If you have been thinking about creating your own personal or business website, the question of costs must have crossed your mind more than once. It is quite a tricky question to be honest. How much does it cost to build a website from scratch anyway?
There are no simple answers here. After all, every website is different, every website owner is different and on top of that there are a plethora of different methods of creating a website in this day and age.
This is why we have decided to dedicate this blog post to thoroughly decode the various different factors that go into deciding the cost of a website, how much you can expect to pay when using different methods of building a website and what are some of the things you should keep in mind when building a website. Hopefully, by the time you reach the end of this article, you will have a more or less clear idea in your mind of what a website costs and how and where you can start your own website building journey!
How much does creating a website cost?
The cost of creating a single website from scratch ranges from $200 to $150,000.
There is no simple answer to the question of how much does it cost to make a website. But what is the real answer?
Well, all we can say is that it depends. More specifically it depends on a variety of factors ranging from the type of website to the method of website building you decide to go for.
To give you an analogy, think about how much does a pizza cost. The question might seem simple on the surface but it really is not. You could buy a frozen pizza slice from a grocery store, you could order one from a fast food place or you could go to a high-end Italian pizzeria for your pizza. You could also pay a personal chef to make you a custom pizza or cook your own pizza in your home kitchen. All of these methods will give you different results and the costs for all of these will also be wildly different.
With that in mind let us go through some of the factors that can affect the cost of website building.
Factors affecting the cost of building a website
What kind of website are you building?
Different types of websites require different kinds of functionalities and design aesthetics. These differences will affect the final cost of your website as well.
For example, an e-commerce website is different from a portfolio website or a resume website. Setting up an online store that can sell products, accept payments, manage your product inventory and listings etc is also more complex than creating a simple website that can host your resume or blog. So, the cost of setting up an e-commerce website will naturally be a bit higher than other kinds of websites.
Similarly the costs of setting up a portfolio website will be different from the costs of setting up a blog website because you need a platform that can host a range of image galleries, contact forms and more.
Need inspiration? Here are some stunning examples of websites that will help you stay on top of the latest trends.
What is the scale of your website?
The scale of your website also matters. For example, an e-commerce website that sells up to 25 or so products will require less handling, management and specialized tools than an e-commerce website that sells over 100 different items. Creating a simple portfolio website will naturally cost you less than building a website with all the works including client galleries, e-commerce facilities, blog integration and more. Read our step-by-step guide on how to design a website to help you get started.
Larger websites don’t just require more functionality, they also need more storage space, maintenance and handling to ensure everything runs smoothly. This means that maintenance costs for larger websites, especially self-made and self-hosted websites can be higher. So if you are hiring a professional website designer to create a complicated website, you will need to ensure that you have someone on hand to manage it as well. If you are choosing a website builder, you would want to select a website builder with active customer support channels.
Are you hiring a professional?
Professional website developers or designers charge not just for the time and effort it takes for them to code and design your website, but also for their own skills and expertise. The more experienced a designer, the more they will charge. We will get a little bit more into the specifics of how much a professional website designer charges a little later in this article. But all things considered, outsourcing the job is probably one of the more expensive options that you can go for when it comes to website building.
A DIY approach will be much more affordable since much of the labour that goes into building a website will be your own and hence, in a way, free. A lot of people tend to get a little intimidated by the idea of creating their own website. They think it is an incredibly advanced technical venture best left to the professionals. But this is a myth. No-code website builder platforms have made website building a lot more accessible and affordable for a wide range of people. You can use either in-built features or integrations and plug-ins to add further functionality without having to do any coding of your own. The DIY approach is best for you if you have a bit of a tight budget and a sense of adventure and initiative for trying something new. Here are some great tips for making your online website stand out.
What platform are you choosing?
If you decide to go the DIY route then the platform you decide to choose will also have an influence on how much your website will cost in the end. For DIY website building, the most common routes are either using a website builder platform or using Wordpress.
Wordpress is more suitable for people who have some fairly advanced technical skills. But if you are looking for simple, beginner-friendly platforms then a website builder like Pixpa is what you need. Both of these methods can help you build beautiful, professional websites with all the functionality and features you need.
