Establishing a budget for the design of your business website and sticking to it aren’t easy tasks to accomplish these days. From hidden fees to scope creep and just a plain old lack of communication, it’s still possible to run head-first into a bad case of sticker shock if you’re not careful.
As the old saying goes, knowledge is power—especially when it comes to accurately predicting a ballpark figure for your site design work. That’s true for a site built on any platform or technology, including WordPress.
There are a lot of individual tasks bundled up inside a WordPress development project, as with any website work. In this article, we’ll examine some of the costs you can expect to run into and factors that can affect the total cost of your WordPress project.
Table of contents
Components of a WordPress Site Development & Design Project
To create and launch a business WordPress site from scratch, you’d need at a minimum four things:
- A domain registered to you or your company, such as mybusiness.com.au
- Space to host the site (either a server of your own or, more usually, space on a commercial host company’s servers)
- The actual WordPress core files deployed on that server and configured for your brand (i.e., things such as your brand name, tagline, the basic pages of your site)
- A theme to control the way the site looks
That’s the bare minimum, of course, and most brands see the necessity of stepping up the WordPress site deployment game a bit. As a result, many new businesses decide to include other, slightly more advanced features, such as:
- Contact forms and other plugins to help market and promote the site and its content
- Email addresses configured for that domain
- Plugins and other measures necessary to protect the site from hackers and spam link injectors
- Logos, favicons, specialized header images and other graphic design elements tailored to the brand
- Free or premium theme, to alter the site’s appearance and color scheme
- Free or premium plugins to provide additional utility, such as ecommerce or shopping cart functionality
In addition, some businesses require specialized functionality that must be specially coded for them by WordPress developers. Many also elect to hire a designer to code a unique custom theme for their brands, so that their site doesn’t look like anyone else’s.
Clearly, then, there’s a wide range of potential costs involved, and it all depends on what specific options you choose. The WordPress core files themselves are open-source and free for anyone to use and deploy, but just about everything else can range widely, from free to potentially thousands of dollars.
Themes and Plugins
WordPress core files are themselves free of charge, and the same is true of many plugins and site themes built for the CMS. However, many site owners decide to expand their options by investing in premium themes and plugins.
Premium themes often offer extended functionality and other features that can mean enhanced customization of your site. Some themes and frameworks allow for nearly infinite control over your color scheme and typography, for example. Others include enhanced SEO controls and scripts that help you perfect and promote your content. Premium themes can cost anywhere from $20 on up, those the most popular ones tend to fall in the $80 to $200 range.
Plugins offer a similar range of features, functionality and price points. They can be priced on an annual subscription basis or a one-time flat-rate fee. If you invest in multiple premium plugins, this can add a significant amount to your initial outlay and possibly your operating costs on an ongoing basis.
Hosting and Domain Registration
Purchased separately, hosting and registration for your domain are usually the least expensive initial expenditures. However, depending on your needs, hosting can run you hundreds of dollars a month. It’s important to work with your design or development team to figure out exactly what you need.
One of the simplest ways to take care of the need for server space and a registered domain is to find a hosting company that offers free domain registration with a hosting plan. However, sometimes it’s less expensive to register your domain with a low-cost registrar online, then seek out hosting that fits your budget.
Basic hosting packages tend to run between $20 and $80 a month while many top-level domains can be registered for around $20 a year or so, depending on whether you want private registration protection.
Even so, it’s not always true that cheaper is better, especially when it comes to hosting.
If you anticipate that your site will attract a large number of visitors or require lots of hardware resources (for example, through ecommerce functions), it pays to investigate something other than the cheapest entry-level hosting packages. Talk to your developer or designer to see what specifications you’ll need to power your site properly.
Sites need images, as well as text. It’s just a fact of the modern internet age. You’ll need header images, a logo, a favicon, perhaps some icons for use on your pages. All these things add up.
The person who typically delivers them to you is a graphic designer. These artists sometimes offer business packages, just as web designers do. A package of digital deliverables could include a logo, a favicon, and a header image. You can also use outsourcing job sites and digital boards, such as Upwork, Fiverr and others.
For that reason, fees for website graphics vary widely. You can buy basic line-drawn logos from some project sites and boards for less than $100. Or you can hire a freelance graphic designer or firm to create a completely unique logo, icons, and other branded graphic elements for your site and all the rest of your marketing. Such a job will cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
If you don’t have that kind of budget right now, don’t worry. You can always start with something more budget-conscious, and then work your way up to more personalized visual assets as your cash flow warrants.
Design and Development Fees
To get WordPress core files installed on your server and the site’s basic configurations accomplished, you can probably hire a freelance developer for $50-100 per hour.
Those basic tasks alone—installing WordPress, setting up the site’s basic informational elements such as site name and tagline, activating a basic theme—take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or two, depending on how thorough a job they do, and how experienced they are.
That basic work, however, will only get you a site, not a good one, and certainly not a great one.
For a site that’s secure, of suitable quality to represent your brand or business, and built on a solid infrastructure that will last for years when maintained and updated properly, you’ll need to spend more.
Fees for custom WordPress site development work vary widely, but most reputable and experienced firms offer packaged services at anywhere from $1000 to several thousand dollars. Sites that simply require foundational security hardening work and a customised theme, with basic business branding and functionality, tend to run in the lower end of that range. Sites that include eCommerce functionality, unique themes, or customised coding for added features will obviously cost much more.
Development and design firms adopt a range of fee structures. Some charge by the hour, for example, while others take a flat-rate approach. For example, Keen to Design offers custom WordPress packages that are all-inclusive starting at under $1900. (And we also offer a money-back guarantee. Just saying.)
Get a Site That Fits Your Budget
Information is power, as the old saying goes. The more you understand about the various costs inherent in your WordPress development project, the better prepared you’ll be to make smart, data-driven decisions when the time comes.
And if you’d like to get more information about your dream site project, why not give us a call at Keen to Design? We’d be happy to help you create a site that fits your needs and budget.