WordPress is a free platform for sites. But how much should the owner of the site pay actually to make it user friendly and successful? This question can not be answered in one statement. First of all, you should consider the fact that the majority of material expenditure for the start and support of any web project on WordPress platform can be replaced by the cost of your own time. If you have the desire to do everything by yourself, you can save funds considerably. But for many business people the purchase of ready-made solutions for WordPress is an optimal option.
Let`s consistently understand, from which parts consists the cost of creating and maintaining a website on WordPress. This will help you to make the right conclusion on what you can save, and what is better to buy as a ready-made product in your concrete case. We will try to parse the entire multi-faceted site maintenance process on WordPress platform, but will not go deeply into detail for not be ing distracted by the particular matters.
Purchasing a domain
Domain is the name of your site. According to it many users will make the initial impression of your site. This initial view will be formed before the entrance to the site, at the moment when a potential visitor will see your project in search engine results.
The cost of the domain depends on the length of the name: the shorter the URL, the more expensive appears the domain. You should not rely on the most basic names, as they may be busy or simply cost a tremendous amount of money. Also, domain cost is highly dependent on its zone. It can be a .com, org, .net, .info, or less popular domain extensions. The more popular domain zone, the more domains in it is already occupied and the higher purchase price is requested.
If we consider the average price for a domain name from three words in zones .com, org, .net and .info, then its value often will start at $12-13 per year. If you want to buy a domain name with several extension (to avoid erroneous input of the URL by some of your site users), most services will give you a discount on the entire purchase.
You may also be interested in the service that provides anonymous registration data in WhoIs directory (in this case, your registration data will be available exclusively to the company-registrar). This service usually costs an extra $8-10 for each registered domain.
Choosing a web host
Hosting should meet the objectives that you set for the site. Personal blog and online store have different purpose and requires different capacities to service users. Let us consider the basic types of hosting with approximate prices for them.
Shared server is the most economical option. Its value can start at $3 per month, and in some cases may be even less. Remember that the less you pay for hosting service, the less individual space it provides you. This option will directly influence on the speed of your site`s loading. Cheep version with shared server is suitable for personal blogs with a small number of pages and visitors.
Managed hosting is the medium option. This type of hosting is perfect for small businesses on the WordPress platform. The main feature of managed hosting is more server space for more visitors. The price for managed hosting services remains small – about $50 per month.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) is an advanced option for sites that should handle a large influx of traffic and consist of a vast number of pages. VPS technology allows you to get your own server space, which you will not share with any other site. Such services cost of an average $100 per month.
Dedicated server is an elite option for large-scale projects. Dedicated server provides site visitors the best quality access to all virtual project resources. In most cases, the cost for this type of hosting starts at $150 per month. For this money, the site owner receives not only a dedicated personal space on server, but private data storage, and a dedicated channel for communication between users and the project`s database.
For the advanced information on hosting selection see our previous guide.
Free and premium themes for WordPress
The choice between the free and premium theme design is not just a matter of taste. Free themes are often limited in terms of functional and can only meet the needs of a personal blog or a small business, which only starts its way in the internet. When you need a representative site, then you will certainly refer to the premium segment of themes for WordPress.
Premium WordPress themes have not only more features, but also includes a variety of ready to install demos for your project. Possibilities for setting up prefabricated units and elements of the premium themes often amaze even experienced designers. In addition, the creators of the premium themes offer qualified technical support for their customers.
The average premium theme will cost you $70. However, the price range is very different, so you should evaluate the whole picture with your own eyes.
Any free theme can also be customized for your tastes and needs. But this setup will require good web programming skills and some experience working specifically with the CMS of WordPress.
Maintaining a the WordPress site
Maintaining a the WordPress site can be formally divided into four categories: backups, updates, security and antispam. All these functions are performed by special plugins. There is an incredible amount of plugins for WordPress. They can be totally free, but most versions for the business users (and large projects) already presupposes a certain fee.
Backups can be performed by using the Dropbox service. Dropbox provides its services free of charge for private users, and the cost for businesses starts at $15 per month.
The most important updates are available for free in WordPress platform. But if you always want to get the latest updates and install them easily on large projects, you will have to pay for special offers for businesses, such as: WP Maintainer for $99 or WP Security Lock for $247.
Security of your site can be provided for free by Aksimet plugin. If you are the owner of a large internet project or want to get an advanced level of protection, you will need to use the service of paid plugins like Sucuri security management for $99 per year.
Marketing and SEO for WordPress
If you wish to advertise and promote your site in the SERPs, you can apply different approaches to achieve popularity. The cheapest and at the same time the most difficult way is to do the site optimization by yourself. You have to learn a lot of information on SEO, SMM and marketing issues to feel yourself confident enough. Free plugins for SEO, such as Free Yoast SEO, can be useful.
If you already have some knowledge in SEO and marketing, but do not want to spend a lot of time on the work with the site, paid plugins would be a good solution to optimize WordPress site. Examples of such plugins: Premium SEO Pack or Social Locker.
eCommerce for WordPress
Starting to sell goods via the website by WordPress is simple. However, you need the plugins that provide stable support for your eCommerce project. In other words, all the elements of the sale – from a convenient goods catalog to a shopping cart – must be correctly connected and configured.
The most popular plugins for the eCommerce implementation are WooCommerce plugins. Among them there are both free tools and paid offers. You need to make a choice based on the individual needs of your online store.
Involving specialists to work on the WordPress site
Web development, design, content marketing, SMM, email-marketing and other aspects of the work on the site can be greatly facilitated by the experts in their respective fields. But this approach requires significant investments, so it could appear too tough for small projects. On the other hand, if your project is successfully developed and makes a good profit, its further development is practically impossible without a team of qualified specialists.
As you can see, you have to spend funds only for buying a domain name and hosting, when you create a site on WordPress platform. But even these expenses could be minimized to about $20 per year. All other expenses, in most cases, take place with the growth of the project on the WordPress platform. This process is an evolutionary rather than revolutionary as erroneously find some site owners.
We recommend starting your internet project with low costs and low volumes, increasing the speed gradually as an interested audience appears. This allows you to avoid unnecessary investments and frustration in such a flexible system like WordPress.