If you are wondering how much does a website cost, when built with WordPress, there is no straightforward answer. All businesses and projects are different and so are their websites.
Fitting in your initial budget is important, but estimating the cost of a software asset is not about the initial amount spent. The lifetime value of a website depends on its stability and flexibility over time. Maintaining any website includes recurring yearly costs as well.
Let’s look at what you can achieve, using WordPress on a different budget.
The domain name is a part of any website cost. Depending on the popularity, availability and the type of extension, the domain cost typically starts at around $12 per year.
Here are the three main factors, determining the cost of your self-hosted WordPress website:
- Hosting Configuration and Yearly Plan
- Initial Build and Design
- Monthly Maintenance
In this article we will break down how those three factors add to the cost of the three most popular groups of self-hosted WordPress websites.
“The Self-Made Site”: Using WordPress to Create Small Showcase Websites or Personal Blogs
The WordPress Core is a free open source platform. It is highly competitive amongst users, looking to quickly build functional and beautiful websites. If you are building a showcase website to establish your digital presence, you can start small, choosing basic free or premium theme and plugins.
If you cannot handle the installations yourself, you can hire a WordPress-savvy freelancer to make them for you. You may want your freelancer to enhance your galleries, customize your premium theme, add slider integrations, etc., which may amount to 50 – 80 working hours. In this case your total set up cost could add up to anywhere between $500 and $4,000, depending on the chosen functionality, design and on the freelancer’s hourly fee.
You could easily install any of the popular security scanning plugins, but your website appearance and availability would still be at risk. Different plugins scan for a little portion of known threats. Actual security maintenance is done by humans, using technology to prevent attacks in the first place, analyze data and perform security testing.
If you handle small traffic and do not collect personal data, you could use a shared hosting plan. This is not the best option in terms of security and performance, but could meet your current needs, keeping your hosting costs under $100. A better decision would be to use a small-size virtual private hosting configuration.
If you know how to analyze the performance metrics of your website, you can dive in your hosting cPanel or install the basic features of tools such as GTMetrix to generate your own page speed reports. Professional agencies use PRO tools and automate a lot of the aspects of performance testing in order to save time. Doing that yourself, you would have to allocate time to perform daily monitoring. You would have to check on the resources your plugins, scripts and 3rd party installations use and compare those to your website performance metrics.
Using a low-level WordPress Maintenance Plan of a WordPress agency or a Hosting provider would be anywhere between $30 – 50 per month. The service will allow you to keep your small site away from security threats, downtime and data loss.
In total: Your basic WordPress installation could amount to $0 – $8,000, depending on the functionality and billing hours. If your website operations and bandwidth needs do not grow, your recurring costs for hosting and maintenance could be kept below $1000 per year.
“The Professional Solution”: Using WordPress for Enterprise Websites, Professional Service Portfolios or E-commerce
A website is a core digital corporate asset and the only source of income for online businesses. Your alternative costs of not building it on WordPress would be related to building a custom solution, using one of the tech stacks web developers use.
For a WordPress solution, you need to employ a Web Development Agency, building solutions on top of the WordPress Core. The design and features in your website will vary, depending on your industry and features required. Customizing ready premium themes and plugins may come at a lower cost, than building custom solutions from scratch. It all depends on the individual situation, but you will be flexible to choose an option, fitting in your budget and needs.
Even though Professional WordPress Agencies build custom solutions when they are needed, they take advantages of the robustness of the Core and build functionality on top of it, without changing the initial code from the inside. They do that to minimize your future costs, by not “trapping” you inside proprietary pieces of technology.
If you maintain user database and handle user transactions, you will need to enhance the security of your website. Apart from installing an SSL certificate, hosting your website on a VPS is a must. Hosting plans of Pagely WordPress VPS, Amazon Web Services, Digital Ocean and many other providers are a good choice, providing different amount of storage for about $100 to $1,000+ per month.
According to Post Status, most WordPress agencies typically charge anywhere between $50 – 275 per hour to build a website. Their billable hours include a lot of services, including analysis of your business, cost estimation, database and hosting architecture, design, frontend and backend, integrations, revisions, code reviews and testing, project management. Some full stack agencies offer marketing automation integrations, creation and management of SEO and content strategies as well.
In total: Depending on your needs, the cost of your website can be between $10,000 – $50,000 and your maintenance and ongoing development costs – between $80 and $220 per hour each month.
“The Vendor’s Asset”: Using WordPress to build Large Multisites, SaaS and Large Enterprise Solutions
SaaS solutions and complex multisite networks, such as learning platforms, social networks, custom corporate CRMs take a long time for project optimization and development. If your platform handles high volumes of traffic or the number of visitors is rapidly changing, you need to start thinking about modularity and adaptivity. To ensure speed, availability and security, your development company will evaluate your requirements and build a WordPress architecture, best suited to your needs, including the right configuration of virtual or cloud servers to host your platform. Ensuring the best possible user experience for your customers and visitors would be a must to optimize SEO and monetization.
Your design and features may have the be highly-customized to ensure future scalability. A big chunk of the hours, spent on the project, will come from continuous analysis of your business, market and operations. Large platforms cannot be sustainably created at once. The agency will develop your platform in iterations, starting from the basic functionality. You may have a ready solution for a month or two, so you can start your operations, grow your customer base and measure your performance. Based on your business results, the agency will work with you to add on the existing functionality with each iteration to come.
In total: The costs of your platform in the initial installation could be kept between $50,000 – $150,000. Depending on the scale of your business, you can add on the existing functionality with ongoing development and maintenance plans, growing your platform to be worth $500,000 or more.
Acquiring a website is similar to buying any other asset out there. Whether you buy property, vehicles or professional equipment, the cost will largely depend on the scale of your business and the nature of your operations. When it comes to websites, the larger your operations are, the higher your cost will be.
Using WordPress you can keep yourself from overspending and avoid being “trapped” in proprietary technology. Spend enough time on defining your business goals, so that you can build the best configuration up front.
Guest article written by: Georgi Todorov is an independent digital marketer, specializing in Outreach strategies and International SEO. Besides his passion about digital marketing, he has graduated from university with a bachelor degree in Cultural Anthropology which makes him extremely curious about anything “foreign” and “international”. He is always happy to talk with new people and you can reach him at his Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. He has recently started his own blog about digital marketing. Georgi is also a partner at FortuneLords.