The Complete Guide to WordPress Pricing and Costs
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Running a blog has got to be one of the most exciting and rewarding ways of making a living these days. Surveys suggest that 4% of bloggers make over $10,000 per month and 9% of them earn between $1,000 and $9,999 monthly.
This means that starting your own blog could turn out to be a very profitable decision in the long run. However, as with most business ideas, you need to make an initial investment before you can hope to start earning.
How much does the average website cost when you want to use the WordPress platform? Will this setup cost be reasonable enough not to stop you from taking the first steps?
Before you get started you will also want to know much of your income will be eaten up by your ongoing expenses. If you start pulling in a good income in this way then the last thing you want is to pay out a high percentage of it every single month.
The good news is that the costs of WordPress when getting started and running a blog aren’t particularly high. In fact, you could use the actual blogging platform for free and only pay out on a few other essential expenses.
Basic WordPress Pricing – WordPress.com
The first point you need to know is how much it will cost you to get going with WordPress. At this point, you need to choose between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The first of these two sites will host your blog, meaning that all of the costs are kept in one place.
How much does it cost to build a website like this? There are a few options here, including the chance to run a blog for free, so it is worth going through each of them to see which one is likely to appeal to you most.
With this option you get a totally free site that uses a WordPress.com subdomain. It isn’t the most flexible approach and is likely to be too limited for you to grow a business using it, but it is hard to argue with a completely free package like this if you just want to blog as a hobby. You get 3GB of storage space and fairly basic design options.
Personal – $4 per month:
The next option is with the low-cost Personal package. In this case, you can choose a custom domain name and get rid of the WordPress ads. In addition, you also get good support options through live chat and email. Storage space goes up to 6GB too.
Premium – $8 per month:
With the ability to use a more impressive set of design tools and more space for media files (13GB), the Premium package is a flexible choice for a professional-looking blog with room to grow.
This is described by WordPress as being the best choice for entrepreneurs and freelancers. You can also monetize this type of blog by adding your own ads to it.
Business – $25 per month:
Classed as being ideal for small businesses, this deal gives access to unlimited premium and business theme templates. It also adds in unlimited storage space, support for Google Analytics and the possibility of removing WordPress.com branding from the site.
With any of the above options there is no need to pay out for extras such as hosting or a domain name. All of this is covered by WordPress so you only need to concentrate on your blogging.
Basic WordPress Pricing – WordPress.org
With WordPress.org things work differently. In this case, you get access to the blogging platform for free but need to download the files in order to set up your site. There is absolutely nothing to pay to the developers for downloading, installing or using WordPress, though.
The site does give you the chance to donate towards the continuing development of the software but this is entirely optional. If you love using WordPress and find that your blogging is a success then there is certainly nothing to stop you from doing this but there is no obligation on you either.
Why is WordPress free to use? It is simply because this is an open-source community project that was never designed to make money. Thousands of bloggers have benefitted over the years from being able to use this software for free.
However, there are other costs for you take into account when you set up your blog in this way. Most importantly, this is a self-hosting blogging platform so you need to pay for your website hosting and domain name. You might also want to choose paid themes or plugins to enhance your blog.
How much does a website like this cost? Let’s take a look in detail at each of these areas.
How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?
Do you have the perfect name in mind for your blog? If you do then this is a good sign that you have been thinking about the details that could make your site stand out from the crowd. An eye-catching name is hugely important in allowing you to build up a strong brand.
However, you need to first of all see whether you can register a domain name that matches this name. The availability and cost of the domain will depend upon how popular it is.
The starting point is to go to a site that offers domain names for sale. These include the likes of GoDaddy, Bluehost, Dotster and Namecheap as well as many others.
You can usually check the availability of any domain that you are interested in very easily. If it isn’t available then expect to be given a list of alternatives to choose from. You might find that with a very slight tweak you are able to get a name that is close enough to what you had initially thought of.
Bearing all of this in mind, how much does a domain name cost for your blog? At the time of writing, the cost of your domain could be as low as $1 or $2 per year, although the average is around $10 or so. Really popular names could be a lot higher than this and it also tends to cost more if you want an alternative ending to .com.
This is a cost that you simply can’t avoid paying out. Without a domain name, you don’t have an internet presence. It’s the internet equivalent of hiring premises for a bricks-and-mortar business.
Does it make sense to pay more for a better domain name? It certainly may in some cases. A quality domain that is concise, relevant and easy to remember can boost your blog’s traffic more than enough to pay for itself in the long run.
Website Hosting Costs
The other essential element when self-hosting from WordPress.org is the cost of the hosting service. This is the service that allows your blog to exist on the internet and be visible to the public. Again, if you don’t have this then you don’t have a blog that people can access.
As with the domain name, there are different companies that offer this and a range of prices. For a small blog that is starting out this could cost as little as $10 per year or even less. Bigger sites could pay hundreds or thousands of dollars on this each year.
