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The Truth About WordPress Website Costs (+Startup Budget)

start a blog startup budget wordpress Mar 12, 2021
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If you are new to blogging, you may not be aware of all the upfront and recurring costs to maintain and enhance your blog. When you started your blog, did you have any idea how much money was going to be involved in startup cost? I didn't either.

Startup Costs to Consider in Budgeting for your Blog/Website

  1. Your Domain Name
  2. Hosting
  3. Plug-Ins and Plug-In Costs
  4. Email Platform and Costs
  5. Document Processing
  6. Photo and Graphic Processing
  7. Video processing

In Summary

Wordpress website costs, at a glance, appear to be low cost. However, once you start adding the cost of hosting, and many other add-ons to increase capabilities, the cost can be tricky.

Startup Costs to Consider in Budgeting for your Blog/Website

Many bloggers and website owners are looking for alternatives due to costs involved in all the add-on applications. Don't be fooled into thinking all you are paying for is a low monthly payment for hosting.

Let's look at how much it costs to build and maintain a Wordpress website.

Sure, some of the items are optional, and even some are free. Depending on how quickly or how far you want to grow your blog, your costs could range from $15 to over $200 every month just starting out.

This is why you need a budget for your blog. I have included a free Startup Budget for your Blog that you can download and print out to help you. You can get it here:

You will need to purchase a domain name and hosting. Domain names range from $2.99 to $15 for the reasonable ones.

Usually, you buy your domain name in conjunction with your hosting. You don’t have to, though. You can get your name from GoDaddy and host with Siteground, for example. Let’s look at some of these costs.

1. Your Domain Name

Your domain name will cost anywhere from $2.99 to $15.99. Don't be fooled by the $2.99 cost. It may sound good, but the hosting company may charge you $2.99 for the first year, and $35.99 every year after.

Others will charge you $15.99 the first year and $13.99 every year after. Some also include add-ins while others nickel and dime you to death. Look at the entire offer, not just the price.

For purposes of this exercise, let’s use $15.99 per year. Some of you may prefer to pay annually, so make sure that is listed as an annual cost. Or you can break it down as a monthly expense by dividing the cost by 12.

2. Hosting

See a comparison and review of the most common hosting companies at Hosting Resources

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With hosting, the cost can be anywhere from $3.99 to $195. And as a new blogger with low traffic and subscribers, you're better off going with the lowest, but that doesn't mean the cheapest. What I mean by that is there are good ones that will host your content and has good customer service that is fairly inexpensive.

The two WordPress Hosting companies I recommend the most are BigScoots and SiteGround. Both have excellent customer service. My preference is BigScoots due to their stability and speed.

Both companies average approximately $75-100/year. For purposes of this example, we will use the cost $75/year or $6.25/month.

We will be showing how to set up examples at 5 Easy Steps for Setting up WordPress Hosting.

3. Plug-Ins and Plug-In Costs

This is my favorite answer regarding Plug-Ins..."it depends". You can buy all of the plug-ins and their upgrades and have way too much. Or you can be selective. I prefer being selective.

Most of the standard plug-ins I recommend are free. A few are paid or upgrade available. You should add both the free and paid items in your budget for your blog. You can get more detailed information on these in a later post. The ones I recommend are listed at 15 Must Have WordPress Plug-Ins for your Website.

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Keep in mind, too many plug-ins is a bad thing. They can overtake each other, get themselves in a loop, or slow your website way down.

The most common paid plug-ins are:

  • Akismet - $5 per site per month
  • iThemes Security - You can upgrade for about $50-75 a year, but the free version works just fine
  • Tasty Pins - $29
  • Updraft Plus

4. Email Platform and Costs

Before you know it, you'll need to invest in an email platform. There are several that are free (Mailchimp if you're going free), and four recommended that are paid (Aweber, FloDesk, ConvertKit, MailerLite). These are discussed in detail in a later post. Mailchimp is limited and the differences between the free version and paid version is astronomical. Here's the costs at the time of this writing. You will need to pick one:

cell phone with email platforms and email icons

  • MailChimp - free, but limited OR
  • AWeber - $19 - large selection of templates
  • FloDesk - $19 - unlimited emails, unlimited subscribers, beautiful aesthetics
  • MailerLite - free version up to 1,000 subscribers, but limited; $10 a month for upgraded version up to 1,000 subscribers, $15 a month or up to 2,500 subscribers
  • ConvertKit - 0 - 1,000 subscribers, $29 per month, 1,000 to 3,000 subscribers, $49 per month. I would include the $29 monthly in the budget for your blog.

