Custom WordPress Website Development: Cost Breakdown in 2023
Are you a startup founder, a business owner, or a chief marketing officer that wants to know the development cost of a custom WordPress site?
If yes, then keep reading to learn the following:
- What a custom WordPress site entails,
- What it costs to build a custom WordPress site,
- Examples of custom WordPress sites and their corresponding price tag,
- Cost-defining factors to consider when developing a custom WordPress site,
- How to choose a reliable WordPress development team,
- And more!
If you prefer a visual text experience, go straight to the bonus infographic “How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Custom WordPress Website in 2023?”
Let’s discuss the points made above.
What Does Custom WordPress Website Mean?
Custom WordPress development involves the process of designing and building a site on the WordPress platform with a company’s needs in mind, beyond the limitations of the WordPress theme and template.
This definition can be quite confusing for non-technical founders that are only conversant with template WordPress sites. So let’s break down this definition in more detail:
|Template-based website||Custom WordPress website|
|WordPress is a website design platform that allows anyone to run a website using a ready-made template. |
However, functionality and customization will be limited to the design.
An example is the website of the UK government’s official archive – The National Archives.
|However, custom WordPress website development involves both custom design and custom functionality. |
In more technical terms, with customization, you can place a custom design on the frontend and use WordPress as the backend to implement complex and unique functionality.
Example is spdload.com
Take a look at some custom WordPress sites:
I hope we now have the same understanding of what a custom WP site is? Let’s see how much it might cost to develop a custom WordPress site from scratch.
How Much Does a Custom WordPress Website Cost?
The price of developing a custom WordPress site ranges from $5000 to $30,000. The exact cost is dependent on varying factors, among which the most noteworthy are:
- The complexity of the website
- The type of team
- The location of the team
But note that different stages of custom website creation cost differently.
For example, the price of website design is around 10% of the overall web development cost. Meanwhile, the marketing could cost x2-x3 more than the annual development budget.
Let’s consider each factor separately.
Cost Defined By the Complexity of the Website
The complexity of a website is a set of user roles, entities, functions, and their relationships in the system.
Simply put, the more use cases your platform covers, the more complex it is. It goes without saying that complex websites require more development resources.
For example, you need a clinic website to book patient appointments. In that case, you will need integrations with the calendar and EHR.
And if you have a website for selling auto parts, you’ll need integration with eCommerce plugins and CRM.
As an example, consider a website that takes 160 hours or 1 month to create.
Let’s take a look at the price of building a custom WordPress website with a few examples of complexity.
|Complexity Level||Cost, $|
We will discuss the details of each complexity level later. Now, let’s focus on further cost breakdown by the type of team.
Cost Defined by Type of Team
Let’s take a look at how much it costs to create a custom WP website with different teams using the same example as in the previous subheading.
|Type of Team||Cost, $|
|In-house, the US||18,000|
|The local development company, the US||25,000|
|Outsource in Ukraine||10,000|
Does each team type seem confusing? Let’s help you make some facts about them.
Type 1. In-House Team
As the name connotes, an in-house team consists of developers working within an organization’s corporate environment and taking daily orders from the management team.
Here, the startup caters to the developers’ welfare and is responsible for their daily cost of operation.
Beyond the core WordPress developer, you’ll also have to maintain the project support team full-time.
Here are the pros and cons of this option.
| || |
Another hiring model to consider is opting for a local development company. Lets’ help you make sense of this option:
Type 2. Local Development Company
This entails outsourcing your development to a custom web team within your startup’s geographical location.
It can be an overly expensive option if you’re outsourcing to a development company based in high-income nations like the US, the UK, Canada.
Let’s consider its pros and cons.
| || |
The cons of this option are definitely significant for startups in high-income nations. Thus, let’s discuss another alternative to consider.
Type 3. Freelancers
Freelance custom website developers are independent WordPress builders with deep knowledge of WordPress tech stacks.
They don’t work full-time with any organization, but only handle development contracts according to the project’s stipulation.
| || |
Another option to consider is an outsourced team. Let’s discuss this in detail.
Type 4. Outsourced Team
Outsourcing is a popular and highly beneficial means to hire skilled developers. It entails contracting a WordPress development process to a team situated in a nation different from the startup’s country of residence.
