Building your own website is much cheaper than hiring a web designer. However, sometimes there are hidden or unexpected costs to building your own website.
In this episode, we walk you through how much you’re likely to spend if you DIY your own website and where the best places are to invest your money.
In this episode, we’ll cover…
- When you should build your site yourself rather than hire an agency
- The danger of ‘free’ domains
- The difference between expensive and cheap hosting
- Should you get a free WordPress theme?
- The difference in prices and where you should invest your money
- The additional cost of plugins
Time Stamps: In a rush? Get to the section you need to below!
1.05 – When should you build your own website?
4.50 – Domain names and costs
8.18 – How much would you expect to pay for hosting
10.09 – How much does a WordPress theme cost
14.39- How much do plugins cost?
17.01 – What do page builders cost?
20.09 – Being wary of annual charges
Useful Resources and Links
What To Do Next
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Episode Transcript Below
Welcome to the Make your mark online podcast where we help personal brands build and grow a successful business website. Please welcome your host husband and wife team Martin and Lindsey.
Welcome to episode 15 of the Make your mark online podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about how much it costs to build your own WordPress website. But before we get into the show, the podcast is sponsored by the Make your mark online membership. This is our signature membership community where we help personal brands build and grow a successful business website. The doors to the membership are now closed but you can check out the details at Makeyourmarkonline.net and you can join the wait list and we’ll notify you as soon as possible when the doors open again.
Okay so let’s get on with the show. So today we’re talking about the cost involved if you choose to build your own website using WordPress, but I suppose my first question would be why would you want to build your own website?
Yeah it sounds strange coming from a web design agency [inaudible 00:01:03] build your own website-
Just a little bit.
But we have spoken about this quite a lot in the past and we are strongly in favor of you building your own website. If you’re limited on funds. You can’t really afford to hire an agency to build your website, then you’re left with no option than to build your own website. And not only that as well is if you are just starting out, sometimes your business can shift quite a lot within the first six to 12 months and if the first thing you do is go and pay a web designer, then your business shifts or changes. Then you may have to essentially pay a web designer again, a year down the line just because your business has shifted. So it’s a nice exercise actually to start by watching a few youtube videos, learning a bit about it and then actually taken some action yourself.
Definitely. We actually talked about this in episode one of our podcast where we say, when is the right point to actually hire a web designer and it’s a lot further along than people think, what we advise anyway. So I think you should check that episode actually as well if you haven’t listened to it yet. Okay so let’s get into it. How much can we expect to pay to build our own websites?
Well this is where it gets interesting because there’s not one set price, it doesn’t kind of bundle itself in and say you know, you just pay 50 pounds and you can have a new website. There are lots of different factors that go into it. So for example, a domain name that’s like your website.com, that will cost a certain amount depending on where you get it from. You then have hosting, which is where you actually rent space on the internet so that you can actually have a website. There’s things like content management systems like WordPress, some of them are premium content management systems. You have to be careful, but some of those do come with a cost.
Your WordPress theme, so the style and the design of your website, you’ll need to buy a theme potentially. And some of those come with a cost and a price tag not something else, plugins. So these act as like little add ons to your website so that you can achieve better features. These sometimes are chargeable, so some of them are free, some of them are not. And we’ll be getting into this in the show. There’s also the possibility of page builders, which is kind of an assistant for you to build website pages easily. So you can use drag and drop features and some of those come with a price tag as well.
Okay. So that sounds like a lot, when you actually lay it out there and I think a lot of people probably go into sort of building their own website, seeing perhaps something on Wix where it says, you can have your website for 14.99 or whatever it is and actually become a little bit more surprised about how the costs adopts. So is it really expensive? How expensive are we talking?
Well it can be. You can actually get started for free. This is the thing, for you to actually launch a website and get started. There are a few free options. There’s also a few options if you’ve got a little bit of a budget and then obviously you can spend as much as you physically want with the website. So the point of this episode is to make you feel, it’s okay if you don’t have a big budget right now, there are a few options available, but the more that you can spend here and there, the better it’s going to be for you and the more potential customers that you can reach. Because there are a few features that you might prefer to invest in now, and actually see a return on that investment sooner rather than spending far too much time on free stuff. And then it takes far longer to actually see results.
And in that time you’re not gaining anything from clients, you’re not moving your business forward and anything like that. So yeah, it’s kind of weighing up that time and money thing, isn’t it really? Okay. So let’s firstly start with the domain. You mentioned domain, so how much do they normally cost?
So the first option you have when it comes to a domain name is you can actually get a free domain name providing that you don’t mind using the company name within your domain name. So mywebsite.WordPress.com or mywebsite.wix.com, that’s the kind of thing that you might have seen online and it’s because that website owner has not paid for that domain name.
