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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Website Start to Finish?

website mock up on laptop screen

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Website Start to Finish?

One of the questions most people ask before creating a website is how much it costs.

Frankly, it’s pretty challenging to put a price tag on a website as it depends on the goals of your business and your budget. That said, let’s look at why pricing website creation is so difficult.

Why Is Pricing Website Design Difficult?

The primary reason why it’s difficult to give a definite price for a website is that websites vary.

The following are some of the things that usually go into the cost of creating a website:

  • The number of languages: the price will be higher if the website needs to be translated into several languages,
  • Site structure: Creating a 5-page site for a local business is easier than a 500-page site for big corporations.
  • Copywriting: A properly designed website should not only look and function well, but it should also be able to persuade customers to purchase products.
  • Website complexity: A car rental site with online payments will be more challenging to design than a small blog.
  • Labor cost: That you pay to a freelancer or an agency.
  • Maintenance and hosting costs: A site with over a million visitors needs more costly hosting options.

How Much Does Designing A Website Usually Cost?

Generally, you can expect to pay $200 upfront to create a website and around $50 ongoing cost to maintain it. If you employ a developer or designer, the cost is higher — expect to pay $6000 upfront and a $ 1000 maintenance cost.

There are three main ways to create a website:

  • Using a web builder
  • Hiring a designer
  • Creating a website with WordPress.

The method you choose will have a massive impact on the cost of creating the website.

You need to pick the most suitable method. Employing a designer is costly but takes the technical hassles out of your hands. Using a builder is more straightforward and cheaper, but you won’t have the same creative control levels with WordPress. WordPress is flexible, but it’s very hands-on and time-consuming.

Let’s take a look at each of the options and their costs.

Option 1: Build A WordPress Website

WordPress is a free CMS (content management system) used to design websites. According to data from W3Techs, roughly 40% of all sites are created on WordPress.

WordPress is popular because of the flexibility it offers. Users can fine-tune almost everything, from the cost to features.

The WordPress price range significantly differs since every website’s cost depends on its scale, functionalities, and type.

If you’re a beginner with no pre-existing knowledge of website creation, using WordPress will require some training.

But, if freedom to design a custom site is your top priority, learning WordPress is worth the energy and time.

To know how much creating a website on WordPress costs, let’s look at some of the major factors behind it:

1. Website Essentials

Even though WordPress is free, you must first buy website hosting and a domain name before designing a website.

A domain name costs roughly $10 – $20 annually. Domain names with popular extensions such as .com are usually more costly due to their perceived worth.

You can use a domain checker to check the availability of a domain name.

You can buy a domain name from domain registrars like Namecheap or Google Domains. But, most hosting companies like Hostinger give a free domain name as part of your website hosting plan.

You can get a high-quality hosting plan at an affordable price. This way, you can allocate more cash to other WordPress requirements such as plugins and themes.

The web hosting costs rely on the provider and plan you select. The average price of an entry-level hosting plan is around $2 – $7 every month.

Premium hosting plans on virtual private servers (VPS) or cloud infrastructures cost roughly $10 – 70 every month.

Some hosting providers have plans specifically for WordPress sites. Hostinger provides various WordPress hosting programs that cater to different WordPress needs, including WordPress support, starting at $1.99 each month.

Apart from hosting and a domain name, you’ll require an SSL certificate for your WordPress website.

An SSL certificate enables HTTPS — a more secure HTTP version — on your site. HTTPS encodes the data passed from a browser and server, ensuring secure and private communication between sites and visitors.

Sites that lack SSL often drive away traffic as they aren’t search engine-friendly or trustworthy.

Most hosting companies provide free SSL certificates if you buy any plans. If you’re a small business owner looking to create a website with limited funds, such plans will reduce the total development expense.

Nevertheless, large-scale organizations may need to buy a more advanced SSL certificate that can cost up to $200 annually.

2. Website Design

WordPress gives total freedom when it comes to personalizing your web’s design components, which assists in controlling the costs. If you’re conversant with web development and design languages such as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, you can code the design on your own.

That said, you don’t have to be a web design pro. WordPress still offers various options for your site. With the platform’s themes, you can transform your site’s look and feel quickly and easily. There are numerous free and premium web themes available.

Even though most free themes work perfectly fine for small sites, they usually have fewer features than premium ones.

