How Much Does a Website Cost?

By Mitch Granholm
Website & Digital Design Lead, Strategist at Greater Thought Design+Marketing

One of the first questions people ask when it comes to building a website is:
How much does a website cost?

The truth is, the cost of a website really depends on your budget and business goals. In this article, we’ll show you how much it will likely cost to design a website for most businesses. These days hiring a professional developer is not your only option to build a website. There are different tools available on the web to build most types of websites even if you’re not tech savvy.

The real meat of the deal is to ask yourself what sort of ROI (Return On Investment) you would like to get? What do you expect your website to accomplish for your business?

Hiring the right developer can set on you a trajectory for success. A professional developer has years of experience taking into account not only the technical side of building a website, but also considers visual design, marketing, and user experience specific to your business goals when taking on a website build.

This has obvious advantages opposed using a DIY website builder tool, but that may not be in your budget at this time. Sometimes you just need to get off the ground for cheap and go the DIY route.

If you don’t have a clue about the basic tools you need for a website or what your goals are, you’ll likely overspend your budget on things you don’t need.

If you don’t have set goals in mind, your website’s potential to drive leads and sales for your business is greatly diminished.

Regardless of the type of website you’d like to create, it’s important to know the basic tools you’ll need for setting up your website.

What tools do you need to build a website?

  • Domain name (google.com, example.com)
  • Website builder (WordPress, Wix, Weebly)
  • Web hosting (depending on your website builder)

Domain Name

Your domain name is your website’s address on the internet. It’s what your customers type into their browsers to access your website (example.com).

By registering a domain name, you get the right to use that name for your website for 1 year. You will be required to renew your domain from the same domain registrar annually for as long as you want to keep the name for your site.

If you decide you no longer need the domain, then you can just let it expire. Keep in mind that if you do not renew your domain registration annually, someone else may purchase it.

Check out the GoDaddy’s domain name generator tool to see what’s available for your business.

Website Builder

Whether you decide to build your website yourself or hire a seasoned developer, a website builder will be used to make your website. At Greater Thought we use WordPress as our website builder tool of choice. We always recommend you choose a self-hosted WordPress website.

A self-hosted WordPress site gives you a robust platform to build a website that will grow and adapt with your business. It will enable you to add essential features like SEO tags, functional plugins, etc. with minimal hassle.

A self-hosted solution will give you complete control over your website.

WordPress itself is a free and open source software. You will need to purchase a domain name and web hosting in order to install WordPress and start building your website.

Web Hosting

Web hosting is the physical location of your website (your website’s home). It’s where all of the content and files are stored. When a visitor tries to access your website by typing in your web address (domain name), they’ll be directed to the website files stored on your web hosting server.

The term web hosting oftentimes refers to the company that rents out their servers to host your website.

We recommend using one of the larger, well known hosting services such DreamHost, GoDaddy, WP Engine, or BlueHost.

These larger services have a successful track record, and around the clock support service, ensuring your website is available online 24/7. We always advise against hosting your site on someone’s personal server due to security and longevity reasons.

How much does building a typical website cost?

There are two main ways to build a website:

1. DIY web builder tools
2. Hire a designer or agency

Whichever method you choose will likely be determined by your ideal budget. Both have positives and negatives. Ask yourself, what do you expect your website to accomplish for your business?

1. DIY web builder tools

Entry point is around $200 + Hosting and Maintenance
+ Positive
– Negatives
+ They are affordable – DIY solutions are not always as easy as they sound
+ Often fairly turn-key including things like hosting, URL acquisition, templates plug-ins etc. – The learning curve can be steep
– The site is locked to that vendor. If you’d like to discontinue with the vendor, your website goes away.
– You may spend valuable time muddling through the
process vs. doing business
– Templates are a one-size-fits-all solution that are not targeted at your specific set of business needs
– Many web builder tools are not set up for good SEO which can hinder your visibility on search engines such as Google
– Learning good SEO practices can be a steep learning curve


2. Hiring a designer or agency

Entry point often around $5,000 + Hosting and Maintenance
+ Positives
– Negatives
+ Gain the help of broad experience -/+ The professional help is likely to cost more than a DIY site, however this is a much more targeted solution for your business
+ Often faster to market than DIY with
less hassle
– You do still have annual hosting fees and should budget for maintenance on the site.
+ Availability of help creating content
+ Far more control of the design
+ A purpose built website will have specific goasls in mind for your business and generate better leads
+ Help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Website cost recap

  • Use a website builder: Entry point around $200
  • Hiring a designer or agency: Entry point around $5,000

There is always latitude for pricing each web project. Every assignment is different. Depending on your goals, there are scenarios where you can hire an agency for less than $5,000 or much more than $5,000.

Whether you’re counting out every penny or have a huge budget for your website build, there is an option for you.

The most important things are to get value for your money and to choose the method that best fits your business.

It’s a great idea to have a budget in mind and talk openly about it with prospective developers as you explore your options.

Let us know if you have more questions about website costs and the build process. We love what we do and we love to talk about it!