How much does a website cost for a small business in 2024?

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 research

When reviewing website builders, our expert team of writers and independent researchers focuses in on the most important factors for small business owners. We look at the range of templates and designs available to choose from; how easy it is to get started building your site and customising it; the help and support options available; the range of available plugins, apps and extensions; the ability to customise a mobile design, and above all, the value for money – including any hidden pricing, ongoing fees, and initial setup costs.
Written and reviewed by:
Henry Williams headshot
Robyn Summers-Emler Grow Online Editor

Our independent reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers.

Based on our research on how much a website costs, you can set up a professional-looking website for free, with paid plans starting from as little as £2.59/month by using a website builder.

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.

Here's how the prices for various approaches to building a business site can break down:

Cost of Building a Website Compared

Here are typical costs for our recommended ways of building a website:

Ideally, you would want to spend as little as possible when setting up your website, particularly during the current cost of living crisis when reducing overheads is a priority. We can help you with this via our free comparison quiz, which will help you work out which approach is right for you and which option will be the most cost-effective.

Throughout 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.

How much does a website cost?

A website ranges from £2.59 to around £3,500 per year. This will depend on how lush-looking you want your website to be, your website builder subscription, agency rates, hosting, security, maintenance and support.

It can definitely be worth the investment if you have the budget. If you hire a web designer, you get a bespoke creation that's specifically designed to meet your needs. 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.

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Website builder

Web designer

WordPress

Costs
  • Website builder subscription £2.59-259 per month
  • Ecommerce subscription £12-240 per month
  •  

Costs
  • Agency rate £10-150
  • Domain £3-100 per year
  • Hosting £25-600 per year
  • Security £0-200 per year
  • Maintenance and support £0-1,900 per year
Costs
  • Domain £3-100 per year
  • Hosting £25-600 per year
  • Apps and plugins £0-100 per month
  • Themes £0-50 upfront
  • Support £10-150 per hour
Total cost

£2.59-240 per month

Total cost

£4,000 – 6,000+ upfront and £30 -2,000 ongoing

Total cost

£30-1,000 per year

The cost of using a website builder: £2.59 – £259/month

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Wix

Squarespace

GoDaddy

Shopify

Hostinger

Jimdo

BEST FOR

Best all-round website builder for small businesses

BEST FOR

Design flexibility & businesses looking to scale

BEST FOR

Ease of use and simplicity

BEST FOR

Best for dedicated sales features when selling online

BEST FOR

Cheap builder

BEST FOR

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

Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
4.8
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
4.6
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
4.4
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
4.0
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
3.6
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
3.3
Price
Price

£12-£35 per month, billed anually

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

Price

£6.99-£12.99 per month, billed annually (first term discounts available)

Price

£5 – £259 per month, billed annually

£1/month for 3 months

Price

£2.59 – £8.99 per month

Up to 81% discounted with code “STARTUPS”

Price

£9-£39 per month

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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 £35/month for a fully functional ecommerce site using the likes of Wix or Squarespace. Both 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.

An overview of website builder costs

Website builder plans can range in price from £2.59/month for the most basic plans to more than £240/month for the most advanced ecommerce plans. Website builders cater to lots of different businesses, so if you're going for this option but don't know which website builder is the one for you, you can check out our guide to the best website builders for small businesses.

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.

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.

If you're unsure of whether website builders are the right option for you, the pros are that you have lots of flexibility in the price – you can choose the subscription and ranges of features that you can afford. Most website builders will also be beginner-friendly while still looking polished and functional. The downside is you'll need to invest quite a bit of time playing around the website builder to get your final version to look exactly the way you want it to. It's also not the best option for businesses that need more complicated and technical functions in their website, like integrating advanced APIs.

Did you know?

71% of businesses now have a website. This is largely a result of COVID and companies finding ways of selling online. However, it also is a symptom of how important it is in reaching customers and establishing your brand.

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

It’s increasingly rare for small businesses to use a web designer. However, a website designer can be a great option for businesses that have more expansive budgets and are looking for a sophisticated website.

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:

Hosting£25-600 per year
Domain£3-100 per year
Security£0-200 per year
Maintenance and support£0-1,000 per year
Total cost£30-2,000 per 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.

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.

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

A third option is to use a WordPress site. This is ideal for businesses that want something cheaper than hiring a website designer, but gives you more control than using a website builder.

Basically, WordPress is an 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. In short, this is a great option for anyone that doesn't have the budget to hire an agency but has the time and ability to develop a more advanced and customised website.

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

Can I create a website for free?

You definitely can! There's plenty of website builders like Wix or Squarespace that offer free plans. The reason we haven't included it above is because there's lots of significant drawbacks, which is why we don't recommend small businesses looking to scale online to go down the fully free path.

Although you cut back on lots of costs, free website builder planners are very limited in terms of the features you can use and usually have watermarks splattered throughout the website. This might make your website look amateur and unprofessional, and most importantly, it won't allow you to scale as you grow your business. Therefore, we recommend only pursuing the free plan if you want to take a website builder for a spin to then take out a subscription.

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 1.4% + 25p processing 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.

How much does a new website cost UK?

It depends on how much you want to outsource or if you want to take matters into your own hands. If you're willing to outsource, a new website can cost up to £3,000 but it could be completely free if you're willing to work with more limited website builders and teach yourself the process.

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 £12 and £11 per month respectively, 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 £19 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.

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 Wix. It’s easy to use, offers decent templates and features at an affordable price, and you can start accepting payments from just £7.50/month.
  • 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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Written by:
Henry Williams headshot
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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