Website cost calculator: How much will your website cost?
Are you trying to create a budget for your website, but don't know what to consider? Here's where to start.
November 05 · 8 min read
Trying to understand how much your website will cost, whether you’re working with a DIY platform, freelancer, or design agency? Here’s a primer on what to expect.
The real cost of building a website:
With a DIY website builder
Whether you’ve used one before or not, you’re probably familiar with DIY website builders, thanks to their aggressive advertising. Their ranks are made up of companies like Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly. Though each one has varying prices, it typically costs $300 or less to build a website with one of these sites.
This makes them one of the most affordable solutions for those in need of a website. They do have recurring costs (typically every month) for things like web hosting, updating your SSL certificate, and so on.
Though the upfront cost is on the cheaper side, the monthly fees are more than you would be paying to manage web hosting and domain name expenses yourself. This makes it a more expensive option in the long term for a pretty limited service.
Who should use a DIY service?
Despite their simplicity, DIY sites are an excellent option for many of their users. In fact, it’s their simplicity that makes them a suitable choice for individuals and businesses that are less tech-savvy. Their all-in-one system makes the process of website building easy and accessible.
However, anyone who needs anything more than the most basic of websites is going to find a DIY website service lacking quickly. These kinds of services really only offer the visual components of a website, with a limited number of interactive integrations. You’re more or less creating a digital portfolio in the shape of a website.
It is possible to do more with these kinds of services, but the cost and effort that requires would be better spent on a more well-rounded solution. Still, if you have minimal needs, DIY site builders can get the job done.
With a freelancer
Freelancers are next up in terms of cost, with prices ranging between $500 and $5,000. Freelance website designers and developers are individuals (sometimes groups of individuals) who have the skills to build a website and work independently of a company.
The rates charged by a freelancer will vary depending on their experience, reputation, and the time the project is expected to take. When choosing a freelancer, it’s essential to balance the price with the freelancer’s experience as best you can.
You likely don’t need to get the most expensive freelancer available (unless you’re trying to build a complicated website). Still, you also don’t want to end up with a site that’s half-built, poorly coded, and unsalvageable. Before agreeing to any work with a freelancer, make sure you’re familiar with their background and other websites that they’ve built.
Who should use a freelancer?
Unlike a DIY builder, where you’re paying for a complete website building package, you’re essentially buying your site from the freelancer. Once the work has been completed, and the website is exactly how you want, the freelancer moves on to the next client, and it’s up to you to maintain the website.
This means that working with a freelancer is a little more hands-on and collaborative. Because of their flexibility, you can get a product that’s close to what you’ve envisioned.
Working with a freelancer is best for those who want to feel like their website is theirs. If you have a clear vision for your site design, want something more sophisticated than standard DIY builders, and don’t mind getting involved in the process, consider hiring a freelancer.
With a design agency
Design agencies are easily the most expensive option and, by extension, are pretty much overkill for 95% of websites. The average cost of working with an agency ranges from $3,000 to $10,000. Prices can go beyond that, depending on your goals.
Website design agencies are businesses made up of web developers. Because you’re working with a team, you generally know that the end product is going to be polished, bug-free, and very close to what you’re looking for — hence the high prices.
Unlike with freelancers, higher prices don’t necessarily mean you’re working with the best agency. Often, prices increase because they have a large staff or a recognizable brand. Those things may benefit them, but they don’t necessarily help you. Try to find an agency that’s a good fit for your needs and your budget.
Who should use a design agency?
Design agencies are a reliable option for bigger businesses or fast-growing small-to-medium sized businesses. If you’re smaller or growing at a slower rate, you may want to consider working with a freelancer instead.
That said, design agencies do offer valuable experience and reliability and can build a great website faster than a freelancer. If you need a website that’s packed with features, like an online shop, a social media platform, or a web-based app, then a design agency might be the best option.
What do you need to build a website?
There’s more to building a website than just hiring someone else to do it. It’s called website “building” because you are building something. And like building a house, you need to know what it’s going to look like and what components you’re going to need. Once you know these things, you’ll have a better idea of how what it’s going to cost and who you should hire.
