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What is the cost of creating a WordPress website from scratch?

The cost of building a WordPress website often becomes a subject of debate and confusion. Since there are various ways to build WordPress websites, there’s no established cost one can associate with typical development solutions.

Some developers use paid plugins and themes, others prefer free ones. These choices are predicated upon the budget and business requirements developers are working with.  

The cost of building a WordPress website can be difficult to nail down. Here are some rough estimates:

  • Simple WordPress websites cost roughly USD $70-80 annually. This includes the cost of purchasing the domain and hosting. If you’d like to add some premium features to the website, the cost may balloon to over $100.
  • Business websites that expect a reasonable stream of traffic cost over $200-250 annually. Additional features and development costs can escalate this to over $400.
  • High-traffic websites with premium features can cost over $500. If you get a lot of traffic, managing and maintaining the site can also escalate website maintenance costs. This includes ecommerce stores, LMS platforms, SaaS websites, and more. The cost of building and maintaining such websites can even rise to many thousands of dollars as your traffic grows and requirements become more complex.

These costs are a rough estimate as mentioned previously. You can know more about how much a WordPress website might cost in the following detailed sections.

Why WordPress?

First, let’s try to understand why WordPress is your best option.

There are several CMS options available for building a website. Shopify, Magento, Wix, and Squarespace are only some of the many CMS platforms that are good enough to create a website.

So what sets WordPress apart?

To start with, it’s free. WordPress is an open-source platform that anyone can use without paying any subscription or licensing fee.

Since it’s free, a lot of developers and companies build tools and solutions centered around WordPress. This is evident by the thousands of plugin and theme companies that provide solutions for WordPress site owners.

Read: 25+ Must-know statistics and facts about WordPress

There are endless examples of major websites built with WordPress. It also has a thriving community of developers that contribute to regular updates to the platform.

Regular major WordPress releases further underline the overall stability of the platform.

While other CMS platforms are also viable options, they don’t offer the same level of flexibility. WordPress is thus ideal to get started with a website and even scale it later.

WordPress website development: Cost analysis

There is no way to set an exact price point for developing a WordPress site. There are simply too many paths a business or individual can take.

Let’s take hosting as an example. Hosting can cost from $3/month to $500/month depending on the company you host your website with.

The cost of making a WordPress site is affected by many moving parts.

To understand the cost of WordPress site development in greater depth, let’s look at each type of website individually.

Cost of simple websites

Simple WordPress websites are those that don’t require any premium add-ons or features that otherwise take both time and resources to build and integrate.

Simple websites generally 3-6 pages and no dynamic features that evolve over time. These websites can be built within a week without any paid plugins or themes. All you need is a domain and hosting plan to get started.

Choosing a hosting plan in this case depends purely on the type of traffic you’re expecting. For a new website that will only get a few thousand visitors every month, choosing an expensive hosting plan wouldn’t make sense.

SiteGround offers hosting plans starting at $4/month. Such a plan is ideal to get started with a new and simple WordPress website.

A domain typically costs $5-10/year. Since simple websites don’t generally use premium plugins and themes, the overall cost is only the sum you spend on domain and hosting.

Simple websites thus cost somewhere between $50-60 annually. WordPress is a simple CMS to learn, especially if you’re only building a simple website.

Cost of simple websites with some add-on features

WordPress makes it very easy to add features with the help of plugins. Whether it’s a contact form or a pop-up, these simple features can be easily integrated into websites with free or paid plugins.

Some free plugins that provide useful features in this regard include:

  • Contact Form 7: For adding contact forms to WordPress sites. This is a free plugin that allows the addition of various custom fields to contact forms. It also has several integration options and is very effective for any form needs website owners have.
  • Cloudflare: For optimizing your website’s speed and security. You can install the plugin to get some basic performance settings for your site. For security optimization, you can create a free account on Cloudflare and connect it to your website.
  • Elementor: For building custom-designed pages. Elementor offers a ton of features in its free version. It also has a ton of integrations with other plugins that allow website owners to make the most of the free version.

