How much does a WordPress website cost?

Written by
Luke Marthinusen

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How much does a WordPress website cost?

The purchase of a WordPress website is a lot like the purchase of a motor vehicle. With all the options available, the price can vary drastically – even on the same model. Let’s use this analogy to understand how prices vary. For example, a base model Toyota pickup can start around R250k ($20k) with just a basic package, cost can quickly rise over R500k ($40k) once a buyer adds all the extras, from double cab, leather seats, ride packages, traction control, hill assist, brake assistance, extra safety features and more.

Considering that the average motor vehicle owner usually sells or trades in their motor vehicle within five years of purchase, why do so many buyers opt in for expensive upgrades? The answer is that people have specific requirements their motor vehicle. They want to avoid buyers regret and make sure they can keep the car for the full five-year term without the need for an early upgrade.

Because most people spend anywhere from 30-60 minutes or more in their vehicles every day, they want to make sure it will provide them with reliability, comfort, longevity, and ease of use.

WordPress Website Cost

These same principles apply to most website buyers.

People are going to see your website every day for as long as you run your business, and picking the right website with the right options the first time is critical to ensure maximum business benefit with minimum maintenance cost. Because of this, most website purchasers elect to get the website that will make them happiest in the long-run.

Unfortunately, some people only focus on the initial price of the website. Their goal is to find the cheapest web developer or web development company. They sacrifice low-maintenance, quality, warranty and aesthetics, which inevitably leads to regret and additional cost. The key difference is that unlike a motor vehicle, a website can’t be traded in for an upgrade or if the owner is unhappy with the vehicle.

New call-to-actionSome of the most common "add-ons" found in the purchase of a website:

  • Custom design
  • Theme/Template selection
  • Mobile responsive
  • eCommerce
  • Integrations (API, ERP, marketing automation, etc.)
  • Content (Writing, editing, export and import)
  • Portfolio/work section
  • Contact forms
  • Email system integration
  • SEO (On-page SEO, redirects, error checking, keyword research, Google My Business listings and Google Maps)
  • User management
  • Security
  • Backup
  • Hosting
  • Maintenance

As you can see, there are lots of options available. When someone receives a quote from us, we examine each option and educate the website purchaser on the benefits of each option. We want to identify its overall importance to the success of the project. 

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How the website build affects the cost

When someone inquires how much our websites cost, type of build and extent of involvement is also a key factor. What I mean by this is that as a company, we have different build types we offer our customers. Unlike most web development companies, we will do as much or as little as our customers would have us do. This flexibility leads to less stress and more savings for the customer.

The build types are as follows, with their corresponding price ranges:

1. Template/Theme for WordPress, website purchaser provides copy and images

This build type includes the selection, customisation and setup of a WordPress template/theme. The website purchaser is responsible for all the website copy and images required. The copy needs to be in a complete format, ready to import directly into the new WordPress site. The website purchaser is also responsible for feedback during the various stages in the review process.

Although the concept of writing about a business for a website is not very complex, it does require some attention to detail. I recommend build type #1 to website purchasers who are skilled with writing and have some knowledge of digital marketing and promotion.

The average person spends between R30,000-R60,000 ($2,500-$5,000) on a build type #1, based on the size of the website and the options that come with it.

Examples of build type #1 we have developed: Flamin’ Cockerel & Carinthia Quality Interiors

wordpress costs


2. Template/Theme for WordPress, with copy and images

This type includes everything in build type #1, but it also includes the writing of the copy and selection, design and editing of images for the website, the copy and image review process as well as interviews with company stakeholders to create compelling website copy.

The website purchaser is responsible for feedback during the various stages in the review process.

The price of this build type #2 typically ranges from R60,000-R120,000 ($5,000-$10,000), again depending on the size of the website and options.

Examples of build type #2 we have developed: Perch Co-Working & Reload Logistics

wordpress website cost


3. Custom Website on WordPress, website purchaser provides copy and most images

Build type #3 includes an entirely custom design and layout; the client has free reign to design exactly what they want. This is entirely unlike build type #1 & #2, where the client’s wishes must be shoehorned into a purchased theme/template.

