One of the common myths about WordPress is that, since it is free and open source, it may not be good enough for big brands or websites. But this is just a myth, as Brands like The New Yorker, BBC America, Variety, The Rolling Stones, just to name a few, use this powerful CMS.
While those are just some of the big names that use WordPress, there are websites all over the world, from huge eCommerce websites to the smallest of blogs, that use WordPress as their content management system. In fact, as of 2017, there are almost 75 million websites using WordPress.
Why do so many people prefer WordPress?
Well, for one, it’s free. Also, it comes jam-packed with third-party plugins that help even the most novice users create a professional-looking website in no time.
Now, just because the WordPress software is free, it doesn’t mean that running a site is also free. In order to create a great looking site and keep it up and running, you’ll need to make a solid investment in the tools you use to create it and host it online.
Now that you know why a WordPress site can be a good investment, let’s take a look at the most common expenses associated with running a WordPress website.
The Cost of Using WordPress
You’ve heard the phrase “it takes money to make money,” right? Well, building and running a website for your business is no different. That being said, it doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands of dollars to do it—especially when you use WordPress.
Costs will, of course, depend on how large your site is and what you need to accomplish with it, but they’re still easy enough to predict if you know what exactly your site needs ahead of time.
Here is a breakdown of the most common costs associated with running a WordPress site (as well as a few other things to consider, in case you hadn’t thought of them):
The WordPress software is free to use. This goes for whether you sign up for a free account at WordPress.com or download the software directly from WordPress.org.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on self-hosted WordPress – downloading WordPress software and setting up your own website – since that’s going to be your best bet for creating a high-performing business website.
WordPress Hosting Costs
Every website needs a server from which to run. Since servers are expensive and require a high level of technical understanding that most people don’t have, this should be left up to the experts (i.e. web hosting companies) to manage.
While there are a variety of hosting options to choose from, if you’re just starting out you’ll likely end up with shared or cloud hosting.
Let’s say you use SiteGround hosting and choose to go with their Start-Up shared hosting plan. This costs $3.95 per month to start. This plan also comes with free SSL, CDN, and daily backup, which means less money you’d have to spend securing those add-ons on your own.
*Also Read: The Top 5 hosting providers of 2017
If you are a business who do not want to deal with the technical side of running your blog, then maybe you will want to consider a WordPress Managed Hosting solution like WordPress Engine.
This services offers fast and robust servers that can handle anything. Your website is practically hacker proof, and they offer 24/7 customer service. They take care of security updates, daily backups, one-click restore points, automatic caching, top-tier security, one-click staging area, and more.
Managed Hosting Services are not cheap thou, with prices starting at $29 per month. Take in consideration that if you are just starting or are planning to have a small website with few visits per month, Shared Hosting is a better suite for you.
Cost: $3.95 siteground specialized wordpress hosting / $29 per month dedicated hosting
Domain Name Costs
In addition to purchasing server space with a web hosting company, you also need to buy a domain name (or URL) which users can enter to access your website. Most web hosting companies offer domain registration services at the time of signup and the cost typically comes out to $10 to $15 per year.
It’s also important to be aware of domain privacy protection. It’s an additional service that keeps your personal contact information out of the public domain since, once you register a domain for your site, your personal information then gets published to the WHOIS directory. This can cause some issues, from unsolicited emails to someone trying to hack into your domain using your information. This add-on could run you another $10 to $15 a year.
*Check if the domain name you like is available:
Cost: $1.25-$2.50 per month
In 2017, a SSL Certificate is a MUST for your website, no matter the use you are planning to give to your site. This certificate provides assurance of an extra layer of encryption that sits between your website’s server and your visitors. Plus, having an SSL certificate will boost your SEO.
Many hosting companies will include an SSL certificate as part of their hosting plan (see the SiteGround example above). If you’re not able to get it through them, you can use LetsEncrypt to install one. You can also see solutions like Comodo SSL Certificates if you are looking for free SSL Certificates.
The cost of hiring a web designer to create a totally custom website for you might seem like a good idea. After all, you want your website to stand out from others. Remember that, if you want to really be competitive in your area or business niche, you will need all the professional help you can get.
If you only are looking to start a small, personal blog or website, you can try a DIY approach. WordPress themes give non-designers the ability to create high-quality designs for their website at reasonable prices. You can also buy a premium theme, that most likely will keep up-to-date with changing demands and trends, so you can tweak it as frequently as you like without having to pay anything further.
Fortunately, there are plenty of WordPress themes available to download for free from the official WordPress.org Theme Directory. Many themes are available as “freemium,” which means you can download them for free but you’ll need to upgrade and pay if you want premium features.
A theme will not always adapt to your business needs and usually requires a little tweaking to add new functionalities. If you are looking for an affordable and professional website design service we can help you. Check out our prices to
- Cost: $0 for a basic site using a free theme, or $60+ (one-time payment) if you’re setting up a serious website and need premium features. Website design service costs will depend on your specific needs.
*Read also: The Top 10 fastest WordPress Themes.
Website Security Costs
It doesn’t matter which content management system you use to run your website. If you’re doing business online, you need to secure it. Your web hosting company will provide the first layer of protection. An SSL certificate will provide the second. It’s then up to you to bolster that security with a plugin.
