Congratulations! You've settled on building a website for your brand and have begun the hunt for a website builder that will pave your way to online success. For most, cost -- above all else -- comes into play when it comes to any new business venture, and with the dozens of options out there, you can expect to find some variety in cost and expectations.
When the cost of a professionally built website for a small business from design through final product can run you $6,000 and up, you'd be surprised at how little a DIY website builder will run you. That being said, you have to remember that
with a website builder comes the investment of time, energy, and upkeep beyond the basic costs. Above all else, remember: If you're prepared to spend $100,000 or more for a brick-and-mortar store, then dropping a few hundred dollars a year for a website (your virtual brick-and-mortar) is small potatoes relative to your total budget, though every penny does count.
Most website builders have a free membership option that has no term limit. Free memberships allow you the opportunity to use most of the builder's tools without dropping a dime, but it comes at a different cost. The bulk of free website builders like Wix and Weebly give you full access to tools, but it's going to cost you for extras like ecommerce compatibility, removing the website builder's ads from the header and footer, and more storage space. Other free website builders like Squarespace offer a free membership, but it's limited to 14 days.
So how much can you expect to pay if you really want to dig your heels into a website builder?
Costs vary, and most website builders offer three or four levels of memberships with varying levels of add-ons and perks. The one nice thing about most website builders is that no matter how fancy you go on your plan, you'll still be paying less than you would be for a professional web developer or designer.
On Wix, for example, the least expensive and most basic plan will cost you nearly $50/year for the yearly plan, but you'll still be dealing with Wix brand ads on your site. Their most popular and cost-effective plan includes a free custom domain and will run you nearly $150/year with the major perk of unlimited bandwidth. If you want to go all out, you'll drop $200/year for the benefit of ecommerce features.
A higher end website builder like Squarespace will cost more for advanced bells and whistles like storage space, ecommerce perks, and other goodies like connections with the email service MailChimp and social media tie-ins. The cheapest plan will run you nearly $100/year while the most expensive plan will cost you around $300.
There are dozens of variations in between, and the benefits also vary. For a lot of storage and ecommerce features, you're going to spend more than for a lower-end package with just enough storage for articles and some images.
When deciding which website builder to work with, remember that most will allow you to switch plans if you decide you need more storage or perks, so start small and work within your budget before diving into uncharted waters.