How much does a website cost for a small business?

No matter how small your operation, a website is essential for any modern business. But how much should you budget for your business website costs?

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How much does it cost to build a website for your small business? That entirely depends on how you do it…

With a website builder, you can set up a professional-looking website for free, with paid plans starting from as little as £3/month. Or, if you want something truly unique and made to your exact specifications, you could hire a web designer, which could cost you anything from £4,000 to hundreds of thousands in upfront costs.

As a guide price, market leading website builder Wix will let you build a fully functioning online store from just £13 per month, and regular Wix discounts let you cut its prices even further. Alternatively, you could use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, which grants more control and flexibility than a website builder, but is much cheaper than a web designer.

If you need help choosing between these options, don't fret, we've designed a quiz that will give you an answer and match you to suitable options for your business. It only takes a minute to select which options you need.

Without doubt, the cheapest and easiest way to launch a small business website is to use a website builder. Even for a decent ecommerce package, you don’t need to spend much more than £10/month to have all the features you need to make your online store a success.

And with the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting normal operations, it’s never been more important to invest in your online presence, no matter how much you’re able to spend

In this article, we’ll explain the average prices of the best value website builders for small businesses, break down the costs involved in working with a web designer, and tell you how much you can expect to pay for a WordPress website.

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How much does a website cost?

Before we go any further, let’s see how the costs of these three different options stack up against each other.

Why does it cost thousands to work with a website designer when you can use a website builder for a small monthly cost, or even for free?

Basically, you're paying for the time and expertise of a professional. As they're not bound by the limitations of a website builder, they can do pretty much whatever you want, but it takes time and money.

The table below shows the costs involved with website builders, web designers, and WordPress side by side.

Website builderWeb designerWordPress
Website builder subscription: £0 - £18/month

Ecommerce subscription: £0 - 240/month
Agency rate: £10 - £150

Domain: £3 - £100/year

Hosting: £25 - £600/year

Security: £0 - £200/year

Maintenance and support: £0 - £1,900/year
Agency rate: £10 - £150

Domain: £3 - £100/year

Hosting: £25 - £600/year

Security: £0 - £200/year

Maintenance and support: £0 - £1,900/year
Total: £0 - £240/monthTotal: £4,000 - £60,000+ upfront, £30 - £2,000 ongoingTotal: £30 - £1,000/year

It should also be said that one of the biggest factors in the price of your website is whether or not you want to sell online.

As you’ll see below, ecommerce website builder plans are generally more expensive than regular ones, and adding ecommerce functionality to your website will significantly increase the costs of working with a web designer.

Of course, any additional expense has to be balanced against the potential revenue you could make from selling through your website. A successful online store will more than pay for itself. 

Wix website example

You can create and launch a Wix website like this one for free

The cost of using a website builder: £0 – £240/month

website builder is a software that allows you to create a website without having to manually edit code. Instead, you can choose from a range of pre-existing templates, and then add and arrange elements in a visual editing interface.

The table below shows the price ranges from the most basic to the most advanced plans for the top website builders on the market.

As you can see, even for our top ranked builders, you’re not going to spend more than £30/month for a fully functional ecommerce site using the likes of Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly. And all three offer great value for money, with sophisticated features and professional-looking templates at affordable prices.

Shopify and BigCommerce are ecommerce specific website builders. Their higher tier plans have very advanced sales features for large, scaling online retailers. Good to have access to them if you need them, but unnecessary for most smaller businesses.

0 out of 0
BEST FOR
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
Price
Visit

Wix

Squarespace

GoDaddy

Weebly

Zyro

Jimdo

Best all-round website builder for small businesses

Design flexibility & businesses looking to scale

Ease of use and simplicity

Value for money

Cheap builder

Creating a website in under an hour (thanks to its ADI platform)

4.8
4.8
4.4
4.0
3.8
3.6

£6.50-£22 per month
£3.25-£11 until 20th January

£10-£30 per month

Use code “STARTUPS10” to receive a 10% discount on all Squarespace plans

£6.99-£14.99 per month (first term discounts available)

£0-£28 per month

£2-£11

Get 72% off with code STARTUPS until February 28

£0-£39 per month

Ecommerce website builders 

0 out of 0
Best for
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
Pricing
Visit

Wix

Shopify

Squarespace

Square Online

BigCommerce

GoDaddy

All-round ecommerce platform for small businesses

Best range of apps and extensions

Best for ease of use and great design

Best value – start selling for free

Best sales features

Creating a simple online store

4.8
4.6
4.6
4.3
4.2
3.9

£13-£22 per month

£6.50-£11 until 20th January

£20-£211 per month

£15-£30 per month

Use code “STARTUPS10” to receive a 10% discount on all Squarespace plans

 

£0-£54 per month

£22-£216 per month

£19.99 per month (first term savings available)

An overview of website builder costs

Website builder plans can range in price from £3/month for the most basic plans to more than £240/month for the most advanced ecommerce plans.

