Pricing WordPress and understanding where your money goes.

Pricing WordPress and understanding where your money goes.

WordPress is a great platform, I mean it’s FREE, but that doesn’t mean it will not cost you to have a website using WordPress.

Believe it or not it’s actually really hard to price a website build. There are so many hinges that go into pricing a new site.

But before we get there let’s see what it may cost before the developer even comes into the picture….

A typical breakdown of expenses required to get up and running might look something like this:

Domain: $12/year
Hosting: $10/month – $50/month
Premium Theme: $50-$200
Premium Plugins: $15-$200 (each; some are one-time purchases, others are monthly/annual licenses.)
Rough Totals: $200-$1,000+

So out of the box you are at least looking at $200, and unless you are doin it yourself …. it will NEVER cost just $200.

As WordPress evolves and advances it has somehow become both harder and easier to use. Easier in the sense that the basics are becoming simpler and more accessible to casual users. Harder in the sense that as it grows in power and flexibility a wider range of tools and services have emerged to turn WordPress into just about anything.

Ironically, the combination of a maturing platform and its growing ecosphere has extended the WordPress learning curve beyond what many people are comfortable or interested in navigating.

Installing WordPress and using it out of the box is still super easy. However making it do what you want it to do can be hard, and complex.

I have had WordPress sites cost over $10k … of course those are HUGE data heavy sites. But that’s still cheaper then the $30k site I finished last week NOT based off of WordPress.

For people who have a theme they want to use and JUST need some customization pricing typically looks something like this:

Hourly: $50-$100 per hour

Flat Rate: $500-$1000+

Monthly: $30-$50/month (in addition to the initial hourly or flat rate fees)

A-la-cart Extras: $100, $200, etc. per strategy document, training course, and so on.

Rough Totals: $500-$2,500+ (plus possible monthly or a-la-cart services)

But what if you need more? What if you need a custom plugin created or even an extensive suite of plugins made to all work happily together? This is where you may need to bust out your cookie jar savings.

Custom WordPress projects are where things get really interesting. This is unequivocally the domain of expert WordPress Developers and Designers. Where the desirability and effectiveness of turnkey solutions hits a wall and something bespoke is required.

These service providers will be proficient in PHP, CSS, Javascript, and MySQL. They will most likely have contributed to core and have at least 3 years of WordPress experience. They may be a WordPress thought leader, contributing talks at WordCamps or articles online.

And if you are wondering, yes, this is where I fall in the spectrum. But you won’t see me offering this kind of service on any freelance website.

A) People on freelance sites like Fiverr or Upwork simply don’t have the money …

B) a site like below will require face to face meeting and a lot of discovery and strategy. Something that is hard via email and text.

Many custom WordPress design and development work falls within the following price ranges:

Custom WordPress Theme: $3,000-$6,000 (for design and development)

Custom WordPress Website: $6,000-$15,000 (for design and development, with custom plugin functionality.)

Custom WordPress eCommerce Site: $6,000-$20,000

Custom WordPress Web App: $15,000-$60,000+

This approach works best when expertise, vision, and budget all line up.

Clients, you will want to make sure that this is the solution you actually need before dropping this kind of money–and check references! Service providers will want to do everything they can to illustrate and communicate the value their custom work and experience is bringing to the relationship.

What what approach should you take?

You need to understand what you need your website to do and don’t be afraid of taking the necessary actions.

If you need a custom solution, don’t try to cut corners. Most likely you will waste time and money and then in the end still need to shell out for something custom. Or worse, take a loss and have nothing to show for any of it. Custom work by a top professional is a thing of beauty. If you need it and its within your budget it is the ideal way to go.

If the primary objective of your website can be met with a slightly customized existing theme and plugins, don’t go custom to suite your ego or because someone tells you to. Find a reputable service provider and put them to work. You’ll get up and running quickly, cheaply (relatively speaking of course), and get just the website you need.

Key Take-Away: Value is Everything

In the end, it doesn’t matter how much something costs as long as the client comes away feeling like they got a great deal. That only happens when the value they get back in the form of their WordPress website is greater than the money they invested. This is just as possible at $20,000 as it is at $500. It’s all in how the process is managed.

I can help you with any of the above. And I ALWAYS talk it out with you before hand. I don’t like surprises anymore then clients do!

How to create a killer homepage

How to create a killer homepage

People put their best foot forward during first dates.

They get fresh haircuts, don their best suits, make sure they don’t have spinach stuck in their teeth — long story short, they try to make the best first impression possible.

Your homepage is an essential tool for your business and often serves as a first impression to potential customers.

There are many important components of effective web design, like white space, font selection, color schemes, and layout, but the core of a website is its content, not its design.

Within a matter of seconds, your homepage needs to introduce your product or service and entice visitors to explore your site further.

