This is one of the questions I get asked the most often. With website builders, all your costs are rolled together and you pay one monthly fee- with a hosted WordPress site, it’s less straightforward. So let’s break down the costs:
– Your domain name. You may already have one, but if not, this is a requirement for your hosted WordPress site. You can shop around for the best price if you’d like, but some people choose to register where they plan to host so everything is in one spot. Expect to pay $10-20 a year for this. You can also choose add ons like domain privacy which will prevent your name and address from showing if someone looks up your registration.
– Hosting. This is where your website “lives”. It’s a server somewhere (multiple servers really) that has the space allocated for your website to be installed. There is a wide range of hosts available, but this is not a circumstance where I advocate looking for the best deal. You generally will get what you pay for in this area. It could be as little as $3/month or as much as $80+ for large sites, but a realistic cost for most of my clients is $10-15/month. After working with most of the big name hosts, I always recommend Cloudways to my clients, and use them myself. Their costs are reasonable, and their customer service is excellent. If you’d like to sign up, here is my link to do so. If you want a step by step guide my video on creating a site from scratch goes over my recommended Cloudways settings.
– Your theme. This is where the real variance comes in. Currently there are 2 main options, if you are looking for the ability to build pages without having everything 100% custom coded.
1. Use a framework sort of theme that has page builders built in. These are options like Prophoto, Divi, Flothemes, Elementor etc. They will generally cost $60-300 for the theme itself, and you can purchase child themes that will give you basic page designs to start from for an additional $50-600+. These will generally give you the biggest “leg up” as far as being able to find a starting point that is already the look & feel you want. It will also likely come with built in ability to change things like fonts. Some of these builders are also transitioning to requiring you to use their own hosting (Prophoto for sure as of august 2021) so make sure to investigate that as well as it is significantly more expensive than the hosting mentioned above.
2.Use a free theme and add a page builder plugin. There are a variety of plugins out there that let you drag and drop elements to create pages. Because WordPress built-in blocks themselves have gotten so easy to customize, it is possible to build pages using just that functionality, usually with the help of some pre-built blocks via plugins . They tend to be faster, and because they use built-in WordPress blocks you can change themes without having to do page redesigns. You can use a variety of free themes for this, since the pages are all being built independently of the theme itself. You may end up paying for add-ons, like Kadence Blocks Pro or other block add-ons, so this option will generally not be totally free. My personal recommendation is the Free Kadence theme and the Kadence blocks plugins (start with the free and see if you need the paid one). Again my walkthrough video shows this whole process.
As of right now (Feb 2021) the bigger issue here is there are not many child themes out there with options for pre-built pages to start with using WordPress blocks- so the bigger cost with this option will be potentially working with a designer to come up with page layouts (if you don’t want to design your own), and then the additional fee to build out the pages rather than just customizing existing ones. However, since you wouldn’t have to worry about changing themes in the future and having to rebuild, this option can potentially save a lot of time and money in the long run. If you are very concerned about page load speed this is easily the way to go, too. If you use Kadence, you also have the option to build your own but buy block collections (like mine) to give you a head start.
– Theme setup. This is where I come in! How much clients spend with me on their setup often correlates to how much they spend on their theme. If you buy a theme that has many page layouts that you already love (which may cost more) you may not need as much customization work. If you buy a very bare bones theme, you may need a lot of work done to get your layouts made into pages. So this is something to keep in mind when you choose your theme, as well. If you want a custom site to fit your exact vision, you may not want to pay a lot for a child design with many layouts you won’t use, for example. Or if you want to keep your outsourcing costs low and predictable, you may prefer to spend more if you can find a child theme that has 95% of what you’re looking for in your site. Some clients choose to DIY as much as they can, and then have me finish what they need help with, while others don’t even want to think about their site and want to outsource everything. My most populate Setup package, where you have a child theme you love and just want content plugged in, is $700. When we start your project we start with a call to go over exactly where you fall on these issues, and get you an estimate!