Website builder platforms are an extremely simple and user-friendly option of building your website without having to touch a single line of code. Pricing for website builders varies from platform to platform. Pixpa pricing plans range from $7 per month to $16 per month. Most website builders come with in-built features and templates as well as options for third-party integrations in order to easily add further functionality to your website unlike Wordpress which requires plug-ins.
Wordpress is open source and free but self-hosted which means you will have to pay for hosting yourself. Additionally Wordpress websites often use a variety of plug-ins in order to make the websites actually functional. These plug-ins can be free or paid. Wordpress also requires quite a bit of technical knowledge, so if you are not a very advanced user you might have to hire a developer who specializes in Wordpress websites to help you out.
What are the costs of building a website depending on methods used
So, we have covered the different factors that affect how much a website costs to build. As you may have noticed, one of the biggest factors that affect a website’s cost is the method that you choose for building your website.
A professional developer costs more than a DIY approach and with DIY approaches costs can be variable depending on the website builder platform, hosting service or Wordpress plug-ins you use.
Let us get into specifics now! In this section, we will list the various costs associated with website building using different methods.
How much does a website cost using a Website Builder?
Creating a website with a website builder can cost about $80 to $1500 a year depending on the builder you choose and the features you want. A lot of website builders also offer custom pricing plans for large enterprises with specific needs. Website builders are ideal for people who do not have a lot of experience building websites. Most website builders are no-code platforms and can be used to create complex, professional and user-friendly websites without touching a single line of code!
That’s still not as specific as we would like though. Unfortunately, we can’t cover every single website builder on the market in this article. For a more detailed look at different website builders, their features and the costs involved you can check out this article on the best website builders of 2021. For now, to keep things simpler, let us look at one of the most affordable website builders on the market right now: Pixpa
Pixpa is a no-code, all-in-one website builder platform equipped with a host of powerful yet user-friendly tools for website building. Pixpa can be used to build a wide array of websites including but not limited to portfolio websites, e-commerce and small business websites, resume websites, photography websites, blogs and much more. It also comes with a client proofing platform for photographers to help them service their clients and expand their business offerings.
Pixpa offers three different pricing plans to serve the needs of different users: The Personal plan costs $7 a month, the Expert plan costs $10 per month and the Business plan comes around to $16 per month. All plans are billed annually.
So, for as little as $84 a year, you could create a beautiful professional website! That is quite a bargain, especially compared to hiring a professional web developer.
Here are 25 top reasons photographers and creators choose Pixpa to build their portfolio website, complete with an online store, blog and client galleries.
Miscellaneous costs for website builders:
In general, website builders are designed to be self-contained and therefore minimize miscellaneous extra costs. This means that the subscription amount you pay should be your only cost. That being said, depending on the platform, there can be some minor extra costs involved. These include:
- Custom domain name - For a lot of website builder platforms, you will need to pay extra for a custom domain name. Domain names can be bought for anywhere from around $2 to $15 a year.
- Integrations - If you want more functionality and features beyond what your website builder provides, you may need to use third-party apps and integrations which can cost extra.
Website builder platform advantages:
- Extremely easy to use. No coding knowledge required.
- Website templates and themes to make sure that you have a solid starting point that you can build off of.
- Most features are in-built so you don’t need to download a hundred different plug-ins to keep your website functional.
- Customer support services to help you with site maintenance and bug fixes.
- Hosting services are provided by the platform itself. You don’t have to find a third party or self host.
Website builder platform disadvantages:
- Relatively less scope for customization.
- You don’t own your website outright.
- Website builder platforms are subscription based and not a one-time payment.
How much does a website cost using Wordpress?
Wordpress websites can cost from anywhere around $80 a year to over $500 a year for a DIY website. The cheaper end of this range is if you pay only for the hosting and domain and create the actual website completely on your own and using just free plug-ins. The higher end is more realistic as it accommodates the costs of premium plug-ins, themes and other miscellaneous costs that are usually needed to create a good, functional Wordpress website. The cost of hiring a professional Wordpress developer can easily run into over $1000 at minimum.
