If you have literally NO budget and you just want a few simple pages telling the world what you do with a form to fill in for customers to contact you, the good news is that you can do this for FREE on Weebly and Wix. However, you get very little in the way of features, your site WILL carry adverts chosen by the hosting company (that you have no control over) and you have to use their domain name on your website. For example on Wix, your free website address will be username.wix.com/sitename which isn’t tremendously memorable, or marketable.
Remember that those costs don’t include designing it, you have to do that. There’s quite a lot of flexibility. Wix for example has just over 500 templates, but some features are extra in the form of paid-for apps that you buy and install as and when you need them. Plus once you’ve picked a design template and your site is live, you can’t change it. So it’s worth putting a cost against your time when working out the cost of a “free” website. If you only pay yourself minimum wage (currently £8.20) and it takes you two working days of 8 hours each, that’s £131.20 worth of your time!
WordPress itself is free. The infrastructure you need to manage it isn’t, quite. The WordPress software needs a computer to sit on, and nobody hosts websites at home anymore, so you will need a hosting package. This is like leasing some internet “land” to build your website “house” on. These don’t typically cost a lot (£10-15 a month, often with cheap introductory offers), and usually come with some other free stuff bundled in like a free domain name and some email mailboxes. You have to configure all this yourself, or get your web designer to do it, so there’s a time cost involved, but the setup is a one-off. Picture Engine can sort out your hosting for you, or you can sort out your own and send us the login details to build your site on.
There are two types of costs then associated with WordPress. One is if you choose to pay a designer to set it up for you. The other is if you choose “premium” add-ons; at the time of writing WordPress currently has around 31,000 Themes (basically, design templates) of which around 10% are free, and around 57,000 Plugins (added bits of software that let you do additional things) of which roughly 12% are not free.
One big reason to choose a designer for your WordPress website is that WordPress takes some time to get used to. When you first install it, you get one very basic default theme, no real “dummy content” and no plugins. There are a LOT of resources on how to get started, but you have to hunt them out yourself. Not something you want to do when trying to start a new business, so of course Picture Engine recommend that you use a website designer!
So, the cost of a WordPress site goes up with the complexity you add to it, and depends on whether you pay a designer or not – although if you don’t, remember to factor in your hourly wage to do it yourself, doing it yourself is not “free”…