1. A Clear Value Proposition

Tell your visitors exactly what you do with a clear, easy-to-find value proposition. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be shocked at how many websites out there don’t have one.

If people don’t have an understanding of what your company does, who it does it for, and how it does it differently, they are not likely to stick around to find out. Set the tone early with a brief and to the point value proposition.

2. Links to Social Media

You want people to follow and engage with your company on your social media. So, on your homepage place social media buttons in a consistent, conventional place, where people can easily find them when needed.

Increasing your social following, helps increase the number of eyes that are on your content and are more likely to click back to your website on a regular basis.

3. Intuitive Navigation

Your navigation should be easy to understand and use for a first-time visitor. You want someone to arrive on your website and know exactly where they can find the information they want and need without being confused.

It should also reflect your buyer’s typical behavior on your site by bringing the pages they visit most often to the forefront. For example, if your blog is your most highly trafficed page, make it easily accessible through your navigation. Don’t hide your big sellers!

4. Contact Info

How many times have you been in need of tech support or customer service, but couldn’t get someone on the phone to save your life?

Don’t put your prospects in the same position.

Visitors should be able to find your contact information easily on your homepage. Most commonly found in the footer (like in the example from our website above), your homepage should include a mailing address, email address, and phone number in case someone is interested in reaching you.

People want to work with people. Having this information readily available offers comfort by letting people know they can get a hold of someone if need be and also adds credibility, making it clear that this is the homepage of a legitimate business.

If you’re worried about being on the phone all day, establish “help hours” or even consider a live chat. This article will help you weigh the pros and cons.

5. Blog Highlights

Since your blog is the heart of your content strategy, encourage people to view and subscribe to it by highlighting it on your homepage.

Your blog content shows your expertise and helpfulness and offers people a low-risk option to converting and starting a relationship with your brand.

Consider adding a subscription box with a lead magnet or simply including a live feed of your most recent publications.

6. Client Testimonials

Research shows that 79% of consumers trust online reviews and testimonials as personal recommendations from their friends or peers. So, if your company has positive reviews from your previous or current customers, capitalize on them!

Let your potential customers know that you’re not just boasting about accomplishments. Testimonials build trust and lets people know they can feel confident in choosing you — you the social proof that shows it.

7. Video

Now, this one feature that you don’t have to implement, but you certainly can’t go wrong with it. Having a quick introductory video on your homepage that explains what your business does, shows your office, and/or introduces your team is one of the easiest and most effective ways of engaging a user (especially one that is new to your brand).

Try to keep your videos on the shorter side (less than 3 minutes) so that you do not lose your visitor’s interest. The idea is just to do give someone a quick overview of your company; not your entire origin story.

8. High-Quality and Original Images

Stock images are convenient, but they won’t build credibility for your company or engage your audience. The same came be said for low-resolution or small images.

Using real photos of your team and office on your homepage paints a realistic portrait of what people can expect when working with you, while high-quality images show professionalism and attention to detail.

9. Overview of Services/Features

Your value proposition and video may give customers a brief overview of what your company does, but it in terms of content, it is still important to include these features, products, or services on your homepage.

Having this information present on the page offers a bit more detail for prospects and also helps your page rank higher for those services in search engines.

10. Any Awards, Certifications, or Associations

Has your company received any awards or recognition lately? Don’t let those awards just collect dust in your office; put them on display!

Industry recognition like this builds credibility, speaks to the quality of your work, and supports your image as an expert in your field and a trusted business partner. Like testimonials, awards, certifications, and associations prove that you’re not just tooting your own horn; your work lives up to the hype!

11. A Clear Call-to-Action (or Two)

When someone arrives on your homepage, let alone any page on your website, it should be clear what action you want them to take next.

On your homepage, this is usually a “top-of-the-funnel” action such as subscribing to your blog and/or a “bottom-of-the-funnel” like requesting a consultation. Sit down with your team and decide on what one or two actions you really want people to take when land on your site. Having more than this will only confuse your visitor and clutter your buyer’s journey.

Considering a Website Redesign?

Need help optimizing your homepage or another part of your website? Talk to me about a redesign!

Why does your website exist?

So, let’s start off with why your site exists. So, your site exists to serve your primary business goal, which is to make money!

Even if you’re a nonprofit, you’ve got to make money in order to serve the people who you wanna make a difference for.

So I don’t care who you are, business is about making money and, yes, it is about making a difference, but you need to have that flow of energy, that financial energy, coming through in order to keep everything going.

So the way that your website will help you make money and make a difference is by accomplishing a series of other goals, including: building your email lists of prospects and customers, offering free value and engaging with your audience in a meaningful way, establishing credibility while positioning you as a leader in your field, and differentiating your business from your competitors.