Wordpress is a free, open source content management system which reportedly powers around 40% of all websites on the internet. Keep in mind that Wordpress the content management system is entirely different from Wordpress.com which is a website builder platform which is powered by Wordpress. The latter is a paid website builder platform, like Pixpa, but is much easier to use although limited in capacity than the open source version.
Wordpress uses a visual editor which means you don’t have to do any coding of your own. However, to actually start using Wordpress you need themes to customize the presentation of your website, and plug-ins to enable more functionality and add features like contact forms, analytics and SEO etc.
Let us look at a breakdown of the costs involved in using Wordpress for your website building needs.
Wordpress plug-in costs
Wordpress plug-ins can be free or paid. Paid Wordpress plug-ins can range in cost from around $10 up to $200 a year. Most websites need multiple plug-ins and that's where the costs can start to really add up.
For example, say you create a Wordpress website. Now you add the Elementor plug-in which is a drag and drop page builder that simplifies the visual editing process. The premium plug-in costs about $49 a year. Next you need to manage your website’s SEO so you download an SEO management plug-in like Yoast SEO which costs $89 a year. Now your website needs security so you could go for a more expensive security plug-in like Sucuri which costs around $199 a year or a cheaper plug-in like VaultPress which starts at $39 a year.
So, the cost of creating a basic website through Wordpress can range from around $177 to over $300 a year in plug-ins alone. This is not including the cost of hosting and domain names because Wordpress is self-hosted.
Wordpress domain name and hosting costs
Wordpress websites are self-hosted. This means that in order to take your site live, you will have to pay for hosting through a third party. You will also need to pay for your own domain name.
BlueHost, GoDaddy and Hostinger are some of the most popular third-party hosting services for Wordpress. You can also buy a domain name from these same services.
BlueHost charges $3 to $14 a month for hosting and around $13 a year for a .com domain name. GoDaddy costs between $7 to $16 for hosting and the domain name is free for the duration of the hosting period.
So hosting and domain name costs for a Wordpress website come down to around $7 to $17 a month and between $84 to $217 a year.
Wordpress miscellaneous costs
Here are some other miscellaneous costs associated with Wordpress:
- Themes - Wordpress, just like website builders, uses templates or themes for showcasing website content. Unlike with website builders, Wordpress themes are not just aesthetic but can also come loaded with more functional features like plug-ins. Premium Wordpress themes can range in costs from around $10 to $200. You can also get a custom built theme for your website however that can cost thousands of dollars.
- Wordpress developer - While Wordpress is a DIY option, the range of plug-ins and the scope of customization means that website building with Wordpress can be extremely time consuming and complicated. This is why professional Wordpress developers are often in high demand. Wordpress developers can create a much more professional, customized and sophisticated website than would be possible through a pure DIY approach. It can take upwards of $1000 to get a custom website created by a Wordpress developer.
- The main software is open source and free.
- Extremely customizable.
- Wordpress has a very active community of users and developers who can help and guide you.
- The core software is free but you need to add in a lot of plug-ins to make your website actually functional which can get expensive.
- No free hosting or domain names.
- Not the most beginner-friendly DIY website building option.
- Even though Wordpress is supposed to be DIY, creating a professional, custom Wordpress website often requires you to hire a professional developer.
How much does a website cost using a Web Designer?
On an average the cost of hiring a professional web designer for building a website will be around $75 an hour. Naturally, different designers charge differently based on their skill level and experience as well as the scope of the project itself. Some designers may also charge a flat amount for the entire project or charge based on the number of pages on your website. It is also important to note that web designers are different from web developers. They do different functions and while it may be possible to find a professional who can do both, keeping the distinction in mind is important.
Web designers v/s Web developers
Simply speaking, web designers are responsible for the design aspect of your website. This includes both the general aesthetics, graphics, fonts and user interface. Aesthetics, however, does not mean that web design has no functional aspect. Web designers are responsible for creating user-friendly website layouts, select color palettes and fonts that go well with a website’s brand image and much more. UX or user-experience is also an important aspect of web design. UX is important in creating websites that make visitors want to stay and explore more. Poor UX design can be a death knell for any website.
