How Much Should A Website Cost – Website Maintenance Cost

When planning for a blog or website it’s smart toto know how much should a website cost so you don’t break your budget. You may wonder why I bother with this topic because you really want to get started. Stop, for just a minute and think about the average cost of website design and the ongoing website maintenance cost. Prioritize your budget before you build and you will thank yourself later on.

The costs discussed are those you would be thinking about if you decide to build a wordpress website.  If you go with a monthly subscription service that provides pre-canned drag and drop templates plus email integration you’re starting at $97/month and up.

If you’ve done any google searches on the subject, then you’ve seen lots of comments that it takes $3-4 /month to get started with a WordPress site or blog. Yes, just for a basic hosting plan, that’s technically true but what about the other costs you will incur?

Let’s cover a few additional details so you have realistic expectations about how much does it cost to start a blog or website in addition to the website maintenance cost to keep it going. 

Planning a budget will help you build an affordable amazing blog or website.

The Truth About Cost

Here’s the honest truth. It takes more then $3-4 /month to make a site that “stands out” above the competition. Anyone who tells you otherwise is skipping details. That $3 to $4 hosting fee is just one piece of the puzzle.

Now, this is just based on using WordPress as the “infrastructure” for your blog or website.  (Don’t yet worry about WordPress if you are unfamiliar with it.)  I cover it in other articles.

Depending on what you plan for your site, you will add a “theme”, “plugins” and services to promote your content. Don’t worry about what themes, plugins and services are yet. Just understand that you will need them.

The point I’m making is that not all “tools” (aka themes, plugins and services) are free.  You need to budget for all the basics.  I didn’t say you had to spend a lot you just need to budget.

You may decide you want the option of support for important “features” (think “themes, plugins, services) which are all “tools” you use to build and maintain your site. Good support is not always free. Free support is usually within user forums or communities; there you post a question and wait for someone to answer. Paid support is just that. You pay, ask a question and get an answer within a specified period of time. So, you may decide that specific themes, plugins or other “services” are worth paying for support. Ultimately, you will end up with a mix of free and paid for items.


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Budgets and Priorities

Much of what I teach is with FREE TOOLS (aka themes, plugins or services) but as an option, I do demo some paid ones that I like to use.

Some “tools” are more important than others.  I share themes, plugins and services I love to use and I show you what they provide. 

So while I’ll show you free and paid version, you choose what to use for your blog or website. The paid ones I show work on my sites. I know because I’ve had to search for and test a lot of themes, plugins and services. Those I like and have found useful I’m demonstrate, I write about etc.

Plus, I’m pretty picky about what I use and what I’m willing to pay for. Like you, I want a good deal. That said, I’m also transparent about what I use and what I promote. Some of “tools” may provide me with a small referral fee. Again, whatever you choose to use is strictly up to you.

You will notice I don’t promote many subscription “tools” (aka themes, plugins or services). Subscriptions are those monthly fees for plugins or services. There’s quite a few I’ve found that are awesome but run around $99/month or more.   If you are starting out with a new site, the cost for those subscriptions may not initially fit your budget.  Once you’re up and running, you may later decide that these are great add-ons.

My advice is to consider what “tools” you need to make your site rock, what you can budget, and whether a free version (which won’t have all the bells and whistles) is meets your purposes.

Now, let’s focus on what to realistically budget for in terms how much a website should cost and what the ongoing website maintenance cost could be.

The Minimums:

Hosting, Themes and Email: Plan on a $3-4/month hosting fee and an initial cost $29 to $59 is not unreasonable for a good theme.  You should consider purchasing a theme just for the support when you get started.  Frankly email services should be in your budget (whether now or later) because email is how you engage your subscribers. Plan on email costs. You don’t have to spend much to start. Whether you start with a limited free plan or jump in at basic service ($10 – $30/month) you will need additional email features that are available with the monthly subscription services.

The Extras:

Plugins and other services: At minimum, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and performance plugins or services are worth the money spent. Security is important and good backups are critical as well.  You may never need to use your backup but if you do it will literally save your online blog or business.

Each one of those options can run roughly $40 – 99 annual (rough estimates).  Yes, you can start with a few free options but they won’t have as many features.  Protecting and growing your site is worth it.  Just decide what you can afford and when.

Other plugins and services that you may end up purchasing are membership forums, electronic shopping carts and image or photo gallery tools.

Plus consider image compression, surveys or forms, popup windows, tables, and comparison pricing lists.  Depending on what your blog or website is about, you will be able to find all kinds of plugins and services that add cool features you can use. There are hundreds of plugins and services available. That’s what makes having a custom website so flexible and gives you options that the pre-canned template websites can’t provide. If there is something you want to do with your site, more than likely you may find a “lite” free version and an equivalent “paid” version. The more important the “tool” is to your site, the more you should consider paying for support.

That’s why I discuss how much does it cost to start a website. Budgeting helps prioritize as your site grows.  Remember you can use free “tools” but there are times when purchasing is simply the best long-term choice.

My point? Expect to spend a little more than that originally mention $3-4/month hosting fee.

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