You can definitely build a completely functional website with less than $100. And I will not be wrong saying you can do the same thing under $50. Yes! It is possible. But in the long run, you may encounter limitations due to insufficient supporting elements, like plugins and themes.
It is recommended to start your website slow, and then add plugins that become essential for its smooth functioning. This way you can easily negate the need for bulksome initial investment into the website in the starting phase. You can avoid overspending by only buying plugins that you actually need.
Before diving deep, let’s break a myth!
Breaking the myth
There is no formula to calculate the initial setup cost for a website. Nor is there a way to measure the monthly spending on the website. The cost varies significantly depending on a number of things.
First, let’s talk about themes. They are the first layer of design on your website. This dictates the color, font and the overall layout of your website. Fortunately, there are many free themes available for WordPress, also there are premium themes that can make things easier for you. And its obvious that free themes will not be able to give you the same functionality as the premium ones would.
Now let’s talk about plugins. The core WordPress system comes free. It is packed with the basic tools you will need to manage content on your website. However, not every website on the internet is same in terms of design, operation, and purpose. This is why every website needs individual attention. For example, an online store will need more plugins than a normal blogging website would. An online store must comply with different payment rules and regulations. It needs to consider tax rates. These mandatory tasks make running a WordPress Online Store complex and ultimately increasing the setup and maintenance cost.
Understanding the cost
Let’s keep it simple.
Estimating the exact cost is a wrong approach. However, what we can do is give you a range and identify objects which will cost you money. You will see the cost objects of a Simple WordPress powered blogging website. Followed by the cost objects of a WordPress powered Online Store. Let’s see how their setup cost varies. And what are the factors that affect its cost?
But before doing so, let’s learn about the three basic things every website needs- Domain name, Hosting and a CMS.
Firstly a Domain Name is your web address. This is what your customers will type into their browser address bar to land on your online store. Think of it as your home address.
There is a way to find out which domain names are available. Click here to do so. However not every website lets you spy on them like this. You can pay your Domain registrar a little more so that your private information is not accessible from the Whois database. Many Domain Registrars include this feature in their package for free.
After you have purchased a domain name, you may need to change the registrar company in the future. This is not very surprising rather very common. This is why you need to see the transfer plans offered by registrars.
Below you can see a table illustrating the domain prices in regards to the extension you pick.
Hosting is where your website will live on the internet. This is a virtual space where your website and all its elements reside. Think of it as the land on which you have built your house.
Hosting providers have different packages for pretty much every hosting type. You can choose any of their Basic, Standard, Elite or Pro plans. Some firms offer a longer list. You can also pick Managed WordPress Hosting. This plan cost you anywhere between $3.95-$11.95.
Below you can see hosting prices from leading Hosting providers.
CMS Platform- WordPress
And finally, WordPress is a CMS platform for creating and placing your online store elements into the right spot. Think of it as the architecture of your house. You can download the core WordPress software from WordPress.org.
We all know, WordPress is a free and open source CMS platform. But, the basic functionality may make you feel frustrated as your website grows. Luckily, many plugins for WordPress are free as well. Additionally, you can use a free/demo version of a plugin and get most of your work done.
WordPress Fun Fact
Do you know- WordPress powers 30% of the world’s website?
Identifying the Cost Objects
Cost objects for a WordPress Blogging website
Blogging is a very popular hobby. People take this as a profession also. As a rule of thumb, blogging websites can be built at a low cost. However, this will not affect the blogging experience. Blogging requires comparatively fewer plugins, thus reducing the initial startup cost.
- Domain Name
You can buy hosting from Bluehost, an officially recommended hosting provider by WordPress. You can purchase hosting at $2.75 a month. Additionally, they will give you a domain name and 1-click WordPress install. After this, you need a theme. There are thousands of free themes for WordPress. Or else you can pick a premium theme as well.
Afterwards, you may need plugins for security and marketing purpose. But for the time being, let’s think you only need a website for blogging purpose. Now let’s assume you want to pursue blogging as a profession. Now you need to upgrade your website so that it can serve you better. To do so, you will need plugins and add-ons. This will increase your cost.
As your blogging website grows, you may need to buy a plugin that will let you display your blogs in a nice layout.
Cost objects for a WordPress Online Store
Anyone can build their own online store with Shopify or WordPress+WooCommerce. The later is most suitable as it gives you extra flexibility. WooCommerce works with any WordPress theme. Which means you can stick to your current theme.
