I see a lot of web design agencies that do websites dirt cheap. You first thought might be that’s great! I can get a website for only $600! It includes a domain and an SSL certificate (You know the little lock in the front of your domain. That is what a SSL cert does.) emails are additional.
How good is that price?? Well, here is the rest of the story. If the web agency builds you a website using WordPress (WP) then you have a few items behind the scenes.
First you have a theme. You can think of a theme like a master frame of a house. It only deals with the important details of the structure. Themes can be free, or you have purchase them. The paid versions are usually a subscription-based pricing. Which means you must pay a yearly charge to get updates. Within the theme you then build the rooms you want and the color of the walls.
Second, you must decide about plugins. Plugins are specially designed to make the website/page better. Continuing with the house theme, you want appliances like, a refrigerator, a range, & a dishwasher. The people building your house do not need to build each appliance, they purchase them and install them. All the builder must do is make sure the correct connections are available to hook into. Then they purchase the appliance and connect them. With plugins, you either find free versions if available or you purchase them. Pricing is the same as the theme pricing, normally it is a yearly subscription you must pay to keep getting updates.
WP website also have a web interface to get into the back end of the website. This is where the code lives. Hackers that want to get into a WP website know this and they can just keep trying to get in. If they get in, they can cause anything from destroying your website to forwarding it to another site.
Updates are critical for a WP website.
Here is where a lot of web agencies make their money. It is on maintaining your website and updating WP, themes, and plugins. Since most agencies will not put in a free theme, you must make yearly payments for your theme and any non-free plugins. To keep your website safe, they will need to update WP core, theme, & plugins on your website at a minimum of once a month, if not more often. There are some agencies who get out of hand by charging $200-$400 just for that alone. Not to mention, that you will have to pay either separately for your theme/plugins yearly or they will roll that into your monthly maintenance price. I have seen where some agencies have charged over $700 a month for maintenance and SEO (Search Engine Optimization we will look at in another blog. And this is on a static website that requires no changes of content.
If you have an eCommerce website there is not many ways around needing to use WP for your website. WP eCommerce websites have the largest need for plugins that cost a yearly fee. The only other way is to use a site builder from a hosting company like GoDaddy.
Keep in mind, if you ever decide to move your website to another host, it is impossible to move a site builder website. Choose a web agency that will not take advantage of you with monthly maintenance costs.
If you want a website with a store, there are options that will allow you not to need to use WP on your website.
We at KT Web & Graphic Design prefer to hand code our websites. That means they are not hack able unless they Hack GoDaddy themselves. They do not need to be maintained unless your content changes like updating sales or adding pages in the future. Your site is portable which means if you ever want to change hosts, we can put it on a zip drive and upload it onto another host. We also have multiple copies of your website on hand so if something should happen to your website, we can upload it in less than an hour for a complete restoration. Most problems can be fixed in minutes.
So, to summarize, there are a few reasons to use a WordPress website like eCommerce. An informational website would be cheaper and safer in the long run to be hand coded. And if your website needs a store there are options for that as well. Please contact us and we can help you decide what is best in your situation.