Web developers on the other hand, are responsible for technical aspects of your website and writing the code on which your website will run. This includes front-end work and back-end work. Front-end developers are responsible for coding the visual aspects of your website. In this, they work alongside web designers and use CSS and HTML code to bring the designer’s vision to life. Back-end developers are responsible for the more functional aspects of your website. The work done by back-end developers will form the basic structure of your website which makes it function. Full-stack web developers perform both front-end as well as back-end work.
There is some overlap between front-end developers and web designers. Most web designers know a decent bit of CSS and HTML needed for website design and vice versa.
Should you hire a web designer or a web developer for building your website?
When you are creating a website entirely from scratch, without the help of a content management system like Wordpress or a website builder like Pixpa, you will most likely have to hire both a web designer as well as a web developer. At that point it is better to hire a web design agency. Agencies usually consist of web designers as well as developers of all kinds. They work on all aspects of website design and development and can handle complex projects much better than individual designers or developers. We will talk about how much does it cost to make a website through a web design agency in the next section.
If you are using a website builder like Pixpa which gives you the option for using custom code for creating highly personalized websites, or a content management system like Wordpress, then you are most likely only going to need a front-end developer or a web designer. In these cases, the back-end work is not needed as it either comes built-in with the platform or can be added using plug-ins.
How much does a professional web designer charge?
Web designers either charge a flat rate or an hourly rate depending on the project. It is a little more difficult to accurately estimate these rates because they are highly variable depending on the designer's level of expertise and experience, as well as the nature and scope of the job. However, you are looking at an expense of around $1000 minimum when building a website by hiring a professional web designer.
Hourly rates can vary from $30 to $100 for the most experienced designers. If your project is relatively simple, you can also request a flat rate. Again, the prices in this particular category can be highly variable but you can expect to pay in the range of $1000 to $4000 for your website when hiring a professional web designer.
In addition to the designer’s charges, you will also have to pay for a domain name, hosting and SSL security certificates. These will come around to an additional $100 to $200 a year.
Web designer advantages
- Since you are hiring a professional, you can expect professional quality work. There is no guesswork involved.
- You can request more advanced customization than would be possible with a DIY approach.
- This is the best option for people looking for more advanced or complicated websites and for whom budget is not a big issue.
Web designer disadvantages
- Considerably more expensive than a DIY approach.
- A bit of an overkill if you are looking for a very simple or basic website.
- For future maintenance, you will either have to rehire the designer or teach yourself how to maintain the website which can be complicated.
How much does a website cost using a Web Design Agency?
The cost of hiring a web design agency for creating your website starts from around $4000-$5000. The upper end of the price range can vary by a lot. This is because larger, more complicated websites can be really expensive to create and maintain. Hiring a web design agency is probably the most expensive option for building a website from scratch, mainly because of the fact that the projects agencies usually undertake are quite complex. Additionally, most web design agencies create websites entirely from scratch and include the cost of providing professional content writing and SEO services. You may also need to put the agency on a retainer to cover the costs of website maintenance.
For almost all personal websites and portfolio websites as well as most small and medium business websites, hiring a web design agency can be a bit of an overkill. However, if you are an extremely busy business owner then the benefit of having an agency handle all your website building and maintenance needs can be a bit of an advantage.
Web design agency advantages
- Completely hands-free approach to website building. The agency takes care of most things related to website building and maintenance.
- Content writing and SEO services can be a good add-on.
- Website maintenance services are usually available at extra charge.
- Good choice for very large organizations with complicated website building requirements.
Web design agency disadvantages
- Most expensive method for creating a website.
- An overkill for most personal and small to medium business websites.
- You don’t get as much control over how your website gets built as a DIY approach might give you.
Here are 4 tips for creating content for your portfolio website
Know your audience
Any content that you put up on your website needs to align with the requirements and wants of your target audience. Websites are a mode of marketing and marketing cannot happen without communication. But before you start communicating you need to figure out what your target audience wants to hear. This is why pre-planning and research are incredibly important when planning out the content for your website.
