When I first decided that I wanted to set up a website, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Really, I had no idea where to even begin. One of the first questions that I asked to myself was how much is it going to cost to set up a website?
An old co-worker of mine used to answer questions like this with another question. How much does a car cost? Answer maybe deliberately unhelpful, because so many different factors go into the cost of the website or the cost of a car. The answer, it depends. But, I am aiming to get a lot more specific about the costs that you might incur creating a great-looking website.
Well, it took me quite a while to find out the answer and that is why I want to help folks who have the same question find out a little bit quicker than I did.
That’s the goal, anyway.
Of course, the answer in general is, it depends. But, I think that I can narrow it down quite a bit to give you a few different options of how much you might be looking to spend to set up a great-looking website using WordPress, since I believe that is one of the best options out there for setting up a website on a budget.
There are a number of things to take into account, some ranges and some addons that you may not need, but that will end up being very useful in the end.
So, let’s get started.
What Kinds of Tools Will I Need to Start a New Website?
Back in the beginning of the internet, there were only a few options for creating a website. You could either hire a professional designer to create you a static HTML site. Or, you could do it yourself. The result would either be a very expensive site in the case of hiring a desire to custom make your website, or perhaps something that didn’t have many features if you decided to go it alone. Unless you wanted to take the time to learn all the ins and outs of coating, you could it be stuck with the very simple website that didn’t have many features.
Luckily, times have changed.
These days, you definitely do not need to hire a professional what developer to help you create a new website from the ground up. There are a lot of different free tools available to help you in this process. It doesn’t really matter whether or not you are particularly well-versed in coding or technology, there are lots of different free tools to help you get started.
No matter what type of site you are setting out, there are three basic things that you will need to create a site. Each of them has been Associated cost and these costs have a pretty decent range between the low end and high end. But the three things you absolutely must have to start a new website are as follows:
- Your Domain Name
- Content Management System or Website Builder
- Web Hosting
That’s it. Really, that’s not much. We’ll talk about the various costs involved in each as we go through this article, so let’s start where everything starts…
Your Domain Name
Your domain name is basically the brand name of your business. It’s going to be a where people find you, it can be a huge part of building your brand and when people go to find your website, that is likely what they will type into the search bar.
Of course, down the road, should be racking up tons of traffic from all of the amazing content that you create, but it first, your domain name is how people will find your site.
So, how much does it cost to register a domain name?
That question is not really as simple as it looks. Different domains will cost different amounts. If you are buying a brand new. Com domain, you should expect today about 10 to $15 to register your domain for 1 year. Certain hosting companies will offer you a free domain if you sign up for a year of hosting service, so that price can go down to free.
On the other end, you could buy an existing domain that has been established and aged. Some of these domain names can cost thousands of dollars. For this article, I will assume that the cost is about $15. That seems to be the going rate and I think that that should be a good ballpark figure. Sites like Flippa sell these established domains and they can be pretty spendy indeed.
But back to buying a fresh domain.
Of course, there are other TLDs that you may select. For example, .org websites tend to be a bit more than .com TLDs. (TLD means top-level domains by the way) Anyway, you can find very cheap TLDs and very expensive TLDs . Just as an example, on the website domain.com, TopNotchThemes.club would cost me $2.99 to register. TopNotchThemes.store would cost $9.99. TopNotchThemes.group would run $16.99. TopNotchThemes.blog, that would cost $26.99.
You get the idea.
There’s a lot of different variables that go into this type of choice, but I say stick to the basics. Get yourself either a dot-com, a .net or possibly a org TLD. Those are the most established and the best.
Total running cost, $15.
Content Management System or Website Builder
Now that you have got yourself a domain name, you’ll need to create your site itself. No matter whether you are seasoned developer or a beginner to building a website, the process is going to be the same. Website Builders, no matter which one you choose, make it very easy to create an attractive website that has the features and functionality that you want oh, that it is easy to customize and flexible. Website Builders or Content Management Systems come in a wide variety up styles and each one offers different features. I will go over some of the most popular options now.
There are a couple of different website builders that I want to highlight. First, Wix. Wix is an easy-to-use platform, it has a simple drag-and-drop editor with quite a member of pre-made templates to get you started. There are a lot of features and apps and in terms of price, you get to different levels.
First, you can use wix for free. Setting up a Blog is pretty simple, but in terms of functionality and flexibility, performance and support, you don’t get a lot.
If you choose Wix, there are several different professional or premium plans. These range from $13 a month for a very small, personal site to up to $39 for a VIP supported website with larger amounts of storage and better performance.
There are also several levels of eCommerce versions, ranging from $23 to up to $500 per month for the enterprise version. Frankly, that is far too expensive for me to recommend. If you are trying to sell products, Wix is not a great solution in my opinion.