On the other hand, premium themes usually come with personalization options like free plugins, dedicated support, several demo templates, and a drag-and-drop builder.  Premium themes are also more professional-looking, which can raise your brand image.

You can access premium and free themes from WordPress’ theme directory or use third-party marketplaces such as MOJO Marketplace, ThemeForest, and Envato Elements.

WordPress’ premium themes typically cost around $5 – 200 per month.

Besides themes, you can use marketplaces like TemplateMonster to purchase other elements like icon sets, stock photos, fonts, and logo templates to personalize your design further.

These design elements differ in price; however, you should expect to pay about $20 per element.

Alternatively, you can hire a professional if you require a custom design for your site. A web designer’s cost differs significantly depending on the project’s scale and skillset.

The standard cost of employing an experienced designer is around $75 per hour. If your custom site takes a while to finish, the total cost can amount to $5000 – $10000.

If you opt to go with a website design agency, the web development cost can increase. That notwithstanding, there are cheaper alternatives available. For instance, web design freelancers on Fiverr charge between $10 – 150 per project.

Hiring a freelancer is an excellent way to reduce a small project’s overall design cost. Apart from checking their skills and specialties, you can also go through customer feedback to choose the best website designer for your site.

3. eCommerce Functionality

WordPress is the ideal platform for eCommerce activities, whether you want to create a large or small business site. You can add eCommerce functionality to your business site using various WordPress plugins.

If you want to know how much it costs to create a site with eCommerce functionality on the WordPress platform, you must know the right plugins to use.

A good eCommerce plugin should add various elements to your website to transform it into a fully operational online store. It should assist you in handling tasks like taxation, stock management, payments, and shipment tracking.

Additionally, you should base your selection on the type of online store you’re establishing, business needs, and budget.

Creating a website for a small business is cheaper because it needs fewer resources. On the other hand, large business sites are more costly.

Here are some of the options:

  • Ecwid: This is a simple to use eCommerce plugin that you can integrate into WordPress — the free plan provides basic elements sufficient for a completely operational WordPress business site — the paid plans usually start at $12.50 per month and provide dedicated support and multiple channels selling on digital platforms like Facebook and online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon.
  • WooCommerce: This is an open-source and free eCommerce plugin for WordPress — it has over 5 million installations making it the most popular — numerous extensions are available, both paid and free, making it easy to add elements to your website without coding — the paid extension prices vary, with the cost for each ranging between $30-250 per year.
  • Easy Digital Downloads: This plugin has numerous features—it’s designed for selling digital products such as music, software, and eBooks—you can personalize your eCommerce site using extensions from third-party sources—even though users can access the main plugin for free, they can also buy a premium plan, which starts at $99 annually, for advanced marketing features.

4. Add-Ons And Plugins

WordPress plugins let you add features to the website without coding. All you need to do is locate the plugin you want, install it on the site, and activate it.

There are over 59,000 plugins in the WordPress plugins directory, with different purposes.  Below are some of the various categories they cover:

  • Comment plugins – control the comment section, including safeguarding the website from social media integration, spam, and automating replies.
  • PDF viewer plugins – embed PDF documents into the website.
  • Review plugins – add business evaluations and product reviews to your website.
  • Menu plugins – add aesthetic elements and extra functionality to the websites’ default menu bar.
  • Instagram integration plugins – display Instagram feeds on the site.
  • Booking plugins – assists site visitors book appointments and reservations.
  • Google Analytics plugins – incorporate Google Analytics to monitor the website’s performance.
  • Real estate plugins add critical features for a real estate business site, such as mortgage calculators, automatic maps, and property listings.
  • Website migration – move data from an old to a new website.
  • Donation plugins – add a donation button so that visitors can directly support the website.
  • Project management plugins – organize, monitor, and plan projects and team collaboration on your website.
  • Popup plugins – add popups on your website’s pages to direct the visitors’ attention to information like your organization’s newsletter and promotions.

Besides the official plugin directory, the platform lets users download plugins from third-party sources and install them on their websites. Ensure you get the plugins from trustworthy sources to avoid creating security issues and errors on your site.

You can use premium, free, or freemium plugins on the site. Premium plugins come with advanced features and, on average, cost between $40 – $199 per year.

