There’s one thing everyone wants to know when planning to establish a new website – how much will it cost? Some might say that finding an answer can be likened to determining “how long is a piece of string?”. However, we are going to take you through the steps of website development and provide an estimated cost.
Our costs are based on building a website using WordPress as the content management system (CMS) platform. There are many available platform options for building a website, including do-it-yourself platforms that have sprung up over the past few years. Others include ?HTML/CSS and Shopify (for online shopping sites). However, this article will focus on a WordPress (and WooCommerce for an online shop) solution developed by a professional website developer.
Building a website in WordPress can be broken down into six major streams of effort:
- Design – designing the look and feel in a design tool such as Photoshop.
- Development – converting the final design into a useable website theme/template.
- Plugins – installing and configuring plugins to extend the functionality of the site.
- Content – creating pages and entering content, including text and photos.
- Launch – launching the website in place of any existing site.
- Training – providing an introductory education session on using the WordPress backend.
A great home page design will generally take upwards of 5–6 hours to create.?The process may encompass some sketchings on paper and then conversion of those ideas into digital format.?The design will lay out the components of the page and will serve as a blueprint for the layout and styling of the website.
Additional page designs will add an extra hour per page, so design time for a five-page website will total approximately 10 hours.
At Oley Media, we normally only design a home page. We then use this design as a basis for other pages to keep total costs down. However, we can design as many pages as required on request.
This step is taking the design and building the actual site theme using the WordPress theming framework (https://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Frameworks). We use and recommend Quark starter theme for this purpose (https://quarktheme.com/). WordPress makes developing (theming) a new website very easy by providing common functions and using hooks and filters to intercept and modify these functions, if required.
During the development stage we usually create a home page/front page and one inner page theme. Conversion of a design into a functioning front page theme will usually take 8–10 hours. The inner page usually adds an additional 2–4 hours, depending on the design itself, how complex it is and how many elements are required. This brings the conversion process up to approximately 12–14 hours.
The time and cost involved in installing plugins varies depending on how complicated and how many options the plugin requires.?For example, installing a contact form is far simpler than installing a shopping cart plugin, but they all follow a similar process.
Each plugin needs to be sourced downloaded and installed. This process is fairly straight forward. However, it is the configuration of options and testing that consumes most of the time.?This will typically require 1–2 hours per plugin, depending on the plugin. However, plugins such as online shops and membership platforms typically require for 3–4 hours for configuration and testing.
When considering the cost of plugins, you also need to factor in any plugin licensing fees that might apply.
Plugins we use and recommend include:
- Contact form – Contact Form 7 or Gravity Forms
- Photo gallery – NextGen Gallery
- Search engine optimisation (SEO) – Yoast SEO or All in One SEO
- Image compression – EWWW Image Optimizer for compressing images for faster onsite loading
- Image management – Enable Media Replace to allow for easy updating of images
- Page creation – Duplicate Post to copy existing pages to start with a template
- W3 Total Cache – for website caching to improve performance and speed
- Website security – Wordfence to lock down the site and protect against intrusion attempts
- Advanced Custom Fields – for better control and layout of content
- Online shopping – WooCommerce to sell online.
Content is fairly straight forward. However, formatting is where design and development experience comes into play. Displaying content in sections and columns ensures a nice clean look and feel and may require plugins to assist.?WordPress has just released a new and improved editor called Guttenburg – the purpose of Guttenburg is to make styling content in rows and columns easy and in-built (not requiring additional plugins to help). Allow 1-2 hours per page for content formatting, depending on the complexity of the website design.
Images are something that can be overlooked. Most developers will purchase, on your behalf, images from stock libraries such as iStockPhoto. This avoids the overhead of worrying about where and how to source images.?Image credits on iStockPhoto retail at around $13.50 per credit, with images requiring between 1–3 credits depending on the licence type.
Fine tuning is also a component that needs to be taken into consideration with most customers performing final reviews of content which can add an additional 1-2 hours to a project during tidy-up and testing.
Once complete and signed off, time needs to be reserved to perform launch tasks; they can be time consuming.?These include:
- creating a backup of the existing site (if pre-set) and also backing up the new site
- uploading the new site and creating the new database
- updating the domain name in the WordPress settings
- updating all the links within the code from the test server URL to the new live site URL
- finding and repairing any broken links.
Other tasks to consider in this process are:
- implementing some form of security to protect the site from unwanted intrusions
- implementing site caching to improve performance
- installing any tracking codes from Google, including Analytics, AdWords or Tag Manager
- implementing basic SEO.
We like to allow approximately 2 hours to perform all these tasks and to ensure everything is functioning as expected.
To properly handover a website, training is a must. We deliver training to help the user to understand the system, how it works and how the new owner can manage and update their website moving forwards (without the need to employ a website professional).
We usually allow 1 hour for training.
The following table details the estimated time allocation and associated cost to build a WordPress website.
|Est. Time (hours)|
|Plugins (per plugin)||1||2|
|Content (5 pages)||5||10|
|Based on $100 hourly rate||$2400||$3500|
|Stock images (10)||$150||$300|
|TOTAL ESTIMATED COST||$2610||$3900|
These are estimates only and each website is unique and has its own challenges. The next step is to talk to a web developer about your website needs and confirm the costs.