WordPress is the perfect platform for building low-budget business sites. WordPress is easy to use, but not so dumbed down that it lacks essential features. It scales well, and can support everything from a business site with a few visitors a day to the largest corporate websites with tens of thousands of visitors a day. And WordPress is freely available; you don’t need a license to use it and there are no usage limitations.
WordPress itself costs nothing. You can download WordPress today without paying a cent. It has been free since it was first introduced 13 years ago, and because it is an open source project, it will be free forever. WordPress is by far the most popular content management system on the web; there are tens of millions of WordPress sites so there is no chance of it being retired or development grinding to a halt.
But there are costs associated with building a WordPress site. How much you pay depends on your budget and the amount of work you are prepared to do yourself. I’m going to assume you want to minimize costs, so I won’t discuss the cost of custom themes and other expensive features that are unnecessary for a new business.
I’m also going to assume that you have a domain name. If not, add around $20 to the costs we’ll discuss below.
Plugins – $0
WordPress is a modular content management system. New features are added to a site by installing small software packages called plugins. There are thousands of high-quality free plugins such as Yoast’s SEO Plugin or the WordFence security plugin.
There are also premium plugins for enhanced features or a nicer user experience, but it is unlikely that a premium plugin will be essential.
Themes ($0 – $100)
Themes change the appearance of a WordPress site and may also add features. As with plugins, there are thousands of free themes to choose from. Free themes are of varying quality, but there are some excellent themes in the WordPress theme repository.
However, I would urge business owners to consider a premium theme. Thousands of sites use the free themes in the repository, so your site will not stand out from the crowd. Some of the more advanced and user-friendly features of premium themes — page builders, for example — are not available with free themes.
A major benefit of premium themes is support. Theme developers are happy to help you with a theme you have payed for. You cannot expect the same service from the developer of a free theme.
Themes cost anything from a few dollars to several thousand dollars for custom themes. Most business owners should expect to pay less than $100 for a decent premium theme.
WordPress Hosting ($12 – $150)
WordPress hosting provides the server and the bandwidth that connects your site to the internet. You can expect hosting to be the biggest expense associated with your website (assuming you intend to create your own content).
WordPress hosting ranges from garbage to excellent, and from DIY to fully managed. Hosting makes a big difference to the performance, availability, and stability of your business site, so you shouldn’t choose the cheapest option. If you are not technically inclined or familiar with WordPress and hosting generally, choose a managed hosting provider with a reputation for excellent support.
You will spend a little more, but you will spend less time setting the site up, fixing problems, and waiting for responses to your support tickets.
For a smaller business site that receives fewer than a thousand visitors each day, expect to pay between $12 and $15 per month for good shared hosting. Larger sites will pay more: budget around $40 for 5000 visitors per day.
Adding It Up
I have considered the minimum you can expect to spend for a fast and reliable WordPress site on which you intend to do most of the work. You can spend much more, especially if you need the help of a WordPress professional to set the site up, a designer to create a theme, or a writer to create content.
But, if you’re on a tight budget, you can expect to spend up to $200 for a site with a premium theme and high-quality managed hosting, with an ongoing monthly cost of between $15 and $150, depending on the number of visitors your site receives.
Photo credit: www.thoughtcatalog.com
Graeme works as an inbound marketer for Nexcess, a leading provider of Magento and WordPress hosting. Follow Nexcess on Twitter at @nexcess, Like them on Facebook and check out their tech/hosting blog, http://blog.nexcess.net/.