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How Much Does It Cost To Build A Website For A Small Business?
Written by Mark Brinker | Last updated: March 11, 2021
It all boils down to how much work is involved.
Specifically, the 2 factors determining how much work is involved are the size and complexity of your site.
That means a nice-looking, professional 15-page informational website with standard customization is going to cost less than a highly customized 50-page site with all the bells and whistles.
In terms of actual dollars, the cost to build a website for a small business could be less than $1,000 or more than $10,000.
That’s a big price range. So let’s break things down so you can get a realistic estimate for what it will cost to design and develop your website.
NOTE: The information below is for small/medium-sized businesses. It’s not meant for large corporations with deep pockets that have full-time employees designing, developing and managing their websites in-house getting paid $80k-$120k/yr.
The 2 Options (With Pricing) For Designing And Developing A Small Business WebsiteOPTION 1: Hire A Professional
If you’re super busy running your business and/or tech just isn’t your thing, then you need to hire someone to build your site for you. It’s that simple.
However, if you’ve searched online and visited sites of website designers/developers, you’ve probably encountered:
For competent, experienced web designers that did list their prices, we found the going rate in 2021 to build a modern, professional small business website was typically $4,000-$10,000 but could be as much as $20,000 (or more) depending on the number of pages on the site and the amount of customization required.
Website Design vs. Website Development. Website design and website development are often used synonymously, but they’re two very different things. Website design is like working with an architect to create the blueprint for your house. Website development is like working with a contractor to actually build your house. The 2021 pricing estimates listed above are for website design *as well as* website development (i.e. the complete, all inclusive cost).
Now that you have a ballpark idea of what things cost, here’s a closer look at the specific factors affecting the price of building a small business website:
PRO TIP # 1: If you want to hire a professional to help you with your website, but you don’t feel like you can afford one lump sum payment upfront, see if they offer financing. That way you get a really nice website *right now* to help grow your business, but not deplete your bank account.
PRO TIP # 2: Be careful with budget pricing. Unusually low prices often translates to shoddy workmanship, an unpleasant experience or nickel and diming you for every little thing. As they say, you get what you pay for.
OPTION 2: Attempt To Do It Yourself (DIY)
If you have a basic understanding of web technology and you’re fine doing the work yourself, you can totally build your own website.
The raw materials you’ll need aren’t horribly expensive:
Obviously the main cost with the DIY option is your time.
Even for a “simple” site, don’t be surprised if it takes you 20-40 hours to produce something of decent quality you can be proud of. And that’s assuming you’re already somewhat familiar with how to build a website. If you’re totally new to this, multiply that time estimate by 2x or 3x. I’m not exaggerating.
Building a modern, well-engineered website is way more time-consuming than most people realize. But if you have more time than money right now and you don’t get overwhelmed by web technology, the DIY approach is a perfectly viable option.
The Cost Of Website Updates, Upgrades, Maintenance & LicensesOnce your website launches, your work’s not done.
Just like buying a house, you’ll need to invest time, effort and money to maintain it.
For example, you’ll have annual hosting & maintenance fees and possibly annual licensing fees for premium plugins and services.
It’s likely you’ll purchase new images as you upgrade and expand your site.
You might add staff or hire freelancers to assist you in creating new custom web content or videos to boost your marketing efforts.
Your site also requires ongoing technical maintenance to install updates and security patches to WordPress core files and WordPress plugins to protect your site from being hacked. Yes, even small business sites are targets for hackers.
If you’re comfortable performing these updates yourself, great. But sometimes routine updates break your site, so you need to know what to do if/when this happens. Are you prepared to deal with …