How Much Does a Website Cost in 2024? The Definitive Guide



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The high cost of doing business in 2024 can make it stressful to consider website pricing. But the different options for web creation today mean you can easily find an option within your budget – even if it’s £0.

As the experts in business, we keep our finger on the pulse of current rates for website creation. Depending on the specs you need, you can expect to pay between £960 and £15,000+ (plus VAT) for a custom-built website, which works out at roughly £80-£3,500 per month.

If you have the time and confidence, you can use a website builder tool like Squarespace or Wix, which will allow you to edit the design yourself using a drag-and-drop editor. Website builder subscription prices range between £0 and £320 per month, though the top end of pricing includes online payment and selling features.

There are currently around 23 million self-hosted websites online made with a DIY tool. If all those people can get a site online, you’ll be able to pull it off as well. Don’t worry if you’re looking for an easy-to-use tool, we’ll recommend you a beginner-friendly one based on our in-house testing. Read on to find out your options.

How much do the best website builders cost?

We’ve created this easy website builder comparison guide to give you an overview of the prices and features of the top products.

At the end, we’ll explain how to go about hiring a web developer. For now, let’s look at a quick overview of website costs.

Cost of a website per month. DIY website builder: promote a business, portfolio, contact page. £0-£50 plus tax. DIY Online shop: display products, take payments, sell services. £0-320 plus tax. Website built by a third party: custom made, unique functions, no skill needed. £80-£3,500 plus tax.
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How much does it cost to build a website?

You can expect to spend £0-£50 per month (plus tax) using a DIY website builder tool such as Wix, 123 Reg or Squarespace. If you want ecommerce features (to take payments online with a web storefront), that costs £0-£320 per month (plus tax) for a platform such as Shopify or BigCommerce.

If you don’t want to create your own site, it’ll cost £960-£42,000 (plus VAT) for a custom website built by a professional. To give you an easy way to compare this, it works out at £80-£3,500 per month. Although it’s likely you’ll pay the cost in one or two installments, rather than per month.

Factors that affect website costs

Websites can be made in a number of ways, so the cost will vary according to exactly what you need. The main factors affecting website pricing are:

  • Whether you hire a professional, an agency, or use a DIY tool
  • The number of webpages you need (size of your website)
  • Types of features you need
  • How much multimedia you want to upload
  • Whether you need sales and payment features
  • The level of security and malware protection
  • How competitive the website (domain) name is
  • How much traffic (flow of visitors) you expect

Examples of website costs

Broadly speaking, there are many DIY website tools that will provide exactly what you need within a defined price bracket. That means you spend your own time and effort to create a website using a paid-for software program.

Powerful online shop: Shopify costs

If you want an online store with thousands of products, the ability to automate processes, plus complex inventory management, we’d recommend Shopify Advanced. This plan costs £2,334 + tax per year, including a promotion to get your first month discounted to just £1. If the promotion is not available to you, the cost is £3,108 + tax for the year. That includes some discounts on postage, which can really stack up the savings for your business.

Easy business website: GoDaddy costs

For a basic site to promote your local business, it’s £84 + VAT for the entire year with GoDaddy Basic. That’s our top choice for an easy-to-use website builder; our testing found it’s perfect for beginners.

How much does it cost to run a website?

Ongoing fees can range from nothing to several hundred pounds per month depending on the way you’ve chosen to construct the website. For instance, you could pay £0 if you use one our recommended free website builders.

Or you could pay around £30 per month to use WooCommerce (a plugin that adds selling features to a WordPress website). The plugin itself is technically free, but you’ll have to pay for hosting (and a template, if you like) separately.

There are various pros and cons to using a flexibly priced online store such as WooCommerce versus a set price plan from Shopify, for instance. You can read the in-depth differences in our WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison.

In any case, you’ll have to pay ongoing fees for app or plugin subscriptions (such as email marketing integrations, a premium chatbot or invoicing software), if you’re using any. Costs for these vary widely, but can run into thousands per month if you’re using the premium version of several apps.

We’ve gone into more detail about ongoing website costs below.

Website costs at a glance

What you need is an overview of price brackets for various types of websites.

