If you’re thinking of creating your own website, you’re likely looking for the best web-building platform for bringing your vision to life. No doubt, you’ll want to carefully examine the flexibility and customization options available. Arguably, these are two of the most vital factors in that search. That said, so are performance and credibility.
Chances are you’ve heard of WordPress, and it’s a platform you’re considering. After all, WordPress is no longer considered only a CMS as it powers over 39% of the entire web.
There’s no doubt WordPress provides everything you need to create a stunning custom website. In this tutorial, we’re discussing everything you need to consider when building a custom WordPress website. We’ll go over typical WordPress website design costs, risks, benefits, and a few of the factors at play as you proceed.
Table of contents
- WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
- Before Creating a Custom WordPress Website…
- 1. Brand Identity
- 2. Your Content and Website’s Architecture
- 3. The Core Functionality of Your Custom WordPress Website
- 4. The Design of Your Custom WordPress Website
- 5. The Performance, Security & UX of Your Custom WordPress Website
- 6. The Ongoing Maintenance and Support of Your Custom WordPress Website
- 7. Other Factors
- Different Site Types and The Cost of Creating These Custom WordPress Websites
- Are You Ready to Create Your Own Custom WordPress Website?
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
Before going any further, let’s clarify a common cause of confusion. There are two variants of WordPress, each boasting slightly different uses:
WordPress.com: This is a fully hosted SaaS, website builder, and content management system. It uses the WordPress engine to get you online within minutes. You can host your site on a WordPress subdomain or connect with your own web domain. Server management is handled for you.
WordPress.org: On the other hand, WordPress.org is an open-source framework, which you can download for free to start building your custom WordPress site. This requires some technical know-how. You’ll need to secure your own hosting, web domain, and manage your server-related needs yourself.
WordPress.org is one of the most flexible solutions on the market, providing seemingly endless possibilities for customization. It can support any type of business, including eCommerce stores, blogs, and nonprofits.
With WordPress.org, you can develop your own website. This is an excellent option if you have the CSS and HTML coding smarts to bring your vision to life and you’re looking to keep the costs down. Conversely, suppose web development isn’t your thing; the risk is encountering technical issues and a much longer road to creating the website than you had in mind.
Before Creating a Custom WordPress Website…
Before downloading WordPress.org and jumping into development, consider the variables at play. It’s imperative you plan ahead to ensure you have the necessary skills and budget to create the website you’re envisioning.
This means thinking about what you want your site to look like and what functionality you want it to possess. Ultimately, this will determine the cost of your website creation.
While WordPress.org is free to use, many of its plugins and themes aren’t. Your WordPress hosting and web domain are also additional costs worth considering, so let’s examine each factor in turn:
1. Brand Identity
Your brand identity determines how your audience perceives you. As such, it plays a massive role in establishing your credibility and professionalism. Below we explore two core aspects of any brand’s identity:
Your brand identity comprises many visual elements, including your logo, your website’s color palette, typography, images, etc.
At the bare minimum, your logo is what visually represents your brand to your online audience.
If you have an existing logo, great. If not, this could be an additional cost. Alternatively, you could create your own logo using a free graphic design tool like Canva. However, if you don’t have the design chops to do the job justice, consider hiring a pro.
Your Domain Name
Your web domain is the online address that pinpoints the location of your site on the web. It’s an essential part of your brand’s identity, and as such, it will often include your business name.
Pro Tip: Pick one that’s easy to spell, remember, and distinctly represents you and your website. This makes it easier for visitors to look you up in the future.
You can see if the domain name you’re considering is already taken on instantdomainsearch.com. Just plug in your potential domain, and see what’s available!
Typically, custom domains cost between $10 and $12 a year (depending on the extension you chose). Some providers will host your website and include a free domain name registration in the package.
Your selected extension will depend on the nature and type of business you’re running.
- .com is a popular all-round option for commercial and personal websites.
- .org is better suited to organizations like non-profits.