The advertised prices for website builder plans are paid for on an annual subscription basis, which you’ll pay for in full at the time of purchase. You can also usually choose to pay monthly, but this will cost you more overall.

What’s great about website builders from a budgeting perspective is that, in almost all cases, the pricing is very transparent. Unlike, for example, hosting providers, there are no massively discounted introductory prices, which are then ramped up considerably after the first year. What you see is what you pay.

There’s only one thing you really need to watch out for and that’s domain name renewal. All major web builders include a free domain name for the first year, which then renews at the standard rate.

For example, Squarespace’s domain name renewal starts from around £16.50 per year, and can reach up to £57.50 per year depending on the top-level domain you use (e.g. .com, .org, .net, .co.uk etc.). Wix renewals start from around £12, while GoDaddy’s start from around £15 for a .com domain.

Low-cost website builders like Zyro can save you big bucks if you're looking to reduce your software costs. But how does it compare to the more expensive platforms, like Wix?

Find out how budget builders stack up against the industry giant in our comparison page: Zyro vs Wix.

The best value website builders for small business

Weebly website example

It only take a few minutes to create a free site using Weebly

Of course, the raw costs alone can only tell you so much. What matters to you, a discerning small business owner who's trying to keep costs down, is which builder offers the best value for money.

Our team of expert researchers have weighed factors like depth of features, quality of templates, and design functionality against monthly cost to determine which of our top builders offers you the best value.

As of November 2021, all our scores are brand new and updated to reflect the latest version of these website builders and ecommerce platforms – and there have been some notable improvements. Weebly, our best value website builder, has increased its value for money score from 4.4 to an unbeatable 5/5, Jimdo from 3.7 to 4.7, and Wix from 3.6 to 4.

But GoDaddy has seen the most impressive improvement – its value for money score has risen from just 3.2 to 4.5, seeing it jump from last to third place for this metric.

Another platform that's doing well in this area is Zyro. The builder is currently offering new users 72% off until February 28, using the code STARTUPS. That means you could get online for as little as £2.08 per month. Plus, it is throwing in other freebies like 4 free months, a free custom domain, free hosting, a free SSL certificate, and 3 months of free business email with all annual plans.

Weebly – Best value for money

£0 – £28/month

Value for money score: 5/5

Weebly
4
Simple, no-fuss website builder with low-cost pricing.
  • Free trial Free plan
  • Price from £4 per month
  • Good integration with other apps
  • Simple, easy-to-use interface
Summary Weebly pricing starts at just £4 per month – its USP is simple, low-cost website building that uses drag-and-drop tools for a simple user experience. Upgrading to the Pro plan gives you a wider choice of more advanced features. However, we think Weebly is only the better choice for SMEs working with very small budgets.
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0 out of 0
Price

Connect

Weebly pro

Weebly business

Jimdo – Best for creating a website in under an hour

£0 – £39/month

Value for money: 4.7/5

Jimdo
3.6
Easy to use but doesn't offer many options
  • Free plan Yes
  • Price from £0 per month
  • Easy to use editor
  • Great help and support
  • Cheap plans
Summary While its overall score puts it quite low in the pecking order of our top website builders, Jimdo certainly offers good value for money. Its website features might be basic, and its templates and design flexibility limited, but you get generous allowances on storage, the Artificial Design Intelligence tech offers a really easy building option for beginners, and the help and support is genuinely useful. Overall, a simple but effective website builder with competitive pricing and a helpful ADI product.
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0 out of 0
Price

Start

Grow

Grow + Legal

Unlimited

£9 per month

£15 per month

£20 per month

£39 per month

GoDaddy – Best for ease of use and simplicity

£6.99-£14.99 per month

Value for money score: 4.5/5

GoDaddy (Web Builder)
4.4
An easy-to-use website builder with good support for beginners
  • Free plan Yes
  • Price from £6.99
  • Great value for money
  • Excellent SEO support
  • Quick and easy to create a website
Summary GoDaddy is known for making it easy for small business owners with little or no website building experience to start growing their business online. Whereas most website builders focus on giving users absolute freedom to create whatever type of website they desire, GoDaddy gets that for a website to be successful online, it needs to be optimised to ensure you're driving as much business as possible. Prices range from £6.99-£14.99 per month for a regular website, and £19.99 per month for an online store.
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Wix – Best all round website builder

