, you must renew your domain
Apps/plugins (Optional) $0-$20+ Website builders let you install free or paid apps to improve the site's functionality.
Themes Included You don't have to pay for themes.
Security Included You'll get security features built into your website builder. Some vendors even include an SSL certificate in the monthly subscription.
Professional Help Not needed Website builders are simple to use, so there's no need to hire a web developer or designer.

How Much Do Some of the Best Website Builders Cost?

Some website builders come with a free plan that gives you access to all of the basic features. The free plans are only for basic use and may be suitable for smaller businesses that don't need to sell online


Interestingly, all of the website builders come with several pricing plans, ranging from three to as many as eight. Having multiple pricing plans to choose from is an excellent perk as you can go with the plan that suits your budget and needs.


Apart from a basic website, these website builders also let you create an eCommerce site. Prices for eCommerce plans range from $12 to $300+ per month and include features such as secure online payments, customer accounts, unlimited products, abandoned cart recovery, and more. 


Here's a more detailed breakdown of the prices involved with some of the most popular website builders:


Best Website Builders Cost Free Plan Free Trial Number of Paid Plans Price Range Cheapest eCommerce Plan
Wix No Yes 8 $4.50-$24.50/month $17/month
Squarespace No Yes 4 $16-$46/month $30/month
Weebly Yes No 4 $0-$25/month $12/month
Jimdo Yes No 7 $0-$39/month $15/month
Exai No Yes 3 $11/month billed annually

$15/month billed monthly

One time payment if you want to migrate existing website
$11/month billed annually
Shopify No Yes 3 $29-$299/month $29/month

Which Plan Is Right for Me?

This will depend on your budget, the nature of your business, and needs.


For example, if you're a freelance photographer who needs a basic website to showcase their art, going with a free or a basic plan seems like a good option.


On the other end of the spectrum, if you're a multinational retail store that sells thousands of products, an enterprise eCommerce plan would be the right pick. 


Here's a breakdown of website builders price plans and who are they geared for:


Website Builder Price Plan Price Range Great For
Free plan $0/month Bloggers
Freelancers
Students building projects
First-timers
Basic Plan $12-$15/month Bloggers
Freelancers building portfolios
Small businesses
eCommerce Plan $17-$26/month Small-to-medium sized online businesses
Enterprise eCommerce Plan $300-$500/month Large online businesses

Building a Website With WordPress

WordPress Costs
Monthly Subscription $0 WordPress is a free open-source website builder
Hosting $2.59-$50+/month Hosting is not included. This means you have to look for a reputable hosting provider to keep your site up-and-running. Many hosting providers require an initial term of 12 months.
Domain $12-$60 The price of domains varies, depending on the hosting provider and the domain name.
Apps/plugins $0-$100+ per year You have the option to get free and paid plugins
Themes $0-$50+ one-time fee There are free and paid themes
Security $0-$200+ yearly Security can come built-in with your hosting plan. You can also invest in additional security measures by purchasing security plugins
Professional Help optional You may need to hire website developers. Their hourly rate may range from $50-$150+

WordPress is one of the most commonly used website builders. The reason for its popularity lies in two major things: it's open-source, and it's very powerful.


Okay, maybe three. It's also very versatile. Meaning, you can build all kinds of websites on it, including:


  • Static websites

  • Portfolios

  • Blogs

  • Ecommerce sites

  • Custom WordPress websites

  • And more


However, there's a catch!


It might not be the best option for people who are not tech-savvy. People who don't have strong technical skills may need plenty of time to familiarize themselves with the interface, features, and different plugins and tools. 


Let's say that you want to use WordPress for your site. In this case, you'll need to pay for web hosting services and install WordPress yourself. In addition, many WordPress themes and plugins require you to tweak some codes.


If this sounds like a Herculean task, you can always opt to hire a WordPress developer to do the hard work for you or build your site with a website builder like Exai.

WordPress Hosting

Getting reliable web hosting is the first thing to consider when building a WordPress site. Get this one wrong, and you'll end up with a site that acts as a visitors-repellent. 


