Are you looking to build your own website and curious how much it’ll cost?
You know what happens, you start something and realise you need to pay for this, and that, then, oh no, what about that! And all of a sudden your budget has exploded.
Even building your own website can come with lots of extra costs.
Why and when should you build your own website?
If you can’t afford to hire a web design agency just yet, and/or if you’re just starting out in business, building your own website is probably the best route for you.
In the first 6-12 months, your business will change. And your website might need to change with it. What you don’t want is to be in a position where you have to hire a web designer to do the work twice!
Plus, building your own website allows you to learn some basic skills. You get valuable experience which means that even when you do hire a web designer, you’re not going to have to rely on them to make small tweaks on a regular basis. And in the long run, that’s going to save you a lot of money!
Speaking of which…
How much should you expect to pay to build your WordPress website?
This really depends on your budget. And quoting a set price is pretty much impossible as a lot of elements and factors go into how much you’ll pay for your website.
So in this blog post, we’re going to look at the key elements you need when building your own WordPress website and, wherever possible, give you three different options:
- A free option.
- A paid-for option, where you get some level of support.
- And a premium option where you get additional support and assistance and aren’t required to do much of the work yourself.
It’s a money vs time trade-off!
The great news is that even if you don’t have a big budget to start with, you can still create a good-looking website. However, you might find that the free route requires a bigger time investment.
The less you pay, the longer you’ll spend:
- Doing the work yourself.
- Trying to find out how to do things.
- And attempting to fix issues.
What are the key elements you need to build your WordPress website?
How do you actually create a website? What will you need and what are your options when it comes to free, paid-for, and premium?
If you’re starting out with your website, you’ll need:
- A domain name.
- Web hosting.
- A Content Management System – in this case, WordPress.
- A theme or page builder
- Some plugins
So let’s talk about each of them in more details.
Your domain name
A domain name is your online address. It’s the name people type in when they’re looking for your business on the internet. If you want your own website, you’re going to need a domain.
You can use a free domain name from a company like WordPress or Wix. But it will have WordPress.com or Wix.com at the end of the web address. So if we were using a free domain, our address would be something like JammyDigital.WordPress.com.
You can probably appreciate this may look quite confusing for a customer – are they on your website or are they on WordPress? Also, if your customers realise you’re using a free domain, what does this say about you and your business? Are you really serious about it?
Not to mention that when you use a free domain and people link back to your website, you don’t get any credibility in the eyes of the search engines. You’re doing all the hard work driving traffic to your website, but you’re just giving WordPress.com (or the company you’re using) all the credit.
Buy your own domain
Because of the reasons above, we don’t recommend you use a free domain.
A paid-for domain name will only cost you around £10-£20 per year. Of course, some domain names are more sought-after than others and therefore more expensive. But a domain that’s not been registered before shouldn’t set you back by much.
Investing in your own domain name gives you and your business immediate credibility and shows you’re serious. All you need to do is to sign up just one client over the year, and you’ve probably paid for your domain multiple times over!
If you’re interested in finding out more about whether you should pick your own name as a domain name or your company’s name, head over to the blog post How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Personal Brand Website.
If you want your website to be accessible on the internet, you need for it to be stored somewhere. You need a company (your website host) to physically store your website somewhere.
Much like with domain names, you can host your website for free with companies like WordPress.com. However, free options don’t have a lot of features and certainly don’t come with any support.
Paid-for web hosting isn’t too expensive and can cost between £20-£30 a year depending on what level of support and service you need. But cheaper options don’t come with as much guidance, and you may potentially have issues with site speed.
When it comes to website hosting, we recommend SiteGround. They’re more affordable than most and have great support. A year’s hosting with SiteGround will cost you around £70-£80, and their live chat service is truly phenomenal.
You can also opt for premium hosting. This may cost you in the region of £25+ per month. Premium hosting companies like WP Engine or Flywheel come with an extra layer of support and guidance. So if you don’t want to make any changes yourself but would rather send a support ticket off, then premium hosting is a great option.
Your theme is the overall look and feel of your website, which includes your style and layout. Unless you know how to code, if you’re not having your website custom-designed for you just yet, you’ll need a theme.
And one of the biggest advantages of using WordPress is that it comes with an excellent theme (and plugin) library for you to choose from. You just pick a theme, install it, have a play around with it, and see how you like it.
The problem with the free WordPress themes is that you don’t get any support. There’s an open forum in WordPress where you can ask questions, but you may not always get a speedy or relevant response.
