Have you been dreaming of starting your own business venture for some time? Or, do you have an existing business that you are ready to grow? The next logical step is creating a website. 

As you browse other internet sites, no doubt you see attractive features and functions that you would like to see on your website. Much like building a dream home, you have imagined a beautiful and appealing website where visitors will come and experience what you have to offer.

A key question that immediately comes to a person’s mind when they are building their dream home, is one that also comes to our mind when preparing to create a website. The crucial question is:

How much is this going to cost me?

In this article, we are going to briefly consider some basic elements that are essential to building a website and their general cost.

Each website is unique, and they vary greatly. As a result, determining an exact cost is elusive until it is completed. The price may go from almost free to highly expensive.

That having been said, with some generic research and scrutiny of the topic, we can help you to anticipate in general what it will cost you to build the website you have envisioned.  

How much does it cost to build a website?

Basic Elements of All Websites

The following basic elements are a part of every website, so they are the starting factors in determining the cost of your website. 

  • Website type. What type of website do you want? The nearly two billion existing websites come in many forms. There are small business websites and websites for complex enterprises. There are simple blogs and complicated online shops. The type of website you want to create will affect the price of building it significantly. The more complex the type of website, the higher the price.
  • Domain Name and Web Hosting. Just as every home needs a physical location to reside, every web presence needs a location and address where it can be found. Thus, a domain name and a website host are required. You can either piece these essential elements together from different sources or obtain them together through a website service like, for instance, Bluehost or Namecheap if you have a lower budget.

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  • Essential software. Every website uses a type of software to power it. Whether it is HTML or PHP files, including perhaps a content management system (CMS), in all cases, your website will need something other than fairy dust to power it. Based on which you choose, the cost will vary. For instance, some of the best CMS like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are free. If instead, you decide to use a software to build your website, you will find some good website builders that may offer a free plan too. However, to achieve the best results it is better to go for a paid option.
  • Additional functions. In addition to the basic technology, depending on the functionality you would like to see on your website, further components will be necessary. These might be third-party services, plugins, and apps. Many of these additions come with a fee.
  • Website building. Just because a person has tires, bolts, and metal doesn’t mean they have a car. In the same way, simply having all the parts to a website doesn’t make a website. All of the parts must be assembled. The design, setup, and development must be done by someone, whether it is yourself, or hiring someone else. Choosing to hire someone else to develop your site will come with a cost.
  • Ongoing upkeep. Lastly, a fundamental element to having a website is maintaining it. Across the known universe, unattended things always lose their functionality over time. This is true of a website. Planning the continual ongoing maintenance is an essential cost to be factored in.

Initial Costs of Building Your Website

There is a big choice for you to make about who will build your website which will affect your costs significantly. Quite frankly, it’s going to cost you something. Either in dollars, or time and mental and emotional energy. Here are your options.

  • Build it Yourself. This first option is the least expensive. Using an open-source content management system, such as WordPress or something similar, you can create your website without coding and it will be pretty fast.

    Of course, if you understand coding, you can create it that way too. This method then requires you to pay for just hosting and a domain name. These costs can be only a few dollars each month, or much more expensive. It is certainly possible that with a minimum version of a website, where you have done all the design, creating, copywriting, etc. yourself, that the annual cost is about $60.

    That is $60 that you spend monetarily. This option requires that you factor in what your personal time and effort is worth to you.

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  • Using Freelancer is Another Option. Perhaps, you would rather invest actual dollars than your personal time and energy. In this case, the cost will vary depending on your requirements and the expertise of your freelancer. On average, a standard WordPress website requires about 15 to 30 hours to create. Using this as a basis, you could guesstimate a cost between $150 to $3,000. Obviously, this price could increase notably depending on the unique features you want to be included. 
  • Lastly, there is the option of using an agency. With this option, it is much like making a wish and seeing all your dreams come true. But, for a large price. Of course, with an agency, you will have multiple talented parties working on different aspects of your website. All working hard and creating amazingly beautiful content. You can get great quality with an agency.

    The cost? Agencies can have an hourly rate from $100 to $500 an hour. As a result, it is realistic that your website could cost between $10,000 to $50,000. With a sticker price like that, it is good to remember that the result can be an extraordinary website and the investment completely worth it. 