For added simplicity, we’ve created a comparison table with the information you’ll need:

Website TypeFeaturesHire a ProfessionalWebsite Builder Subscription
Basic business site
  • 1-5 mobile responsive pages
  • Landing page
  • Contact info
£960-£1,110 + VAT£0-£27 + VAT per month
Small business site (no online shop)
  • 10-30 pages
  • Book appointments
  • Blog or articles section
  • Monitor web traffic
£1,200-£5,500 + VAT£9-£43 + VAT per month
Small-to-medium sized online shop
  • Sales and payment features
  • Filter by product type
  • Order management system
  • High security
£2,000-£15,500 + VAT£0 upfront (pay transaction fees per sale)-£320 + VAT per month

(Specialist websites) 

  • Complex features
  • Member log-in areas
  • Lots of memory 
  • Good security
£3,500+£17-£2,000 (or more) + VAT per month
Custom enterprise pricing available 

We’ve gathered the above based on interviews with independent web developers and current website builder plans.

The main takeaway is the cost of your site will depend on the type of website you need.

While website builders are priced within set limits, custom projects are designed specifically to your requirements. That means costs given for third-party web build costs are an estimated price bracket. A developer or agency would be able to work with you individually to work out a price. We always recommend you agree a figure in writing before work goes ahead. That way both parties’ expectations are comfortably managed.

What kind of website do you need? Select an option below to try our recommended website builder

How much your site costs will depend on how you build it. We’ve made a cheat sheet to weigh up your options:

Build MethodBenefitsDrawbacks
Website builder tool
  • Affordable
  • Not too difficult
Needs 20hrs+ of your time, and some confidence with technology.
Hire a freelancer or agency
  • Professional result
  • Save time
  • Install advanced features
Costly, and results depend on your ability to communicate well.
Code website from scratch
  • Exactly according to your spec
  • Save money
Results are limited to your skill level and free time. You’re in charge of design, debugging, spam, security, updates, content, and indexing on Google.

Website builders are great for creating a simple site based on an industry-specific template (such as a restaurant, an events company, or a clothing shop). You might be surprised at the range of design choices you can pick from. Design customisation tools have improved to that point that now – unlike five years ago – website builders are no longer a recipe for a generic-looking website.

We’ve tested a range of website builders and found GoDaddy is by far the easiest to use. Close behind is Jimdo, which is a little better value for money (if you’re happy with its basic editing capabilities).

More sophisticated programs (such as Wix, Shopify, WordPress) take more time to learn to use. Yet, whichever DIY website builder you choose, you’ll be trading in your time to save hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on developer or agency fees.

After all, 87% of web designers said clients generally expect lower pricing than is realistic. We don’t want you to get caught out if a web builder subscription would be cheaper for you.

Don’t worry if you can’t pin-point exactly which option you need right now. First, figure out what kind of website you need. Then you can skip to the relevant section of this page to understand costs.

Website builder and ecommerce platform costs

To avoid the expense of hiring a web developer, you can use website builder software and make the entire website yourself. You can expect to pay £0 and £50 per month, which includes web hosting and security. The only extra cost you have to pay is the domain (your web address), at roughly £10-£30 per year.

Wix is our favourite all-around website builder because it offers great business features, like the ability to take bookings via an online calendar. Best of all, the Wix free plan allows you to try out some of its premium features and doesn’t request any payment details.

Online shop platform costs

An online shop website runs on an ecommerce platform. It’s a special type of website builder that includes the ability to take payments securely. You can add different payment gateways to offer your customers multiple ways to buy your products, services, content, and subscriptions. Monthly costs range from £0-344 for small-to-medium businesses, but large businesses can request Enterprise pricing from £1,500 upwards.

Luckily for you, we’ve already rated and ranked the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses to make your decision that much easier.

Using our research, we created this summary table of the top online shop website builders:

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0




Square Online





Best For

Advanced sales features

Best For

Creating a good-looking website with excellent sales features

Best For

Offers you all the functionality you need to scale and succeed

Best For

Payment integrations

Best For

Selling digital products or portfolios

Best For

Those looking to work on their own

Best For


Best For


Price Range
Paying for one year upfront


Deal: First month for £1

(Enterprise pricing available)

Price Range
Paying for one year upfront


£12.60-£107.10 with code “TAKE10”

(Enterprise pricing available)

Price Range
Paying for one year upfront


(Converted from USD; Enterprise pricing available)

Price Range
Paying for one year upfront


(Enterprise pricing available)

Price Range
Paying for one year upfront
Price Range
Paying for one year upfront

Plugin is free, but monthly running costs average £30/month

Price Range
Paying for one year upfront


Price Range
Paying for one year upfront


Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Try Shopify Try Wix Try BigCommerce Try Square Try Squarespace Competitors Competitors Competitors

If you’d like a more detailed comparison of the two closest mid-range online shop tools, read of our Wix vs Squarespace guide.

