Website Cost Guide

Written by Fraser McCulloch. Last Updated 28th March 2022

This guide has you covered using a website builder, starting a business, a small business lead generation, an e-commerce website, or need a custom-built website.

Build your own website (DIY builder costs)

Several website builders enable you to build a simple website yourself.

But you have to know design, HTML and CSS to create a website with a website builder that will communicate your brand, products and services.

I have outlined some of the best website builders, their core features and monthly pricing.

Price (per month)£29£12
Email HostingNoNo
Live EditorYesYes
Web FormsYesYes
Email MarketingNoNo
Landing PagesNoNo
HTML AccessYesYes
Version ControlNoNo
RSS FeedYesYes

*WordPress CMS is free, but you will require web hosting; I pay around £12 per month.

Let’s say you are starting a new accountancy, roofing or recruitment business.

You could take 40 to 100 hours to learn how to use one of these website builders, create website content, do on-page optimisation, set up email, and connect your domain to the web host.

Alternatively, you could be billing 3 clients x £3000 in fees during those hours.

That’s £9000 in lost revenue because you focused your time on non-core skills.

The alternative would be to hire a web design company with business and marketing experience to design and build your website.

Website Costs : Download My Guide

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Cost of basic website for a start up

I recently designed and created my website using WordPress.

This is an outline of the website costs, time and process involved.

Keyword Research

Even though I already had an existing website, I still did keyword research to identify what people were searching for so I could potentially earn more website traffic.

My website is classified as a lead generation website.

  • Drive traffic
  • To a page
  • User fills in a webform
  • I get an enquiry

Search and click volume

This graph shows there are around 25 billion clicks to websites each month in the USA.

Research can identify which of those searches are relevant for your business.

The website can then be designed around the needs of those searching.

organic clicks


I paid my web designer to create a crisper and more up to date version of my company name.

Website Costs : Download My Guide

WordPress Theme

I decided to choose WordPress not out of choice but a necessity; Business Catalyst is closing down in 2021.

I chose a minimalist web design because the priority was useful page content instead of an attractive website.

I was able to demo an existing web template in a 7-day trial.

I tested the homepage design, service pages, blog posts, about page and contact form.

Paid for Customised Themes

Most WordPress themes let you customise colours, fonts, layouts, navigation, header and the footer.

I chose the WordPress theme, took around 10 hours until I was happy with the web design and layouts.

WordPress CMS

WordPress is a free content management system that enables you to add new web pages and blog posts to your website.

WordPress is open source, no-cost, but it does cost you time or development hours to update plugins or the core WordPress engine.

Free WordPress plugins

To get started, you really should install the following free plugins.

  • Yoast
  • Table of content plus
  • Redirection
  • Google analytics
  • Smudge
  • WP optimise
  • Ninja forms
  • Tracking code manager

Content Creation

Once you know what people are looking for, you need to create content pages to serve Google search queries.

You need to tell potential customers about your services and provide valuable articles.

Content production takes time and money to write, edit and produce.

I research and write my website content.

This page is the second version, and at over 4300 words has taken me over 2 days of writing and research.

However, after I research most clients, I will outline the content they require and hire a specialist copywriter.

Domain Name

I purchased my domain names from, but you can use

Make sure you set automatic annual renewals so you don’t lose your domain in the future.

Website Hosting

Hosting is where you rent a place to put your web pages and files.

For WordPress, the best web hosting provider was Flywheel.

Flywheel will update your website with the latest version of WordPress, tell you to update plugins and provide live chat and telephone support.

In addition, you can back up your website and have production and staging versions.

Website Costs : Download My Guide

SSL Certificate

Whilst optional, I would recommend you purchase an SSL certificate.

SSL signals to website users that users can trust your website, and it’s a small Google ranking factor.

Email Hosting

Once you’ve purchased your domain, e.g.,, you need to create email accounts for people in your business, e.g.,

These email hosting accounts typically cost around £35 per year per email account.

Enquiry Forms

When you create a web form to capture enquiries on your website, you can use Ninja Forms to complete and process the enquiry.

Then you can send the details of the enquiry form to an email marketing system such as MailChimp or Drip for future email marketing.