While there are a number of security plugins to choose from, you’ll want an all-in-one solution that will help you protect your site from all angles, and that will also provide built-in monitoring.
We recommend you check out Wordfence and Sucuri WordPress Security plugins. Both are available to download for free from the official WordPress Plugin Directory and include one-click site hardening and security tweaking.
Both plugins offer premium features, with security features like advanced firewall protection, scheduled and continuous malware scans, advanced spam protection and premium support. If you don’t know much about WordPress security configuration, this may be a good option for you.
Wordfence Premium API keys start at $99 per year ($8.25 per month) and Sucuri plans start at $10 per month for a basic site.
- Cost: $0 for a basic site, or $49 a month for premium features.
WordPress Backup Services Cost
As part of your website’s security plan, you’re going to need to backup for your site. If you use a web hosting plan from SiteGround, you’ll get free daily backups included. However, if you don’t have that backup option at your disposal or simply want another redundancy option, you can always install a backup plugin on your site.
Since there are so many high-quality ones that are available for free, it’s worth it. Check out UpdraftPlus if you’re not sure where to start. This is one of the best WordPress backup plugins you will find, and their basic features are versatile enough for small sites.
UpdraftPlus also offers premium features, that include multiple storage destinations, automatic backup, migrator, importer, SFTP/FTPS/SCP backups, and enhanced support for Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Rackspace Cloud Files, Amazon S3 and Google Drive.
- Cost: $0 for a basic site, or $70 a month for premium features.
WordPress Contact Forms for Lead Creation
One of the main purposes of building a website for your business is giving your clients a tool to contact you. Contacts are potential sales, and a website without a contact form is incomplete.
When your site is brand new, a simple contact form plugin will do you just fine. Contact Form 7 is a good one to start with as you can always scale up to the premium option like Gravity Forms once you have a need for it.
- Cost: $0 for a basic website or $3.25 a month for Gravity Forms.
WordPress Speed Optimization Costs
If you want to rank higher in Google Search, then you MUST have a fast and responsive website design. The faster your webpage loads (specially on mobile devices) the higher the chances you have to rank better than other pages.
One basic speed optimization tool your website must have is a caching solution. Caching is a process by which you reduce strain on your site’s servers by “remembering” repeat visitors on your site. Rather than loading your site from your servers every time they visit, caching pulls up a static version of the site they saw before.
W3 Total Cache is probably the best speed and performance optimization plugin you will find. It includes an all-in-one caching solution, with CDN integration capabilities and CSS, JS and HTLM minification. The plugin comes with a predefined configuration that is good in most cases, but optimal configuration will depend on your server capacities and your theme code design. They plugin developers offer premium plugin configuration for $200.
- Cost: $0 – $200 one time payment
Search Engine Optimization Costs
Running a WordPress site takes a lot of work. Getting visitors to actually find your site… well, I’ll just say that takes even more work. With the right SEO strategy on your side as well as a high-quality plugin to optimize your site’s content, you can cut down on the time you’re spending optimizing your site for the search engines.
Yoast SEO Plugin is free from the WordPress repository and it does much more than just tell you when your content is optimized or not. Is one of the most complete solutions to improve you in-site SEO, and it includes tools that analyze your website content and recommends how you can improve your content to rank better on Google.
It also includes features that improve your technical SEO. This features include tools like meta tags and link elements insertion, XML Sitemap generation, RSS feed optimization, Breadcrumbs insertion, just to name a few. It also helps you configure structured data for Facebook and Twitter posts.
They developers offer premium plugin configuration and 24/7 support for $69 per year.
SEO is a really complex subject, and don’t expect one plugin to get you to the firsts places in Google. You not only need to do some work inside your website, but also on the outside. If you don’t know where to start, we can help you with an Advanced SEO Website Audit, that will highlight what needs to be fixed in your website, as well as things that need to be improved on the outside.
- Cost: $0 for a basic site, or $69 a month for a premium features.
WordPress Mantainance Costs
Setting up a website isn’t a one-off cost – you’ll need to keep in mind maintenance costs. Let’s say you don’t want to deal with managing your WordPress site at all. Once the site gets big enough and you have enough discretionary funds to throw around, there are a couple options to consider.
You could pay for a WordPress maintenance and support service. These companies can handle a number of things for you, including managing backups, updates, and even the occasional maintenance-related task. On average, the cost of this service is about ranges from $50 to $100 a month, depending on your site.
Contact us to get an specific quote for your Website.
- $50 per month (Optional)
The WordPress plugins mentioned above are the basic ones you should consider installing on your website. They are only the tip of the Iceberg, as you will probably need other plugins depending on your specific business needs, your theme structure, web hosting, etc.
To keep this post simple and basic, we didn’t included plugins for eCommerce stores, social media integration, image optimization, spam blocking, and analytics, but that doesn’t mean they are not important.
As your Website grows, you will discover what other functionalities you need. Depending on your needs, you can search for plugins directly from your WordPress admin dashboard. The good thing about WordPress plugins is that most of them follow the same model: Free to use with basic functionality with more advanced features offered at an extra cost.
Realistically, running a very basic WordPress website will cost you at least $6.45 a month. This doesn’t include your own investment of time nor the optional maintenance or plugin costs mentioned above.