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3 best affordable website design options

3 Best Affordable Web Design Options

One of the most common questions I get asked is “how much will it cost me?” or something akin to that sentiment.

The underlying question is can I get a quality web design that is affordable, meets my needs, and is easy to use.

Just last week a woman named Debbie from Texas called and asked if there were any affordable web design options.

She explained she was running a small business that sold plants to local vendors and needed an online presence. She was disheartened by the price of web designers and likewise overwhelmed by using a website builder.

One of her grandchildren had made a valiant attempt at designing her website, however, as is often the case it was lacking in technical skill and common web design must-haves.

The above story may change names, locations, and other variables, but it is all too common. I want you to know there are solutions. We have listed the three primary options below and detailed them throughout this article.

Here’s the tl;dr version of the affordable web design options available to all.

Key Article Takeaways

What are the Affordable Web Design Options?

In the past I’ve written about the value of custom web design, however, there is a time and place for affordable web design. 

It may be during particular times in a business’s life cycle such as during a startup phase.  It’s really not smart to spend more than you have.

A Word to Web Designers

For my website designer friends and colleagues out there I would encourage you to embrace website builders and do it yourself WordPress for some of your lower leverage clients. 

By being honest with a startup or small business owner that doesn’t really have the resources you are building a relationship that may flourish once they have a need for high-end development.  

In the meantime, I encourage you to provide free and paid help to those using website builders and WordPress.org installs.

Article Goals

It’s my goal in this article to touch on the 3 best options available when looking for affordable web design. 

In particular, I’m hoping I can solve a few common problems in the contact questions I received regularly, namely:

common website design contact questions

4 Common Website Design Contact Questions

Let’s start with a simple definition of what is meant by affordable web design.

Affordable Web Design Defined

Creating a working definition of affordable.

My goal is to get us on the same page.  We, you the reader and I the author, need to use the same language to understand one another. 

What do I mean when I say affordable web design?

It’s a bit of a fluid definition. Inherently, affordable varies from person to person based upon that individual’s means and station in life. 

Affordable doesn’t mean cheap.

Rather, it’s a closer fit to reasonably priced or the vague inexpensive. 

Essentially, it doesn’t hurt when you buy it and you feel happy with the value you received in return to the affordable item. 

It’s something you can afford.

Merriam Webster dictionary Affordable defined

Source (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/affordable)

How does an affordable item differ from a cheap item? 

In this case, what is the difference between affordable web design and cheap website design? 

Cheap carries with it a sense of inexpensive and thus affordable, but also of poor quality.

No one wants a cheap web design, read as a poor yet inexpensive design because having a poor yet inexpensive design will merely turn away your visitors.

Mark Brinker has a well written and thoughtful article on this subject in a post called Research Shows Having A Bad Website Can Hurt Your Business

In his roundup style article, one source notes that 75% of consumers admit that they judge a business’s credibility based on their web design.

Another article on Sweor.com titled 27 Eye-Opening Statistics About User Experience, Website First Impressions, and Website Design That You Should Be Taking Very Seriously notes that “As common as it is to say “don’t judge a book by its cover,” websites are subject to an extreme level of snap judgments that immediately influence perceptions of credibility.” 

Don’t just go for cheap as you may cost yourself more than you saved.

Remember a web design is an asset for your business or startup.

The Importance of Your Website

How important is your website to your business or your potential business launch? 

This question must be asked when evaluating what is meant by affordable web design. 

For example, an online business that sells items via eCommerce will undoubtedly require a website that does what it is required to do, which sells a product.

On the other hand, a consultant that is just starting out like Blankenship Process Improvement Consulting may need nothing more than a one to three-page website design that is both affordable and easy to update.

When you sit down to decide what affordable web design means to you it is imperative to take into consideration the importance of your website and its image to your customers.

According to the eCommerce Foundation, 88% of consumers will research product information before they make a purchase online or in the store.  This is huge.

percent of consumers searching for a product online first

In the end, a web design for any business or individual wishing to sell, motivate or be seen is essential and important as 93% of business decisions start with a search engine.

93% of businesses decisions state with a search engine

5 things a website can do for you:

  • Creates a Sense of Professionalism
  • Ease of Access for Potential Visitors
  • Low Cost per Impression Marketing
  • Positive ROI (if done right)
  • An Asset to your Company

What does an Affordable Web Design mean?

Affordable web design will differ for us all. 

If you are a serial entrepreneur and you are looking to create your 17th website affordable web design will have a completely different meaning than a local small business owner that sells craft beer, owns a bar, or paints houses for a living. 