5. SEO And Marketing

The platform’s core is already SEO-friendly. However, many websites require additional help to compete for sales and traffic. Fortunately, various tools for applying the best SEO and marketing strategies to your website are available.

The price of SEO and marketing campaigns varies according to the project’s complexity and business needs.

To establish the cost of building a website’s SEO and marketing approach, you need to determine your strategy — either hiring professionals or managing it yourself.

Hiring an SEO expert and a professional marketer is more expensive, with freelancers and agencies charging roughly $40 and $250 per hour.

The do-it-yourself strategy involves using tools, SEO plugins, and ads that need more effort but is more cost-effective. Here are some ways you can market your website by yourself:

  • SEO: Use SEO tools like KWFinder (from $29.90/month), Ahrefs (from $99/month), or SEMrush (from $119.95/month) to monitor and plan your SEO strategies — WordPress also gives excellent freemium plugins to boost your organic traffic, like Yoast SEO or All In One SEO.
  • Social media marketing: Promote your content to large audiences on digital networks like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn — use freemium social media integration plugins and tools like Add To Any, Social Media Share Buttons, and Blog2Social.
  • Email marketing: Retain, update and increase your website’s followers by directly sending content to their mailboxes — use freemium email marketing plugins such as Mailchimp for Jackmail, WordPress, or Newsletter.
  • PPC (Pay-per-click) ads: Get ad networks like Google Ads or Facebook Ads to market your website in exchange for pay-per-click — the CPC (cost-per-click ) differs depending on your field or niche, but generally, Google Ads and Facebook Ads cost $2.69 and $3.77 per click, respectively.
  • Affiliate marketing: Get well-known affiliates to market your website for a commission — you can sign up for an affiliate network such as Fintel Connect Link or Connector or start an in-house affiliate program — use affiliate marketing plugins like ThirstyAffiliates (freemium) or AffiliateWP (from $149.50/year) for affiliate links management.
  • Landing page: Building a landing page is essential for increasing your website’s traffic and business conversion rates — you can create it using WordPress page editor or plugins like Beaver Builder (freemium) and SeedProd (from $39.50/year).

With the DIY approach, you can select which methods to use and the amount you’re willing to spend. You can start using free plugins and tools and scale up when your revenue and traffic increase if you have a small business site.

6. Maintenance

Maintenance is crucial for the functionality and security of WordPress sites. A security breach can lead to losing money, data, and control over your website and harm your business reputation.

You can either hire a website maintenance service or do website maintenance yourself. Bringing in an expert relieves you of the workload, but it’s costly. Following this, small businesses maintain their websites without hiring a professional.

Website maintenance is highly demanding, but it will remarkably lower the site maintenance cost.

WordPress has helpful maintenance features that you can use to configure your site to automatically update itself, themes, and plugins without any extra charges.

Another essential maintenance task is regular site backups. Some of the plugins that can automate your site backups include:

  • Jetpack Backup – it was initially called VaultPress — Jetpack can also function as a security plugin depending on the subscription plan you choose — it comes with 100GB storage and daily backups for $4.97 per month.
  • UpdraftPlus – is a freemium plugin that enables users to upload files to several storage alternatives like Google Drive and schedule backups — the premium version costs $42 annually.
  • BackWPUp – is a backup and restore plugin with features like Dropbox, database optimization, multisite support, and scheduled backups — the basic features are free, but you can upgrade to a premium plan that costs $69 annually.

Besides backups and software updates, some web admins consider clearing cache, fixing broken links, fixing 404 errors, and changing passwords as part of a maintenance routine.

Although you can learn how to perform these tasks alone, at some point, you may need to bring in an expert to help you out. Agencies charge $50 to $350 per month, whereas freelancers provide the services for approximately $5 per hour.

Option 2: Make Use Of  A Website Builder

web development concept
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Website builders enable you to build a site without any coding skills. These builders have a drag-and-drop site editor that makes them perfect for beginners.

You’ll need to pick a hosting platform and payment plan to determine how much building a website will cost you. Plans with advanced features cost more compared to plans with limited features.

Business websites and eCommerce plans usually are more costly since they come with multiple languages, order management, online payments, and many other features.

A website builder like Zyro has around-the-clock customer service, a free domain, and a free SSL certificate.

Zyro’s plans range from $2.90 to $15.90 per month (eCommerce Plus plan). Whether you’re building a small business website or an online store, you should pick a plan that has the features that suit your needs.

