Website costs for small business: it’s lower than you think

8 min read
Khalida Kamaludin

If you own a small business, thinking about the website costs for your small business can be a daunting task. However, if you haven’t already built a website for your small business, then you’re already missing out. Since 2020, Southeast Asia has welcomed 70 million new online shoppers amidst lockdowns. But according to The World Bank, some countries (like Malaysia) still lag in digital adoption. It’s clear that websites today are key to business survival - let alone success. Small business owners definitely need to think about establishing a strong online presence to keep ahead with the competition.

How much do small business pay for websites?

The good thing is website costs for small business are more competitive than ever. With the ability to build a basic website by yourself for free and pay for just the hosting, we have literally run out of excuses for not having one in the first place.

From free options to low cost options, the cost of building a website for your small business is definitely lower than you think. In this article, read on to learn:

  • Three most common ways to build a website.
  • Why website cost for small business can vary from US$100 to well over US$10,000. Hint: it depends on the type of site you want to build and how much customization it requires.
  • How much you need for recurring and maintenance costs.

3 types of website costs for small business

Website Costs For Small Business Graph

If you’re looking to build a website, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are three to consider:

  1. Do-it-yourself with WordPress
  2. Do-it-yourself with an all-in-one website builder
  3. Get a professional to do it for you

1. DIY with WordPress

Website Costs For Small Business DIY
Image credit: Elementor

WordPress is THE most popular content management system (CMS) and powers a staggering 43% of websites on the internet. Here’s why.

It’s affordable

WordPress is FREE to use. Just get yourself a domain name and sign up to a hosting service and you can keep your website cost for small business REALLY low.

It’s accessible

Website Costs For Small Business 1 Click Wordpress

If you’re a newbie website builder, many of the most popular Website Hosting services offer a 1-click WordPress install for free, which means that all you need to do to get started is buy a domain name, sign-up to a Website Hosting service and click ‘install WordPress’. There are a whole host of free and paid premium themes you can then use to create your website.

It’s customizable

WordPress themes are customizable in many ways to suit your needs. You can change how a theme looks and feels with powerful options built right into the WordPress Customizer, add-on plugins for even more customization or editing your WordPress theme's source code. The sky’s the limit!

How much do website essentials cost with WordPress?

Around US$100 one-time and as little as US$3 per month after that. Even though WordPress is a free Content Management System (CMS), you still need to pay for some third party services.

Here’s a list of bare essentials that you’ll need to build your small business website:

  • Domain name: US$10 per year, from just RM4.99 per month (roughly $1.25),
  • Website Hosting: US$3 per month
  • Your time: priceless
  • Plugins: US$0 to US$5
  • Premium theme: US$50-US$70 one-time cost on average (optional)

The challenge with building a good website using WordPress

Despite it being a low-cost, highly customizable website builder with great SEO capabilities, there is much work involved - even if you’re a WordPress pro!

Between integrating the third-party services required, managing the potential security risks, the high maintenance required and just learning how to navigate the platform… There’s definitely a steep learning curve if you’re a beginner.

Not sure where to start? Here are step-by-step instructions on how to build a good website with WordPress.

Pro Tip: Purchase an annual web hosting plan or any annual Managed WordPress plan by GoDaddy and you'll automatically qualify for a free domain. For example, if you’re in Malaysia you could get both web hosting and a domain name from just RM4.99 per month (roughly $1.25).

2. Build your own with an all-in-one website builder

Website Costs For Small Business GoDaddy Builder

If a journey of a thousand miles to build a low-cost professional website begins with WordPress CMS, that same journey is cut down to 10 miles if you use an all-in-one website builder (like ours at GoDaddy).

In fact, no other options come close to lowering the overall website costs for small business. Especially ones that are so quick and easy to use that a 65-year old Grandmother can whip up a site in no time.

The best thing about using an all-in-one website builder

It’s as simple as drag-and-drop. You’ll never have to experience the headache and trauma that every WordPress user goes through as a beginner.

What’s the total cost of a website when you use a site builder?

From as low as $6 and up to $16 per month, you can get a website builder that includes everything you need and more for a professional web design, such as:

  • Hosting for your website
  • A domain name (with certain plans)
  • Website security (SSL)
  • Social media and email marketing functionality
  • All themes and templates
  • Upgraded functionality for bookings and e-commerce (with certain plans)
  • No hidden costs!

The only downsides to using an all-in-one website builder are the limited customization and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) capabilities.

Need some help with using a website builder? Here’s a 5 minute video on how to create a website with GoDaddy.

3. Hired guns: professional website design

Website Costs For Small Business Freelancers

Looking for the ultimate shortcut to a great website design? If you have too much work on your plate, need serious customization or have some extra cash to throw into your small business website - you can always just leave it to the pros.

How much does it cost to hire an expert?

The answer that no one ever wants to hear is “it depends”, but hiring an expert can set you back as little as $300 to well over $10,000 (it depends on your requirements).

Three types of experts that will build you an awesome website

  1. Freelancers. Hiring a freelancer from sites like Upwork and Fiverr should be enough to fulfill the requirements of most small businesses. Best for those looking for the lowest cost option or only need to throw up an informational website.
  2. Full-service marketing agencies. They’re experts at a) getting found from SEO or other services such as paid advertising, and b) converting your website visitors into customers. Best for growing businesses who need to build or revamp a website to find more customers and increase their conversion rates.
  3. Specialist web design agencies. These agencies often cost the most and with good reason: they can build unique functions into your website that require complex code. According to Laman7, a web design agency in Malaysia, it’s a good idea not to go with this option if you’re testing out a business idea.

4. Recurring & maintenance website costs for small business

Once your website is launched and live, there are routine expenses to keep it running like a well-oiled machine. Here are five recurring expenses to expect:

  1. Domain name $2 to $20 / annually: Annual renewals required. Miss a payment and someone else may buy the name from under you!
  2. SSL certificate $2 to $20 / annually: Keep your website secure annual SSL certificate renewals
  3. Website hosting $24 to $120 / annually: Monthly or annual renewals to house your website
  4. E-commerce capability $180 to $300 / annually: Routine updates on your e-commerce system.
  5. General website maintenance $200 to $1250 / annually: Plugin updates, spam checks, troubleshooting for errors.

Editor’s note: You don’t have to juggle all these costs separately. Check out GoDaddy’s all-in-one Website Builder and save yourself the headache of managing different maintenance expenses.


Ultimately, the total cost of a website for small businesses largely depends on the problem you want to solve.

The bigger the problem, the bigger the cost (money or time).

That’s why it’s important for you to understand exactly what you need and what you can do with your budget.

To recap:

  • If you’re seriously bootstrapped and have a lot of time on your hands you can set up a DIY WordPress site, which you can expect to pay $100 to set up once and then $3 every month after.
  • If you have a little more budget, but don’t have the time or capacity to deal with WordPress - you can expect to pay $6 to $16 with an all-in-one, headache-free, website builder.
  • What If you don’t want to deal with any of it? You can hire experts that will charge between $300 to well over $10,000 depending on whether you need an informational website, finding more customers through additional marketing services, or unique functions that require complex coding.