How much does a website cost for a small business in 2022?

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?

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, advanced, and made to your exact specifications, you could hire a web designer, costing you anything from hundreds to thousands of pounds in upfront costs, or use a CMS like WordPress for around £30 – £1,000 a year.

If you need help choosing between these options, don't fret; we've designed a free comparison quiz that will help you work out which approach is right for you and match you to suitable options for your business. It only takes a minute to find out which option you need and what it costs!

The pandemic has changed the way the world does business: it's never been more important to invest in your online presence, no matter how much you’re able to spend.

So in this article, we’ll explain the average prices of the best value website builders, like the ever-popular Wix, break down the cost of professional web design, 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. 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
Domain: £3 - £100/year

Hosting: £25 - £600/year

Apps and plugins: £0 - £100/month

Themes: £0 - £50 up front

Support: £10 - £150/hour
Total: £0 - £240/monthTotal: £4,000 - £60,000+ upfront, £30 - £2,000 ongoingTotal: £30 - £1,000/year

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?

When you use a web designer, you get a bespoke creation, one that's specifically designed to meet your needs, and crafted to your exact specifications. Basically, what you're paying for is the time and expertise of a talented professional. As they're not bound by the limitations of a website builder, they can create the website of your dreams, but doing so takes time and money.

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, if you do want to hire a web designer, ecommerce web design is always going to cost more than conventional web design.

To see how our top-rated ecommerce platforms could help your business and compare top providers, head to our breakdown of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses.

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 in the long run.

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

website builder is 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. It's a cheap and easy way to create a website, but your creative freedom is always limited by the options available.

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 GoDaddy. And all three offer great value for money, with sophisticated features and professional-looking templates at affordable prices.

For a much better idea of how this works in practice, check out our dedicated Wix pricing page – which breaks down what each plan offers and the types of businesses they are suited to.

Shopify and BigCommerce are ecommerce specific website builders. Their higher tier plans have very advanced sales features for large, scaling online retailers. These are great options to have if you've got grand ambitions, but most smaller businesses won't need them.

Our in-depth Shopify pricing page includes lots more info on these features, as well as which features come with which plans.

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 26th of May

£10-£30 per month

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

£4.99-£13.99 per month (first term discounts available)

£0-£28 per month

£2.20-£11.90

Up to 71% discounted with code STARTUPS. Ends May 31st!

£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 26th of May

$29 – £299 per month

(approximately £21-£220 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

£13.99 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, so you'll pay for a year in full when you sign up. 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.

Our guide to the top website builders for small businesses gives a good idea of how much different web builders cost, and what you get for your money.

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.

You can save money by using a low-cost website builder, but just how much will you miss out on?

Find out how a budget builder stack ups against our top-rated web builder on our Zyro vs Wix comparison page.

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, if your business has bespoke needs and a bigger budget, then working with a designer is the best way to build a truly unique website that perfectly suits the way your business works.

Bur what exactly is the cost of web design in the UK? Let’s break it down.

Web design agencies typically charge you on an hourly basis. Chameleon Studios, a Cambridge-based marketing agency, gave us insight on a rough price list for web design depending on what type of agency you use:

  • 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 a total price of £4,200 – £63,000 for the development of your business website.

Of course, there are a lot of hypotheticals here, and a number of variables we haven’t factored into 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

Tip: If you'd like pricing quotes for web design services that are tailored to your needs, use our handy web design company comparison tool. It's a free service that takes around 2 minutes to use.


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.

To learn more, about how domain pricing works and the hidden costs you need to watch out for, check out our in-depth guide to 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.

Get the lowdown on how hosting prices are calculate with our comprehensive guide to 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 creating and 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 crafted to your exact needs and specifications is a great investment that’s sure to pay dividends in the long run. If you do go down this route, make sure you shop around for quotes from various agencies before choosing one that suits your needs and budget. Don't just choose the cheapest option, but examine agencies' previous work, testimonials and think about how well their skills and expertise fit with how you want your website to look and work.

Our guide to finding a web designer includes more top tips on locating the web design agency that will bring your dreams to life and supercharge your business.

If using a web designer is something you're considering, we'd highly recommend you use our questionnaire-style comparison tool to shop around web design services and find a budget-friendly match in just two minutes… for free!

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

Verdict

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 spend thousands on creating a truly unique, bespoke site.

For most small businesses, we’d recommend signing up for a paid plan with a top website builder like Wix, Squarespace or GoDaddy. For around £10/month, you can enjoy a professional-looking business website, and it’s easy to upgrade your plan when your requirements change. Or, if you want to launch a high-powered online store, then you can get started on specialist ecommerce platform Shopify for £20 a month.

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?

To work out which option is best for you and be matched with top providers, just check out our quick comparison quiz.

There are plenty of options to suit different budgets, and countless ways to create a website that will help your business succeed. With a little research, you're bound to find the right choice for your business.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Should I use a website builder or a web designer?
    Cost is of course an important consideration here, but not the only one. Using a website builder is a quick, easy, and affordable way to get your small business website up and running - plus you can start off with a basic plan and then scale up if you need to. Using a website designer is the elite bespoke option, the equivalent of paying for a tailored suit instead of buying off the rack. You'll pay more, maybe even a lot more, but you'll end up with something crafted to your exact specifications and something that perfectly suits the way your business operates. It's a substantial investment, but one that could really pay dividends in the long run.
  • Which is the best value website builder?
    Our in-depth testing found that the best value website builder is Weebly. It’s easy to use, 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 a premium plan and just need to pay 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?
    In short, find the right web designer and you really can create the website of your dreams. You'll get absolute control over the way your site looks and works, but you'll pay more for this privilege. If you do go down this route, choosing the right web designer is crucial - don't just look at costs but assess agencies on their previous work, their testimonials, and how closely their skills and expertise align with your intentions for your website. Always be wary of suspiciously low prices, ultimately you usually get what you pay for.

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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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