MailChimp is free for the first 2000 users, and Drip is free for the first 100 users; after that, there is a monthly cost for both services.

Website directories and business citation costs

You need to register your website with industry directories and business citation sources as a brand new website.

Citations are signals of trust that Google look for when indexing your website.

You can pay the costs for citation submission to BrightLocal for around £3 per submission.

I have a complete step by step guide on free backlinks and paid for links your new website needs.

Google My Business for new websites

And I would also recommend setting up a Google My Business account to help your website get found on local search results and map results.

Google My Business also allows you to promote offers to those searching for you locally and run local paid advertising.

Photography costs

You will need high quality and original photography of your staff, office, products, services and relevant branded material to use on your website and social media networks.

Professional photographers are expensive, but they are worth the investment.

Make sure they supply you with original high-resolution photographs, and you have full rights to all images they take.

Website Cost ItemLow CostsMedium Costs
Discovery and Keyword Research£299£899
WordPress Theme/No Design£50£100
Customisation of theme10 hrs x £50 p/h40 hrs x £50 p/h
WordPress CMSNo costNo cost
Content Creation10 pages at £100 per page; 1500 words20 pages at £100 per page; 1500 words
Total Upfront Cost£1949£5519
Monthly CostsLow CostMedium Cost
Hosting£10 p/m£50 p/m
SSL£50 p/a£150 p/a
Email Hosting£35 per email account p/a£35 per email account p/a
Email Marketing£10 p/m with MailChimp.£83 p/m with Drip.
Register with directories and citations£200£500
Paid Plugins£50£500
Website Costs : Download My Guide

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Small business website costs

The average small business invests on average £27,600 per year in an employee’s salary.

In return, the average small business generates £118,000 in annual revenue per employee.

If you consider your website an online salesperson, shouldn’t you expect similar costs and returned revenue?

There are 5.7 million small businesses in the UK, with under 250 and over 10 employees.

If your website isn’t generating revenue through leads or sales, or you can’t measure the return on your website cost, it’s time to rethink.

average uk salary revenue per employee

Business Goal

Your goal is to increase your business turnover using your website and online channels.

Website costs will be significantly higher as your needs become greater.

Website Team

You will have a larger website team, probably a marketing manager, web designer, experienced web developer, pay per click, SEO and content executive.

Each of your web teams will require investment in tools, training and even outside agency support.

Marketing Channel Analysis

Before looking at website costs, you will want to analyse your traffic, leads and sales from a multi-channel perspective.

Web Research and Analysis costs

As you scale up your business, you’ll look to improve every aspect of the website.

The best way of achieving this is by investing in research and analytical tools your competitors will likely use.

  • Ahrefs – for keyword research, search volume, click volume, site audits, position ranking and backlink analysis.
  • Analytics – for measuring traffic and conversions.
  • Hotjar – for usability research and web form analysis.
  • A/B testing software – to split test and improve your website.

Online advertising costs

You will have to invest in online advertising and search engine optimisation to make your website contribute to your business growth.

  • SEO
  • link building
  • content creation
  • photography
  • fb advertising
  • google advertising

Web Software costs

You will need a monthly budget for these software costs to deliver online advertising.

  • Landing Pages for Ads eg: LeadPages, Unbounce or Click Funnels.
  • Web Forms – Drip.
  • Marketing Automation – Drip.
Website Costs : Download My Guide

CRM Costs

As you begin to advertise and increase your organic traffic, you will undoubtedly generate more enquiries or sales.

Therefore you will have CRM costs.

A CRM is a contact database to enable you and your sales team to manage prospects and customers.

If you are in a specific industry such as recruitment, you will have costs associated with a candidate application system such as Bullhorn.

You will have a CRM system specific to your industry if you are a hotel.

Website Integration Costs

You will incur costs to connect your website with your CRM from your web developers and the suppliers.

Email Marketing Costs

More customers and more prospects mean you send more emails to educate, inform and sell.

Email Marketing software providers tend to offer volume discounts depending on the number of emails on your database or the number of emails you send each more.

One golf company I know have 450,000 users on their database, and they spend £650 a month with their email provider.