This method offers the easiest way to develop top-notch products for a fair price.
| || |
Finally, the location of your preferred team also influences the cost of your design.
Cost Defined by Team Location
The location of your team is a huge determinant of your development cost. For example, developing a custom WordPress site in Eastern Europe is $5500, while the same platform in the USA costs $25,000.
Below is a more descriptive spreadsheet of costs defined by the team’s location.
Now that you’re aware of the cost for custom WP platforms, let’s elucidate three WordPress cost examples.
Types and Examples of Custom WordPress Sites
To better understand what a WordPress website entails, we’ll consider three case studies of successful WP sites.
Corporate Website Cost using Spdload.com as Case Study
Spdload.com is a typical corporate website, which tells about the services of the company and serves as an entry point for inbound leads.
To create the site, we used a “blank” template in WordPress, in which we inserted a completely custom design. The sitemap consists of:
- Block of service pages
- Block of case studies
- Block with custom-coded calculators
- Contact us page
As data from the company’s profile on CrunchBase suggests, the website at the time of writing this article, spdload.com, enjoys 32,664 monthly visits. This is a notable number for a B2B software development company.
The average cost of developing a custom wp site like spdload.com is between $15,000 to $20,000. The exact price here will depend on the level of detail in your design.
Read our guide here for more information about corporate website costs and the factors affecting them.
Blog Website– Using 99.adobe.com as a Case Study
99U is Adobe’s blog or career resource site with articles that can help creatives bring their ideas to life and supercharge their work for more effectiveness.
The website hosts digital publications with stories about notable creatives. It also has guides, and tips for having a great work-life balance.
Beyond a platform for educational articles, it also sheds information about the annual Adobe 99U conference. Information provided on the platform’s Crunchbase profile shows that the company currently enjoys an average of 4,482 monthly visits.
The key features of a blog website like this include:
- A well-organized category bar
- Easy-to-navigate menu
- Commenting system
- Blog post archive
- Visible search box
The cost of developing this type of website ranges from $5000 to $10,000.
E-Commerce Website – Case Study of The Cool Club
The Cool Club is an eCommerce platform that sells aesthetically stunning wall arts and card games.
The platform aims to be a site for creative minds to earn money from their creations. On the other hand, interested visitors can enjoy unfiltered access to some of the most distinctive works of art ever launched.
Cool’s Club is channeled to enable the driven community of gifted creative people to do things differently and for the greater good.
The Cool Club’s website is intuitively designed to uplift the whole brand of the founders and complement their ultimate goals.
The Key Features of The Cool Club:
- Home page and product listing
- Registration and profile creation
- Product cart
- One-click purchase
- Category page
- Payment methods integration
The average cost of developing this eCommerce website ranges from $20,000 to $40,000.
Now it’s time to go into more detail about pricing.
Factors That Determine a Custom WordPress Website’s Cost
The cost of a custom WordPress site depends on many factors. These factors influence the price irrespective of location and team type. They are:
- The difficulty experienced in development
- The maintenance of the website
- The marketing of the site
We’ll discuss each of these factors to enable you to have a realistic cost idea of your prospective project:
Factor 1. The Level of Complexity of the Custom WP Site
The definition of complexity, pertaining to web development, can also mean the level of predictiveness in the workflow for creating a new website.
What do we mean by this?
Before developing a website, web developers need to understand the nitty-gritty of the website structure and required features before embarking on it. However, some unique websites are highly complex.
Thus, developers have to figure out many things in the course of the task. In some instances, developers have to acquire deeper knowledge of new tech stacks to guarantee the ideal deliverable.
Websites with basic functionalities cost far less than complex multi-integrational sites with multiple features.
Let’s discuss the types of website complexity that are available.
These are often websites built to pass information to viewers and sometimes get a little information from them.
Differentiating this website from others can be somewhat difficult for a non-technical person, as such, we’ll help clarify better using a non-blog site.
A notable example of a website that falls within this category is harbottle.com and the cost of building a similar one ranges from $15,000 to $25,000. Basic sites like this are often not more than 15 pages long, with primary features like:
- A homepage
- Service pages
- A blog
- Contact us
What makes websites like this be considered custom, as opposed to a WordPress template site, is if they’re custom-designed, have custom call-to-action buttons, a custom contact form, and a host of other appropriately designed features to fit the company’s brand.