WordPress website costs

The cost of WordPress depends on the type you’re using.

  1. offers specific price packages ranging from £0-£55 per month.
  2. is open-sourced (this means it’s free).

Below is a summary of the costs involved with each type:
Subscription£0-£55 a yearNone
DomainFree or buy your own

(£0-£44 a year)

Buy your own (£13-£44 a year)
HostingIncludedBuy your own (£120-£348 + VAT a year with BlueHost or less with a promotional discount)
TemplatesUse free or paid ones


Upload a free or premium one or design your own, eg using  Elementor plugin for $59 (~£47 a year), 
PluginsOnly available on business plans

(£0-£1,000+ a year)

Optional (£0-£1,000+ a year)
Email£33 a year (with WordPress)

£66 a year (for Google via WordPress)

Configure your own based on hosting 

(around £57-£171 a year for Google via BlueHost or less with a promotional discount)

Total:£0-£1,210+ a year£190-£1,610+ a year

As you can see, the costs are variable because most of them are based on your particular needs (and budget). While some of the costs are optional (for example, plugins and email), others are not (you have to pay for hosting in some form, and most people prefer to buy their own domain name).

Working out your WordPress costs

At the cheapest end of the scale, it’s possible to build a beginner WordPress site using the free plan and no plugins. You’ll have to use a WordPress subdomain, meaning your website URL contains “WordPress” (and everyone will know you’re not paying for your website name).

As the size and complexity of your WordPress site increases, so will the price. You can pay £240 a year for a small business website made with This includes: backups, unlimited bandwidth enhanced security features, and the option to upload your own templates and install plugins.

wordpress pricing plans screenshot showing price plans at £0, £3, £3, £7, £20 and £36 per month (paying annually)

Of course, plugins cost extra. The top plugin, Yoast SEO Premium will cost £99+VAT a year, and you may need four or more plugins for your website to work the way you need it to. That’s just shy of £400 for four WordPress plugins, and this is only an example.

A custom-built site will require extensive work from a developer. Costs for this can be in the region of £4,000-£10,000, depending on the project.

basic website prices icon

How much does each type of website cost?

In this section, we’ll explain the costs you can expect to pay for basic, business, ecommerce, and bespoke websites when using a web designer or website builder platform.

Cost of a basic website

A basic website is made up of one to five pages, and will require very simple functionality. They are considered ‘brochure style’ websites. In addition to the core pages, they will have a contact and landing page. They should also be mobile responsive, but it’s always worth checking that this is included in the design price.

Basic websites are great if you’re after a very simple, stripped back online presence. It is a place to showcase your business and receive enquiries. Think of it as a modern day business card.

You can go down several routes when creating your basic website. Each option has its own pros and cons:

Build your own basic website: Free or £7-£50 per month (paying annually)

Website builders have become prevalent and sophisticated in recent years. They are now a legitimate option for businesses and individuals alike, costing up to £50 a month for a website without any payment features. Other than a clear cost benefit, website builders also allow you to get a website up and running in just a few hours, with no prior design experience required.

Wix is our top all-around website builder for promoting your small business. It offers impressive great design tools and handy features to improve the SEO (search engine optimisation) of your website.

Here are the current prices of the top website builders:

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0






Best For

Creating a good-looking website with excellent sales features

Best For

Selling digital products or portfolios

Best For

Advanced sales features

Best For

Speedy set up

Best For

Uptime reliability

Best For

Value for money

Price Range
Paying for one year upfront
Price Range
Paying for one year upfront

£12-£35/month (billed annually)

£10.08-£31.50/month with code: EM10

Price Range
Paying for one year upfront


First month for £1

Price Range
Paying for one year upfront


Price Range
Paying for one year upfront

£5.99/month (billed annually)

Price Range
Paying for one year upfront


Try Wix Try Squarespace Try Shopify Try GoDaddy Try Hostinger Try WordPress

If you want more detail on each of these platforms, check out our overview of the best website builder tools for UK businesses.

Basic website from a design agency: £500-£2,500

Design agencies offer you the chance to work with reliable and experienced website creators. Making slick websites with exceptional user experience is their bread and butter. As a very rough estimate, a small one to five page website from an agency will likely cost between £500 and £2,500.