More on Website Maintenance Costs

website maintenance cost

Just like with a home, the initial cost of buying a house seems significant, however, the costs of a landscaper, water and electric bills, etc. can also add up over time as you maintain the home. Similarly, with a website, upkeep costs can also accumulate over time.

These will often include:

  • The Hosting and Domain Costs. The precise amounts for web hosting change depending on which plan you select, but usually, there is an annual or monthly fee. However, if you self-host your site, the cost will be determined by your internet provider. Keep in mind that custom domains have annual renewal costs as well. 

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  • Software Updates. Software is constantly evolving. New features and code improvements are the norm. When you use a hosted solution, this concern is handled by the hosting site. Yet, if you are self-hosting, you will need to implement the new updates yourself. This will cost you in time and, perhaps, also money if you have to hire someone to do so depending on the complicated nature of the updates.
  • Other Updates. At times, themes and plugins come with updates and support for a predetermined length of time. Once this period is over, if you want the continued assistance you must renew the license, at a cost. 
  • Security. The issue of security is no small matter. Maintaining a safe website requires backups and additional security measures. This is an area where it is important to not be stingy with funds. Security not only protects the work you have created but also visitors to your site. If your visitors lose confidence in the security of your site, it could negatively affect your website severely. 
  • SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate. When using a commercial SSL certificate, these too have renewal fees.

Possible Additional Costs

Up to now, we have drawn attention to the costs that likely everyone must factor in when building their website. Below, we want to highlight some costs that you are not guaranteed to have, but many individuals do experience. So, we want you to be aware of them.

  • Hiring a Copywriter. Talking with someone is very different than writing content for your website. Just because we can say something doesn’t mean we can hold a person’s attention when expressing ourselves in written form. Thus, you may need to employ a copywriter. Copywriters come in many forms and with different degrees of experience. In general, the use of a copywriter will cost from $50 to $200 per hour. However, on marketplaces like UpWork you can find even cheaper solutions but you must make sure about the quality delivered.
  • Photographs. Additionally, content is more than just words. Photos, pictures, illustrations, and the like can aid powerfully in driving home your idea and purpose to visitors. Further, a visually appealing site will lead to viewers returning and even staying much longer when they do visit. The good news is that there are many free stock photos available. However, if you choose to purchase stock photos, they could cost anywhere from $1 to $100 per image.
  • Site Encryption. With security being such a critical topic, we must give it attention again from a different angle. The SSL/HTTPS. Encryption is a fundamental and imperative feature in keeping your website safe. This is especially true if you intend to operate an E-commerce website. SSL requires a certificate. There are some free options available, and a purchased option begins at about $15 per year. However, the cost can extend to several thousands of dollars depending on the security encryption you require. 
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This may be as important as security. SEO is the key element in your website being found in the vast ocean of the internet. Google and similar search engines are arguably the most important means of directing traffic to any website. The initial basic setup of your website will prepare the necessary technical aspects. However, afterward, on-page optimization may become necessary. If you have to hire someone to help you with this task, the hourly rates are between $100 to $200, or more.
  • Content Marketing. Very similar to the copywriting we discussed in the building and designing phase of your website, it is the topic of content marketing. Using a blog is among the best methods to market your site. Making use of a professional blogger can create a cost of $100 to $300 per 1000-word article.
  • Social Media Marketing. Using social media can stir interest and create traffic to your website. Producing social media content manually will require considerable time. However, there are useful tools that can reduce significantly the time used for social media proliferation of your website.  The cost of many of these tools ranges from $15 to $20 for a single-user account. You could also hire someone to create and maintain your social media content. Depending on the freelancer’s abilities and experience the costs are between $15 to $100, or more.

How Will You Build Your Website?

Well, there you have it. For many people, the question of most concern is, how much will it cost me? Perhaps, equally important is the question, what features and quality do you want for your website? 

With building a website, there are many factors to consider and they all have some sort of cost connected to them. We hope that our basic and simple journey through the website building process has helped you to better determine the cost of building your website and get you one step closer to your goal of growing your business online. 

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