How to Set Up Your Site on Wordpress (And How Much It Will Cost You)

how to build a website with wordpress and how much it costs

I talk about Squarespace quite a bit, but I also love designing my clients’ websites on Wordpress. There are pros and cons to working with both platforms, which you can read more about here, but in this post I’m going to walk you through how to get started with Wordpress and breakdown your potential total investment to get things up and running.

First, it’s important to take into consideration a few different factors before you decide to go with Wordpress. Things like:

  • What you need your website for (blogging, e-commerce, displaying services/portfolio, etc.)

  • The amount of time you can spend on building and designing

  • The features and functionalities that are non-negotiables

  • Whether you plan to sell anything on your site in the future (physical/digital products and/or services)

  • How much flexibility or control you want to have in your design

  • How comfortable you are working with technology and your experience level creating websites

  • Your budget

If you aren’t totally convinced you should be working with Wordpress, you can take this free quiz to confirm your decision. If you’re ready to jump in, here’s what you need to do next:

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I could make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase. Thank you so much for your support!

Self-Host With Siteground

If you want to set up your Wordpress site the right way you need to self-host. If you choose to go with the free version of Wordpress, you’ll be severely limited not only when it comes to design and your domain name, but when it comes to monetization and overall site flexibility. This is where self-hosting comes in handy. I always recommend hosting with Siteground for their exceptional customer service, price, easy setup and extensive library of resources.

While a lot of bloggers will tell you that you can start creating your website for as little as $3.95/month, that’s not entirely true.

When it comes to self-hosting, you need to make sure you are aware of the total cost of investment before moving forward. Yes, the Siteground plans start at $3.95/month but that’s the breakdown of your total annual cost per month. So for example, if you choose the Start Up plan on Siteground, your total amount due will be a minimum of $63.35 for the first year. This includes your domain registration (your site address) but doesn’t not include any add-ons like domain privacy. There is not an option to pay on a monthly basis; you must pay for either a 12 month, 24 month or 36 month period. Keep in mind that your annual cost after your first year can increase.

If you’re creating a website just for yourself, the Start Up plan is a solid choice; but if you are going to be creating additional sites in the future and want access to premium features on Siteground, I recommend going with the Grow Big plan which is a minimum investment of $87.35. Either way, investing in self-hosting with Siteground is 100% worth it in my professional opinion.

Minimum investment to self-host: $63.35/year

Invest in a Theme Builder (Option One)

To ensure you are getting the most flexibility and control over your design, it’s absolutely essential that you select a theme builder. A theme builder makes it easier for you to customize the overall layout and design of your website with their drag and drop blocks and templates. The sky is truly the limit here! The theme builder I always use for my client websites is Elementor and I can’t recommend it enough.

There is a free Elementor plugin you can use, but you’re going to get the most flexibility and customization features out of one of their subscription plans. There are three plans to choose from, but if you’re only designing one site you can choose their personal plan which costs $49/year. This plan gives you access to:

  • Over 50 Pro Widgets

  • Over 300 Pro Templates

  • The Theme Builder

  • WooCommerce Builder (for e-commerce features)

  • Popup Builder

  • Support for 1 Year

  • Updates for 1 Year

Just like Siteground, investing in a pro theme builder is totally worth it, especially if you want unlimited customization options. I also really love their pro templates that make it easy to build a beautiful site without having to design entirely from scratch.

Minimum investment for theme builder: $49/year

Invest in a Pre-Made Theme (Option Two)

If you want to make things easier on yourself and you don’t want to design your website from scratch, you can purchase a pre-made theme. Hello You Designs has beautiful, feminine themes you can choose from that start at a one-time purchase fee of $59 and go up from there. However, once you select your theme you’ll also have to invest in the Genesis framework which requires a one-time purchase fee of $59.95.

You can also find beautiful pre-made themes on sites like Creative Market and Etsy.

These prices vary depending on the theme you choose and the framework required, so just be aware that there are still additional costs involved when going this route. Once you’ve selected your theme and framework, you’ll need to follow the instructions to add it into your site.

Potential minimum investment for theme + framework: $118.95+

Install Necessary Plugins

The plugins you need to install will vary depending on whether or not you’re using a theme builder or pre-made theme and several other factors. Many of the plugins you need do have free versions, but some of them also offer upgraded paid versions. Whether or not you will need to upgrade and pay for your plugin will again, depend on your needs.

If you’re using a theme builder you’ll need to install the free Elementor plugin first, as well as your pro-plugin. If you’re working with a pre-made theme you’ll need to install the required framework, like Genesis. If you’re using a pre-made theme from somewhere other than Hello You Designs, make sure you find out which framework you’ll need to purchase and install.

Regardless of your theme or theme builder, you’ll want to make sure you install the following plugins:

  • Yoast SEO: helps to ensure your site is properly optimized for search engines (so your site can be more easily found through Google)

  • Jetpack: provides site analytics, easy social sharing, related posts, improves site performance and security, etc.

  • Pretty Links: easily manage links used on your site

  • Social Warfare: makes it easier to promote your site via social media

  • Smush: compresses and optimizes image files and easily edit images

There are additional plugins that will be helpful depending on the email marketing platform you use and the needs of your site, so it’s important to do your research and look for plugins that will best support your website.

Final Thoughts

If you’re creating your own website with Wordpress, it’s important to understand the initial steps and total costs involved to get your site up and running. While your set up process and costs can vary depending on the plugins you need and how you’ll go about designing your site, the minimum investments you need to be aware of could look something like what I’ve outline below:

  • Total Minimum Investment to Get Started with Wordpress and Elementor Theme Builder: $112.35+

  • Total Minimum Investment to Get Started with Wordpress and Pre-Made Theme + Required Framework: $182.30+

Are you thinking about creating a website with Wordpress? What questions do you have?