Additionally, if you are a startup consultant that needs a one-page website with very little else, then affordability should and will mean something different for you. 

However, if you’re average sale price is high you might want to spend a little more for a higher quality website than a do it yourself design. 

Elon Musk on Affordable technology improvements

Either way, we’ve got you covered at Green Thoughts.

The increase in technological website design advances and improvements to builders has opened a lot of doors.

In what follows affordable means there are varying levels of options that will have a range in price from zero dollars in the case of some free website builders to a few thousand dollars in the case of one-time fee affordable web design by an agency.

So what are your options when looking at affordable web design?

Options for Affordable Web Design

  1. Website builders
  2. WordPress.org
  3. Hire an Affordable Web Design Company

Website Builders

Website builders are growing in popularity in recent years and why not as these website builders provide an affordable way to build a website.

These builders include options like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly just to name a few. 

The appeal of a website builder is you do not need any HTML, CSS, or other design coding skills to create a website.

The various builders have a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) interface that is usually a drag and drop, such as in the video below, that enables literally anyone to create a website in a matter of minutes or days. 

example of a plug & play Website Builder

My suggestion to those that find these website builders the right affordable option is to take advantage of the various trial periods they offer and use them to simply play around.

Best Website Builders Aggregated

Website BuilderOverall RatingEase of UseDesign OptionsPrice
Wix.com4.74.54.0Free-$35/mon
Squarespace.com4.43.55.0$12-$40/mon
Site123.com4.24.03.1Free-$12/mon
Weebly.com4.23.54.0Free-$38/mon
Sitebuilder.com3.73.73.2$10-$18/mon
Jimdo.com3.64.02.5Free-$40/mon

While I feel you can’t go wrong with any of the builders on this list I encourage you to try Wix.com as it is by far the best overall Website Builder on the market.

Best of all you can get a free trial with several of these website builders.

Best eCommerce Website Builders Aggregated

Website BuilderOverall RatingEase of UseDesign OptionsPrice
Wix.com4.64.04.0$23-$49/mon
Squarespace.com4.43.55.0$18-$40/mon
Shopify.com4.44.04.0$29-$299/mon
Weebly.com4.23.54.0Free-$38/mon
BigCommerce.com4.03.53.4$30-$250/mon

If you find that a website builder is the best and most affordable web design option for you. 

If you are in the market for affordable web design this first option, the website builder group is a must to check out.

I would encourage those interested in this option to click through above and check the products out for yourself.

WordPress.org Do it Yourself

WordPress.org is used by over 60% of the content management solution websites in the world according to Is it WP

Further, WordPress makes up over 35% of all websites according to Kinsta

WordPress powers 35% of websites quote

Thus, WordPress, like the website builders mentioned above, deserves a post all its own in this discussion. 

However, WordPress too has some of the favorable features you will find with website builders and it can be just as if not more affordable as an affordable web design option. 

  • WordPress requires another level of computer expertise as you will need to install WordPress yourself (free). 
  • Purchase hosting for the website ($2-$30 a month).
  • Purchase a domain name ($15 to $20 a year). 
  • Pick a theme or design type for the site (free and paid).
  • You will also need to maintain and secure the site with WordPress plugins (cost varies).

When discussing the cost associated with WordPress remember that there are similar costs with a website builder as mentioned below. 

In the case of website builders and WordPress, you will still want to purchase your own domain name. You may need to pay for apps and/or plugins to increase functionality. 

Finally, don’t forget the website builder monthly fee.

I personally love WordPress and design in it frequently for small business clients that are seeking an affordable web design option.

In the end, a WordPress.org website will cost you less than a website builder over a 2 to 3 year period.

However, this presupposes that you will not be spending loads of cash on plugins and customized themes. Let’s take a closer look at these numbers. I’ve taken the liberty of saying the average person will buy a customized theme and utilize at least one paid plugin on most platforms and I’ve chosen the middle plan on most builders.

It’s important to remember our topic is affordable web design so I’m not including customizations in this option that might make a website far nicer and more user-friendly.

So keep in mind you could swing this for less.

One and Three Year Total Cost of Each Solution

TimeWordPress.orgWix.comSquarespace.comSite123
1 yr Cost$222$341$378$257
3 yr Cost$316$624$660$518

While these are interesting numbers the question of quality and finished product still lingers. Can you or one of your associates build a website that converts and looks “good enough”?

Let’s turn to our third final affordable web design option.

