Having a website means a WordPress website – this is the common belief among many of us. It can’t be said wrong because most of the popular websites today are created in WordPress. From being just a blogging platform, WordPress has outgrown to one of the most popular CMS available today. The main reason behind using WordPress for developing websites is that it is open-source, i.e., it is absolutely free. The term “free” may have got stick to many minds and they thinking that developing a website in WordPress is completely free.
Don’t rethink. Yes, WordPress is free, for sure. The files that are necessary to install WordPress on a server and run it are indeed free. You can even sign up at WordPress.com and run their entire website for free. But the thing is that you will get only the most basic features. But if you consider WordPress as a serious business tool to get more revenue, you will have to pay for it. So the next question that arises will why it isn’t free? The answer is quite simple. You will have to pay for the extra functionalities you need on your website. WordPress will charge extra for the categories such as
- Web Hosting
- A Domain Name
- Design and Themes
- Ecommerce Features, and
- Your Time.
Now the next question that will be boiling in your mind will be what is the real cost of building a fully-fledged WordPress website? The answer depends on you and your requirements. Before finding out the real cost, you need to have answers to some other questions. First of all, you should know what is the purpose/goal of your website. The next thing you should know is who is your target audience. At last, you should know who is your ideal customer or persona. You should have a clear idea of all the things about your WordPress website like development, content strategy, marketing etc. You can either do everything yourself or hire a good WordPress development company for helping you.
Now let’s check each category and the estimated cost of each of them.
- Web Hosting ($30 – $900)
One of the key choices you make while creating your website is which web host to invest in. Choosing the perfect web hosting depends on you and the features or the level of performance you need. If yours is a small personal blog, it may require only lesser server resources when compared to a multi-author blog. Web hosting can range from $30 to $900. But there are also websites that allow you to pick a plan that will match your requirement, bandwidth, and budget. There is also an option to host your website directly on WordPress. This can be done at a lower price around $13 – $18. But the problem is that WordPress won’t monitor your website for you or help you solve discrepancies between third-party plugins. You can also choose one of the WordPress premium themes. It will cost around $70. But you cannot transfer it later if you decide to self-host it in the future. On the other hand, if you choose a plan that you can afford from a trusted website, it will give your business the best chance of success. You will get what you pay for. The quality of the hosting will depend on the amount you pay. Choosing a cheap hosting may affect the performance of your site because they tend to cut corners and overcrowd servers to make a profit. While higher cost hosting will be more flexible and will have advanced features like resource isolation. It will also ensure that your site stays online during traffic surges.
At times, you will have to spend money on SSL certificate also. It depends on who you host with or your specific needs. There are some sites that offer free SSL certificates, but all the sites don’t offer this.
Now let us also check some cheap and popular way of web hosting:
- a) Shared Hosting ($2.95 per month)
If you are going to start a personal blog and would like to have a test at first, then you can try shared hosting. It can cost about $5 a month. But the thing is that they have only limited features. You get only less power and more security threats are associated with it because you share a server with many other websites. But shared hosting will be a good option for lightweight sites with low traffic. Siteground and Bluehost are two of the most popular companies that give shared hosting.
- b) Managed WordPress Hosting ($20+ per month)
Managed WordPress Hosting is ideal for small to medium-sized websites. They are specialized in WordPress sites and you can optimize them for a huge amount of traffic making. As they concentrate fully on WordPress, you get high-level security. You will also get more power and exceptional support.
The prices of managed hosting vary with each host. It can also vary depending on the features of each package. There are managed WordPress hosting starting from $15, but typical packages range something around $20 – $30.
There are some other hosting options also. There are virtual private servers that give you good user-control over the web servers. As they are extremely powerful, you will have to pay an extremely high amount for them. You will have to spend an average cost of $75 per month. In Virtual Private Servers, you don’t have to share server resources with anyone but has to share the physical hardware with others. The next option is the Dedicated Servers. In this case, what you do is, rent a web server fully by yourself. So you don’t have to share any resources with anyone else, including the physical infrastructure. You will be the boss and doesn’t want to please anyone else. But the price of Dedicated Servers comes something around $150 per month.
For shared hosting, you will have to pay about $90 – $150 per year, while, for Managed WordPress Hosting, the amount will be something around $360 – $1200 per year. If you need an overall pricing of the web hostings available, I would suggest you pay $90 – $10,000+ depending on your needs. I would also suggest you not to go for free hosting.