This kind of website usually requires a small number of professionals, such as a QA engineer, a UI/UX designer, a project manager, and a WordPress developer.
Other Examples of websites that fall into this category are landing pages, portfolio websites, and blogs, a corporate website for a small business owner, and some information sites for beginners just launching their first online solution.
The time frame for developing this WP platform takes up to two months.
These are websites built to pass information to users and have several functionalities that can help them carry out some actions to attain desired goals. It costs $30,000 – $80,000 to develop a website of average complexity.
An example of a custom WordPress website in this category is spdload.com. This website has tens of information pages and a gamut of functionalities. One functionality that qualifies it to be an averagely complex site is its three uniquely built calculators.
These calculators are designed to help customers understand the price difference in their hiring options for software/web development and design.
Building a website of this complexity requires a project manager, UI/UX designer, 2 QA testers, a WordPress developer, and a marketing team: link builders, copywriters, and SEO manager.
The completion time for a WordPress-based site of average complexity is about 3 months.
Custom WordPress sites on this complexity level require robust design, higher infrastructure, a deep knowledge of the web builder’s framework, and multiple functionalities.
The average cost of building this type of website ranges from $30,000 to $60,000.
An example of a custom WP site is https://www.uniqueproperties.ae/. It’s a real estate business website with custom designs and multiple functionalities that are based on the WP framework.
The sheer number of pages, integrated API for the map, mortgage loan calculator, and other features qualify it as a website of difficult complexity.
Due to its complexity, it requires a large development team that entails a WordPress developer; UI/UX designer; a project manager, a QA tester; and DevOps.
The exact number of each professional you’ll need depends on the intricacies of the project.
However, you’ll need team members to be in multiple for a custom WP site with high complexity. For example, 2 WP developers.
Since it’ll have more features than other complexity types, the cost and time needed to develop the product will be high. The estimated time needed here ranges from 6 to 12 months.
Factor 2. The Maintenance Requirement of a Custom WP Site
Maintenance costs for highly complex WP sites can be at par with the development cost. Some factors that determine maintenance costs are:
- Domain name
- SSL certificate
- Additional file storage
- The maintenance team
Let’s help you understand how each factor affects maintenance costs.
A hosting platform helps you store your online data, ensuring that your page visitors access the information on your website at all times.
Hosting your site online requires paying a hosting platform to have your solution on air. Some examples of common hosting platforms are WebHost, DreamHost, Bluehost, Siteground, etc.
The average cost of hosting a WP site ranges between $24 to $10,000 yearly. Your WordPress hosting price depends on your needs, which are influenced by website traffic, bandwidth requirement, and data size.
It’s also worthy of note that some hosting companies offer free hosting. While that’s enticing enough, the best WordPress hosting plans are add-ons. This is because free versions of subscriptions offered by hosting platforms often have restrictions.
The domain here refers to your website’s address that prospective web visitors can type in the browser’s URL. A typical example here is spdload.com.
It’s worthy of note that the website’s address is a part of your branding. Also, the right domain name address can aid your SEO campaign, driving more traffic to your site. For example, loan.com helps to compliment the SEO campaign of a loan issuing agency.
You’ll also need to make yearly subscriptions to use a preferred domain name. A typical domain name costs between $2 to $40 annually at platforms like GoDaddy, NameCheap, etc.
Note: You might have to pay more for the first year to use domain names that are tagged “premium.”
SSL certificate, an abbreviation for Secure Sockets Locker, is a security maker that validates the authenticity of a website and helps to keep sensitive information encrypted. This certificate aims at protecting your site’s data and those inputted by users from the prying eyes of hackers.
Users receive and send data through your website when entering required information while filling out online forms or submitting their emails. Making their private information susceptible to other prying eyes.
However, SSL encrypts this information from third-party so they can’t make any sense of it.
This feature is particularly important for websites where users are required to enter credit card information or other financial details. Thus, eCommerce WP-based sites in particular must have an SSL certificate.
The cost of purchasing an SSL certificate can be as little as $10 or as expensive as $15,000. The exact price for an SSL certificate depends on the reputation of the certificate authority and the validation process.
Additional File Storage
The size of your hosting platform depends on your online presence and the data on your website. As you keep uploading information to your website, you may need additional file storage from your web hosting platform.