So you can actually buy a domain name. They are only cheat. They’re only 10 pounds a year, and some of them are more expensive, if you have a domain that’s already been paid for before by somebody else, if it’s a really popular one, they could potentially sell it back to you. And that’s where it can get really expensive. We’ve seen big companies in the past acquire domains just for the sake of owning it. Some people have paid over 100000 pounds or millions potentially to buy domain names that they really, really want. So that’s not what we’re talking about. If you can find a domain that’s not been registered then you can generally register it for around 10 or $20 or pounds a year.
Okay. And would you say that would be somewhere where you would invest? You would say to yourself, “Okay, yeah, I can get it for free, but I’m going to look a little bit more professional if I do actually invest in something that is 10, 20 pound per year?”
I think so. I mean for the price of it, I think you’d be silly not to. I mean if you take on one customer, just one customer over the year, then you’ve probably paid for your domain multiple times over. So I think for us I can’t imagine a scenario where somebody thinks it’s actually going to be better for me to register a domain name for 10 pounds a year. I might as well-
Yeah. I think it’s an automatic signal isn’t when someone has .WordPress.com that they’ve not invested in that business or it kind of confuses people. It looks quite odd. So yeah, I totally agree. I think it’s worth spending that little bit of money and getting an actual proper domain.
And not only that as well is that when you actually have one of these company names inside your domain name, you don’t actually own that domain name. So when you’re working on your website, you’re building up quite an authority blog maybe, and you’re getting lots of back links and people sharing it at the end of the day, you can’t do anything with that credit. Google credit in that domain name, and that’s not your domain name that’s owned by.WordPress.com. So that’s another reason if you’re going to spend time and money and effort into it, then buy the bloody domain name.
Buy the bloody domain name, that’s the one key takeaway from today’s episode. So what about hosting then? I mean, there’s so many variants with hosting. So what’s the best route for people to go down with that? How expensive is it?
Well, again, much like the domain name, you can get started for free potentially depending on what tool did you use. But again, WordPress.com, you know the managed WordPress, that potentially does come with free hosting. But again, it’s a case of what features you have available, how much time it’s going to take, hosting isn’t the expensive part of building a website. I mean you could pay 20, $30 a year for hosting or you could pay closer to 100 depending on what level of support and service you need. And that’s what it comes down to generally, you tend to find that the cheaper options don’t come with as much support or guidance and you may potentially have issues with site speed and stuff like that.
Okay. So, I mean we always recommend a company called Site Ground only for hosting-
Absolutely. Yeah. Because they are more affordable than most, but also they have really, really good support. So you can expect to pay closer to the 100 mark for a year of hosting with Site Ground, 70, 80 pounds will probably get you a years hosting, and that support is phenomenal. I mean you can use live chat and they are usually there within 30 seconds and yeah, it’s great. If you want to check them out just go to jammydigital.com/hosting, check them out. Have a chat with him, live chat, ask them if they can help and they’re more than happy to help you on a presale basis as well before you actually give them any money. They’ll answer a few questions for you and potentially move your site over if it’s hosted elsewhere. So it is a great tool.
Yeah. Definitely. And I think it’s again weighing up that time versus money isn’t it and how much time you want to take to look into hosting and sort of set it up? There’s many different variances how long it’ll take.
Yeah, absolutely. And there is the third option which is you can have kind of really premium hosting. So there are some companies that people might prefer to pay 25 pound a month plus. These are more expensive naturally, but they do come with an extra layer of support as well. Companies like WP engine, Fly wheel, these are the kind of more pricey options that you might opt for and that come with an extra layer of support and guidance and not something potentially you might want. If you don’t want to do anything yourself, it all depends because Site Ground will help you and point you in the right direction. But if you actually want someone to do it for you and you just want to send the support ticket off, then you might want to actually spend a little bit more.
Okay, that’s really interesting. So yeah, and again, there’s variants, so like the domain and the sort of free, middle and expensive option there. So what about the theme? You mentioned themes before and how expensive are they? What are we talking?
Well, themes are something that you could potentially use a free version of. So there are lots and lots and lots of themes within WordPress that will allow you to install it, have a play around with it, and actually have your website up without actually buying a theme at all. There’s a big plugin and theme library for you to be able to use on WordPress itself. And you can have a good look through those themes. Maybe do a Google search and say the best WordPress themes of 2018 and actually have a good look through. The only problem with those themes is you don’t get any support whatsoever. I mean, there is kind of an open forum in WordPress that you can ask questions about, but because you’re not paying anything, you can’t really expect them to get back to you that quickly.