Luckily, there's a multitude of hosting providers out there, offering services ranging from $2 per month up to $30 per month. 


Here's a quick overview of the different types of WordPress hosting:


Hosting Types Monthly Cost Best For
Shared WordPress $2-$15/month -Low traffic WordPress websites
-Small websites
-Small blogs
-Personal portfolios
Managed WordPress $20-$60/month -Businesses
-Larger blogs
eCommerce $7-$30/month -Online shops
-High traffic WordPress websites
According to our research, the best WordPress hosting providers include:
Price Free Domain Free SSL
BlueHost $2.75/month Yes Yes
SiteGround 5.99 €/month No Yes
HostGator $2.64/month Yes Yes
DreamHost $2.49/month Yes Yes
A2 Hosting €2.44/month No Yes

Domain Name

Unlike website builders, hosting your site on WordPress doesn't come with a domain name included in the price. 


Luckily, as we mentioned previously in the text, many WordPress hosting providers like BlueHost and HostGator give you a custom domain for free for the first year. After that, you'll need to renew your domain name every year. The cost for the renewal can cost anywhere from $12 to $60.


Hiring Professional Help

Building a small website with only a few functionalities and a standard free theme is a piece of cake for people who have some technical experience. 


However, the trouble begins if you want to create a custom WordPress site with plenty of complex functionalities. In this case, hiring a WordPress developer is your go-to option.


WordPress developers charge anywhere between $30 to $100+ per hour, depending on their experience and location in the world. As a general rule of thumb, the more you pay, the better the developer is likely to be.


Plugins

Plugins add functionality to your site. For example, you can get a plugin to improve your security, add contact forms to your site, add multilingual functionality, and more. 


Some of these plugins are free, while others are paid. Depending on how many plugins you'll add to your site, you can expect to pay anywhere from $0 to $100+ per year.


Theme

Similar to plugins, WordPress offers a range of free and paid themes. The difference is that free themes are typically produced by independent developers, come with limited or no support, and a basic set of features.


On the other hand, paid themes have superior quality and come with more features out of the box, including greater customization options and third-party app integrations. 


On average, you can expect to pay around $50 for a premium theme. Even though this may sound like a lot, keep in mind that you only pay once. After that, the theme is yours to customize and edit for as long as you wish.


Security

WordPress sites are notorious for having security issues. For this reason, it's a smart move to invest in proper security features that will protect your site from outside threats. 


Some of the best security plugins include:


  • Sucuri (free version)

  • WordFence Security

  • MalCare Security

  • iThemes Security

  • Defender

  • All in One WP Security & Firewall (free)


You can expect to pay anywhere from $0-$299 per year.


Building a Custom-Made Website

How much does a website cost if it's custom-made?


The answer is: choose this option only if you have a large budget at your disposal. 


Here's a detailed overview of all the costs associated with a custom-made website:


Custom-Made Website Costs
Upfront Fees $500-$1,000 This includes launching and designing the site.
Ongoing Fees $2.59-$50+/month Some web designers take care of your hosting while others don't. Make sure you check this with them.
Hosting $12-$60 The price of domains varies, depending on the hosting provider and the domain name.
Apps/plugins $0 The apps and plugins you need will be included in the designer's quote.
Themes $0-$50+ one-time fee There are free and paid themes you can purchase that can be customized to your preferences.
Security $0-$200+ yearly Security can come built-in with your hosting plan. You can also invest in additional security measures by purchasing security plugins.

Building a custom-made website is the opposite of building a site using a template. It involves hiring a web designer or a design agency to create the best website for your business.


However, this doesn't mean that you, as a website owner, can sit back and relax. On the contrary, you must work closely with the designer or the agency to help them create the site you have imagined.


A custom-made website is a suitable choice if:

  • The website you need to build is highly complex.

  • You don't have the time or the technical knowledge to build the site yourself.

  • You have a big budget.