- Domain Name ($10 – $100)
Registering a domain name means purchasing a site URL or address where users can go to view the contents of your web pages. This is how where users can go to view the contents of your web pages. It will be the business address for your digital shop, portfolio, agency, store etc. It has to be appropriate for your customers, catchy and memorable.
A typical .com domain goes for about $10-15 bucks per year on a cheaper site. You can choose anything like .net, .guru, .star etc. The price varies depending on the name. There are certain sites that give you domain name for free till one year. But you will have to pay renewal charges after a year. There is also complementary add-ons like WhoisGuard and HTTPS. If you collect sensitive data on your website, you have to use HTTPS. HTTPS can cost $0 -$960 per year per domain and WhoisGuard which is used for added privacy will cost $8 per year per domain. Big registrars like GoDaddy and NameCheap are used by many people. The domain represents you and your brand now and in the future. So take time to choose your domain name.
- Design and Themes ($0 – $50000)
There are many themes for users available in WordPress. While some are free, some themes can cost up to $200. If you are a beginner, free WordPress themes will be enough for you. But if you are a serious business owner, you will be disappointed with the lack of necessary functionalities in these free themes.
There is a massive theme library in WordPress. You can browse through them and find what you need. You can also make necessary changes to these themes by adding plugins. So what you have to do is, select a theme that will best suit all your needs. You have to find what feel your website has to provide – serious, funny, professional etc. There is also an option to filter the search results according to layout, features, and subject relating to your vision. Premade website templates are available in different sites pricing $13 – $1200. Some other reputed theme shops are Elegant Themes, Proteus Theme, ThemeIsle, MyThemeShop, Premiumcoding and Tesla Themes.
Another you have to take care while selecting a theme is that your theme has to be mobile-friendly. Mobile devices are raising online retail sales readily. It is expected that by 2021, mobile commerce will be double that of today. Premade templates will want you to read and write HTML and CSS to customize.
If you are not happy with any of the themes, you can hire a web developer or a web development company to design your own theme. The price for this will depend on the developer or web development company you hire. Approximately, it will range from $700 – $10,000. While designing a custom theme for your WordPress site, it is good to have some in-house developers to make future changes to your site.
- Plugins /Extensions
Plugins help you to add more functionalities to your website. If you want to have your website to be filled with different functionalities, then you should add some plugins to it. There are free WordPress plugins available. There are also premium WordPress plugins that are affordable and easy to configure. But the price can increase the complexity of the plugin. Approximately, premium options run from $47 – $200. These charges can be one-time or recurring. You can search for the plugin you want in WordPress.org.
Some of the popular plugins implemented in websites are Yoast SEO ($0 – $89), Gravity Forms ($59), Advanced Custom Fields ($0 – $100), MailChimp ($0 – $35), Bloom ($89 for a year or $249 for a lifetime). MonsterInsights ($39 – $199), Sucuri ($199.99 – $499.99 per year), ShareThis (Free), CSS Hero ($19 to $79 per year) etc. You can compete with the savviest WordPress experts using these plugins. But don’t try to include all the plugins on your website because a higher number of plugins may slow down your website. So use only the plugins that are needed.
- E-commerce Features
You may be feeling that creating an e-commerce store is a very difficult job. But they aren’t as difficult as you think. To say the truth, WordPress doesn’t have any built-in e-commerce features by default. But there are many solutions that can solve this problem. You can use certain plugins to incorporate e-commerce features into your website. While some of these are free, you will have to pay for some others. Some of the popular e-commerce plugins are WooCommerce (free), Easy Digital Downloads (free), Shopp (free), Inventory Sources (($50 – $175 per month)etc. Some premium plugins that will come to your help are Recurring Payments ($199 a year), Stripe Payment Gateway ($89 a year), Software Licensing ($199 a year), AffiliateWP ($99 a year).
So to make it short, it is not cheap to get all the e-commerce features for your website. It will vary according to your e-commerce needs. So select the plugins that are necessary for your site and are affordable. Always consider the future use before selecting a plugin and paying for it.
- Your Time
Your Time is yet another important thing to consider. This topic is less discussed when launching a site. People always have a notion that if you do everything yourself, it is completely free. But this isn’t true. For creating a simple website will take you few days. The freelancers would calculate the time and the worth of it. So the time you spent is also worth it. So you will cost the same amount to you while hiring someone else to do it if you do it yourself also. If you are an earning person and spend your time creating your website, you will know the amount you are sacrificing for the website. If you think you have more money than time, you can hire a web developer or web development company to create your website. If time is more than money, you can do it yourself.