So that’s the only problem with free WordPress themes. Plus this is another area that I think you should invest in, especially because you can actually get a theme for really, really cheap, 20 or $30 up to 50, $60. You can really get some amazing templates or themes. And those actually come with support. So it is important that you do invest in that because you need to know how to change the things on your website, you need to know that you’re going to get the latest updates to that theme if they release any updates. That’s another good thing about it. And for the sake of even 50, 60 pounds, absolutely. I recommend buying a template. If you starting out though, it’s not the end of the world if you have to use a free one.
So with the, you said it was either 60 pound maximum for a decent theme. Is that per year sometimes? Or is that just an outright cost?
Well, some of them, it’s an outright cost, however, some of them, and this is where you got to be careful, some of them will allow you to use the theme forever, but you’ll only get updates for a year unless you pay each year.
So there’s that to weigh up as well.
So you’ve got to look out for that really and seeing how much it will be annually going forward?
Yeah, definitely. But like I say, it’s relatively cheap and it will have a massive impact on your user experience when they visit your website, if you actually have a good looking website and it’s a very quick way to actually achieve a great website just by paying 50 quid for a new theme. And in some instances as well. And we’ve noticed this in the past, is this is potentially what your web designer might do anyway. We’ve spoken to lots of people in the past where they’ve spent 500 to 1000 pounds on a website and the web designers said to them, it’s actually gone to be a theme at this price. So I’m gonna look around for you. I’m going to get a nice high quality theme and this is what I’ll be building on your website, which isn’t a problem-
No not at all
I don’t have to tell you about it. It’s when they don’t tell you that they’ve used the theme and they’ve charge you that much. But it’s more than anything if you can do this yourself and cut out the middle man, you might save yourself a few hundred pounds.
Yeah, definitely or potentially a lot more really, and particularly if a website designer is charging you 1000 pounds or whatever-
Yeah, that’s not to say there’s not work involved with it though. There is-
No yeah, absolutely.
There is work actually involved in changing a theme and making it your own, but we always advise, it’s kind of worth doing because you get that experience of WordPress and all that learning that you do is so valuable for the future because you’re able to update your website constantly for the future. You don’t have to rely on a web designer every single time you want to make a text changed on your website or change something on your website. It’s very, very powerful that you do learn that stuff.
Exactly. And there is a third option. Obviously you can spend as much as you want on a theme. Some themes will set you back over 100 pounds. So $120 I think, there’s plenty of things out there that will cost 150, maybe 200. And these usually they’re direct from the maker. And you’ve got a kind of ongoing support with them. Some of them even charge you a monthly fee to have access to the theme, if they offer quite a considerable support as well. So it might be kind of 30 pounds a month and you’ve got access to all our themes and you can email us whenever you like. So there’s that option as well if you’d like to change things around quite a lot.
Okay. So you also mentioned plugins as well. How much do they cost?
Well, you’ve got a lot of plugins available for free and you should always start with the free plugins, so this is one where we’re like, use the free ones if they’re available. But you can potentially spend a lot time looking for plugins. So let’s just say for instance you want an events plugin, you want to actually list events on your website and you need a way of displaying them easily so people can view the different events. You can find lots and lots of plugins that will allow you to do this for free. However, you may find that if it’s important enough, you actually do need some ongoing support. So usually what you can do is you can try the plugin for free, see if you like it and then you’ll notice that in the back end of WordPress you might be able to upgrade it for 30 pounds or $30, and actually get a premium our pro version of that a plugin.
So that might be something you want to do if it’s important enough, but for the most part you can install your SEO plugins for free with Yoast, you can install a 301 redirect plugins, you can install free social media sharing plugins. But you can always upgrade if you feel as though it’s important enough. But we use lots of free plugins on our websites and our clients’ websites and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. As long as you do your due diligence and you check out the reviews, you make sure they are compliant and they’re actually built well.
Yeah, definitely. And it’s good also to look at the last time it was updated, wasn’t it?
We always look for plugins that were updated very recently because that means the developer is making sure that they’re free of any books and things like that and they’re compatible with the latest version of WordPress. So it’s always good to check out how recently they’ve been updated. If it says last updated 2012, then definitely avoid that one. Yeah. So that’s a really good point. I think there’s a theme actually building really where you can see sort of if you’re going for free, you’re not going to get any support with it. If you’re going for this sort of middle one, you get a little bit of support, but you do it yourself and if you go for the more expensive one, generally someone will either for you or you’ll get a lot of assistance. So yeah, I can see that theme running through. So finally you mentioned page builders, what about page builders? How expensive are they? How are they different?