Website CMS Costs

Whilst WordPress may be the most popular CMS as a business, your needs may be beyond its functionality.

Regardless of the CMS you use, you will still have the following CMS costs

  • hosting
  • SSL
  • Plugins/add on
  • domain name
  • email users

Our agency is currently using Adobe Business Catalyst to fulfil the needs of small business owners.

This platform will close in 3 years, and we shall be advocating a similar platform.

Many small business websites are built on Umbraco; for instance, the monthly licence is £470 a month.

Website Cost ItemLow CostsMedium Costs
Discovery and Keyword Research£899£2999
Advertising Costs£100£100
CRM Costs£50£100
Web Integration Costs20 hrs x £50 p/h40 hrs x £50 p/h
Website CMS CostsFreeFree
Content Creation10 pages at £100 per page; 1500 words20 pages at £500 per page; 1500 words
Total Upfront Cost£1459£15219
Monthly CostsLow CostMedium Cost
Hosting£50 p/m£500 p/m
Email Marketing Costs£79 p/m£650 p/m
SSL£50 per year£150 per year
Email Hosting£35 per email account p/a£35 per email account p/a
PPC Agency Fee£xxx£xxx
SEO Agency Fee£xxx£xxx
Paid/Guest Posts£xxx£xx
Website Costs : Download My Guide

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E-commerce website costs

website costs - ecommerce

When you aim to sell your products online, you must identify the cost of designing and building an e-commerce website.

Without a doubt, the most popular e-commerce platform is Shopify, which is my platform of choice.

The website costs I will outline here are based on previous e-commerce projects I have worked on.

Pre Project Requirements

Before seeking out the costs involved in an e-commerce website, there are some pre-requisites you need to be aware of.

You will need:

  • The product names, codes, descriptions, prices.
  • The supplier names, codes, descriptions, prices.
  • Where you are going to deliver to and which delivery service.
  • What your shipping options and costs are.
  • How you will accept payments from customers eg: Stripe, Sage Pay, PayPal.
  • How you will fulfill orders.
  • Have a delivery policy.
  • Have staff to manage customer returns, deliveries and complaints.

The cost of not investing in keyword research

A friend of a friend designed a range of ladies products.

She went ahead and tried to create a website by herself, presumably to save costs.

One year later, the website still gets no traffic from Google or sales because she did not research her market.

Had she invested in research, she would know how many people were searching and clicking on her competitors’ pages on google.

Then she could have named and described her products and pages to match the search queries and be found.

I estimated she’s lost over £50,000 in revenue for not investing in research and discovery costs.

Competitor research

By researching your competitors, you can estimate their website traffic and the size of the addressable market.

You can discover if the market is large enough to be profitable and weak enough for you to compete in.

Design and User Experience

When it comes to selling products online, pretty pictures sell.

People need to trust you before buying from you, so your logo design and web design will influence their behaviour.

We will need to invest time and cost in e-commerce web design and the shoppers’ journey from the home page, product categories, product page, basket, and checkout.

It’s the job of the website and web designer to make it easier for shoppers to find and buy your products.

I typically factor in design costs for each step in both desktop and mobile devices before working out the e-commerce functionality and website development costs.

Website Costs : Download My Guide

Web Development and Integration costs

Once the client approves the web design concepts, we begin web development on the home page, list of products, product pages, basket, and checkout.

An Ecommerce website needs to connect with the following:

  • Payment gateway.
  • Delivery supplier.
  • MailChimp for orders and future email marketing.
  • A stock control system.
  • An accounting system.

Different companies work with other suppliers, and therefore, the costs will vary from project to project.

Home Page development costs

The home page typically has a slider to showcase featured products.

The home page area will be content managed so you can change the products, images and links.

The home page will have a top navigation menu with links to key product categories and footer navigation to necessary pages and company information.

These menu item links can be changed or re-ordered in the content management system.

Categories or Collections development

Products will be grouped into categories or collections, and the shop will display the list of product categories in the shop.

Website owners will be able to re-order and change these products in the content management system.

Product page customisation and development

Product pages are driven from the product catalogue and include information about each product.