If you’ve created a website like a personal blog, or a landing page with few images, 0.5 GB may suffice.
But the moment you start uploading media-heavy materials like videos or multiple images, it’s best to buy additional storage.
The cost of getting top-of-the-line dedicated web storage ranges from $100-$300 monthly.
The Maintenance Team
The constituent of your maintenance team is largely dependent on your website’s traffic and the purpose it serves.
For example, a website with less than 1,000 daily traffic will need a lesser dedicated maintenance team when compared to a WooCommerce site with over 100,000 users.
Your maintenance team may also use WordPress backup plugins like UpdraftPlus to keep data secure.
In like manner, your web type also affects your team constituents. For example, a full-blown eCommerce platform requires a more robust team than a corporate site with the same traffic.
This is due to the sensitivity of the financial transaction happening on the e-commerce site and its complexity.
A typical team constituent of a robust WP-based maintenance team is:
- WP developer
- QA tester
- DevOps engineer
- Project manager
However, you may outsource to a dedicated development team rather than hire these professionals. Doing so gives you top-notch WP maintenance expertise at a fair price.
The last cost-defining factor to consider is the team’s marketing activities. Let’s consider this in detail:
Factor 3. Marketing of the Custom WP Website
It’s a common misconception for founders to underplay the importance of marketing.
Albeit, marketing is not a required activity to build a WP-based site. But if you want your site known to a target audience, then some form of web marketing is inevitable.
It’s best if the SEO manager is involved during the requirement phase to draft an SEO structure, optimize the design, and suggest technical SEO features.
However, If you see marketing at the crux of attaining your goals, then you might want to consider majoring in SEO. This is because WP is extremely SEO friendly and will get great returns on investment for your campaign.
Let’s discuss this a bit.
SEO for Custom WP site
SEO and web design costs are intrinsically connected.
Search engine optimization helps to improve the site’s infrastructure, to ensure top-notch SERPs and easy crawling.
Some technical SEO aspects to consider right in the website development process are:
- Page speed
- Data structuring
- Site navigation
- XML sitemaps
The data structure and sitemap are dependent on the website’s architectural structure. On the other hand, the site’s speed depends on the design, the number of animations, and the speed of the website.
A quick workaround to these technical processes is to install and use WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast. Both free plugins and premium plugins are available for all WP-based custom sites.
Once this is properly ensured in the site’s development process, the SEO manager then performs continuum tasks to bring consistent inbound links. The continuing action here are:
- Content making
- Link building
Let’s dwell on this briefly as they’re quite important:
|Continuous SEO Activity||Description|
|Content Making||Content making, as it relates to SEO, is practically creating keyword-rich articles with alt-texts, captivating images, and on-page SEO. |
This strategy works because google crawlers target good, SEO-rich, and well-designed sites. Thus, they tend to rank them higher.
Although great content appeals to page viewers, you need great SEO to make users see your page.
|Link Building||Another effective strategy used in SEO is link building. This strategy entails linking articles and blogs to your site. |
Sites with multiple links leading to their pages regularly rank better than others.
Now that you understand the cost of developing a custom WP site, how do you choose a team that’ll execute your idea? Let’s discuss that right now.
How to Choose a Reliable Development Team?
Finding an ideal development team for your custom WP website can be time demanding. However, there’s a way to go about this.
- Know the team you need. Do you need a dedicated team, team extension, freelancers, or an in-house go-to team of doers? Having an answer to this question helps you streamline your options, invariably quickening the search process.
- Surf through the team’s portfolio and website. When doing this, watch out for the type of projects they’ve handled and the quality of work done.
- Read reviews from past clients. Reviews on platforms like clutch give you a hint about their client satisfaction rate.
- Go through platforms and accounts they Own. Analyze their website, social media accounts, and the quality of content published on their blog. The quality of their published content makes you know whether they have in-depth knowledge about products made or not.
Feeling Informed enough about the cost of developing a custom WP site? Let’s help you get started.
Interested in Building a Custom WP Site? What’s Next?
If you’d like to create a custom WP site, then contact us for a precise guide to help you navigate the process.
Spdload has developed over 40 apps and web within its near-decade of existence. You can also surf through our portfolio to glance at the gamut of custom WordPress websites that we developed.
Here is a summary of our in-depth guide. Learn the highlights, that affect the cost of developing your own WordPress site.