But to run an online store, you need several supporting elements.
For example, the WooCommerce EU VAT Compliance, lets you run your transactions smoothly. This plugin will help you apply VAT rate to a price, according to the rules of the country where the purchase was made, and at the VAT Rate of that country. You must also pick a payment gateway for your stores like Stripe or PayPal.
You may also feel the need for a product slider. This may not have a direct impact on the sales, but it will definitely enhance the shopping experience.WooCommerce is among the 19,000 plugins available for WordPress. It was launched back in September 2011. Since then, WooCommerce has upgraded itself to offer the best experience to its users. And by the year 2013, it had roughly 1M downloads.
You don’t want your customers having to leave your store page, to make payments. This is a great flaw. This can cost you willing customers to spend their money. However, if you want your customers to make payments on your store page, you need to have an SSL certificate. This certificate lets you receive sensitive information such as credit card details. Then your customers can make their purchase on your web-page.
An SSL Certificate will cost you around $69.99/year. This is required for a secured shopping experience.
So the cost objects for a WordPress Online store are as follows-
- Domain name
- SSL Certificate
This list will surely vary from person to person. And you may even need to add new elements to the list based on your requirements. The hosting and domain name spending is more or less constant for every case. However, the cost varies significantly for Themes and plugins. As Themes are your designing block, and plugins add additional functionality, the need for these varies website to website.
Picking a CMS platform
Your website is your marketing asset. That is why its appearance must reflect the essence of your business. But that does not mean you have to invest heavily in CMS platform. Trust me or not, the top three CMS platforms are totally free. You just need to assess which CMS can serve your purpose better than others. You can do it by going through their features.
There are several key features you should look for in a CMS. And it goes without saying you may have to compromise some of the features. The goal is to find the perfect tradeoff between the features offered by a CMS.
As your website grows, you may feel comfortable with delegating tasks to certain people. This ultimately reduces the time required to finish a blog. You must be able to assign specific user roles to tweak your work-flow. You may want to manage multiple websites from one place. This may not be necessary now but in the future. You may want to launch a website dedicated to Mobile users. Or you may even want to create a supporting website for your page. You may want to use only one language but once it starts to boom, you may feel more comfortable with a CMS that helps you use multiple languages.
Even if WordPress is the most widely used CMS, there are many other CMS platforms available on the market as well.
The top three CMS
As your business grows your website must be able to serve your purpose thus helping you to reach your ultimate potential. A good CMS is important. But it goes without saying that you may only need a handful of features in a CMS. And the other features that will come with it will be of no use to you, ever! But lets not judge features on their merit.
There are basically three CMS platforms that dominate the market. Among these three WordPress has the winning edge. With its 44k Plugins, you can expand its functionality to any limit. It offers thousands of free themes as well.
Benefits of WordPress
You can download and install any of the 45,000 plugins available to extend the functionality of your website.
Using WordPress you can build websites, blogs and also apps.
WordPress has a big community of users. Thousands of documentation are available on different topics.
And it also gives you the opportunity to add or remove plugins. These plugins work as supporting frames for your WordPress powered website. If you want a simple website or a multi-vendor online store, all can be done using the right plugins.
And the best part is, it comes free! Many hosting providers have WordPress hosting packages.However, one drawback of WordPress, it is an open-source platform. Which means anyone can access the core of WordPress and edit it. However, for every individual who wants to harm the WordPress ecosystem, there are twice as many volunteers who will put full effort into protecting it.
Elementor- A useful tool for building an elegant WordPress website
Elementor is is a drag and drop Page Builder for WordPress. You can create a top-notch website with Elementor Page Builder without having to write a single line of code. It is as easy as it sounds. You will have advanced elements like the CTA button and Pricing Table. These elements are a must for a great marketing campaign.
There a dozen elements for Advanced WordPress users who have WooCommerce stores. Like the Woo-elements, Woo-Add to cart, Woo-Categories. There are a dozen more for individuals who emphasize more on the design of a website. The Image carousel, Image gallery, Animated headline lets you create stylish websites.
And do you know what the best part is?
There are enough ready-made templates of each element from which you can choose from. However, for anyone who would like to customize the design themselves, they can adjust the styling with simple toggle bars. For more advanced users, every element has a custom CSS field, where you can edit elements with CSS coding.
Why should I tell you more, when you can get the free version today. You can see the demos before making your purchase decision.
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