This is the perfect option if you want something that’s truly unique in functionality. It’s also the ideal choice if you have a decent budget but not much time or desire to create it by yourself.

The price may be higher than working with an individual because of the additional overheads (such as paying multiple staff, office rental, and marketing costs). But you could benefit from the range of experience agencies have in-house, including graphic designers, SEO experts, and marketing specialists.

Agencies or freelancer designers will provide a quote for the project as a whole based on what you need, so we’d always recommend comparing quotes before selecting a provider.

However, we’d recommend that you don’t go with the cheapest agency you can find because reviews on the quality of their work is critical. The last thing you want is to lose thousands of pounds in revenue because of an unprofessional website that doesn’t work.

We’ve written an in-depth guide on London’s web design agencies to help you get a better idea of the process of hiring.

Freelance developer pricing for a basic website: £960-£1,500

Using a freelance developer is a convenient option to create a basic website. Finding a freelancer takes more research than an agency, and you may want to go off a recommendation rather than a Google search. However, you will find that a freelancer won’t be hiding behind glitzy marketing and call centres. Since you’re working directly with a skilled professional, you’ll enjoy a high level of accountability as well as a personalised service.

A freelancer will typically charge between £50-£100 per hour. However, it’s common to charge per project, too. A basic website will likely cost you £960-£1,500 from a UK-based freelancer.

If you’re not sure which web professional to hire, check out our feature Software Engineer vs Web Developer vs Computer Programmer for a clearer idea.

Offshore web company basic website costs: £80-£650

Using an offshore web company is definitely one of the cheapest options (£5-£20 per hour). However, they are often a lot less reliable than the other options. You’ll likely have to wait for responses to your questions because of time zone differences, too. Language barriers may prove problematic, and there is the possibility of spelling mistakes on your website.

When creating your website, bear in mind how your needs will change over the next few years. If you are planning to expand your company, or predict future surges in the number of visitors, mention this when requesting quotes to ensure you get a website that is future-proof.

Of course, these prices depend on the size and the complexity of your site. When requesting a web design quote, try to be as specific as possible and ensure that you get the total cost. Transparency in the early stages of the web design process between both you and your designer ensures everyone is on the same page, and will help prevent costly amendments further down the line.

You could save by comparing web design quotes
Do you want a new site or to relaunch an existing one?
It only takes one minute to get free quotes

▶ Quick, cheap, high-quality web design: Read our review of DotGO

cost of a small business website icon

Cost of a small business website

A small business website has one to five pages and upfront costs are £502.99 to £1,100 (plus VAT) for the design and domain.

Its additional features may include: integrating social media, responsive design, a content management system, and integration with Google Analytics, Google Maps and Google Business Profile. They will also have more pages than a basic website, and more storage space for video and image galleries.

Small business websites are perfect for businesses that are likely to update their content regularly. This makes them the perfect choice for startups, freelancers, or any growing organisation.

We cover the rough cost of a small business website below:

Cost of a Small Business Website
Upfront costs
Total Upfront Cost£502.99 to £1,100
Ongoing costs
Content Updates£0-£250+/month
Total Ongoing Costs£3 to £295+/month

Paying for a well-designed website isn’t a guaranteed formula for internet success. Once you have your completed website, we recommend that you reinforce your presence with regular marketing and content updates to keep visitors coming back to your site. Allotting a monthly budget of time and money can be a great way to ensure that this doesn’t get forgotten.

When choosing a web design company for small businesses, select one that has experience working with small businesses. Otherwise, you may find yourself lumbered with fancy features that won’t actually offer you any real benefit.

Again, website builders are a great option for creating your small business website. Wix categorises its templates by industry, making it really easy to find the one that’s right for you.

cost of an ecommerce website icon

Cost of an online shop website

A website with payment features and a product catalogue costs between £2,299 to £15,768 (plus VAT) per year. It’s rather more expensive than a basic business brochure website because of the extra data security needed. We also recommend you update the content (images and product descriptions) regularly, which also adds to the ongoing costs.

If you decide to hire a freelancer to build your online shop website, they may include one or more of the below elements in one overall price. You may also get a cost breakdown. This is why we’ve put together this quick reference table to give you an idea of market rates for a typical small to medium-sized online shop.

You may hear this type of website referred to as “ecommerce”, which simply refers to online sales.