Conversely, if you’re launching a localized blog or business, consider opting for a country-specific extension. For example, .de is the domain extension for Germany, and .co.uk usually signifies a British website.
2. Your Content and Website’s Architecture
Before designing your website, ask yourself: what content do you plan on publishing? How will you organize it?
These answers are excellent indicators of the complexity of your custom WordPress site. The more pages on your website, the more complicated its design might get. Also, if you’re publishing lots of content (mainly if it requires lots of storage -like video), you may have to consider upgrading your web hosting.
The best way to plan your website’s architecture is to write it out as a flowchart. Be sure to highlight which navigation item opens which page.
For instance, your top navigation might look like this:
From there, you might add extra navigation steps. For example:
- About > Mission Statement, Meet the Team.
- Services > Website Development, Website Design
With a plan at the ready, your web development process will be much more straightforward. It’s also a great asset to have if you’re communicating ideas to a WordPress developer.
3. The Core Functionality of Your Custom WordPress Website
Make a list of the website features you’ll definitely need. Then, create a separate list of ‘nice-to-have’ functionalities.
When drafting these lists, keep in mind your website’s core purpose.
This could be as:
- A website brochure
- An eCommerce store
- A membership website
- An e-learning website
…and so on.
During this brainstorming session, you may realize you need extra features to enhance your user experience. For example, email marketing tools, website forms, loyalty programs, course creators, popups – to name a few!
With the functionalities you’ve just listed, you’ll start getting a sense of how complex your website might get. If you’re unable to code these features yourself, you may have to purchase and use third-party WordPress plugins.
If that’s the case, do some research to see how much this will set you back. For instance, WooCommerce can take care of your eCommerce needs. In contrast, Memberpress provides all the tools required to create a membership site.
4. The Design of Your Custom WordPress Website
The cost of your WordPress website design depends on whether you use a theme, and if you do, which one. There’s a selection of professional-looking free and premium templates to choose from. Generally, most premium themes start at around $50.
If this doesn’t satisfy your website’s vision, consider commissioning a pro to create a custom WordPress theme for you – this is the surest way of ensuring your web design desires are met, and you’ll have a unique design. Alternatively, if you already have a design outlined in a PSD document, you may only need a web developer to implement it.
5. The Performance, Security & UX of Your Custom WordPress Website
To run a successful website, it has to meet a core set of standards concerning website speed and responsiveness. Although some fantastic multi-purpose themes are out there, some of these ready-made themes aren’t performance or mobile-optimized. Often, they come with tons of features you don’t need, and as such, there are loads of unnecessary code that can slow down your website and affect its performance.
In essence, if you want a high performing website, only have the features and functionalities you really need. Using a custom theme, i.e. one that’s created from scratch, often works best. However, you’ll need to hire a web developer and designer’s services to bring this to life.
Another factor critical for website performance and security is your chosen web hosting. This is why it’s recommended to use a web hosting provider that specializes in WordPress. They’ll proactively monitor your website’s performance and security for you.
In short, your web hosting package and provider has a massive bearing on your website’s speed and security. So, do your research to ensure the service you’re considering provides an SSL certificate, automatic backups, caching, and firewalls at minimum. If an SSL certificate isn’t included in your web hosting price, this could cost anywhere between $8 and $120, depending on your website type.
6. The Ongoing Maintenance and Support of Your Custom WordPress Website
Websites need constant attention – updates, tweaks, upgrades, etc. You might also face occasional maintenance and support costs if something goes wrong. In this instance, you’ll need to hire a developer to fix whatever problem you’re facing with your website.
Codeable offers a specific retainer that handles this, so you can rely on ongoing site maintenance and support from WordPress specialists.
7. Other Factors
To conclude our list of factors worth considering before creating a custom WordPress website, here are a few other things to mull over:
- How many people will you need to hire? Will you need a web designer, developer, or content writer? Does your in-house team boast these skill sets?
- Do you know how to use WordPress.org? Can you create the website yourself with the functionality you need using existing plugins?
- How critical for your business is your website? What budget can you set aside for this project?