Now consider that you have developed a website for your company. It is not the end of everything. The cost for a website does not end with developing a website. There are some other things too that have to be done regularly after your website goes live. Let’s discuss them too.
Site Maintenance Services ($5 +)
After launching a website, you have to maintain it which requires paying some amount. Sometimes your website would need more security or backup solutions. All these things will not come for free. Other maintenance tasks come as updates, upgrades, spam, tune-ups, broken links etc. As cited in the case of time, you do the maintenance job of your website yourself if you have time, or else, you can outsource it to some web development company.
Some third-party services for WordPress backups are VaultPress ($99 per year), Backup Buddy ($80 for a 1-year single site license), BlogVault ($89 for a year) etc. Some of the top WordPress security services are Akismet ($5 per month), Sucuri ($199.99 per year), iThemes Security (free), WP Security Lock (starts from $147 per month).
Marketing and Advertising
Every website owner wants to have a large number of audience for the content on their website. This is not something that will come automatically. You will have to invest money in marketing so that your content will get noticed. Just creating a content and publishing it will not do magic. There are many things that come under marketing like SEO, great content, newsletters etc. You can do marketing in anyways, cheaper or for free, but the results will appear only slowly. Let’s look into each of the factors of marketing:
- Search Engine Optimization ($ 69 +)
SEO is a great way of bringing targeted traffic to your site. What is to be done is cater your posts for search engines. If SEO is done right, it will do magic. There are premium plugin services as well as free options available. But the free options will take a lot of your time. The most common SEO tools used are Moz (starts at $99 per month) and Yoast SEO (free, but the premium version costs $69 – $1499 per year).
- Content Generation ($50+ per article)
Creating effective and impressive web content on a daily basis is not an easy task. You will always need fresh content to impress Google and to sell your products/services. If you are creative and have time, you can create your own content for your website. But trust me, creating content will take a lot more time than you expect. Also, you have to be well-versed in the language. Bad quality content will do more harm to you than benefit. So if you are a busy person and cannot write a good content, it will be better to hire a content writer for this job. Many freelance content writers are available nowadays. The price will depend on the complexity of your topic and the content writer you hire. Don’t be reluctant to spend the money because the result will be worth the amount you spend.
Most of the good contents range something $50 – $80, but if you are hiring an experienced content writer with so many followers on social media and great works, you will have to pay something around $150+ for a piece. You can even create a monthly contract with your writer for regular posts.
- Forms and Newsletters
Forms, surveys, newsletter signups, hire form, contact page etc., are very important in your email marketing campaigns. They will collect information from your readers. Some of the best options for this are Gravity Forms ($39), Ninja Kick Series ($39), WPforms ($39 per year) etc. You can combine these tools with an email service like MailChimp, Aweber, Mad Mimi etc., to create a useful subscriber list.
- WordPress Education ($0+)
To build and run your WordPress website, you need to have adequate knowledge about PHP. So it is not a bad idea to spend some time and money to learn the basics of WordPress. The price for the studies depends on what are you looking to learn. There is wide scope for the subjects related to WordPress blogging and website development using WordPress. There is a big collection of free WordPress tutorials and resources on WPExplorer. But if you are looking for a guided video course to learn from, you can look for options like WP101, Lynda, Treehouse etc.
The Final Tally
Now calculating everything, you will have to spend something around $500 – $53,000 for a complete website. The price will vary according to your concepts on what you want your website to do, how fast you want your website to run, how much security you want in it, and how much traffic you want in your website. The more money you spend, the more capable your website will be. Your website will handle your traffic, leads, opt-ins, conversions, and customers only if you use the perfect theme and plugins.
I have mentioned in the beginning itself that many of the most powerful and popular websites use WordPress. That means WordPress is capable of handling such amazing websites. If they can have such powerful websites from WordPress, you can also have it if you spend some money and give some effort. The cost may go up according to the functionalities of your website, but that will not be a loss for you. The money you spend on a WordPress website will be worth it. The result you will gradually earn will outgrow the amount you had to spend on it. Not only that, creating a WordPress website for you will be a great experience for you. You will get to learn a lot from this journey.