How much does it cost to build a website?

 Web designer opening her laptop at the start of working day.
Web designer opening her laptop at the start of working day.

As the saying goes, you have to spend money to make money – and building a website is no exception. Whether you’re setting up a home for your new crafts business, or an online portfolio for your creative endeavours, putting it together is likely going to involve an ongoing cost. In this article, we’re going to take a look at what you should expect to pay to build a website.

At Creative Bloq, we’ve got plenty of resources for helping you build a digital presence for your business. Our guide to the best website builders for small businesses is the ideal place to get started. Depending on how much functionality and customisation you need, you may find you can spend less than you expected.

We’ve split this piece up into sections to make it easier to navigate. Also, while all prices are correct at the time of writing, things can and do change – so keep an eye out for offers and deals.

1. Can I build a website for free?

First up, you may be wondering whether it’s possible to get a website online without opening your wallet at all – and the short answer is yes. While you won’t get the same level of functionality and customizability you’d get with a paid-for tool – and you also won’t be able to secure your own domain name – if you want to throw together a simple website, you can absolutely do that without spending any money.

Many of the best website builders like Wix offer free versions of their services, which come with limits to storage and bandwidth (meaning you won’t be able to have too many visitors). There are also dedicated free website builders like Site123, which make their money by running ads on your site. Our guide to the best free website builders has a complete rundown.

Plus, did you know that if you have a Google account, you can use Google’s own tool to make a website for free? Google Sites is an intuitive tool with which you can have a page up and running within minutes – check out our guide to how to make a website on Google for a quick tutorial.

Screenshot of the Google Sites website-building interface
Screenshot of the Google Sites website-building interface

2. How much do website builders cost?

So, you’ve decided you want more functionality, storage and bandwidth than can be offered by free website tools. How much can you expect to pay to use a website builder?

An important thing to understand about building a website is that you will be paying on a subscription basis – this is not a ‘one and done’ situation. For as long as you want your website to be active, you’ll need to keep paying the subscription fees.

Let’s take a look at some of the website builders we’ve reviewed to get an idea of the costs. We’ve looked at prices in the US and UK, and while they vary across other territories, they’re unlikely to stray wildly from these starting points. We’ve used the cheapest options when looking for prices, so in some cases these are the prices you’ll get if you commit to paying annually rather than monthly.

Building website for Tom's Crafts in GoDaddy interface
Building website for Tom's Crafts in GoDaddy interface

One of the cheaper services we’ve looked at is GoDaddy, which offers subscription plans for $10.99-16.99/£6.99-12.99 per month. Moving up the scale a little, we find Wix at around $17-36/£9-25 per month, then Squarespace at about $16-49/£12-35 a month. Finally, if we want more advanced ecommerce features, we can opt for Shopify, which starts at $29/£19 per month.

If we wanted a website on any of these services for a year, using GoDaddy would cost us a minimum of $132/£84; picking Wix would cost $204/£108; Squarespace would run us up $192/£144, and Shopify would run to $348/£228. There’s a decent amount of variance there, but we can say as a rough guide that you’re probably going to spend a minimum of $100, and unless you need advanced features, you shouldn’t need to go over a maximum of $350.

Remember that prices do change, and you also may be able to snag yourself a deal by taking advantage of introductory offers, Black Friday savings or similar limited-time opportunities.

3. How much do domains cost?

If you’re building your own website, you may well want to secure your own domain. This is what allows your site to exist on a personalised URL – rather than being a sub-domain of a host like Google, Wix, Squarespace or any of the others.

Most website builders allow you to purchase a domain through their system and simply add it to the overall cost of your plan – in many cases, you’ll get the custom domain free for the first year or so of your plan, and will have to pay to use it thereafter. This will also be a cost you’ll need to pay as long as your site is running.

The cost of a domain depends on a number of factors – including what exactly the domain is. Wix recommends expecting a guide price of around $10-45 per year for a domain name, while Squarespace estimates $20 to $70 per year. If you want to look at your options when it comes to hosting, check out our guide to the best web hosting services for creatives.

Web hosting
Web hosting

You may not be thrilled at the thought of paying yet more for your website. However, if you’re looking to build a professional site for a business, having your own domain is crucial both in terms of searchability, and looking legit. Customers and clients are just much more willing to trust than they are

Like many things in business, building and maintaining a great-looking website is an investment – but one that can pay off handsomely in the long run.