Hire an Affordable Web Design Company

One-time fee Affordable Web Design

Yet another affordable web design option is hiring a one-time fee web design company or freelancer. 

I would encourage you if you go this route to avoid the average freelancer and instead find a quality website design company.

I have run into far too many clients over the years attempting to salvage a web design that an overseas freelancer took on and left the business owner in a state of disarray. 

My advice is USA/UK Designers with a track record.

Freelancers aside, what is a one-time fee affordable web design? 

Essentially you will hire a company to provide you with a complete end to end website design that is cost-effective as you define it. 

These sites will usually range from$500 to $3000 give or take.

In the end, you will receive a fully functional and completed website design with a “how to use it” discussion from the designer. 

The website may or may not be coded in WordPress and thus may or may not have a content management system. 

I implore you to request a CMS or content management software in your affordable design.

 I also encourage you to request training before signoff on the project. 

You will need a website that you can easily update and care for. You will need to add and remove content from time to time.

Here’s a list of things you should ask for in a One-Time Fee Website Design

  • Require a content management software
  • Is there Training on the use of the CMS
  • Questions about Length of Maintenance Help
  • Questions about Ongoing fees such as hosting
  • Does the company provide installments?

Most website design companies will not provide ongoing maintenance for clients aside from a window of help after the design is complete. 

However, digital marketing agencies will often provide an ongoing website maintenance package for a monthly fee. 

It never hurts to ask and search the web for quotes on maintenance packages. 

What to look for in a maintenance package?

  • Backup and Automation
  • Fixes and Regular Repair
  • Security monitoring
  • Content Updates/Images
  • Responsive User Interface Changes
  • Code Updates
  • Performance Measures

These packages can vary wildly in price based on numerous options such as your specific content needs, changes to headers and images, the addition of landing pages or simply other pages, code updates, number of plugins, etc. 

However, most packages for an affordable web design that is smaller and in the starter site category will range from $75 dollars a month to $150 a month. 

If you would like a quote on your website maintenance please contact us.

Monthly Subscription Design Services

Yet another affordable web design option is that of hiring a website design company that will then charge you an ongoing monthly rate or subscription for the site.

There are pros and cons to the affordable web design subscription approach.

Pros:

  • A lower initial outlay of cash
  • Better website design than a DIY design
  • Often no need for a maintenance package
  • The company has a vested interest in your ongoing satisfaction
  • You can test your business idea without going all-in
  • Varying payment terms (i.e. monthly, quarterly, etc.)

Cons:

  • The website design company owns your website for X months
  • Higher long term price point than a one-time fee
  • Contract Issues: increase in monthly rate etc.

As you can see this affordable web design option is not for everyone, however, it is a valid choice that can save money during the early phase of a business and in doing so improve cash flows to other vital marketing channels.

Expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $200 per month for a subscription website plan. 

These plans should include hosting, some form of maintenance, onboarding, and training with the companies content management software. 

There’s a lot to like about this option for those short on capital.

One consideration to think through with an affordable web design that is subscription-based is the true cost of a monthly subscription.

These subscription website design agreements have the potential to lock you out of your site if you can’t make a payment.

Most companies will create a monthly price point for you based on a term of payments prior to you actually “owning” the site contents.

Affordable Web Design Subscription Example

For example, a website design firm that regularly designs websites that are in the $2000 dollar one-time fee range.

In a subscription plan, we would for this type of site the total cost before ownership would carry an increase in the total price. 

The $2000 one-time fee site would become a $2750 to $3000 dollar site with terms of 12 to 36 months depending on where you wanted to be per month.

Hypothetical Price Points for Monthly Subscription Plans

TermsPrice/MonTotal Cost
Net 30$0.00$2000
12 mon$200.00$2400
18 mon$146.06$2629
24 mon$120.00$2880
36 mon$97.22$3500

While $97 dollars a month looks good for a higher quality web design over time you are paying for a much more for the same website.

Essentially, you are being charged interest; however, it provides a more affordable monthly payment.

Imagine a scenario where you become cash strapped and you can’t pay the subscription vendor you will have no recourse aside from working things out with the website design company. 

My advice would be to read, or have a lawyer read, the terms carefully before signing an agreement. 

Make sure you understand your obligations and your installment payment terms. 

Request detailed documentation on maintenance plans and what will or will not trigger price increases.

A monthly subscription website design can prove to be a very affordable option that balances risk and reward for a company that is unable to do it yourself and is not able to outlay the cash to pay all at once.

The cost of an affordable web design

How much will an affordable web design cost?