- How fast/soon do you need it? If you’re adopting a DIY approach, will you have enough time to learn the necessary steps? Hiring a developer might get your site up and running sooner.
Different Site Types and The Cost of Creating These Custom WordPress Websites
For a clearer idea of the costs involved in creating WordPress websites with different functionalities, here are some examples:
A Simple Personal Blog
Usually, a simple blog is the most affordable kind of site to produce, where WordPress website development costs are concerned. You just need a simple website to publish text-based content, which can be organized into categories.
Number of page templates required: 3
- Blog home
- Blog article
- Blog category
Premium plugins worth investing in:
- Yoast SEO, $89 (improves search engine optimization)
- Custom form plugins for creating contact and opt-in forms: for example, Gravity Forms, WP Forms, Ninja Forms.
- Email marketing/newsletter plugins: for example, MailChimp, Mailpoet, Mailjet.
Theme: You can use one of WordPress’s free themes, leaving you with very little to customize.
Hosting: Shared hosting, $2.49 – $15 a month. Use a web hosting provider specializing in WordPress hosting and choose a plan depending on your traffic needs. For a small blog with little traffic, the smallest hosting package should suffice.
A Standard Business/ Brochure Website
Small business owners usually only need a few web pages and, depending on their services, several extra features.
Number of page templates required: 7
- About page
- Contact page
- Services page
- Blog home, articles, categories
Premium plugins worth investing in:
- SEO plugins: for example, Yoast SEO and MonsterInsights
- Drag and drop web page builder plugins: for example, Beaver Builder and Elementor
- Lead generation plugins: for example, OptinMonster, Thrive Leads, ConvertPro
- Analytics plugins: for example, MonsterInsights, ExactMetrics, Analytify
Theme: You can either use a free or premium WordPress theme. Templates designed specifically for businesses are available and are certainly worth checking out.
Hosting: You’re best off purchasing web hosting from a service provider specializing in WordPress. Your chosen package should be based on your expected traffic. If you’re attracting vast numbers of visitors, it’s worth upgrading to a more comprehensive package to unlock benefits like multiple IP addresses, more bandwidth, increased storage, etc. For this kind of web hosting plan, expect to pay anywhere between $70 to $120 a month.
A Complex eCommerce Custom WordPress Website
A complex eCommerce website typically has the most requirements regarding web design, architecture, and performance. You’ll likely need the input of a professional developer and a range of widgets to aid its growth.
Number of page templates required: over 10
- Product categories
- Product pages
- Blog, articles, categories
Premium plugins worth investing in:
- eCommerce platforms: for example, WooCommerce, BigCommerce
- Keyword research plugins: for example, SEMrush, Google Search Console, Ahrefs
- Helpdesk plugins like: for example, LiveChat, Zendesk, Gorgias
- Email marketing automation tools: for example, Mailchimp, Klaviyo, Omnisend
Theme: You’re best off buying and using a premium WordPress theme optimized for eCommerce. This goes a long way to enhance your site’s performance and mobile adaptability.
Hosting: Pick a hosting plan with plenty of bandwidth and storage. It should also include website security features like an SSL certificate. Similar to the other types of sites, the hosting plan will depend on your expected traffic and the size of your store. Regardless of that, it’s worth looking for a managed Woocommerce hosting provider. Expect to pay from 10-20$/month for new stores and 45-200$/month for growing ones.
Are You Ready to Create Your Own Custom WordPress Website?
To estimate your website development costs for building a custom WordPress website, you’ll need to plan ahead. This is the only way to figure out how much you’ll need to spend on premium WordPress themes, hosting, plugins, and potential further customizations and ongoing support.
More complex and business-oriented projects are way more challenging to create and maintain without WordPress development expertise. If you don’t have an in-house team to develop and maintain a custom WordPress site for you, consider hiring a professional agency or freelancer.
Codeable is a professional WordPress-services platform brimming with vetted experts. You can get single-price estimates and find the right professional to tackle your custom design. Submit your project proposal here to get a free no-obligation estimate, 100% risk-free!