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?

Our experts

Startups was founded over 20 years ago by a serial entrepreneur. Today, our expert team of writers, researchers, and editors work to provide our 4 million readers with useful tips and information, as well as running award-winning campaigns. Our site is governed by the Startups editorial manifesto. This article was co-authored by:

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.

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.

Find the right website builder for your business Is this your first time building a website? It only takes a minute

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

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.

ProviderWebsite costsEcommerce plansTry it
Weebly£0-£4/month£9-£28/monthTry Weebly
Jimdo£0-£9/month£15-£39/monthTry Jimdo
Wix£0-£18/month£13-£22/monthTry Wix
Site123£0-£9.41/month£9.41/monthTry Site123
Squarespace£10/month15-£30/monthTry Squarespace
GoDaddy£6.99-£14.99/month£19.99/monthTry GoDaddy

Ecommerce website builders 

Square Online£0-£54/monthTry SquareOnline
BigCommere£21.83-£218.60/monthTry BigCommerce
Shopify£23.48-£242.04/monthTry Shopify

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.

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.

Weebly – Best value for money

£0 – £28/month

4.3 out of 5
  • Website Features
    4.3
  • Design Flexibility
    3.4
  • Help and Support
    3.5
  • Value for Money
    4.4
  • Customer Score
    4.5
  • Ease of Use
    3.5

With some of the most affordable paid plans, decent features, and an easy to use editor, Weebly is the best value website builder for small businesses according to our researchers.

Its website templates and features might not be up to the standard of Wix or Squarespace, but Weebly has a very expansive app market, allowing you to kit out your website with all kinds of essential functionality like social integrations and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) features to ensure your site ranks on Google.

Weebly also pips Wix and Squarespace to the post based on the value of its ecommerce plans. You can start taking payments on its Pro plan, which costs just £9/month. Wix and Squarespace’s ecommerce plans start from £13/month and £15/month respectively.

FreeFree SSL security
500MB storage
Domain name Weebly-branded domain
SEO
£0/month
ConnectSame as Free but with a custom domain name
Chat and email support
£4/month
ProRemove Weebly ads
Start accepting payments
Shopping cart
Advanced site stats
Phone support
£9/month
BusinessInventory management
Tax and shipping calculators
Item reviews
Advanced ecomm stats
£18/month
Business PlusAll of the above +
Abandoned cart emails
Real-time shipping
£28/month

Jimdo – Best for creating a website in under an hour

£0 – £39/month

3.5 out of 5
  • Features
    3.3
  • Design flexibility
    2.3
  • Value for money
    3.7
  • Help and support
    2.7
  • Customer score
    4.0
  • Ease of use
    3.7

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.

Play2GB bandwidth
500MB storage
.jimdosite.com subdomain
500MB storage
HTTPS security
£0/month
Start10GB bandwidth
5GB storage
Free domain
Remove ads
Advanced SEO
Contact form
10 website pages
Customer support within 1-2 business days
£9/month
Grow20GB bandwidth
15GB storage
50 website pages
Customer support within 4 hours
£15/month
Grow Legal20GB bandwidth
15GB storage
50 website pages
Customised legal text
GDPR-compliant
Updates about any legal changes
£20/month
UnlimitedUnlimited space
Professional design analysis
Premium support within an hour
£39/month

Wix – Best all round website builder

£0 – £22/month

4.7 out of 5
  • Website Features
    4.6
  • Design Flexibility
    4.0
  • Help and Support
    5.0
  • Value for Money
    3.6
  • Customer Score
    5.0
  • Ease of Use
    4.3

Wix is our best overall website builder for small businesses, and in the grand scheme of things, it’s pretty great value as well.

Wix tops our list of the best website builders for features, help and support, and ease of use. What’s more, 100% of people who participated in our rigorous user testing said they would recommend Wix to a friend.

Premium plans start from just £3/month, which gets you a custom domain, 500GB storage, and 24/7 customer support. And while there are cheaper ecommerce starter plans than Wix’s Business Basic (£13/month), it’s comprehensive Business VIP package has everything you need to make your online store a success for just £22/month. That’s why, as well as topping our list of website builders, our researchers also ranked Wix as the best ecommerce platform outright.

The only thing we would say against it is that, unlike some rivals, Wix has comparatively few in-built features, leaving you to rely on third party apps and extensions.

Connect DomainCustom domain
1GB bandwidth
500MB storage
Free SSL
24/7 customer care
£3/month
Combo1 year free domain
Remove ads
2GB bandwidth
3GB storage
£6/month
UnlimitedUnlimited bandwidth
10GB storage
Site booster app
Visitor analytics
£8.50/month
VIP35GB storage
Professional logo
Social media logo files
Priority customer care
£18/month
Business BasicOnline payments
Customer accounts
Custom domain
Unlimited bandwidth
Storage space 20GB
24/7 customer care
£13/month
Business UnlimitedUnlimited bandwidth
Storage space 35GB
24/7 customer care
Multiple currencies
Advanced shipping
Automated sales tax
£16/month
Business VIPStorage space 50GB
Customised reports
Priority customer care
3,000 product reviews
Loyalty programme
£22/month

Ecommerce platform costs

Square Online – Best for selling for free

£0 – £54/month

4.3 out of 5
  • Website features
    3.3
  • Sales features
    3.9
  • Design flexibility
    3.1
  • Help and support
    3.6
  • Value for money
    4.6
  • Customer score
    3.6

There’s one main reason for that excellent value for money score: 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.

FreeSell unlimited products
Automatic inventory, order and item sync with Square POS
Integrate with Instagram
Online shopping cart
£0/month
ProfessionalCustom domain name
Remove Square branding and ads
£9/month
PerformancePost customer reviews on your site
Abandoned cart emails
£19/month
PremiumTransaction fee reduced to just 1.75% on each transaction £54/month

BigCommerce – Best for multi-channel selling

£21 – £218/month

4.1 out of 5
  • Website features
    4.1
  • Sales features
    4.5
  • Design flexibility
    3.8
  • Help and support
    3.1
  • Value for money
    3.7
  • Customer score
    3.5

BigCommerce is the big budget option for small businesses with big ambitions.

Its plans range from £21.83/month to £218.60/month. Quite pricey, but for that you’re getting access to the most extensive range of high-quality, in-built sales features on the market.

The costlier the plan, the more advanced the functionality, of course – you also increase your sales allowance. This ranges from an upper limit of $50,000 on the Standard plan to a maximum of $400,000 on the Pro plan. And if your sales are likely to be higher than that, BigCommerce offers custom enterprise solutions. Just get in touch with its sales team to find out more.

StandardSell up to $50,000 annually
No transaction fees
24/7 support
Integrate with leading payment gateways
Single page checkout
Real time shipping quotes
Product rating and reviews
£21.83/month
PlusSell up to $180,000 annually
Customer groups and segmentation
Abandoned cart saver
Stored credit cards
£58.27/month
ProSell up to $400,000 annually
Product filtering search
Custom SSL
Special credit card rates via PayPal, powered by Braintree
£218.60

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.

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.

Back to Top