£0 – £22/month

Value for money score: 4/5

Wix (web builder)
4.8
Number one website builder for price, features and usability – offering 50% off until Thursday 20th Jan
  • Free trial 14-day
  • Price from £9.50 per month
  • 50% off annual plans until 20th January
  • Good balance of easy usability and complex features
  • Customisable, 'drag-and-drop' templates
Summary Wix is the most popular website builder in the UK. The platform has undoubtedly earned these accolades, with an unparalleled list of features and wide-ranging payment options for every budget. Whether you’re new to website building, or a seasoned expert looking for endless customisability, Wix is an excellent choice. Its pricing is also practical for small businesses, with the Unlimited plan particularly good value at just £9.50 per month.
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Best value ecommerce platforms

Square Online – Best for selling for free

£0 – £54/month

Value for money score: 4.6/5

Square Online
4.3
The best platform to use if you want to start selling for free
  • Free plan Yes
  • Price from £0 per month
  • Start selling for free
  • Excellent analytics
  • Supports dozens of payment types
Summary Square Online is the only website builder that allows you to start selling products without upgrading to a paid plan. You’ll still have to pay a 1.9% transaction fee for every payment processed, but you won’t find a more cost-effective way of getting an online store up and running anywhere else. It’s a great way to get to grips with things before you upgrade to one of Square's premium plans, which start from £9/month.
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Price
Features

Free

Professional

Performance

Premium

£0 per month

£9 per month

£19 per month

£54 per month

Start selling online
Sell on Instagram and Facebook
SEO tools
Sync with Square POS

Custom domain
No Square ads
Customised font uploads
Password-protected pages

Professional features
Accept PayPal
Abandoned basket
Advanced reporting
Product reviews

Lowest transaction fees (1.75%)
Performance features

Free website builders

Weebly, Jimdo, Wix, Site123, and Square Online all offer completely free plans. These allow you to create and launch your business website without spending a penny, and with no obligation to upgrade to a paid plan.

However, the free plans impose strict limitations on what you can do, and you’re often forced to accept a non-custom domain (e.g. mybusiness.wix.com), as well as feature branded adverts for the website builder on your site.

Using a free plan is a great way to get a feel for the website builder without making a financial commitment, but we’d recommend upgrading to a paid plan as soon as possible if you really want to reap the benefits of a full-featured business website.

Check out our guide to the best free website builders

The cost of using a website designer: £4,000 – £60,000+ upfront

Web design on computer

It’s increasingly rare for small businesses to use a web designer. But for businesses with bespoke needs and a bigger budget, working with a designer is the best way to build a truly unique website.

What do we mean by a bigger budget? Let’s break it down.

Web design agencies typically charge you on an hourly basis. Chameleon Studios, a Cambridge-based marketing agency, gives the approximate rates of different size web design services as such:

  • Offshore company – £10 – £25 per hour
  • Freelance web designer – £25 – £50 per hour
  • Small web agency – £50 – £75 per hour
  • Large web agency – £75 – £150 per hour

Based on insights from a number of developers, we’re going to accept that an average small business website takes around 12 weeks to build. We’ll also assume the agency is devoting seven hours a day to your project.

That means you’re looking at between £4,200 – £63,000 for development of your business website.

Of course, there are a lot of hypotheticals here, and a number of variables we haven’t factored in to our estimates – namely the size and complexity of the website you're trying to build. The more pages and functionality your website has, the longer it will take and the more it will cost.

But, based on our extensive research, the above is a useful estimate for anyone intending to work with a web design agency.

There are also some running costs you’ll need to factor into your website budget. These include:

Domain£3 - £100/year
Hosting£25 - £600/year
Security£0 - £200/year
Maintenance and support£0 - £1,000/year
Total running costs£30 - £2,000/year

Domain £3 – £100/year

You need to register the domain name of your website for a small ongoing cost to secure the online address of your website. The more desirable your domain name, the more expensive it will be. Many hosting providers include a free domain for the first year, which then renews at an increased rate.

