While in the progress of writing your business plan for your website, underestimating the costs can be the result of using little or the wrong information. WordPress is based on an open source project and therefor has no direct costs. Assumptions based on the free entry setup can lead to serious project challenges.
The costs of a WordPress site
The amount you spend on a WordPress site can be between 0 and more than € 100.000, the right amount for you should be based on the importance of the site combined with your company turnover and positioning among competitors.
Yes WordPress is free
Apart from the hosting which could cost you 0 € (WordPress.com) or as little as 25 € (one.com), WordPress is free, Woocommerce (e-commerce plugin) is free and Storefront (basic e-commerce theme) is free. It is amazing what these 3 pieces of software bring you. The ultimate start, and once you start the easy, well documented configuration you will feel like superman being able to run an online business for next to nothing. (only 20 to 100 hours of your own time).
Making WordPress competitive
Still in the free ‘zone’ you will need to make your site compete in the Google ranking for positioning your product in competition with other distributers. Yoast, the Dutch company offers a free plugin to add schema data to your pages in order for the content to present itself in the best way to google. Adding images and good product descriptions is the base for making this work, and you can do this yourself. Starting from scratch all this can be done within a month by somebody that knows how to read. And adding a google analytics script you will be able to see the basic usage of your site.
So why are agencies asking € 50.000 + for a WordPress site?
For starters 50.000 is not even the top, but to get to the 50.000 + we will need to break the amount up in portions so you can see for which portion suits you, and helps you to consider hiring a professional. These texts give an indication but the real implementation has a lot more aspects.
€ 500 – € 5.000
When you are hiring a professional or agency, you run in to the hourly rate. To make an estimate on the costs, the professionals try to figure out how many hours it will take to setup your specific needs. Let’s say the hourly rate is € 50, this is around the bottom a professional has to ask in order to pay his taxes, setup (desk, chair, pc, software and server) and other expenses (pension, schooling). For 500 your will get 10 hours, and 5.000 a hundred. You will be able to make use of the software licenses the professional bought (Wp Rocket € 250, Gravity Forms € 260 €), provided you get a maintenance subscription for the site with them. Your setup might have taken you 50 hours and they will (re) do that for you for the € 500 with better configuration based on experience, better looks (choosing a stable theme with experience) and better speed. (providing you get them the content needed to fill the pages).
Within a 100 hours a pro can guide you to provide the images and texts that will deliver the best result, this is a tedious process which consumes a lot of time. A great text does not automatically fill the design in a pleasant way so there is a balance between quality and quantity. The advice for any new company website is to be at least in this category. This way anything that is done is done with experience.
€ 2.000 – € 10.000
We are between 40 and 200 hours now, which is not a lot. Often enough agencies take more than 2 months to finish a site with all the back and forth on design, images, and content. Divided by 3 disciplines (design, development and project management) this is only 13 – 70 hours for each discipline. The 200 hours gives the agency the ability to adjust images for best placement, read texts and compare them to other texts used, they can adjust the setup in a maintainable way for your content to work better for you. They can streamline conversion processes to work and look better. Connect interactions to your website in custom analytics dashboards and api & e-mail updates.
€ 5.000 – € 25.000
In this category (100 – 500 hours) we are adding to more disciplines: copywriters and photographers. Your texts were great and your photo’s stunning, but you are not a pro. You have written them from your perspective while the should be written suited for the costomers needs and balanced on your competitors representation in the google ranking. Again divided by 5, each discipline has now 100 hours. You might think that is 3 weeks, why does it take 2 + months to make a website? This is mainly because everything has to be managed. A product description comes in 2 versions: long and short. You, the designer, text writer and project manager need to find a compromise. Constructing two paragraphs can take 10 hours, logically the next two will be quicker. But this goes for titles, subtitles, image descriptions, footers, disclaimers, etc. etc.
€ 25.000 – € 50.000
A € 50.000+ WordPress site?
Yes, and even higher amounts are possible. But how can this be? Let’s start that agencies (no single professional can do this) they are more likely on the 100 € hourly rate. Not because they just do, but because they have more experience. So we are talking about a 500 hours, 100 for each discipline. Sites like these are often multi domain (multisite), multilingual, worldwide, with teams of content editors, and thousands of daily visitors. Conforming a brand style in various regional areas while being easily maintained (technically and content). Having a pleasant user experience world wide and being able to monitor everything from a global scope.
It is not possible to start with a € 500 site and expand it to a € 50.000 site. There is some overlapping, but the end result has always got to be in mind when starting a site. Projects starting with € 500 can run out of control to €50.000, but the quality result is not the same as if you would have started with the right budget.
Where should you start?
You need to tax the importance of your webiste in your company. For an online reseller this is your primary P (distribution: marketing), and therefor should not be scripmed upon. If you have a turnover of € 100.000 with 60% product margin a € 20.000 website sounds reasonable. It sounds like a lot, but that same website can generate € 200.000 (if it is optimized). If your turnover is 100k in the first year and 200k in the next four years the website is between 2 and 4 % * in deprecation of your turnover, while being your primary customer experience.
* (((20.000 / 5) / 100.000) x 100) = 4 %
And yes, you should seriously concider making an investment like that every 5 years!