Building a custom-made website without a big budget is impossible. Whether you hire a web designer or a design agency, this is the most expensive option of the three on this list.


For example, the average hourly rate of a web designer is somewhere between $50 to $100 per hour. The rate of the web designer will depend on the project and the designer's experience.


If you opt for a design agency, you can expect to pay an upfront fee and then an ongoing monthly fee. The cost will depend on the agency, the number of web pages, website features, whether you'll need an eCommerce functionality, and more. 


On average, you can expect to pay around $500-$1,000 upfront fee and an ongoing fee of around $100-$200 per month. The ongoing monthly fee usually includes hosting, security, support, and maintenance.


Freelancer and Web Design Agency Costs Price range
Freelancer $50 - $100/hour
Web Design Agency Costs $500-$1,000 upfront fee + $100-$200 ongoing fee

What Are Some of the Factors That Affect Website Pricing?

Three major factors affect the price of a custom-made website:

  1. Complexity: The more complex your site, the higher the price. This includes all the different things you want to be able to do with your site. It includes features such as eCommerce functions, online store, membership portals, etc. 

  2. Size: The number of pages you'll need will affect the price of the website. For example, let's say you want to have a Blog page, Product pages, Contact us page, About us page, and an Order tracking page. In this case, different page layout templates need to be designed and created for each one of the web pages. 

  3. Maintenance: Will you need the designer or the agency to carry ongoing maintenance on your site? Or will you do this yourself?

Tips for Reducing Costs

The most common way of reducing the cost of building a custom-made site is by buying a WordPress theme and hiring a web designer to customize it for you. 


By doing so, you're not building a site from scratch but customize an existing theme and adjust it to fit your business. 


This can be a great option if you want to avoid the high costs of a fully custom-made website and the dullness of a pre-made template. 


Some web designers will charge you by the hour while others may request a payment by the project. The cost for template customization ranges from $300 to $1,000, depending on the degree of customization.


In addition to theme customization, there are other ways to reduce the overall cost, such as opting for fewer pages or not going overboard with features.


However, make sure you don't try to cut down on costs by hiring a less experienced web designer or a cheaper web agency. You may end up with a low-quality product that you're not happy with.


Optional Web Marketing Costs

Let's imagine that you went through the turmoil of creating a website and it's finally here.


It's exactly as you have imagined it: sleek, modern, and impactful.


You've sent it to your friends and family and everyone loves it.


But how do you make sure your newly designed website reaches the attention of potential customers?


There's one way and that's through website marketing.


In a nutshell, website marketing involves promoting your online site to potential customers through a variety of marketing channels. The goal is to bring those customers to your site and convince them to become paying customers, as well as retain them post-purchase.


Investing in website marketing is a critical step for websites that have something to sell. For websites such as portfolios and blogs, it's entirely optional. 


Some of the best tactics for driving traffic to your website are the following:

SEO

$500-$2,500+ per month


Let's say that a person searches for the best vintage kitchen decor on Google. 


If you're selling vintage kitchen decor, you want to see your website appearing in the search results. That's the goal of any SEO strategy.


In short, SEO is a marketing method that improves your visibility in search results. 



With 87% of shoppers beginning their product searches online, SEO is worth investing in.


Regarding its cost, the price ranges, depending on what's included, the competitiveness of the industry, whether you want to rank locally or internationally, and other factors. 


On average, if you're executing a local campaign, expect to pay $500 or more per month. However, if you're planning on launching an international campaign, be prepared to spend a minimum of $2,500 per month.


PPC

$1000-10,000+ per month


PPC is another marketing strategy that involves your company paying an ad network, for example, Google, every time someone clicks on your advertisement. 


There are a few types of PPC ads, including paid search, display, and product listing ads. 


A PPC places your company high in the search results. That's why it's a popular tactic for businesses building their SEO strategy. 


The price for PPC varies, depending on the industry, current trends, number of keywords, and more.


On average, you should expect to pay $0.50-$2 per click. 


Let's say that you're a small-sized company that aims to get 200 clicks per day. The price per click is $0.75.