Buying a theme
If you have the budget to invest, a paid-for theme could cost you in the region of £20-£60, and it will come with support.
When buying a theme, do your research upfront.
- Most themes have a demo that shows you what the website will look like.
- Make sure you know what you’re buying – is the price you pay upfront? Or is there a yearly fee?
Once you’ve bought the theme, you’ll have to do some work to install it and customise it by changing the colour scheme, removing the sections you don’t need, etc.
If you can make the time, learning how to install and customise your theme gives you valuable experience of WordPress. And it means that whenever you need to make changes to your website in the future, you won’t have to rely on a web designer.
Much like with web hosting, you can buy more expensive themes that may cost in the region of £100-£200. Generally, these are directly from the maker, and for an additional monthly fee, you can get ongoing support with them.
Hiring a web designer to research and install your theme
If you’re short of time or would rather outsource the task, you can hire a web designer to find you a theme and install it and customise it for you. They might charge approximately £500-£1,000 for this, which is much less than what you would pay for a custom-built website.
This is a perfect solution if you’d rather skip the research and installation part. Just make sure your web designer is upfront about this and won’t try and charge for the price of a custom-made website when what they’re giving you is a template. Most people are honest, but it’s always good to double-check!
Problems with Free and Paid For WordPress Themes
The biggest problem we see with themes is that they may look nice, but they haven’t been designed with user-experience or conversions in mind. You have to choose very carefully when selecting a theme and make sure your users will respond well to it.
A website builder or page builder is a tool that helps you add elements to your website without having to use code. So if you want to have more control over the design and layout of your theme (but don’t know how to code), you might want to invest in a website builder with drag and drop features.
Divi, Visual Composer, Elementor, Thrive Themes, and Beaver Builder are some of the most popular and widely used.
We’ve tested out a lot of these page builders for our members in our membership. And our absolute favourite is Elementor. It’s user-friendly for even non-techies and actually fun to use. Elementor has a free version you can try out and is one of the better ones out there. The pro plan comes with so many extra features, and it’s pretty reasonably priced at ¢49 per year.
Not all page builders have a free version, so you can’t always try them out. In fact, most of them have an upfront cost of around £70-£90, depending on which one you go for, and some are more user-friendly than others.
So do your research and read reviews before buying, as you may need to take the learning curve into account too. As always, before you buy, check whether what you’re paying is a one-off price or whether you’re expected to pay a renewal fee every year.
Problems with Free and Paid For Page Builders
The main problem with free and paid for page builders is that they can be tricky to get used to if you’re unfamiliar with the software. When you hit problems there are lots of Googling for answers!
As with themes, it’s also difficult to ensure your website is user-friendly and converts readers into customers if you build it using a page builder. Often, people can build their site, but with little thought into how it works, how it’ll get traffic and how it’ll convert.
A plugin is a piece of software that gives you bits of additional functionality. WordPress comes with an extensive library of free plugins. And we always recommend you install the free plugins first, see if you like it, and then upgrade later.
We find that the functionality that comes with a free plugin is often enough. But if your business relies on a particular piece of functionality, you may want to go pro.
The premium version of a plugin can cost around £20-£30, and if you do need the additional features that come with it, it’s worth the investment, especially if it comes with support.
When looking for plugins, you’ll see there’s huge choice. So, do your due diligence and:
- Check the reviews.
- Ask for recommendations if you can.
- Make sure the plugins are compliant.
- And check the last time it was updated – this is important because you want to make sure any plugin you install is compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
If you’d like a recommendation on the best plugin to use for specific functionality you need, come and check out our free Facebook group. You can ask us (and our friendly members) any questions related to your website.
Where Should You Invest?
When it comes to creating your own website, you have several options ranging from free to premium-priced. Whether you invest or not depends on:
- your budget,
- how much time you have available,
- and on whether you are prepared to do some of the work yourself.
Where we don’t suggest you compromise is on features that make it or break it for your business. In these cases, paying a slightly higher price allows you to generate more business in less time.
Would you like our help?
Through our membership community, we help people who don’t want to battle with templates or continuously Google how to use a page builder.
We have a set of page designs (home, about, services, learning centre, contact, lead capture and coming soon) that you can plugin and edit easily.
And we also teach you how to create a high converting website through our 60+ courses.
With handy videos, a friendly forum on Slack, and weekly Q&A, we’re here to help you build your own amazing WordPress website.
Find out more about our Membership Community.