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How Much Does a Website Cost? (A Guide For Beginners)

WRITTEN BY
Jao Gavino
UPDATED
March 04, 2024

 

You’ve finally decided: you’re going to make your own website. Be it for a simple blog, a small resume website, or an e-commerce startup, you’re going to have to think about a lot of things when creating your own site. But where do you start?

 

If you’re looking to make a site, one of the first things that you’ll need to consider is how much it costs. To know this, however, it’s important to understand what goes into building a website.

 

 

The simple answer is—a lot! A bunch of factors impact the cost of a website, making it difficult for you to gauge your own budget before investing in one.

 

By understanding your unique needs as an entrepreneur or just an average Joe, you’ll be able to determine just how much money is required for creating your own personal or professional online presence.

 

If you’re wondering what goes into making a site and their respective costs, then look no further and read on!

 

What Do I Need to Start a Website?

 

A tree with media icons as leaves

Numerous components combine together to help your website flourish.

 

Before we get started, you’ll need to first learn the things that you’ll need to start a website. Here are the barest necessities for making a website:

 

  • A domain name: Your site’s address on the World Wide Web
  • A web host: The guys that host your website, basically your online landlord
  • An SSL certificate: A certificate that tells browsers that your site is trustworthy

 

…and that’s it! If you have a lot of time and some website-building knowledge (e.g., you’re a professional web designer), you won’t have to pay for anything else.

 

However, if you don’t have any website-building knowledge, you might need to hire a professional web designer to make your website for you. Alternatively, you can opt to just make a website on your own using a DIY website builder.

 

You might also want to spice up your newly created website with a theme or template, which you can get for free. But, there are higher-quality themes and templates that might need a one-time fee.

 

How Much Do I Have to Pay to Build My Website?

 

Now that you have a list of the things you need to start building your own site, you’ll next need to determine their costs. Here’s a quick rundown of the costs of the necessities we’ve listed above:

 

  1. A domain name: $0 to $20 a year
  2. A web host: $30 to $500 a year
  3. An SSL certificate: $0 to $249 a year
  4. A professional web designer: $100 to $5,000+
  5. DIY website builder: $0 to $500 a year
  6. A theme or template: $0 to $100 (one-time fee)

 

You might not even need to pay for some of these costs. For example, some web hosts, like Hostinger or DreamHost, offer a domain name, an SSL certificate, and a website builder for free as part of their plans, letting you save up a lot of money.

 

If your web host doesn’t offer these features, you might need to sign up with a domain registrar. Take note, however, that some domains may cost more than others depending on the site’s name and top-level domain (TLD), which are the .com, .org, and so on that comes after a site name.

 

For a handy list that compares the prices of all top-level domains, check out TLD-List.com.

 

Similarly, you’ll need to purchase an SSL certificate to make sure that your site is considered trustworthy by browsers.

 

invalid SSL certificate error

Having no SSL certificate (or an expired one) could cause your visitors to see error messages like this one, potentially turning them away from your site.

 

If you’re wondering about which web host to pick and what each of them offers, here’s a quick rundown of our best web hosting services.

 

Note

Check out the differences between monthly vs. annual web hosting subscription and it can helps to save your cost.

 

What About Design and Functionality Costs?

 

Design and functionality are two of the most important building blocks for creating a website. Design gives shape to your website and gives it its distinct look, ensuring that visitors are greeted by some nice visuals instead of something that looks straight out of the 1990s.

 

Functionality, on the other hand, ensures that your website can do what it’s supposed to do. This can range from simple WordPress plugins to more complex custom code for a large e-commerce site, and the costs can span from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

 

How much does designing a website cost?

 

You might have noticed in our list above that there’s quite a spread between the costs of hiring a web designer. That’s because the cost of hiring a professional web designer has a lot of factors going into it.

 

They can charge an hourly rate or a fixed rate for the entire project, they might be a newbie or a veteran designer, and so on. As such, it’s best to determine your maximum budget for a web designer before hiring one.

 

Remember that experienced designers charge higher prices for a reason: they have a lot of experience working with a variety of clients, and they might be able to nail the design that you want in the first few tries.

 

Given this, you might be better off hiring an experienced designer at a higher cost (of course, you should still work within your budget!) instead of skimping out on a newbie who might end up costing you just as much as an experienced one due to how many revisions they take before finally achieving the look that you actually wanted.

 

an example of retro and outdated website layout

Being cheap with a designer might lead to your site looking a little more … “retro” than expected. (Source: yungxtesla on Reddit)

 

Alternatively, you might want to take things into your own hands and start building your website on your own. Doing this might take longer, but the cost savings are significant. For example, some web hosts — such as Hostinger or DreamHost — offer do-it-yourself website builders for free as part of their hosting packages.

 

There are also premium versions of website builders, which provide you with additional features (e.g., unique themes). If the basic versions just aren’t cutting it for you, you can sign up for these premium versions for $100 to $500 a year, with the costs averaging out at around $200 per year.