  • Product name
  • Large Image
  • 3 thumbnail images
  • A Qty and input box
  • Current price
  • Option to display a promotional price
  • Add to Cart button
  • Related products
  • Product information and descriptions professionally written.

There is time and costs involved in customisation and adding all these elements.

Shop basket customisation

The basket in an Ecommerce website will show the product image, price, quantity ordered, remove the product, total price, ability to add promotional codes and select a delivery option.

The basket will display the total price and a clear cart button, continue browsing and proceed to the checkout button.

The shopper can usually edit the product quantity, continue shopping, add more products, or remove the order from their basket.

Website Costs : Download My Guide

Shop checkout customisation

The checkout will include fields such as name, email, username, password, phone, billing address and shipping address.

There will be a tick box if shipping is the same as billing address and an area where the user enters card type and card details.

The checkout page is usually hosted on PCI Level 1 Compliant secure servers with a secure certificate to protect the users’ credit details.

Order confirmation page customisation

This page will display an order success or failure message.

An e-commerce system will send a successful order confirmation email to you, staff and the customer.

The customer and order details are stored on the CMS (back of the website) and sent to Stripe or the payment processor you set up.

Order Administration customisation

After the customer is notified of the order by a system email with order details, the order details are added to the CMS (back of website) system.

Shipping Status

You will then have the ability to notify by email the customer of the following:

1. Payment received
2. Payment waiting
3. Goods shipped, including tracking number details, if required.

Development of My Account, Register, Login areas

Some e-commerce websites have customer account areas.

This is usually an optional extra cost for those investing in e-commerce.

When the user registers, we capture a username and password that gives them access to an area containing their details, order history and update details.

A login is a simple form with a username, password, and forget password link.

When a user clicks favourites on the product page, they can add that product to
their account when logged; and remove the favourite.

Required pages

Your business will be required to add terms, delivery and returns policy page to the website for you to accept payments online.

You should seek legal advice on these policies; these additional website costs may safeguard your business.

Also, with the recent introduction of GDPR, you may need to take legal counsel regarding how you and your e-commerce solution process and manage user data and privacy.

These are extra costs and work that you will incur so your business aligns with consumer legislation.

Blog set up and customisation

We highly recommend you publish website content regularly.

Not only is this good for search engines, but this can be fed into social channels such as Facebook, where you can reach your target market.

Recently, for a fashion e-commerce website, we asked the client to pay for a lookbook plugin to show the latest design and style and prompt user interest and purchases.

Website Costs : Download My Guide

Shop Currency & Payment Processor

Most eCommerce websites are typically integrated with Stripe and PayPal.

If you don’t want to use Stripe, you need to purchase an Internet merchant account for each currency that costs around £100.

Then you need to apply online at with your merchant account number.

The cost of SagePay is £20 a month.

Standard credit and debit card fees apply.

SagePay doesn’t charge until you get over 1000 transactions a month.

To integrate other currencies with your Ecommerce website requires significantly more costs in terms of discovery and web integration work.

Delivery Service Integration

Shopify has built-in integrations with most delivery companies, but you may have specific requirements, e.g., if you deliver food, for example.

Payment Testing

Take time and invest in payment testing, ensuring test orders go into your bank account after the Shopify settlement period.

E-commerce Photography Costs

For an industrial e-commerce project, we charged the client for 3 days of photography.

These images were required for the products they sold.

For e-commerce, fashion photography costs can be substantial.

A small fashion retailer will shoot around 30 products/outfits per day.

  • A professional photographer at £300 a day.
  • A model at £500 a day.
  • An in house stylist and product merchandiser.
  • Then ad hoc costs such as travel, location fees for off site photography.
Ecommerce Website Cost ItemLow CostMedium cost
Keyword research£299£899
Buy Shopify theme£100£500
User Experience£1000£5000
Web Development and Integrations£0£1000
Write content and product descriptions£1000£5000
Monthly Costs  
Hosting and SSL£29 p/m£79 p/m
Photography£400 pm£4000 pm
Email Hosting£35 per user£35 per user
Payment Processor£0 p/m£20 p/m
Monthly content creation and promotion£1000 p/m£5000 p/m
Write content and product descriptions£1000 p/m£5000 p/m
PPC Advertising£500£2000
Facebook Advertising£1000£4000
Google Shopping Advertising£500£8000
Set up in house photography studio£0£10,000
Website Costs : Download My Guide

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Bespoke website costs

website costs for custom built site

I have built many bespoke websites for travel, home improvement, oil and gas, financial services, renewables, and sports.

