WordPress is a powerful platform designed with a user-friendly interface to ensure optimal experiences when building a website. Thanks to its intuitiveness, you don't necessarily need to have any technical knowledge to build a website with WordPress. Learning to navigate the platform is all that is required.
Built for the Average Joe, there is one aspect you are sure to notice about WordPress: it’s free. Hypothetically this is true, as files are typically stored in a WordPress server whose services are indeed free. However, as soon as you get practical and start the long process of building a website, you will definitely realize that it is a mirage, especially if you are considering building a commercial website.
If you are looking forward to creating a site that will generate a substantial amount of revenue, and see a lot of traffic, the free basic features don't meet the required threshold.
Why WordPress Isn't Actually Free
As a matter of fact, opening and running a website on WordPress.com without spending a dime is a reality. It all depends on your needs and goals. If you are a casual content producer with no aspirations of ever monetizing your blog, free WordPress services would be a great deal. However, if you're the enterprising type who wants to build a commercial company site, you can't rely on free stuff. First and foremost, most free WordPress services are inefficient, unreliable and simply don't pack the punch you need.
Remember, you are not the only one in the arena. There are hundreds of competitors seeking the same attention from a limited number of customers. Whether building an online store or launching a revenue-generating website, your main goal is to gain an edge and establish total dominance in your niche. Besides the basic features offered by WordPress, investing in advanced programs and premium services is key.
The Hidden Costs of Setting up and Running a WordPress site
Whereas the self-hosted WordPress program is generally unrestricted, when allocating funds, there are a number of other charges involved in setting up a site. Some of the most obvious hidden costs include:
- Hosting fees
- Domain name registration fee
- Premium themes and other add-ons
- A lengthy collection of plugins and extensions
So, how much do these hidden charges amount to? To get a crystal clear insight into how much it will cost you to build a website with WordPress, here is a step-by-step outline of each individual element.
1. Hosting fees
WordPress is a comprehensive platform for building websites, and it comes with a self-hosting plan that is usually free of charge. While this type can be a perfect alternative, the truth is that your site will be co-hosted alongside others. With that, it means you will have to operate on a shared server space, which may result in website errors. This in turn affects the overall operation of your site, especially if you are anticipating heavy online traffic. Besides that, self-hosting lacks advanced security features, which can raise serious safety issues, ultimately jeopardizing trust among your visitors.
Ranging between $60 to $240 per year, hosting is arguably the most expensive part of starting a website. However, the investment is worthwhile considering it decreases the threat of hackers. So, if you are launching your site with hopes of establishing a strong online presence, it is recommended that you choose a reputable hosting company.
2. Domain name registration fees ($15/year)
Although not a must when starting a self-hosted blog with WordPress.com, a registered domain is virtually the backbone of every professional website you will come across on the Internet. For a commercial blog, it is important to sign up under a registered domain name.
Unlike the free WordPress address, which seems unprofessional, with a premium domain name, you will have an exclusive opportunity to customize it so that it takes a more serious shape ideal for business. By registering a domain name, visitors will be able to quickly find your website and have the guts to click on it without fear of getting scammed, ultimately improving sales and traffic.
3. Themes/Templates ($75 and above)
In reality, WordPress is a massive template library that includes both free and premium options. While many of the over 31,000 WordPress themes are free and can be utilized on numerous occasions, it is apparent that most of them are designed from a basic perspective. As a result, this choice may not offer the maximum navigation capabilities possible, thus making it difficult for visitors to manoeuvre across your site.
On the other hand, premium themes are meticulously designed with all the necessary features ideal for a serious web owner. Basically, a good theme guarantees seamless navigation and perfect compatibility with numerous plugins.
Although WordPress can be a great avenue to find elegant website templates, there are dozens of other companies like Template Monster that offer mouthwatering deals.
4. Extensions and Plugins ($10 - $200)
For an operative website that can seamlessly handle all digital marketing tasks, plugins and extensions are indispensable assets. Upon building a shell and adding content, the next step is optimizing your site so that you can easily access all the necessary channels.
Depending on the nature of the site and your specific requirements, you will need to link up with the appropriate plugins. While WordPress still offers free extensions, for maximum efficiency, it is important to consider subscribing to customized versions.
Generally creating a website at WordPress.com is considered to be free of charge. However, to achieve a fully operational website that can be monetized, there is a lot that needs to be done. On average, it will cost you a minimum of $200/year to run a WordPress website. To cut to the chase, the notion that WordPress is completely free is just a hypothesis and cannot be applied in a real-life situation.