As your site grows you may need to consider moving to a different host to handle your new needs. However, at the start there is no need to pay out a fortune for something that is more comprehensive than you need.
Choosing a service provider purely on their website hosting cost alone can be a risky business. A poor host can cause you no end of problems if your site is down a lot and they offer poor customer service. On the other hand, a professional hosting service will make life a whole lot smoother for you.
Combined Domain and Hosting Cost
You will see that a lot of the companies that offer hosting also offer domains as well. This brings us the possibility of getting both services from the same firm.
In this way, you can make running your blog a bit easier for yourself and perhaps save a little bit of money at the same time. By taking a look through the list of companies that supply this service you will find a decent amount of options.
Some people recommend that you keep these two things separate. The main reason for this is that you will find it easier to switch later if you are unhappy with them. However, you may consider that the convenience of keeping them together outweighs that risk.
If you combine domain and hosting with one supplier then it won’t save you a huge amount of cash on these expenses. It is more likely that it will be a relatively modest saving of a few dollars a month that you can expect to make.
The Cost of Themes
Once your blog is installed and ready to go, you will want to design it well. An attractive blog can really turn heads and encourage people to stick around to explore your content. You will find a standard WordPress setup when you first enter your site but this is easily changed.
There are thousands of great WordPress themes that you can add to your site for free if you like. If you are just starting out and don’t want to commit a lot of money to the project then you are almost certain to find a free theme that you are happy to use.
The average cost of a premium theme is around $50, with many below this price and many above it. You might wonder why you would want to pay money to get something when you could get a free theme. If the WordPress pricing is free then how does paying for something else make sense?
Well, the paid themes tend to offer something different from the free ones. You might want to get a style that makes your blog stand out more easily. You might also want one that offers more features than you would get on the free themes.
You can change your theme at any point. This means that you can start off for free and then add a paid theme later on if you want to. Certainly, there is no reason to think that you need to make a definitive decision on this right at the start.
The Cost of Plugins
Next on your shopping list should be some plugins to make your blog run more smoothly and effectively. These are add-ons that can make looking after your site far less of a hassle and less time-consuming. Will that end up costing you a lot of money, though?
Thankfully, as with the themes, there are loads of free plugins that you can choose from. These include some of the most important ones such as SEO optimization, spam, security and backups. Most bloggers need some basic plugins to run their site problem-free and effectively.
Will you also want to pay for some higher-quality plugins? It really depends whether there is something that you need but can’t get hold of for free. For a new blog that you are just starting out with, there is probably no need to pay for anything else. Over time you may decide that something extra special is needed to help you to grow.
The smartest idea is to look at free plugins to start with to find out which ones could be of interest to you. After this, you can start looking into custom plugins if there is something that you can’t find for free.
Many blogs run without any problems at all only by using the free plugins that are available to everyone. Before spending on anything extra it is definitely worth seeing whether the basic plugins let you do everything that you need to.
The cost of paid plugins varies greatly, depending upon what is needed and how much developer time it takes to create. It is a good idea to start off by considering how important and valuable it is for you. This will let you work out how much you could realistically pay for it.
Other Costs You Might Need to Pay
Will you have other costs to meet when you set up a WordPress blog and then run it? The truth of the matter is that it really comes down to how you approach the whole thing.
If you have the time and inclination then you can do everything else on your own without paying out anything extra. With the expenses we have already looked at you will have covered all of the essentials that you can’t do without.
You can write posts, publish them, add photos, add videos and look to make money from your blog. However, you might also decide to pay an expert or two to get your blog started.
For instance, does the idea of adding content to a completely empty site fill you with dread? If it does then you might want to pay a freelance writer to write the first few posts for you. Getting started in this way could allow you to feel more confident about the early success of the blog.
Equally, you may not be sure how to design the site or how to get all of the features you want. This could mean hiring a developer or designer to sort out the blog for you. The widespread use of WordPress means that there are many experts who could do this on your behalf.
These could be costs that you only need to pay at the start or they could become ongoing expenses. It all depends upon whether you decide to take full control of the site or pay other people to do it for you. Don’t forget that you might want to make SEO work a recurring task too, and this can mean a lot of extra hours each month.
You may find that your approach changes over time as you see how the blog works out. If you are earning a regular income from it then you might decide to hand over the running to a freelancer while you start up a new blog to try and repeat the success story. The average website cost then varies depending upon the exact services to be paid for each month.
Alternatively, if you enjoy managing all of the different aspects of running your blog then you might never have to hire anyone to do anything for you. It is tremendously satisfying to feel totally in control of your own blog, as well as being a more cost-effective way of working too.
So, how much does it cost to build a website using WordPress? It can work out a lot less then you may have first thought.
If you are keen to make a mark in the blogging world then don’t assume that you need to spend a huge amount of money to stand a chance of doing this.