I find it a much better value to Simply download WordPress, install WooCommerce and select a premium WooCommerce theme to get your site up and running. WooCommerce is going to give you a lot more flexibility and you won’t have to pay the monthly fee to make use of it. It may be a little bit more difficult to set up in the beginning, but it will be well worth it in the long run. If you’re just blogging, you can select something like these WordPress personal blogging theme, they work great too. You shouldn’t have to spend too much to get what you want.
And in terms of difficulty to set up, I don’t mean to scare you off. WooCommerce is very beginner-friendly. The installer walks you through the process of setting up and it takes just two or three minutes to do. The long-term benefits and cost savings are definitely well worth it.
Squarespace is a lot like wix. Is a platform that gives you a set of templates that you can customize to achieve the look that you want your website to have. Much like Wix, there are free versions and premium versions.
The associated costs are roughly the same, though a bit lower overall for Squarespace. I will say that I like Squarespace’s pre-made designs a bit more than I like the ones offered by Wix. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and your feelings may differ from mine. The cost for Squarespace ranges from $12 per month for personal site up to $40 per month for an e-commerce site. The cheaper eCommerce versions do charge a 3% transaction fee, so you’ll have to spend $26 a month to avoid that. Squarespace does not offer an Enterprise version like Wix does the advanced eCommerce for $40 per month is the most you can spend.
Just like Wix, Squarespace does offer some support and quite a number of features. That said, I really don’t think either of worth it when compared to WordPress. So, let’s move on.
First up, WordPress. Specifically, the wordpress.org version.
One of these days, I’m going to get around to creating an article describing all of the differences between the two, but here’s the basic rundown.
WordPress.com allows you to create a free website using the wordpress.com platform. Well this is a free and easy to use, it doesn’t give you a lot of flexibility in terms of features. You can’t sell products, you can’t use affiliate links, there are quite a number of drawbacks to using wordpress.com. It’s rigid and inflexible, though it is possible to transition to a self hosted site down the road. So, it’s fine for people on a budget, but you should expect to need to transition into a fully hosted site at some point down the line. That’s what WordPress.org is for.
With wordpress.org, you get to host your own website with your own domain name and you have a lot of flexibility to add the features that you want. For the more, there are plenty of WordPress themes available to help you achieve a great-looking website quickly. This is particularly nice for people who don’t want to have to code their own website. And honestly, that is a most of us.
How much does that cost? Well, WordPress is free and open source, which is nice. You can find WordPress themes that are completely free as well, or purchase a premium theme for around $39 to $59. Prices vary based on features and which marketplace you choose, but a budget of around $50 should get you started with style.
Of course, with both Wix and Squarespace, part of the cost that you pay every month can be recouped by not purchasing web hosting. If you are using wordpress.org, you are certainly going to need hosting. With Squarespace and Wix, you can avoid that cost. Something to keep in mind.
Let’s say we spend $50 on a premium WordPress theme.
Total running cost: $65.
This is the big one, this is where your website will live. It’s where all the contents or sword, all of your images, your database, everything that you see on page, web hosting is what you need to hold it. When somebody comes to your website by typing in your domain name or clicking on a link, they will be directed to your web Hosting account and all of the proper files will be limited. So, you can see that what those thing is incredibly important.
Now, how much you were going to spend on web hosting can really depend on a lot of different factors. If all you need is very basic hosting, you can expect to pay just a few dollars per month. Sites like Bluehost offer deals where if you purchased three years of Hosting, you can drive the cost all the way down to about $3. More advanced shared hosting might cost around $7. Either way, that is really quite a bargain. Considering the fact that their hosting is solid, that may be all you need to have. Also, Bluehost will give you a free domain name when you sign up for your shared hosting account, so that’s a bit of a cost savings for you.
There are other, more expensive options that we have highlighted in a post about What’s the Best Kind of Hosting for WordPress? If you need to know more about hosting levels and options, check that article out. Hopefully it’s helpful enough.
So, We purchase a mid level shared hosting plan for $5 a month, that works out to $60 for the first year.
Total running cost, $125.
So, we’ve come full circle, right back to where we started.
How Much Will it Cost to Start a New Website
Let’s say you are running a small eCommerce site. You don’t need anything too fancy, just a nice-looking website that supports eCommerce and that can handle enough traffic for, let’s say, two hundred visitors per day.
Here’s the bottom line comparison.
With a website builder like Wix or Squarespace, eCommerce sites cost around $25 per month. You can expect to pay around $300 for the first year your site is online. That price won’t go down either, it’ll remain at that rate until you choose to leave the service.
If you choose to use WordPress, you will need to purchase a premium theme, which costs around $60. Hosting and a domain name will drive the total cost up to about $130 for the first year. But, once you’ve purchased the theme, you’re golden. The cost drops to around $65 per year after the first year for hosting and renewing your domain name.
So, the cost benefit of a WordPress.org site is pretty clear.
Anyway, hopefully that has answered your question about how much it cost to start a website. The range can be anywhere from free to thousands of dollars. Where are you settling, that’s completely up to you. But, overall, it shouldn’t cost more than about $130 to get started with a really high-quality, professional website for your first year.
Good luck out there!