 

If you’re wondering about which website builder to pick, don’t worry! Here’s our list of the best website builders.

 

How much does it add to add extra functionalities?

 

types of plugins in wordpress

Plugins are a cheap and easy way of adding various functionalities to your site.

 

Once you’ve built out your website, you might want to add some functionalities to it. For example, if you have a WordPress site, you might want to add some plugins to it to improve security, add a simple calendar of events, enable various e-commerce functions, and so on.

 

Some of these plugins are available for free, and others may ask you for an annual subscription fee, which can cost you upwards of $100 a year.

 

Once again, you’re going to need to weigh your needs and expenses. If you’re running a simple blog that you update every 2 months or so, you might be better off saving a few dollars by just installing the free version of a security plugin.

 

On the other hand, if you’re managing a sizable e-commerce site, you might want to sign up with a beefier security plugin, ensuring not only your site’s but also your customers’ safety.

 

Any Miscellaneous Website Expenses I Need to Know About?

 

the cost of maintenance and design for a website

Here are the web design and annual maintenance costs associated with different types of websites. (Source: Forbes)

 

Let’s say that you’ve finally got your website up and running. You’re getting a steady flow of visitors, and business is not exactly booming—but it’s getting there. What other costs should you be worried about?

 

Well, not a lot—if you’re fine with just how your site is, you won’t have to pay any additional fees beyond the annual subscriptions to your web host as well as any plugins.

 

Content Managers

 

content manager taking some notes

Content managers ensure a steady stream of content for your site.

 

However, you should also consider the cost of content and maintenance. A website is only as good as its content, so if you want to get the most out of your investment, it’s important to have someone on hand who can regularly update it with new information.

 

If you’re not interested in creating all of this material yourself, outsourcing may be a viable option. And if your site is constantly updated with new content, you might want to hire a webmaster or content manager to maintain, manage, and update your site and its content.

 

The cost of hiring a webmaster depends on whether you’re hiring them on a full-time, part-time, or contractual basis, with full-time webmasters costing around $6,500+ a month.

 

In addition to a webmaster, you may also want to consider the following miscellaneous expenses for your site:

 

SEO Specialists

 

Search Engine Optimization workflow

Websites live and die by the rules of SEO, and if you’re looking to expand your site’s reach, hiring an SEO specialist might be the right choice.

 

If your site is having a hard time getting up the search engine results ladder, you may want to hire an SEO (search engine optimization) specialist, who will recommend content and keywords to boost your site’s search ranking.

 

The cost of hiring an SEO specialist depends on how much work you need them to do on your site; the more pages that you need to optimize, the higher they’ll cost, which is usually between $250 to $6,000 per month.

 

Stock Media

 

person scrolling through stock images

Stock photos ensure that you never run out of good visuals for your site.

 

If your site is mostly content-driven, you may also want to sign up for a stock photo or video library, such as Shutterstock, to flesh out your content with some visual (or auditory) pizzazz. Some libraries offer royalty-free images, while Shutterstock starts at $29 per month for an all-in-one subscription that includes photos, videos, and even music.

 

Note

Explore on Creative Commons images to save your cost.

 

E-Commerce Expenses

 

person scrolling on their ipad

As your e-commerce site grows, you may need to develop a custom solution for your customers’ unique needs.

 

Finally, if you’re running an e-commerce site, you may need to sign up for a subscription service like Shopify, which starts at $29 a month. Once your business grows beyond the basic features offered by these services, you may consider paying extra to get a custom solution tailored to your customers’ needs.

 

What to Consider Before Creating Your Own Website

 

Bear in mind that the cost of building a website depends on the features you want. The more features that you add on top of a site’s basic components, the more expensive your site will be to build.

 

How many pages do you want? Do you want custom design work done? Do you want to add specialized e-commerce features? All of these questions will need to be answered, and each one adds on top of the costs we’ve already listed above.

 

website performance metric

Your site’s metrics (e.g., visitor numbers) are another factor to consider. Why spend so much on a site that only gets 10 or 20 hits a month?

 

Before starting out on your website-building journey, you should determine how much you are willing to pay for the features that you want.

 

Failing to take these factors into account could end up surprising you with cost overruns down the line, which are something that you’d be better off avoiding. Prepare your budget (and wallet) early on, and leave plenty of room for additional costs!

 

A Good Website Doesn’t Have to be Expensive!

 

This article covered the basics of how much a website costs. Remember, numerous factors influence how much your website will cost.

 

You should carefully consider the pros and cons of making a website yourself versus hiring someone else to do it, in addition to the multitude of other factors that we’ve discussed.

 

Take some time to think about these things—but don’t let them stop you from starting. With our handy tips and tricks as well as a good idea of your budget, you’ll be able to build a good website without breaking the bank!