Most people never start a website. They might think they need to be tech-savvy. Or they think there’s too much competition and are afraid their platform will never grab the attention necessary to turn visitors into buyers.
There’s also the financial barrier. WordPress is actually free. But there are other costs to consider. So how much does it really cost to build a WordPress website?
But all these reasons are just excuses people make not to take the next step in their online businesses. Contrary to popular belief, a website doesn’t require a huge investment of your time or resources.
In fact, you can run a good site for $100/year. Let’s see how that works and why many people have a wrong perception of what it costs to be a site owner.
Most of the Tools Are Free and Open-Source
The way the Internet works these days is that most people use a content management system (CMS) that’s already built for them.
The best and most popular one of these is WordPress. WordPress powers 41.9% of the web. (up from 32.1% in 2018). That means almost any site you visit daily is using WordPress.
WordPress is not merely free and one of the greatest software products ever invented. It also allows people with no coding skills to create a beautiful, professional, optimized, and fast website.
This is possible thanks to the widgets, plugins, and themes available in the WordPress directory, which you simply install, activate, and start using.
The Necessary Costs Involved in Running a Website
First you’ll need to pay for hosting. A web host is a company that provides the server where your website is stored.
Once you subscribe to hosting, you can install WordPress and choose and pay for a domain name. These three components are the reason your site will be live and accessible to anyone online.
But let’s get to the numbers. Are you just starting your business? Or are you testing an idea and simply need a website to see how it goes?
If so, then you’ll start with a popular but cheap hosting provider such as Bluehost or GoDaddy. That means you’ll be paying $3.95 or even $2.99 per month.
In the beginning, running your website will be easy. Big companies offer discounts for new clients like you. Some will even give you a free domain name for a year. From the second year on, however, your site will cost a bit more.
For example, a domain name with “.com,” which is the most popular extension, is around $11 per year. That’s a one-time payment you make and won’t think about again until it’s time for renewal.
To make your life easier, you can pay your domain name fee together with your hosting fee, so long as you pay the hosting fee for the whole year.
Usually, web hosts will reduce your hosting fee price too. You might get one or two months for free if you pay up front. That means it’s possible to make this one investment in your new business venture for less than $100 per year.
Website Cost Is Closely Related to Your Business Objectives
So how much does a website cost? That depends on your goals. You might be looking for certain features from your host, such as more bandwidth and storage space, an SSL certificate for a more secure site, great support, and no downtime.
If so, it’s worth investing around $25 per month. A good example of a quality product is the WordPress Hosting package offered by WPX Hosting.
What about design? I already mentioned WordPress allows you to choose one of their free themes. They look great and other people might even think you hired a web designer.
But if you want a smooth experience for your visitors, you might want to invest in a premium theme. You should consider a premium theme if you run an eCommerce store and handle payments. You don’t want anyone to be stuck on the checkout page.
A premium theme will also be useful if you have a content-heavy website that needs to be organized better. Premium themes cost around $30-$60, and one of the biggest theme stores is ThemeForest.
If you buy one of their premium products, you could turn your website into a stunning magazine. What’s more, in addition to their extra features, premium themes are known for being fully responsive, fast and lightweight, optimized, mobile-friendly, and retina ready.
But perhaps you’re building a niche site and all that matters to you is SEO and rankings. In that case, you might consider either paying for tools that do keyword research or hiring an SEO expert.
The More You Grow, the More You Pay (but with More ROI)
At every next level of your online business journey, your monthly costs will be higher. Hopefully, so will your income.
As you build an audience and get them on your email list, it will be time to select an email marketing solution. MailChimp is one such platform. It’s free for the first 2000 subscribers, but after that you start paying.
Depending on how often you send emails to your list, you might need to pay around $20-$50 per month. But if you’re sending people affiliate links and earn a solid commission from every email, it’s worth the investment.
If your website becomes your biggest asset, you’ll also want to pay for a proper backup plugin. If you want your site to load quickly for any visitor around the globe, you might want to start paying around $10 for a content delivery network.
Your Website Cost Starts Low
As you can see, it doesn’t cost much to start a website and to grow it. After that, your costs increase. But you’ll already be in business and ready to invest more in order to increase your income!
Post originally published Oct 24, 2018; updated 6/23/21 to update WordPress statistics and add another valuable resource.
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