Now, don’t forget, you also want your website to help you directly sell your products and your services.

So, this is what your website must do.

No if, ands, and buts about it.

Number one, connect. It’s got to immediately let your prospects know they’ve come to the right place and you can help them.

Number two, your website has to capture names and emails to build your list, and we’re gonna talk more about that soon.

Number three, it needs to convert new friends into fans and browsers into buyers. Ok? So connect, capture, and convert. Your website must, must do that. So let this be simple. Remember your goals when you’re crafting or re-crafting your website.

If an idea or a piece of content doesn’t serve the purpose of your website, fuh getaboutit! Get really Jersey with me, just say fuhgetaboutit and throw your hands up and make a stank face like I just did. So be a hussy. I don’t care if you’re a guy or girl, be a hussy here.

Do not make your prospects work for it.

Give away as much info. as possible to make your potential customer’s life easy so they really get what you do and, most importantly, how you can help them. Don’t get too clever here or make this complicated. If your goal is to differentiate, explain why you’re different.

Just come out and say, “Hey, there’s a lot of people in this field. Here’s what makes me different.”

Boom. If your goal is to capture leads, make that the most prominent feature of your site. And I’m raising my hand here, that should be one of the primary drivers of your site. The primary reason, the primary goal is to capture leads.

So, here we go, what do I think your top goal should be? Building your list! You’re gonna hear me say it over and over again. Repetition is the mother of skill, high five Tony Robbins.

When I say your list, I mean your opt-in email list of prospects and customers who want to hear from you on a regular basis. Your email list is not your RSS subscribers, it is not your followers on Twitter, or your fans on Facebook, or your friends, or your YouTube subscribers.

Do not get it twisted.

The single most valuable asset you have in your online business is your email list.

Now, besides revenue and profit, I believe your email list should be your primary metric of success. It is the number to grow. Now, I do wanna put a little caveat here.

We’re talking about quality over quantity. I would much rather have an email list of 2,000 highly engaged subscribers than an email list of 10,000 subscribers and half of them are asleep or not engaged. So while I say it is your primary metric of success, you’ve got to do that consciously.

Always it’s about quality over quantity!

So let’s talk about the one action online visitors must take if you wanna make some jingle. They must opt-in to your email list. Am I sounding repetitive? Do you wanna smack me yet?

But I need to really make this clear.

That means they must voluntarily submit their name or their email or their contact information to you. We’re not doing anything spammy. This is about people raising their hand and saying, “Yes, oh my God, I love who you are. Tell me more.” How many times have you gone to a new website, discovered a product you’d never heard of, and you purchased it without leaving that site?

Be honest. Hardly ever!

Even for small purchases, most of us generally use the web to research options, we read reviews, or we go do something else while we “think about it.” And you guys know the web, it’s like a crazy vortex of distraction.

You’re looking for one thing and then a YouTube video pops up and, forget about it, you’re gone. If you don’t get a visitor’s email address, likely you have lost them forever.

We don’t want you to do that. None of that. So, obviously, but it requires me to restate it. The reason that you want them on your list is so you can deliver value and create a real relationship with them over time.

This is not about manipulation, this is about doing real business in the modern era using technology to support your ability to connect with people and develop a true heart connection over time.

Now let’s talk about the surprising links and widgets that stop buyers dead in their tracks. So, here’s the thing, don’t add anything on your site just to fill space. Everything on your site must serve your business and your website goals.

We’re being very strategic here.

So for your business, your goal is to keep people engaged with you and not send them to other sites.

What do I mean by that?

Don’t add a bunch of random links or advertisements for other people’s stuff because you’re just blindly building their businesses for them.

And even social media, I really believe it should not be too prominent. Don’t put your latest tweet in the header of your website. That is driving traffic away from your site, which is dumb and you’re not dumb, so don’t do it.

Remember, if they aren’t on your website they can’t give you their email address or buy from you, so keep them on your site.

Little bit more on this topic.

Getting traffic can be hard and time consuming. Right? It’s not “If you build it, they will come.” It’s not The Field of Dreams. Don’t drive people away to the distraction mecca of social media. Just don’t do it. If you have to provide a link to another site, for the love of all things holy, make sure that link opens in a new window.

Very simple thing you can do in the back end of coding. If you’re not coding your website and someone else is and you’re adding a link to an external site, just tell your web person. Say, “Make sure this link opens in a new window.” And of course, to beat a dead horse, which is an awful phrase, but whatever. We all know it. The goal of your website is to connect, capture, and convert, so do not put a ton of links or widgets on there that distract from those goals.

Now let’s talk about website disasters you don’t wanna make.

No opt-in to capture names or emails. Or one that’s buried so damn low you need to scroll for hours to find it. Don’t do that.