The website purchaser is responsible for all the website copy, most images required, as well as feedback during the various stages in the review process.

Most website purchases will spend on average R80,000-R160,000 ($6,000-$14,000) for build type #3; again depending on the size of the website and options.

Example of a build type #3 we have developed: Pharoah Auto Investments

custom wordpress website


4. Custom Website on WordPress, web development company writes copy and selects and edits new imagery

Many website purchasers would rather just deal with one company instead of many or do any of the work themselves. We at MO Agency are one of the few companies that will offer our clients true 'turn-key' web development service.

This package includes everything in build type #3, but it also includes the writing of the copy and selection, design and editing of images for the website, the copy and image review process, and interviews with company stakeholders to create compelling website copy.

The website purchaser is responsible for feedback during the various stages in the review process.

Most customers will spend R120,000-R500,000 ($10,000-$40,000) for a turn-key project, with a most falling in the R140,000-R250,000 ($12,000-$22,000) price range.

Examples of build type #4 we have developed: Al Ruwayeh & Partners, & IEP Group

wordpress website examples


How WordPress website costs compare to other website types

As you can see, the price ranges vary a lot, just as they should. Everyone has different requirements, goals, and budgets when it comes to building a new website, similar to when one would consider buying a new motor vehicle.

As far as WordPress website prices compare with other types of website builds, one might expect to find the following:

1. DIY website builders like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly

These simple, all-in-one platforms allow you to build a website quickly without any formal training in web development. DIY website builders are great for blogs, informational sites, portfolios, and basic business sites. 

For obvious reasons, a DIY website builder website will cost the least amount initially. This is because it is not viewed within the website industry as a permanent website solution for a business.

Simply stated, a DIY website builder website is a short-term solution to a long-term investment. Although its initial cost is normally far less than a WordPress site, its long-term cost is often much more.

The functionality, integration, and scalability options are very limited, and any enhancements to the website beyond its basic format often requires a rebuild of the website on another platform like WordPress.

2. Other Open Source CMS’s like WordPress

Websites built on other open source CMS’s like Joomla or Drupal typically initially cost about the same as a WordPress website. However, when you review the long-term costs, you'll find a big difference.

As with a WordPress website you need a professional to build your website, however, there are fewer web developers that use Drupal, Joomla, and other similar open source CMS’s. Fewer developers mean you can get locked into using one developer in your area, or shipping the services offshore if you are not happy with them. Adding custom functions and features into an open source website is a possibility, but you need to have the right development skills on hand, especially if something goes wrong and it needs to be fixed quick. There are plugins and modules available for most open source CMS’s, however, the vast majority of them are for WordPress. If you can think it, it’s more than likely available for WordPress. This cuts down on cost and time to add, enhance, and maintain website features.

Marketers know how to use WordPress. If you are going to hire a marketing person to upload your content and manage your website, WordPress is very familiar and will require little to no training.

It is very rare that an educated consumer will choose another CMS over WordPress unless the requirement on the website is very specific or unusual and low-maintenance is not a concern.

The initial pricing is similar to that of WordPress, but the maintenance costs and feature enhancement costs are more expensive in the long run.

3. Custom website on a framework like Ruby on Rails or CakePHP

Using a framework like Ruby on Rails or CakePHP, a web development company can build a completely custom website with all the custom/complex requirements needed. Custom systems can be built to meet the exact needs and requirements of the business. However, high flexibility and custom integrations come at a cost in terms of time and level of skill required. A moderate-high commitment to maintenance is required and at a high cost per hour for development and support.

We recently had a financial services customer call us. They were frustrated by their current web development company who was not getting to their website updates/enhancements as well as important content updates. The developers had built the website with Ruby on Rails. The customer had a quote on the table for the updates at a cost of R300,000 ($25,000). We told them we could transfer the entire site over to WordPress and get the updates/enhancements and content management done in the transfer for R180,000 ($15,000). We got the job.

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