Obviously the answer to this question will depend on your needs. However, you should be able to get a website up with anywhere from 0 dollars to 999 dollars when starting out. 

TimeWordPress.orgWix.comOne Time Web Design12/mon Subscription Design
1 yr Cost$222$341$1000$1200
2 yr Cost$269$483$1138$1338
3 yr Cost$316$624$1276$1476

Balancing Trade-Offs

As you can see it is not impossible to find affordable web design. It’s also important to remember these prices include intangibles such as less time burden on your part with an agency one-time design or a subscription plan.

In my own business, I know how much money I can make in an hour of work. When I am considering doing something myself or outsourcing it I simply ask if the number of hours it will take me to do it is more or less than I can make in that time period.

If it is even close I outsource it most of the time.

The balance between cost, ease of use, and need.

When considering your needs for website design and particularly so when looking for an affordable web design option one must consider the related concepts of cost, ease of use and website need.

One should aim to find an area on the chart that will satisfy all three needs the most optimally, however, we don’t live in a theoretical Venn diagram world.   

So I’m providing a few insights below to help you find the sweet spot for your need. 

How to know if you’re getting a good deal- Cost

I’ve already discussed cost and price to an extent in the charts above.  However, I’m asked regularly if x or y is a good deal. 

Just last week a blog reader asked if I thought a college student’s proposal for a WordPress site was a good deal at a particular price point. 

As I’ve mentioned above affordable is about more than just cost

Yes, it involves the question of can I afford the cost at this point in my life/business, but it also involves asking if the quality of the provided outcome or in this case web design will be high enough.

Sadly, no one can truly answer this question for you.

It’s something you will need to sort through using the charts and tools listed above. 

In the end, if you are comfortable with the price, you feel good about the business or person you are thinking of hiring, and have a real need then go for it.

affordable web design & ease of use

Which affordable web design option is the easiest to use- Ease of Use

Ease of use can be a very subjective concept.  However, this is another question I’m asked regularly.  The problem with the question is what’s easy for one may not be easy for another.  There are website builder sites out there that have run studies on ease of use with volunteers to provide statistical data on the outcomes.

Interested in a data-driven approach to ease of use? Check out Website Builder Expert for an overview of how they conduct research.

In our own rankings and reviews of website builders, we took the approach of taking an average for particular indicators as ranked by 15 such websites.  Essentially we aggregate ease of use across multiple sites.

5 steps to find affordable web design ease of use

Five Steps to Find Affordable Web Design Ease of Use

  1. Get a free or trial plan or watch tutorials of Website Builders/WordPress
  2. Rate the Ease of Use on a scale of 1-10
  3. Take Notes and write down what you liked and didn’t like.
  4. Test another product.
  5. Repeat until you feel comfortable with a solution.

There is just no replacement for testing and trying out a product on your own.  It’s why people lay on mattresses before making a purchase.

That being said in my personal opinion the average internet user will be fine with Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, or WordPress.  I believe they all have comparable ease of use.

The relative importance of a website & need

The Relative Importance- Need

Your personal or businesses need to have a website and the importance of having one that does a particular action or provides a particular feature is important to consider when balancing cost, ease of use, and need.

This need will influence the level of help or DYI you may be able to go forth with as a purchaser. 

Once again I would encourage you to get clear on what features are absolutely necessary for you and then play around in test as mentioned in the Five Steps to Find Affordable Web Design Ease of Use above.

Does the feature exist within the product for free? Yes, great.  No? Well, you attempt to identify solutions with plugins or apps to add that feature. 

Try to identify how difficult implementing the said feature will be in relation to your level of expertise. 

Can you code using a tutorial? Maybe that will work. 

Can you hire a website designer just for that feature? This may be close to the cost of hiring an affordable web design company for WordPress. 

Just let Google be your friend. 

Feel free to reach out to us if you have specific questions.

Conclusion

There are 3 main avenues you can follow to find an affordable web design option for your business, startup, or just because. 

There are three main category options for Affordable Web Design:

  1. Website Builders
  2. WordPress.org
  3. Hire an Affordable Web Design Company

These three options are filled with lots of possible solutions, however, to find your best option just pick an option and dive in based on your current level of expertise and knowledge.

Once again reach out to us if you need a designer that can work within your budget. 

We offer both subscription installments and one-time fee website designs that are affordable.  We can also help you with most any website builder if that’s something you need help with.

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase through our links, you’re supporting our contribution to small business owners free of charge to them — and we thank you for that!

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