Sometimes I go on websites and I’m looking around and the person’s cute and they’re smart and they’ve got value to offer and I’m like, “Where the hell is their opt-in?” But, of course, they’re not my clients and they’re not B-Schoolers, so I can’t really help them.

Spelling mistakes, broken links, or missing images. These make you look un-profesh. Say it with me, un-profesh.

Now, we all have them from time to time. But please just try and fix them fast. We’re human, we all make mistakes, it’s totally ok, just don’t leave it that way.

Autoplaying music with no clear way to turn it off. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a really cute site and the music starts blaring and there’s nothing, like, really simple or obvious where I could just click it off. Don’t do that.

No clear path to hire you or buy your stuff. You wanna make it easy for your customers to give you money.

Remember, this is the one place it’s good to be a hussy.

Images, fonts, colors, and graphics that look like your 4-year-old put them up.

This is another one. This is a web disaster. Don’t make it.

Paying a designer for a few hours goes a long way. If you are not a person that is gifted with the kind of evaluation and the ability to really see things and know if it’s a clean simple design, not all of us have that ability, and if you don’t, please, save up your money, hire a designer for a few hours, make sure you don’t have, like, you know, 5 different colors and all these different fonts and sizes and, ooh. Just a mess. Looks like a coloring book.

Ok, more disasters you don’t wanna make.

What seems cute to you is likely confusing to others. Remember that your prospect does not know you and hasn’t worked with you yet. So what’s that mean? Do not use clever navigation titles that confuse your viewer and make them say, “WTF?”

So, examples.

If you have something on your navigation that’s like, “My Magic Pearls!” or “Get Juicy With Me!” Don’t do that. Just call it “Free Resources” or “Services.” That’s it.

You can get really creative in the language of your website, but not in the navigation. It just frustrates your visitors and makes them skip to another site that’s much easier to understand where they don’t need a translator.

Now, this does not mean that you should be corporate, stale or dull. I’m not saying that. But remember, it’s a rule, write this down, tattoo it, put it all over the place. Remember the clearest marketer always wins.

Never ever sacrifice clarity for cleverness.

It’s a Marieism.

Ok. I am done. Hope this helped!

Do not pay more then around $5000 for a WordPress website!

What? I am talking crazy here?

And no I am not hurting my own business by telling people not to pay more then $5000 for a WordPress website.

Let me explain.

First off … if you choose to work with an agency, you will most definitely pay more then $5000 for your site, that’s just a given. Unless it’s a smaller agency, you may be able to get the cost right around $5000 ish…

First off let me explain what falls under “what’s included in he initial price”

1) discovery

2) design layout

3) content development

4) code

5) testing

6) launch

This is not what’s included ..

1) hosting

2) post launch maintenance

3) SEO / Content Optimization

4) Marketing

5) Social Media Management

Now, eCommerce sites are a little different. I have seen those creep up to the $7000-$8500 dollar range, however most of that cost increase is due to the sheer amount of hours it takes to gather and input over 1000 products. Ofcourse if you had a CSV or XML file of all the products, it would make it a tad bit more easy and would drop the cost a tad.

So here is how to keep your cost down.

As a business owner you may or may not have an idea of what you want your site to look like. You most definitely have a logo and color scheme for your company already, at least let’s assume you do.

Let me start by saying I love templates/themes …. as a starting point and roadmap that is. Your site will and should not end up looking like the template.

Start by looking at some WordPress themes on theme, take our time, there are thousands.

When looking at themes, look past the colors and images and try to focus on the layout of the content and the functionality of the theme. Would your content flow well with this layout. Pick your top 3, take notes of why you think it would work and bring it to your developer.

There. You just saved yourself about $4000. Why?

Well agencies will start by asking you a billion questions (all while charging you by the hour) about our company etc. etc. then they will “mock up” a layout for you, most of the time with no regard to the WordPress framework, this will bite you in the ass later…..

Then about a month later they will present to you the layout they created, you will go back and forth for about another 15-30 days, now you are 60 days into your project and have almost nothing to show for it. And development has not even started yet.

The problem with not “designing” for WordPress is well, it may not work. Or it will work but you will lose some functionality. You may have to start editing some core WordPress files and that will end up hurting you in the long run.

WordPress is an amazing platform, and it works for a reason, the framework is a solid foundation and when you start editing code (core code) stuff starts to break. Don’t do it.

Plugins are key to WordPress, and when you start editing code, plugins break. Not good. Not good at all.

Ok I am rambling, let me get back on focus.

The lovely thing with WordPress as that you can combine the whole process of design and development into one, with small milestones.

The typical agency approach is not needed. I mean unless you want to waste 10k – 20k. And if that’s the case the call me for sure !!!!! Jk jk. I could never morally charge that amount for a website.