Read more about domain name costs

Hosting £25 – £600/year

You need to pay for your website to be stored on a server. This is done on a subscription basis. The more space your website takes up, the more it costs to store. As with domain names, hosting plans always renew at an increased rate after the first year.

Read more about website hosting costs.

Security £0 – £200/year

Many hosting plans come with a free SSL certificate, which encrypts sensitive information and authenticates the identity of your website. However, you may want to enhance your protection with additional paid for security features.

Maintenance and support £0 – £1,000

This covers everything from making edits and fixing bugs to adding pages and redesigning. You’ll almost certainly need to do some or all of these things in any given year. If you don’t have the resources to hire a team member to be responsible for these tasks full time, then you can hire the services of a freelance developer or use the web design agency who built your website.

Should I use a web designer?

The above is a pretty rough breakdown of the estimated costs of running a small business website. As you can see, costs can vary hugely depending on who you use, how big your site is, and how complicated it is.

If you can afford it, working with a web designer to build a website to your exact needs and specifications is a great investment that’s sure to pay dividends in the long run. Don’t be afraid to shop around for quotes from various agencies before choosing one that suits your needs and budget.

The cost of using WordPress: £30 – £1,000/year

Man using WordPress

A third option is to use a WordPress site. This is a usually a lot cheaper than using a web designer, but gives you more control than using a web builder.

Basically, WordPress is a free, open-source CMS. As with a website builder, you can create a decent website without having to learn code. You can then customise your website using thousands of themes and plugins and add all sorts of additional features like an online store.

Open source means anyone is free to download and use the software. 

So what are you paying for?

Well, as with when you have your website designed, you’ll have to pay for your own hosting and domain name. These are the only guaranteed monthly costs. The others are optional, depending on your requirements.

For example, you’ll want to improve the functionality of your website using WordPress’s extensive library of apps and plugins, which includes things like SEO, ecommerce, and social media. Many of these are free, but you might want to fork out for premium add ons if you’re after something more particular.

Likewise, WordPress has some existing themes that you can use to base your website around. Some are free, some are not.

And, although it’s entirely possible to maintain your own WordPress site, you may end up relying on support from a developer for any complicated technical issues that arise.

Domain£3 - £100/year
Hosting£25 - £600/year
Apps and plugins£0 - £100/month
Themes£0 - £50 up front
Support£10 - £150/hour
Total£30 - £1,000/year

Next steps

A small business website can cost as much or as little as you want it to. You can set up a website for free using a website builder, or you could commit thousands to a truly unique, bespoke site.

For most small businesses, we’d recommend signing up for a paid plan with a top website builder like Weebly, Wix, or Jimdo. For less than £10/month, you can enjoy a professional-looking business website, and it’s easy to upgrade your plan when your requirements change.

That said, if you have the budget, working with a web designer to create the website of your dreams is a great investment.

Or, if you’re after flexibility and affordability, why not use a CMS like WordPress?

There you have it. Plenty of options to suit different budgets, and countless ways to create a website that will help your business succeed.

FAQs

Should I use a website builder or a web designer?

While cost is certainly one of the most important considerations here, it’s by no means the only one.

If you’re looking for a quick, easy, and affordable way to get your small business website up and running, then a website builder is probably your best option. What’s more, you can start off with a basic plan, and it’s easy to scale up if you need to.On the other hand, if the limitations of a website builder would prevent you from bringing your vision to life, then it’s worth looking into using a web designer.

Which is the best value website builder?

For our money, the best value website builder is Weebly. It’s easy to use, it offers decent templates and features at an affordable price, and you can start accepting payments from just £9/month.

How much does an ecommerce website cost?

The cheapest way to create an ecommerce site is to set up your online store using Square Online. You don’t need to sign up for a premium plan to start taking payments. The only cost to you is the 1.9% transaction fee.

If you want to create an online store using a dedicated ecommerce website builder – which will grant you access to the best range of sales features – prices start from around £20/month for a Shopify or BigCommerce plan.

Is a web designer worth it?

If you’re looking for absolute control over the way your website looks and works then hiring a web designer is the only way to go. Just be mindful of how those costs can stack up.

When shopping around for a web designer, budget will undoubtedly be one of the deciding factors. However, you should also be assessing agencies on their previous work and testimonials, and how closely they align with your intentions for your own website. Be wary of suspiciously low prices, because you’re really going to get what you pay for when it comes to web design services.

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Henry Williams headshot
Henry Williams Content Manager

Henry has been writing for Startups.co.uk since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also acted as project lead on many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Business Ideas, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides.

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