To start figuring out what you need, you’ll need to decide what kind of site you want. Is it going to be an online shop? A portfolio of your photography? The next Facebook?
Once that’s settled, you can start making a list of the features it needs. Do you want your visitors to be able to leave comments, to converse with a chatbot, or add an item to their shopping cart? How many pages does your site need — three or 30? And how much content will you need, only text or a mix of text, images, and videos? Most likely, the shorter your list, the less expensive your site will be.
Choosing a domain name
For so many dreaming of having their website, the first thing they mull over is the domain name. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already invested some time checking if your dream domain is already taken.
Choosing your domain is undoubtedly one of the more fun parts of building a website, but it does add costs to the process. First, you have to buy your domain name (prices can vary wildly, from $5 to $5,000), and then you have to pay to renew it (typically $10-$20 per year).
Finding web hosting
Web hosting starts to get into the less exciting side of building a website. Web hosting is what makes your site available to the rest of the world. It takes that group of files on your computer and puts them on the internet for other people to find.
You can technically host your website; all you need is a computer with an internet connection. However, you are likely vastly unequipped to handle this responsibility. Your computer would need to be on 24/7/365 without fail and capable of managing people from around the world visiting your website.
Instead of trying to do this yourself, you can use a web hosting business that will take care of the technical stuff for you. We highly recommend it, unless you’re a DIY pro. Web hosting can cost anywhere from $20 to $10,000, depending on how many visitors your website attracts.
Getting an SSL certificate
An SSL certificate is an “optional” component of your site, though, in today’s age of privacy concerns, we strongly advise that you obtain one. Essentially, an SSL certificate is a security measure that prevents your visitors’ data from being intercepted or tampered. Data is encrypted on the visitor’s end, sent to you all scrambled up, and (thanks to your SSL certificate) your website can unscramble it.
Without an SSL certificate, the data is never encrypted, making its journey to you especially perilous. Some internet browsers are even becoming less friendly toward websites without SSL, warning their users not to use your website. Not a good look. Prices for an SSL certificate fall between $5 and $20 a year.
How much does it cost to maintain a website?
When you add up annual website costs (domain name renewal, web hosting, and SSL certificate renewal), it’s around $150 for a small website and approximately $5,000 for a more extensive website. And that’s just for the fixed expenses.
Costs that might not have occurred to you are bug fixes, code optimization, periodic updates, and changes to keep up with new internet protocols. Maintaining these things will likely require you to rehire freelancers/agencies, adding to your annual expenses substantially.
That’s a lot of cash to drop every year just on maintaining your website! Fortunately, there’s a platform that can build your website fast, offers the features you need to grow your business, and help you update your site any time.
The cost of building a website with B12’s AI approach
B12 designs a website for you using our AI and our team of experienced web design experts. In 1-2 weeks, we create something that a design agency typically takes months to provide.
The B12 model relieves the pressure put on you and your wallet, allowing you to focus on your business rather than the nitty-gritty details of building a website.
- Basic: $26/month. With the Basic plan, you get a custom domain, unlimited storage, and a Contact Manager that helps you organize leads and reach your audience.
- Premium: $53/month. With our Premium plan, you’ll receive priority phone support whenever you need it and be able to integrate third-party services into your website.
- SEO: $89/month. By upgrading to the SEO plan, your site will be optimized for both on-page and off-page search engine optimization.
- SEO Pro: $224/month. When you choose the SEO Pro plan, you gain access to all of the above features with the bonus of monthly SEO-oriented blog posts created just for you.
Build a better website for less
Building a fully featured and secure website doesn’t have to put you at the mercy of confusing DIY builders or costly design agencies. With B12, you can get all of the features you need while our team does the heavy lifting for you.
B12 is backed by industry experts in design and SEO, with a dedicated customer support team that’s by your side at all times. We handle all of your maintenance needs for you and help you improve over time. Give us a try.