Getting to know your audience is not as complicated as it sounds. In general you must have a vague idea of who your target audience are. For example if you are a fashion model creating a portfolio website, you are likely targeting people who are in the fashion industry for example designers, modeling agencies and fashion photographers etc. You may also be targeting media industry professionals like fashion journalists or magazine editors. Think about what these people are looking for in a model portfolio website. From there you can start adding content to your website in an organized and appropriate manner.
Keep it clean and simple
When creating a website, keep in mind that a clean, minimalist and simple layout looks much more modern and professional than an overcrowded or cluttered website layout. This is especially true for your website’s landing page. Try not to make your landing page too information heavy. It is better to keep detailed information about yourself and your personal and professional background confined to the ‘About’ page. You don’t want to overwhelm the reader’s eye right from the start.
Overcrowded and cluttered websites are not just unpleasant to look at, they also have the added demerit of being slow loading. When you have too much memory heavy content like videos or poorly optimized images on your website it can affect your load times. Long loading times negatively affect user experience and ruin first impressions. They can also cause your page to lose SEO rankings because slow loading pages are ranked lower on search engine results pages. So, always go for a clean and simple approach over an elaborate or overly-complicated one.
Include an ‘About’ page
As we said earlier, your website is all about marketing and communication. For communication to take place your audience has to know who you are and that’s where your ‘About’ page comes in. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking their work will speak for itself; however in marketing it is very important to form a human connection as well.
Your ‘About’ page is the perfect place for you to add this human connection. For personal portfolios and resume websites, it helps to include a short personal and professional bio, your resume, as well as a good professional portrait. For business portfolios and websites, you can include a picture of your core team. This lets site visitors know the humans behind the website and the work and it helps you build good customer relationships. For more detailed insights into what a good ‘About’ page should look like, check out our guide to ‘About’ pages!
Use contact forms
Contact forms are a very useful addition to any website. You don’t want the people who visit your website to simply log off after they have seen it, right? You want to convert those site visitors to paying clients or customers. And if they are already paying customers, you want a way for them to give you their reviews and feedback and engage with you and your website even further. The more you can engage your site visitors the better. To make this happen you need to include a method on your website which site visitors can use to communicate with you. A contact form is the best way of doing this.
Contact forms are an easy and effective way of encouraging site visitors to contact you for more information or feedback without having to part with sensitive information like emails or phone numbers. Sharing private contact information can make you vulnerable to spam. Contact forms with captchas are a way of solving this issue without compromising on the ability of serious clients/customers from communicating with you. For more information on how you can create the perfect contact form, check out this article on creating the best ‘Contact Us’ page!
Here are 6 Things to keep in mind when building a website
Know your goals
With any website, it is very important to have a clear set of goals in mind before you embark on your quest to create it. To start out, it can be helpful to have a clear idea of exactly what website category your site fits into. For example, if you are a fashion model looking for a platform to showcase your portfolio, a portfolio website is what you need. If you want to sell products then what you need is an e-commerce website.
Clarity about what category your website belongs to will also give you clarity about what kind of features you need in your website and what the general layout and design aesthetic should be. This will also help you select the best method for website building.
Even if you are outsourcing the job to a professional, it helps to have a clear idea of your goals because it will help you communicate to the designer exactly what you want in your website. Make sure you give your designer or developer as precise instructions as you can but try not to micromanage. Your website will be a product of both your vision as well as the designer’s imagination and expertise. You may not get exactly what you envisioned but keep in mind that, in most cases, the professional knows what works and what doesn’t better than you.
You should always plan ahead when it comes to big ventures and website building is no different. Think about the functions you want your website to fulfill and what would be the best way to fulfill those functions. You should also do some research and take a good look at websites created by other people in your industry. Try to understand how they utilize their website to their professional advantage. Also identify gaps or shortcomings in their website and how you can avoid those pitfalls in your website.
It can also be helpful to consume as much information on website building as possible. You can take a look at our step by step guide on how to design a website for some advice as well as inspiration.