Yeah, so you might want to use a page builder if you need a little bit more control over the design of each of the pages on your website. So page builders are things like Divi, Visual composer, you’ve got Elemental, you’ve got Thrive themes, you’ve got Beaver builder. These are all page builders that you can actually go out and install on your website that will allow you to use drag and drop features. We generally don’t recommend people use a page builder unless you absolutely need to, partly because you know they can potentially slow your website down. You’re adding this extra big bulky thing to your website, and if you don’t really need it, then we recommend don’t using it. However, if you are struggling with the normal WordPress editor and you need something with a little bit more control. Then by all means, you can install a few page builders.
Some of them you can start for free, Elemental, which is absolutely fantastic if we’re being honest, it’s one of the better ones. They actually offer a free version that you can install on your website and have a play around with it. That way you can drag things around and drop them and you’ve not paid anything for it. You can always uninstall it if you don’t like it, and obviously there’s a premium version of that that you can use. So that’s one option.
You can also choose to pay a little bit upfront for one of these page builders. So Thrive themes, you can start for around $67, I think it is at the minute or Divi, which is around $ 89 I believe, but some of them are more complicated than others. Some of them might take you more time. It’s up to you what you need out of it. But feel free to tell us what you need in the Facebook group as well. That’s what it’s there for. If you are saying you’re looking for a page builder and this is why, then we can generally recommend which page builder’s going to be better for you. And it can be a bit frustrating if you just paid out for something that everybody’s recommending, but it’s not relevant to you. So feel free to use our Facebook group for that.
Yeah, I’ll drop the links into the show notes on our website. But yeah, it’s an interesting one with page builders because I think they look so easy. Don’t they? And particularly when you’ve watched the videos and you see kind of how easy it is to drag and drop. I think in reality, and I found this myself because I used Divi this year for something. And I did find it a little bit frustrating I think, the amount of time actually took to actually sort of get used to it was quite a long time really. And that’s someone who’s quite experienced with more web design. So yeah, I think it’s just something to be quite cautious of. And if you can try it out for free first like with Elemental, then that’s a good option. So you can see if it works well for you.
Yeah. But they are kind of all a similar price really, you can expect to pay less than $100 for a plugin at least to get started to allow you to use drag and drop features. So yeah, you can start for free, but you can expect to pay up to $100 if you need that.
And is that, [inaudible 00:20:04]so much you charged yearly for that?
Yeah. It’s something to be wary of isn’t it?
Because I think sometimes you think, oh, it’s $100, and then next year it comes out of your account and you thinking what was that? So yeah, do check out if it is actually yearly, I think a lot of them are an annual charge. So make sure you keep an eye on that when you’re actually looking at buying them.
Yeah. So to sum everything up really, I think it’s a case of how much time versus money you’d like to invest. So if you know what you need to get a domain name or you might already have one, but you just need to get hosting and maybe you’ve got $50 to spend on a theme, then great, you can start quite cheap. It’s not going to cost you more than 100 to $150 a year at least to get started with hosting because that’s an annual fee. But if you wanted to go, I want lots of plugins and I want all of these fancy features and I’m going to use a page builder as well. Then costs might set you back around four or $500 depending on what you want to invest. It all depends on you and how much time versus money. We absolutely don’t recommend that you stay on any free plans for long.
If you’ve got a free domain, if you’ve got free hosting, use it to get to know the systems, use it to get to know plugins and how those all work and then as soon as possible, get a proper hosting account. Get a proper domain and get a relatively nice looking template, it’s relatively cheap. And that’s usually where most people stay because there’s so many free plugins available. People don’t like paying for plugins when they need to, but for some features on your website, especially if it’s a pinnacle part of your website and your business, like you might run an events business or you might say, “You know, I’m actually going to spend $50 on this plugin for events.”
It might work out instead of using something like Event Brite which takes a percentage.
In the long run, that might be more financially viable. Definitely.
Exactly. So there’s longer term financial benefits as well for spending money now and then reaping the benefits later.
Yeah, definitely. Okay. Well that was a really interesting episode I think. And hopefully we’ve given you some ideas of how much it will cost, which is brilliant. So if you didn’t already know, we do actually have a free Facebook group. We’d love you to join. Just head over to Jammydigital.com/Facebook. You can ask us any questions in there. Any questions you’ve had from this podcast episode, just fire away in there. Every Wednesday we review websites for free and this is usually a paid service where we offer, but at the minute we are doing a number of these for free little mini website critiques in our Facebook group. So that’s it for today’s episode. We’ll see you next time on the Make your mark online podcast.