To me, as a website developer, I am sometimes put off by this question, I’ll be honest. It just seems silly. Sorry. I know that it’s a legitimate question though, but, it takes me having to put myself in someone else’s shoes to really appreciate the question, and where it comes from. So, I will attempt to do that here within this post.
I would really like to talk about the cost savings of using WordPress for a web site when I am asked that question, but that feels a little arrogant. So, to be completely straightforward, I simply answer… “it depends” which I realize isn’t the most helpful response. But, it does really depend.
This question, having heard it time again though, has led me to realize that I need to create a very very specific package for my services. It also helped me realize that I have too many services to offer, and that I need to focus on just one. I need to find that one niche of people that I want to serve, and say… “You are getting a, b, and c and it’ll cost you x amount of dollars, and I will be complete in t amount of time.” But that is a topic for a different post. But, if you are developer that has landed on this page, and you have recently Googled “WordPress dynamic price table plugin” then it might also be time for you to re-think what it is you want to offer. That way, you can share with someone more succinctly what your service is, and serve that pocket of people more appropriately. I really think it’s due time I practice what I preach on this topic 😉
Making assumptions about who you are that is asking this question
Now, I think I will respond to the good ol’ WordPress-cost-question assuming the following:
1) You have more time than money, so you are interested in a more DIY approach (or you simply like to be in control)
2) Your skills are still being developed, but you don’t want to be a WordPress developer for a living, you just want to know enough to get down to business
3) You understand that there will be some up front and ongoing cost associated with your web site launch
4) For the most part, you believe in the statement, “you get what you pay for”
Mandatory costs associated with web site deployment using WordPress
OK, there are some mandatory costs involved with this, even if you are not paying for the “labor” end of things. There are 3 things to pay for in my opinion, and how much you spend will determine the level of regular maintenance required.
Before reading my suggestions, and cost estimates, have a peek at this checklist for deploying a WordPress web site. I just came across it while doing a search in Google for WordPress related news. It surprised me to realize that there really is that much involved in getting a web site off the ground (some are specific to WordPress of course). To me, those things are just simply routine, but looking through the vast list helped me remember my value in what I do.
Now that you have looked through that checklist, let me tell you that you can avoid a lot of potential future (and present) grief, plus eliminate many of those steps, by choosing a web host that has tweaked their servers specifically for WordPress. These same hosting providers, often called “managed WordPress hosts” also have your back for speed and security, and they have expert staff that know WordPress like they know their mother. There are a bunch out there, and you need hosting anyway, and while these ones might cost you from $20 to $100 more per month than your standard shared hosting, you WILL undoubtedly be much further ahead with these types of services.
Alright, that’s cost #1. Then you have a cost for the domain name… your-name.com. They vary from domain provider to domain provider and carry a yearly cost. That’ll run you around $10-$25 per year, sometimes more, but that’s the general ballpark.
Now… finally, I wouldn’t spend money on a custom design, but I also wouldn’t choose a free design either. I would purchase a custom theme in the $50 to $75 range and I would choose one that is very very specific to what it is my web site is about. For example, if you are building a web site to help connect pet sitters with people that have pets that need sitting, you can probably buy a theme to cater to that need for around $50. Do so.
Some theme developers create excellent documentation, yet others overlook the importance of it. Find reviews if possible specifically about the documentation, since you are configuring things yourself and not hiring that part out. And also spend a lot of time in the “Live Preview” of the theme before committing to the purchase.
Alright, that, my DIY friend, would be the cost for launching your web site. Summed up, that is roughly $50 to $75 one time, $30 or so per month, and $15 or so per year. That, and about 2-3 weeks of your time, ballpark, should get you where you want to go.