Each company had specific needs that did not exist within the functionality of a website builder or pre-designed theme.

The following outlines the overall cost and work involved in re-designing and creating a completely bespoke website.

We started with a blank sheet of paper.

I did :

  • website consulting
  • mocked up designs based on wireframes
  • wrote and build a bespoke recruitment application system, CRM, email marketing systems and
  • web apps to manage content.

Over 300 person-hours of consultation, discovery, web design and coding were involved.

Consulting and Discovery Costs

A web project of this nature is more than just designing a website.

A bespoke website improves usability, traffic, and conversion, leading to new clients, more inquiries, and additional billings.

The website needs additional features, account management, communication, and web resourcing as a business grows.

In turn, things take more time to scope, design, development and implement.

When considering the costs of a bespoke website, do so with your business in mind.

You are not simply creating design and code to make your look prettier; we want you to get a return on your web investment.

Keyword Research and Traffic from Google

I always incorporate keyword research when costing out bespoke website projects.

By identifying search and click volumes, I can propose new pages and content opportunities to help earn the client website traffic.

Website Costs : Download My Guide

Cost Benefit Analysis of Website Investment

For this particular website project, the client needed to attract one new client per month to return their website investment.

Website Usability

Those companies who invest in a bespoke website generally have some analytical history.

Therefore I can identify how their prospects found the website, how users interacted with pages, what percentage of visitors used the website on a mobile device etc.

Web forms on a mobile device tend to be too long and relatively difficult on corporate websites, and you must incorporate web form usability in the design process.

Website Conversion

Completing a long, complex form affects the conversion rates; the more people register, the better.

The cost of investing time and money in web forms and conversion can significantly improve the return on web investment.


I still prefer to use old school wireframes to map out the website structure, navigation, and layout before a web designer is commissioned.

Here’s an example of wireframes from a recent website I designed and built for a travel company.

Website Costs : Download My Guide

Web Design and UX

We cost out and designed an agreed number of new pages in a front end tool called Webflow.

Then add the cost of designing a couple of layouts for all the existing and additional static pages.

We would design the key pages in the customer journey for a recruitment website.

  • Home page – explain what you do and direct users to your services
  • Design the vacancy list
  • Design the Vacancy detail layout
  • Design the application form
  • Design the search and navigation
  • Design the about page
  • Design the list of staff page
  • Design a staff profile page
  • Design the Blog list layout
  • Design the Blog detail layout
  • Design the contact page and form
  • Design the one and 2 column template

Web Functionality Scoping

We then test the site speed to wrap up the designs and seek client sign-off and approval.

Then we write the front end back end functionality for the back end development team to integrate into the content management system.

Once the website functionality is signed off, we commence coding and development.

HTML and Web Development

For this bespoke website, there were 270 coding and web development hours.

Here is an outline of the development work involved.

Custom Application Development

We then have to develop functionality within the CMS that will enable the business owner to change and add elements to the website quickly.

Such as:

  • Change the images and call to action messages on the home page area.
  • Add new vacancies and classify them.
  • Custom develop the job application form so that it passes the application details into the CRM and send the information to client’s staff.
  • Add new blog posts.

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Website Maintenance Costs

Typically you will have no website maintenance costs with Shopify or a website builder.

However, that’s not to say you don’t have to pay money to a web developer to make changes or regularly back files or fix issues.

However, you will need to pay a web developer for maintenance support if you use WordPress or Magento.

Rates vary from company to company, and you will generally pay an hourly rate or set number of hours per month.

Website Costs Summary

Website Costs : Download My Guide

There is no one answer to how much a website costs to build.

Every client and website is unique, with different needs and business goals.

Platonik charge £90 per hour, and website projects vary from 100 to 650 hours.