1. Website Essentials

Site builders incorporate web hosting in their plans, so you won’t have to separately buy the service as you do with custom websites or WordPress.

Default domain names for site builders typically include the service provider’s brand. For instance, the default domain name on Zyro is

If you want to change this, you can independently register your domain name on a third-party platform and direct it to your website or buy a domain name from the site builder.

Some website builders like Zyro provide a free domain with their payment plans for a year. However, you’ll still need to renew it yearly.

WordPress’s domain renewal costs vary according to the domain extension, but the standard price is $10 to $20 per year.

When using a website builder, you don’t have to purchase and renew your SSL cert since the provider handles it just as they take care of web hosting.

2. Website Design

When using a website builder, site design costs are nearly nonexistent. The plans come with free pre-made templates. For example, Zyro has over 100 templates — from eCommerce shops to landing pages.

The website builder fees cover the design cost, but you’re limited to the available templates. However, you can also install third-party templates. Zyro also enables you to customize the template’s design to fit your firm’s brand.

Website builders’ drag-and-drop editor is beneficial to beginners since you don’t need coding skills to control your site elements.

3. eCommerce Functionality

Most website builders provide eCommerce plans that enable you to build a website for a medium-sized or small business.

The plans come with features like shipping management, order and inventory management, and several payment options to help you maintain your online store.

The website builder’s pricing usually includes the cost of building a site with eCommerce functionality.

Zyro has an eCommerce plan with 100 products that costs $8.90 per month. This plan is suitable for small business sites. Zyro’s eCommerce Pro plan, which costs $15.90 per month, enables you to sell a maximum of 2,500 goods and merge your online store with Amazon.

4. Add-ons And Plugins

Website builders provide fewer additional features than WordPress. You’re limited to the builders’ add-ons since you can’t install plugins from other sources.

Zyro’s plans come with the following integrations:

  • Google Analytics – offers extensive information about your site’s traffic.
  • Google Tag Manager – allows you to monitor visitors’ behavior and manage all the tags on your site.
  • Facebook Messenger – Enables you to chat with visitors in actual time and proceed with the conversation even after exiting the site.
  • Hotjar – Displays your website’s visual heat maps to let you know the areas that most visitors interact with.
  • Facebook Pixel – Offers extensive info and management tools for your website’s Facebook adverts.

Different platforms have different add-ons prices — you may find add-ons from $10 to $130 per month.

5. SEO and Marketing

Website builders take some load off your shoulders when it comes to marketing. Even though marketing strategies need manual work, several SEO aspects relate to building the site.

Fortunately, most website builders are optimized for search engines from the beginning, and they help you attain better online visibility without too much input.

These builders have built-in tools and configurations that ensure excellent SEO performance.

For instance, all sites built on Zyro are optimized to boost the page’s mobile responsiveness and load speed. These are factors that play critical roles in SEO.

Zyro has built-in tools like AI Writer, Google Tag Manager, and Google Analytics to maximize SEO performance. AI writer generates SEO-optimized, keyword-rich content.

You may also factor in the costs of extra third-part tools like:

  • Email marketing tools – you can opt for freemium platforms like Moosend with upgrades from $8 per month and Mailchimp with upgrades from $11 per month —these freemium will reduce your SEO strategy cost.
  • Pay-per-click ads – Facebook and Google charge approximately $3.77 per click and $2.69 per click, respectively — alternatively, you can get an SEO expert or professional marketer for roughly $250 per hour (agency) or $40 per hour (freelancer).
  • Affiliate marketing programs – Join an affiliate program or start yours — several sites don’t charge for joining their programs; instead, they take commissions.
  • Premium SEO tools – KWFinder starts from $29.90 per month, Ahrefs from $99 per month, and SEMrush from $119.95 per month.

6. Maintenance

The plan’s fees include the website maintenance cost. You don’t have to pay additional charges or do extra tasks to maintain your website.

Option 3: Employ A Web Developer Expert

You can hire an expert web developer to build your website if you need a custom site or don’t have time to build one yourself. Just remember that custom website development prices are usually sky-high.

The cost will also depend on the web developer you hire. Web designers are responsible for the site’s appearance, while web developers code the designs into functional websites.