Cost of an ecommerce website (per year)
SSL certificate£120-£250
Technical maintenance£850-£3,500
Content Updates£1,200-£10,800
Total£2,299 to £15,768

To work out this estimate, we researched prices for and compared domain registrar quotes.

Again, being as specific as you can about your requirements will help you arrive at an accurate quote early on. It can be hard to guess at the price of an ecommerce website due to the many variables involved.

The easiest way to get the right price for your website is by comparing free quotes. We can help you there. Simply let us know what you’d like from your website, and we’ll match your business with trusted web designers that suit your requirements. They’ll then be in touch with obligation-free quotes for you to compare. It’s simple!

bespoke website costs icon

Cost of a specialist website

Bespoke websites are great for larger companies requiring more functionality, with a higher number of visitors or with more information to share.

Such websites are database driven. They have advanced functionality and unlimited subpages (pages created within the subcategories of your site). Businesses in certain industries need these most, including financial services, recruitment, property, and architecture.

Cost of a Bespoke Website
Upfront costs
Total Upfront Cost£2,507.99 to £10,100
Ongoing costs
Content Updates£0-£300/month
Total Ongoing Costs£10 to £410/month

When requesting a bespoke website, it is highly beneficial to work with a dedicated partner.

Unless you have a strong relationship with a talented freelancer, we would definitely recommend looking for an agency to work with. This ensures you are getting the best possible service and that they understand your business and what you are trying to achieve.

It’s vital that you get a quote for the project as a whole, rather than a ‘per hour’ rate. This is because larger projects have the potential to produce time-consuming problems that are out of your control as a customer.

Website builder vs web designer

Here are the main factors to weigh up and decide upon when you’re building your own website or hiring a designer:

Use a website builderHire a web designer
✔️Affordable, cost spread out over time. Free options available❌High upfront costs
✔️Maintenance automatic and included in price✔️ Maintenance costs may be minimal (unless you need significant changes)
✔️Add your own media and customise design✔️Unique website look, feel and function
❌Some platforms don’t offer certain features✔️Get any feature you can imagine
❌Plugins may cost more than you anticipate✔️Full cost transparency from the start
✔️Choose from a range of design templates or build your own❌Design limited to your own research or designer’s preferences

When it comes to your time, you’ve got to consider if you’re willing to put in about 5-20 hours setting up your DIY website with a website builder. From then on, you’re looking at 2-30 hours per month for content and usability updates. A web designer will usually take care of all of that work, so you’ll only spend time checking in over calls and emails.

When it comes to your interest, you’ll need at least some enthusiasm for design, writing, and marketing your business with a website if you’re going to build your own. If you don’t care to spend your talents here, a web designer takes all that creative load off your plate.

Thinking about budget, the cheapest option of all is to build your own website with a free plan (we’d recommend Wix). A premium plan with a domain (website URL) included for one year costs £7.50-£119 + VAT per month. Some plans have a monthly contract option at a higher price, which is why we recommend signing up for at least one year and paying upfront.

Or, if you’re looking to invest in a custom site that has features and functions you can’t find in a website builder, you can expect to pay £1,100-£5,500 to hire a developer to build a small to medium-sized website.

Ongoing costs explained

There are several website maintenance costs you should bear in mind. We’ve outlined these below:

Domain costs

All websites need a web address – the formal name for this is the “domain”. For example, the Expert Market domain name is “”.

Domain names include everything after “www.” so you’re paying for the main bit and the “” part afterwards. That final part is called the top-level domain (TLD). Domain costs vary according to:

  • Which registrar you choose
  • Which type of TLD you want
  • Whether someone already owns the domain
  • If you add extra security protection
  • How many years you buy the domain for

Here are some examples of different TLD prices:

TLDCost (per year) from Namecheap

Unsure where to start with a domain name? We can provide you with quotes from hosting and domain name providers including Bluehost, GoDaddy, and Hostgator. Simply enter your contact details and we’ll put you in touch with those companies.

We strongly suggest you purchase a domain for at least five to 10 years. If you allow your domain name to expire, you will lose access to the web address, and someone else can host their own website at that web address. There’s usually a discount on the first year, so you should look beyond that and consider the cost over time. Generally it’s less expensive per year to pay for a longer rental.

Even if you decide to close down your business, you should continue to pay for the domain. Why? This protects your professional reputation for customers that try to access your website after it’s closed down. Otherwise it’s easy for an opportunist to set up a gambling, gaming, spam, or scheme website at your old web address to take advantage of your online customers. Here’s an example:

homepage of indonesian gambling website
The domain name of former charity was bought by an Indonesian gaming site.