Once you have done your research, you can start drafting a plan for your website. Using grid diagrams and lists can help you visualize your website on paper before you start the process of actually building it.
We have talked extensively in this article about how much a website costs. As we have noted, the scale of your website is an important determining factor in the ultimate overall cost of your website. Larger websites naturally require more resources, time and money. Starting small is a great idea not just when your budget is tight but in general.
For example, say you want a full-fledged, detailed small business website with all the bells and whistles including an e-commerce store, a blog, galleries, videos, images and much more. But how do you know that you need all of these features before your website has even gone live? Also, simply having multiple pages and features is not enough. Websites need to be constantly updated and maintained. Do you have the time and resources to do that? For the most part the answer to all of these questions is that you just don’t know till you actually take your website live and start using it in all seriousness.
It is always better to start small and get basics in place first. Then after your website has gone live and you start to figure out where the gaps lie and what you really need, you can start adding more features and details. This can also help with keeping your website building cost low on the upfront.
Templates are your friend
A lot of people are hesitant to use website templates for the fear that their website might look too cookie-cutter. We’re here to tell you that website templates are your friend not your enemy. This is especially true when you are a beginner to website building. It can be difficult to understand what is a cliche and what is an industry standard due to the fact that it simply works.
For example, grid based website layouts may seem like a boring cliche but the fact of the matter is that grids work! They are the best way of organizing information and images on a page in a coherent and attractive manner. Of course you can play around with the size and shape of your grids to make them appear more unique and that's where customizable templates come in.
With templates you have a solid, industry standard base to work with which you can then customize to your liking. This ensures that your website is both practical and functional as well as personalized and unique.
Prioritize user experience
Always prioritize user experience above all else. Unintuitive, glitchy or laggy websites contribute to a negative user experience which can be detrimental to your overall web traffic.
UX can be complicated to get right, which is why it is always important to choose a good template for your website when you are going for a DIY approach. As we have already mentioned, templates are your friend when it comes to website building. A good website template will have grid based layouts and will adhere to visual hierarchy to make sure that the viewer’s eye goes to the most important part of the web page first. Breadcrumb navigation, intuitive menus and a pleasant and effective color palette are also important.
Another thing to consider is loading times. Long loading times are not just responsible for ruining the overall user experience, they can also adversely affect your site’s SEO. Thus, it is important to keep your site’s base code clean and make sure you choose templates that are quick to load and non-laggy.
Don’t forget about website maintenance
Website building is only one part of the equation because once you have built your website, you will have to maintain it. The cost of building a website does not stop with the creation of the website alone. Website maintenance is just as important and can take a great deal of time and resources. Apart from taking care of the occasional bugs and glitches, you will also need to update your website from time to time to add more time and functionality, make sure it is secure, for SEO reasons or just to generally make sure that it remains functional and updated. Here is a complete guide to SEO to help you understand the basics.
Website builder platforms usually come with dedicated customer support experts who can help or guide you with maintenance issues. With website builders, customer support is usually free with your subscription. If you are hiring a professional developer to create your website, you may need to come to an agreement about the costs of maintenance and upgrades down the line. You might also need to equip yourself with the skills to handle minor bugs and fixes. With Wordpress, there is an active community that can help you with issues and which you can leverage to self-teach yourself some skills related to website management.
We hope this article has cleared some of your doubts regarding how much it costs to create your own website from scratch. The cheapest and most efficient way of building your own website is by using a website builder platform. Website builder platforms offer a good range of customizability as well as accessibility and affordability suitable for most people looking to build a website. Wordpress is open source but the necessity of using premium plug-ins and themes makes it less than affordable for a lot of people. It is also considerably more complicated than using a website builder. Hiring a professional web designer or agency is a good option for larger businesses with more specific or complicated needs and for whom time is a bigger constraint than budget.
If you are still confused, don’t be. You can try out Pixpa’s 15-day, full-featured free trial and see for yourself what creating a website from scratch is really like! Pixpa also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your experience. Nothing can help you figure out what the best website building option for you is than personal experience. Best wishes to you on your website building journey!