Ensure you hire an expert with the skills needed to produce your desired website design and development outcome. Some people may have both web designing and developing skills. However, most experts specialize in one field.

Most web developers charge approximately $75 to $180 per hour. You’ll have to spend a lot of money if your custom site is sophisticated and the professional needs an extended period to build it.

Depending on the expert or company you employ, custom website development costs around $5,000 to $30,000, a huge amount of money. Ensure you provide the professional with your project’s exact budget to avoid surprises.

Alternatively, you can get freelancers on marketplaces such as Fiverr at a slightly lower price, starting from $25 per hour.

To calculate the approximate cost of building a website by employing an expert, let’s look into the factors  involved:

1. Website Essentials

Some professionals include domain name registration and web hosting in their services. However, it’s advisable to get a domain name and web hosting independently for approximately $10 to $20 annually and $2 to $7 per year.

You may think that including them in web development will reduce cost, but it will help you avert difficulties if any domain or website hosting issue arises.

Independently acquiring your domain and web hosting ensures that they are registered under your name, not the developers. This way, you’ll make sure that you own each aspect associated with the site.

Remember to get an SSL certificate. You can get a free SSL certificate with your hosting plan or buy it from a certificate authority for up to $200 per year.

2. Website Design

You need to figure out which route you’ll use to calculate your website design costs.

Unless you employ a generalist website developer who will design and create your custom site, you need to have an elaborate web-design concept ready before approaching another expert.

Small business websites with a few features and uncomplicated designs should cost approximately $300 if you employ an independent professional or a freelancer.  Web design agencies will charge you $800 or more.

You can use the DIY approach to reduce the web design cost. Although you’ll spend less, you’ll put in more effort and time.

Begin by drawing rough sketches on paper or using design software like Studi, Bootstrap, Google Web Designer, or Figma. This will help you visualize the web design ideas. Remember that you may need advanced technical skills to use this software, and you’ll also pay a fee to use the services.

With your ideas, attach a document with detailed information on how you want the site to appear and indicate your budget. Don’t forget to state the website’s purpose, functionality, the applications you want to include, and the number of pages it will have.

This is crucial for calculating the website development cost, and it will also help the expert understand your vision. Following these steps will ensure you get an executive custom-built site that meets your expectations and needs.

3. eCommerce Functionality

Since a custom eCommerce website is more complex to build than a standard website, expect to part with a considerable sum of money. You’ll need to pay additional cash to get eCommerce features like tax and stock management tools, email marketing solutions, shipping tools, and payment gateways.

In general, depending on the shop’s scale, it costs around $500 to $10,000 and above to develop a custom eCommerce website.

4. Add-Ons and Plugins

You may need extra add-ons, plugins, or extensions to broaden your website’s functionality if the web developer builds the site on a content management system (CMS) such as Drupal, Joomla, or WordPress.

According to your agreement with the web developer, you may get premium add-ons or plugins to the site development cost.

If not, you’ll need to buy them yourself. For instance, premium WordPress plugins go for approximately $49 to $199 yearly.

5. SEO and Marketing

After building the custom website, you can direct your resources to the site’s business conversion rates and traffic. You can hire a professional in the marketing and SEO field or research the strategies yourself.

The DIY way is perfect for saving money, but it needs effort and time. You can also request your web developer add ready-to-use SEO and marketing tools to the site development cost.

You won’t have to spend extra cash on tools by doing this. Remember to include SEO and marketing tools installation costs in your budget if your contract doesn’t cover them.

Some items that may add to your total website development cost include pay-per-click ads, affiliate marketing programs, email marketing tools, and SEO tools.

You may hire a digital marketing and SEO agency if you prefer directing your focus to other business aspects. These agencies charge a fee of $90 to $250 per hour.

6. Maintenance

If your web developer doesn’t offer regular maintenance services, you can employ an IT professional for approximately $50 to $100 per hour.

Suppose the web developer builds the website using a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress. In that case, you can cut the website maintenance costs by doing the maintenance tasks yourself, provided you’re familiar with the site.

WordPress allows you to update its software automatically, and it also provides several free and paid backup and security plugins to use on your website.

Bottom Line

Overall, it’s hard to give an exact website development price depending on who will build the website for you, the type of website you need, your marketing strategy, and several factors. Regardless, you can build and launch a website, or someone do it for you. Will it meet your expectations?

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