SSL security certificate

Without a security certificate, it’s easy for cybercriminals to hack into your website. This could mean website outages, stolen credit card details, reputation damage, and even legal action. It’s your responsibility as a website owner to keep your website protected from malware and password theft.

Website visitors can see if you have a valid security certificate – your website comes up with a padlock symbol in the address bar. Browsers may block visitors from entering your website if your security is out of date.

SSL pricing differs according to:

  • The number of websites you have
  • The amount of data you need to protect
  • How tough your security measures need to be

You will often find that a freelancer or website builder tool will include the SSL certificate in an overall price package.

Hosting costs

Every website needs to be hosted on a web server. While your domain is your virtual address, your sever is the physical location of your website. Hosting basically means renting some “space” (well, bandwidth) on the internet. Fully understanding what hosting means is not necessary, but you should know that your website will need it in some form and you have a few options for this:

Type of hostingTypical cost (per month)
Shared hosting£3 – £12
WordPress hosting£3 – £20
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting£17 – £50
Dedicated hosting£60 – £250
Choose from the best web hosting services in 2024

Bluehost tops our list. Compare them against GoDaddy, Hostgator, and more.

Shared hosting

Shared hosting is the cheapest form of web hosting. You share your hosting platform with a number of other sites, which means you’ll be sharing the cost as well. The downside is that you also share the bandwidth. So, in effect, you fight for server space with other sites. Shared hosting can be a great low-cost option for basic or new sites that don’t yet get many visitors.

Prices range from £3 – £12 per month.

WordPress hosting

You may be familiar with WordPress, an open-source website-building software that includes a content management system (CMS). In fact, is built using WordPress!

You can now find WordPress-specific hosting packages that help your site run fast and may come with automatic updates, scheduled data backups, and other tools.

Prices range from £3 – £20 per month.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting

A VPS server is a good middle ground between shared hosting and having your own dedicated server. A VPS is one physical server but allocates multiple, separate servers to its sites. This way you avoid the problems associated with shared hosting.

Prices range from £17 – £50 per month.

Dedicated hosting

With this option, a server is dedicated to hosting your website. Websites that are particularly large or complex, or require exceptionally high levels of data security, will benefit from dedicated hosting. It is also the best option for websites with a high and steady amount of traffic. You do not have to compete for bandwidth, so the price is higher.

Prices range from £60 – £250 per month.

Top Tip: Websites such as IONOS, 123reg, and GoDaddy regularly offer package deals for domain names and web hosting.

Expert Market Recommends all of the providers on our top-five hosting services list. You can depend on these to provide reliable, secure, scalable hosting for affordable prices; Bluehost plans start from just £2.65 per month.

Additional costs

Aside from the costs we have already mentioned, there are some additional services that you should consider:

1. Content production

Producing written content is something that you can do yourself to keep costs down. However, it can be worth getting a freelancer or agency to help. Expect to pay between £30 and £100 per hour for web copywriting.

2. Imagery

Hiring a photographer to collect a bank of images for your brand or product is always advisable for creating a strong brand image. You can also buy stock images and graphics from sites like depositphotos, or download free images for commercial use on unsplash.

3. SEO/marketing

Let’s say you own a cupcake shop in Manchester. Googling ‘Manchester cupcakes’ returns over 5 million results. So how do you make sure that your business appears near the top?

This is where SEO comes in.

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It’s the process of making a site the best that it can be in terms of search engine visibility. Search engines give preference to sites that load fast and offer the information that people are searching for, among other things.

For smaller websites, it’s a good idea to ask if your web design and SEO services can come as part of an overall package. For websites with a lot of content, consider getting a freelancer or agency that specialises in SEO to take a look through your site every month to ensure it remains optimised.

If you want to make sure SEO services are included in your pricing information, use our quote-finding tool below click on the correct answer to get started.

You could save by comparing web design quotes
What kind of website does your business need?

How long does it take to build a website?

Now that you have a rough idea of how much your site might cost, it’s on to question number two: How long will it take?

It should come as no surprise that the answer will again depend on the size and complexity of your desired site as well as the agency you’re working with.

Website builders are likely to be the quickest option you could build yourself a basic website in just a few hours. Working with an agency may take anything from a couple of weeks to a few months.