5. Document Processing

There are basically just a few types of document processing I recommend. You'll use these to create opt-ins, flyers, some graphics, etc. Depending on the suite of products you get, will depend on whether or not it performs well with photos. Choose one of the following:

<img "phone, keyboard, coffee cup, notebook and pen, Resources to grow your business" src="" />

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 - $9.99 / month per user. Includes all office products, such as Word, OneNote, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and Access. I actually prefer their business plan which includes all of the products above PLUS hosting your email on an exchange server, OneDrive for Business (1 TB storage), Teams, Meetings, and Microsoft Planner. This suite DOES allow you to "Print to PDF" which is helpful as well.

Open Office

Open Office - Totally 100% free. It is an open source project and does come with updates. It includes Writer, Calc (spreadsheet), Impress (presentations), Draw (3d illustrations), base (database), Math (equations by graphical interface). Has a learning curve and is not updated frequently.

Google Products

Google products - free ones are only web-based and include Documents, Sheets (spreadsheets), and Presentations. Also includes a small Google Cloud Drive. They have another option called Google G-Suite. The smallest option here is $6/month and includes Gmail business email, video and voice conferencing, secure team messaging, shared calendars, documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, 30G cloud storage. The business option (recommended) is $12.50 per user per month and also includes all of the above options plus unlimited cloud storage, Smart Search across all Gmail drives, 24/7 support, security, and administrative controls.

6. Photo and Graphic Processing

There are a few free and paid versions that I recommend for photo and graphic processing. The very best free AND paid version is Canva, in my opinion. PicMonkey is also an alternative.

I like the Adobe suite but it is extremely difficult to learn if you are unfamiliar with graphic artistry.

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Choose one of the following:


PicMonkey - No longer free. The basic plan is $7.99 per month. 1G storage, all the features except priority support and the ability to upload your own fonts. Pro plan is $12.99 per month and includes everything listed here.


Canva - There is a free version that many people still use. I used it for a while, then converted to the Pro version. I have not been disappointed. The Pro version is $12.99 per month but also includes exclusive access to 400,000 free photos, illustrations, and templates (there are a few considerations, such as some have to have their name somewhere on the photo, etc.). Also includes the magic resize, which in my opinion, is worth the $12.99. Say you create a featured image. Now you want that featured image to be a Pinterest image. Normally, you have to recreate it as a Pinterest image, copying and pasting wherever necessary. Using the Magic Resize, you simply click the button! There are several other things that you get with Canva Pro. This is HIGHLY recommended.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud - If you are already an Adobe user, this is the best thing in the world. If you're not...there is a steep learning curve, but it DOES  provide lots of flexibility. There are several options you can choose from. The Individual Photograph group includes Lightroom, Photoshop, and 20G of cloud storage for $9.99/month. This is the minimum I would recommend. You can get a single app for 20.99, or all apps for $52.99 per month and up to 10TB of storage. If you happen to be a teacher or a student, you can get all apps for $19.99 / month. It does require institutional affiliation. They do run specials occasionally as well. You can also subscribe to Adobe Stock Photos, which is an additional $29.99. It allows you 10 stock photos per month for free (with considerations).

7. Video processing

You will need a camera for video (DLS)  or web camera for creating videos. You can ALSO use your cell phone provided the quality is good enough. The iPhone series starting with 7 has awesome photo and video capabilities. 

I recommend you start with that if you have one. If you don't, start with simple web video camera. You can get one of the best ones on Amazon for anywhere from $39 to $99. Here's a list you can peruse.

Please visit Resources for Photo and Video for more information.

That handles your photo/video options, but now you need something to edit your videos. There are a couple I recommend. If you're using a Mac, the easiest and best is iMovie. It's also free with the Mac OS. 

If you have the Adobe suite, the next best thing is Premiere Pro. There is a learning curve, but it isn't too bad. 

If you don't have either of those, Movavi is a great product for $59.99. 

In Summary

You'll be surprised at how these little things add up. If you're not careful, you'll end up paying about $250 a month before you begin to know what you need. So I highly recommend doing this budget for your blog and sticking with it. If you find out that there's a new program out there that you like better and you want to use it instead, take one off first. Do not just keep adding programs, it will get out of control.

The cost of all the aspects of building and maintaining a WordPress website should be reviewed on at least an annual basis. 

Don't can get the Startup Budget for your Blog below for free!

You also should consider the yearly costs for things like hosting and your domain name. It will sneak up on you if you're not careful.  So take a little time, and do this blog budget worksheet. You'll be glad you did.

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