Pricing Wordpress and understanding where your money goes.

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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!

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