To get a clearer idea of how your project will progress, it helps to have an idea of the steps involved. Check out our guide on how to build a website or watch this video to learn more:

Kieron Woodhouse, head of UX for a major UK tech company, breaks down the web design process.

web designer

10 Questions to ask your web designer

Communication is the key to making the web design process as streamlined as possible. You need to know exactly what you’re getting from your web designer, and they, in turn, should know exactly what you expect of them. With this in mind, we’ve put together a few questions to ask your designer:

  1. Do you arrange buying the domain name and hosting for the site, and is this included in your quote?
  2. How easy will it be for me to report on and update my website? If it requires specialist knowledge, will you provide training for myself and my staff?
  3. Will there be any ongoing costs for general site maintenance?
  4. Will you optimise the website for search engines?
  5. Will the site be mobile responsive?
  6. If I am unhappy with the finished design of my site, can it be amended and is there a cost associated with this?
  7. Will you provide content and imagery for the site, or must I provide it?
  8. What is the scope for future development of the website? Is it built to grow quickly?
  9. How much will future amendments to the site cost?
  10. How is my website protected if something goes wrong?

What to know when hiring a web developer

The last thing we want is for you to go into a consultation with a web developer without some key advice under your belt. Here are the main points you need to know:

Web development is a service, not a product

You’ll have ongoing costs because a website always needs updating. When first hiring a web developer – and paying for upkeep and maintenance – you’re buying the use of someone’s time and skills. It’s possible you could negotiate to transfer ownership of the website over to you when it’s done being built. However, it makes sense to keep the same web expert on your books to install security patches, and so on.

Support levels vary

You could be quoted £1,000 and £50,000 for the same project. This is because an agency will give you an account manager, and connect you with graphic designers, marketing professionals, and possibly social media services as well. A freelancer will generally work alone to deliver what you need. You need to work out how you will best communicate a website project, and if having a range of marketing professionals at hand is preferable over just one point of contact.

Standards vary from agency to agency

As with any industry, the quality of work will vary from one agency to another. It’s a good idea to have a look at customer reviews and examples of previous work when deciding which agency to go with. Remember, the cheapest option isn’t always the best one – your website is an investment in the growth of your business. It goes beyond a good-looking business card, and can be central to the facilitation of your services.

Next steps

Even with a guide to help, trying to work out the exact cost of a website without a background in design is really tricky. We know that the cost of living is adding extra pressure to your profit margins this year, more than ever before.

For the most affordable website, all you need to do is take a look at our easy ecommerce platform comparison tool. You can find links to free trials on that page to try out the tools you’re curious about.


How much does a website cost per month?
Website costs vary according to their size and function, so there’s no simple answer to this question. However, maintaining a website with sales features will likely cost you £192-£1,314 per month, excluding the cost of initial design and development. This includes technical maintenance, security, hosting, domain costs, and content updates.
How much does a basic five page website cost?
In 2024, a basic website will cost £650-£1,100 plus VAT from a UK developer. This will include between one and five pages, including product or services description, a contact form, and information about the business.
What is the average cost of having a website?
The average cost of a small business website (using a DIY platform such as Wix, Squarespace, or GoDaddy) is £21.50 + VAT per month.
Does it cost money to make a website from scratch?
You can build a website for free using a builder platform such as Wix, Drupal, or Wix has a free forever plan that includes hosting and a Wix-branded domain name. You’ll have to pay for your own hosting and domain with Drupal or WordPress, however.
How much does it cost to hire someone to build a website?
Depending on the size and complexity of the website you need, it will cost between £650 and £10,000+ plus VAT for a custom web design project.
Written by:
Sabrina Dougall
Sabrina is a business journalist whose career began in news reporting. She has a master's in Investigative Journalism from City University London, and her work has appeared in The Times, The Daily Express, Money Saving Expert, Camden New Journal, Global Trade Review, and Computer Business Review. She specializes in writing about SEO (search engine optimization). Having run her own small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how critical digital marketing is to building a client base and local reputation.
Reviewed by:
Robyn Summers-Emler, Grow Online Editor, Profile Picture
Robyn started working on Expert Market in 2021 as a specialist in business websites and digital marketing. As the Grow Online Editor, she ideates, commissions and optimizes content on Expert Market that helps businesses thrive in online spaces and maximize their ecommerce potential. Covering everything from choosing a website builder to scaling a social media marketing strategy - Robyn uses her expertise to help startups, SMBs, and larger businesses realize digital growth in an increasingly competitive landscape.