The math is the following:


0.75 x 200 = $150 


If you want to run these ads four times per week, the price would be $600 per week. That's $2,400 per month.


Content Marketing

$2,000 to $10,000 per month


Content marketing involves creating and promoting relevant, unique, and consistent content in order to attract and retain customers. The end goal of every content marketing strategy is to convince a potential customer to become a paying customer.


For example, your business may publish regular blog posts, online ebooks, or infographics. The blog posts can focus on the bottom-of-the-funnel shoppers while the ebooks can focus on the top-of-the-funnel shoppers. 


On average, you can expect to pay between $2,000 to $10,000 per month, depending on your business size, budget, and type of content.


Copywriting

$50-$500 per page


Copywriting is a recommended strategy that will effectively complement your SEO and PPC efforts. 


With SEO and PPC, you'll be directing people to your website. If they arrive on your website and find poorly written pages or pages that lack any content whatsoever, they won't think twice about leaving. 


Copywriting can include landing page content, sales copy, product descriptions copy, newsletters, white papers, and more. 


The price for copywriting depends on many factors, including your industry, the experience of the copywriter, word count, etc.


On average, most businesses spend around $50 to $500 per page for a high-quality piece of content.


Email Marketing

$10-$1,000 per month 


Email marketing involves creating marketing campaigns to direct your subscribers to take action, such as view your website, contact your company, or visit your store. 


The cost of email marketing is not fixed and varies depending on:

  • Will you be self-managing your campaign or will you be working with an agency?

  • Will you be using email automation tools?

  • Will you be running analytics?

  • What's the number of subscribers?

On average, businesses can expect to pay between $10-$1,000 per month if they're self-managing their email campaigns. If you opt to work with an agency, $300-$500 per month is the average cost.


Social Media Marketing

$200-$300 per day


In 2020, around 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide. That number is projected to grow to 4.41 billion by 2025.


Ignoring such an extensive market would be sabotaging your own business. 


Social media marketing involves promoting your business on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to drive traffic to your website and ultimately more purchases. 


Today, social media platforms make it easier for you to promote your brand and generate sales. Each platform has its own set of tools for eCommerce marketing efforts.


These tools are similar to Google PPC ads. You create an ad, set your budget, and pay every time a user clicks on your link.


The cost for social media marketing varies and depends on the number of social media platforms you target, the number of ads, your target audience location, the size of your target audience, and more.


On average, you can expect to pay between $200 to $350 per day.


Final Word

Let's recap:


When it comes to building a website, you have three main options at your disposal:

  1. Create your site with a website builder

  2. Create your site using WordPress

  3. Create a custom-made website

If you're on a tight budget and your website is simple, going with a website builder is the best option. This is the less expensive option that is also suitable for people who don't possess any technical experience. 


The average cost of building a website with a website builder is between $5-$50 per month. The good news is there are many website builders to choose from, all of which offer a range of different pricing plans to fit any budget.


Creating a website using WordPress is a smart option if you're looking for an open-source platform to support your site. The good thing about WordPress is that it is suitable for both technical and not technical web owners. Why? Because you can always choose to build the website yourself or hire a WordPress developer to do the hard work for you.


Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30-$700+ in upfront costs, depending on whether you're doing the hard work yourself or you're hiring a developer. However, the costs don't stop there. There are also ongoing costs associated with a WordPress site, ranging from a few dollars to $50+, depending on your site's size, functionalities, and complexity. 


Finally, building a custom-made website is the most expensive option. It's suitable for website owners who're planning on building a complex site and have a large budget at their disposal. Building a custom site is possible by hiring a web designer or a design agency to design the website from scratch. However, it's also possible to reduce the high cost by buying a theme and have the web designer customize it into something unique for you. 


Before you decide, take a moment to think about:

  • Your budget

  • Your technical skills

  • The type of site you want

  • What you want from your site

  • The design of the site

  • How much time you have to dedicate to the process

Only by considering these points will you be able to pick the best method for you and your business. 


Good luck!


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