The cost of such a website doesn’t simply depend on the cost of plugins you’re using. Even free plugins can help you build a website with reasonably good features.

The greater cost you have to consider is your site’s hosting. After adding new features and plugins, your site may not be able to load as fast as it should. It might be a good idea to choose a hosting plan that has the needed bandwidth and performance add-ons.

The cost of such a website can be somewhere between $100-120 annually.

Cost of building business websites

Business owners don’t just like static websites that have nothing but content. Many companies build their entire online business with their websites.

Whether this means selling online courses or products, such functionalities can be achieved easily within WordPress. These websites cost more because of the maintenance required.

We discuss a few use cases for business website owners.

Portfolio websites

Portfolio websites are for businesses providing a range of services. From real estates agents to architects and digital agencies to financial consultants, service businesses always have portfolio websites. They’re the best way to present all the services you provide to clients and customers.

Portfolio websites are generally built with premium themes that are designed to serve specific use cases. Website owners generally buy ready-made themes from popular WordPress marketplaces like Envato and ThemeForest.

Such themes come loaded with all the features needed for a portfolio website. You can choose between templates built for different use cases.

There is also a way to build such websites for free if you don’t wish to buy a theme. Themes like Astra and Neve enable you to directly import free templates to your website. These templates are often integrated with page builder plugins like Elementor and Beaver Builder and even native builders like Gutenberg.

Read: How does the WordPress Block Editor (Gutenberg) work?

Such websites are rich with media and require proper management and maintenance. Besides choosing a great hosting provider, you should also integrate your website with Cloudflare or another speed optimization tool.

The cost of a portfolio website is somewhere around $150-180 annually.

Ecommerce websites

WordPress makes it very easy to create an ecommerce website thanks to WooCommerce. It is a free plugin that allows you to convert your simple and native WordPress website into an ecommerce store.

On the face of it, building an ecommerce store seems easy and free since WooCommerce is a free plugin. In reality, there is a lot of functionality and design that are required around WooCommerce to make sure that the online store works properly.

This includes payment gateway integration, plugins, themes, and various other performance optimization tools. Stores with a lot of products and variants further require regular management. WordPress management companies like WP Buffs and ManageWP are great tools to manage sites if you don’t wish to take a hands-on approach to website upkeep and maintenance.

The cost of developing an ecommerce site is $120-130 annually. This estimate can go up if your traffic increases. If the site is new and a large volume of traffic is unlikely, you can opt for a modest hosting plan and create the website at a lower price point.

LMS websites

LMS websites have become very popular as online learning has become ubiquitous. Businesses can easily create websites that deliver learning resources and content to paying users.

Such a website can be built easily with WordPress. A plugin like Tutor LMS is available to WordPress users for free. This plugin makes it very easy for website owners to create and publish course content.

With the help of membership plugins, you can further manage access to your course content.

These websites can take time to build. Furthermore, your website should be maintained well to ensure users can access course content anytime easily.

The cost of developing an LMS website is roughly $180-200 annually. As mentioned earlier, the cost may increase as you upgrade to a higher hosting plan.

Read: How to create an LMS app with a WordPress website?

Building an app for your WordPress site

Creating WordPress websites is easy. It is however difficult to say the same about making mobile apps.

There is however a neat solution you can use if you have a WordPress website.

AppMySite is a mobile app maker that helps you convert your WordPress website to a mobile app. It is compatible with WooCommerce and supports custom post types created by third-party plugins.

The apps you create on the iOS & Android app builder platform are native and can be published to the app stores. Unlike custom development that can be time-consuming and expensive, AppMySite offers sustainable pricing plans and makes development instantly accessible.

It is the easiest way for WordPress website owners to start building an app without coding.

In conclusion

One big reason website owners choose WordPress is that it’s free. Installing WordPress itself doesn’t involve any cost. However, setting up and running a stable and fast website requires some level of investment. This article lays out the cost of building a WordPress website from scratch. As you scale your website, the associated costs will only rise due to a need for better performance and bandwidth.

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