Investing in your website can be a little confusing and intimidating at first. It is like buying a car.

We have been building websites for several years and for every first discovery call, we like to explain all the steps, options and costs that go into building a new WordPress website. In this article, I would like to share what you can expect when building a new website with Monterey Premier.

Website Building Processes Vary Depending on the Agency

Agencies provide a wide variety of options and plans and not all processes are alike. Some developers only build the website, but leave it up to you to deal with hosting and maintenance. Others require you to sign up to their monthly maintenance and hosting plan as part of the build. The list of variety goes on and on.

While I am not claiming our process is the best, after years of working with a variety of clients and agency partners, we have found this process to be one of the most practical for both our clients, and us. I hope to explain the benefits of why we do what we do in this article.

Domain Name Registration

The first thing you will want to do is register your domain name. The domain name is the address of your website that people will type in the browser URL bar to get to your website. There are many other options like .net, .co, .org, .tv, .info, .io, and more. However we always recommend using .com domain extension is possible.

Prices range from $4.99 to $50.00 per year depending on the extension. The .com extension is usually around $12.99 – $15.99 per year depending on the domain registration company. Some hosting companies offer domain name registration in addition to their hosting services which we will be talking about next.

I keep all my different domain names registered on a separate service like Hover.com which makes it easier if you ever have to move hosting companies.

Hosting Services

Another cost you will have to factor in is the cost of hosting. A web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the software and hardware services needed for the website to be viewed on the internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers that are running 24/7.

There is a lot of factors that go into choosing a proper hosting provider and there are plenty of providers to choose from. We usually recommend starting somewhere in the middle with companies like Siteground and Flywheel. Prices range between $12.00 – $35.00 per month depending on your needs. If you are just starting out with a 4-10 page website, you could probably start off with one of the smaller plans.

To better serve our clients, we partnered with Flywheel to provide our own custom managed hosting solutions that work best for WordPress and the Divi theme. Our Fully Managed Divi Hosting plans start at $45.00 per month and include the following.

  • High Performance Hosting Optimized for WordPress
  • PHP 7+
  • Fully Configured Caching
  • Custom WAF protection
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Free Staging Site
  • Hacker-free Security
  • Daily Offsite Backups

The benefit to hosting with us is that your website will be in the hands of someone who knows your website best. Most hosting companies provide limited support and often require you to hire someone like us to help out with resolving website related issues that can be mistaken for hosting related issues, and visa versa. This way, you won’t have to be the one to deal with getting the runaround when something goes wrong. You will have only one point of contact for all website related issues.

Website Building Costs

There are two general categories that our website projects usually fall into: Template Packages or Custom Designs & Builds.

Template Package

Investing in your website can be a little confusing and intimidating at first. It is like buying a car, especially if it will be your primary source of marketing for your business. So we came come up with a solution that is affordable, easy to understand, and produces a beautiful new website in less than two weeks. This option has become a popular choice for smaller businesses and organizations with a smaller budget. We have a variety of templates available to choose from.

With a template package we take the images and text content you provide and put it all together for you in the template of your choosing. Prices range from $500 – $2000 depending on the number of pages. You can read more about that service here.

Custom Design & Build

Often times, the client has custom requirements that won’t work with a premade template. We can work with you to get a good understanding of the website project requirement. From there we put together an estimate for the project based on our hourly rate of $150.00 per hour. The average hours spent on a small custom build start at around 50-60 hours.

On a custom website design, we spend most of our time working on the home page, which usually ends up being around 25 hours. From there, the subpages would typically require about an 1-5 hours each depending on how much content is going to be on each page. The final piece is making it responsive, or mobile friendly, and that is normally about 4-5 hours on a small 5-10 page website.

Here are a few additional factors to consider when requesting an estimate.

  • Are any special functional requirements that require custom development?
  • Will copy be provided by the client or do we need to add that to the estimate?
  • Will images be provided by the client or will we be using stock images?
  • Is this a new build from scratch or are we updating an old site with lots of content and special function?

Below is an example estimate for a basic 7-page website with a couple of plugins, some custom functionality, and a blog. This estimate based on our standard rate of $150 per hour.

Monthly Maintenance

WordPress and Divi sites need frequent updates for basic infrastructure, theme, plugins and a solid hosting platform to help with speed and security. By keeping everything up to date and by implementing a few extra security measures, we can help reduce the risk of your website being compromised.

Outdated or unsupported plugins can also play a big role in hindering your website’s performance potentially reducing your search engine rankings and losing customers. The WordPress + Divi framework will continue to focus on improving and updating their products which is important, but it also means knowing what to expect with every monthly Divi update is more critical than ever.

As your monthly maintenance provider, we regularly look at the latest security best practices and make sure they are being applied to your website. Our prices start at $40 per month for basic maintenance and up to $125 per month for those that need more support and services. The larger plans ($80 and $125) include hosting.

Some of our clients prefer to learn how to maintain their own website in-house. So, you can find some basic tips for those who are also interested in maintaining their own WordPress site here.

In Closing

There are several other items and costs to consider such as premium plugins, newsletter services & optins, social media sharing, event calendars and more. But hopefully this gets you pointed in the right direction and helps you understand how you need to budget for your new website.

Have any other tips, questions or suggestions? Let us know in the comments.

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Geno is the Owner/Creative Director at Monterey Premier based in Monterey, Ca.. He has been designing websites since 1996 and enjoys all things design, traveling, hanging out with friends, encouraging other believers, and experimenting with new technologies. When not doing any of the above, you can find Geno blogging here, or writing Divi customization tutorials over on Quiroz.co.

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