As a Full Stack WordPress website developer myself working with other small business clients in Sydney, I’ve been asked many times – “How much will it cost me to hire a WordPress developer to build my website?”
I get it, budgeting for a new website can be confusing and stressful. You want to invest enough to get a site you love that achieves your business goals, but not go totally overboard either.
The costs can vary quite a bit depending on your specific needs. But in my experience, for most small business sites you should expect to budget anywhere from $3,000 – $12,000 AUD.
Let me walk you through what goes into pricing a WordPress site, so you can plan realistically.
Key Factors That Influence the Cost
When I meet with clients, we discuss a few key factors that impact how much it will cost to develop their WordPress site.
Project Scope & Complexity
Are you looking for a simple “brochure” style site with a few pages? Or do you need an advanced web application with custom features?
Brochure sites – For small sites with around 5 pages, expect ~$3,000 – $5,000.
Web applications – For complex sites with custom features, admin backends, etc. costs often start at $10,000+.
For example, I worked with a client recently named Sarah who sells handmade jewelry online. She only needed a simple informational site, so we built that for $3,500.
But another client Jack runs an appliance repair business and needed to allow online bookings, parts ordering, etc. His complex site cost over $15,000.
Custom Design & Branding
Do you just need a simple layout and styling? Or are you looking for a completely custom design to bring your brand to life?
Simple designed sites – These may use an existing theme/template and focus less on custom branding. Cost ~$3,000 – $6,000
Custom designed sites – For unique branding and design, expect to invest more in the $6,000 – $12,000 range.
I had a client Emma who sells children’s books. She had a clear vision for bringing her whimsical brand to life, so we created a custom illustration-heavy design for $10,000.
On the flip side, when I built a site for my client Chris who runs a accounting firm, he was fine using a simple, clean template that we customized for just $5,000.
Developer Experience Level
Are you comfortable working with an entry-level developer at lower rates? Or do you want an expert hand crafting your site?
Junior developers – Often cost $40-$70 per hour. Better for simple sites.
Senior developers – Range from $100-$150 per hour. Worth it for complex projects.
This is one area where you get what you pay for. A more experienced senior developer may work more efficiently and add value with expertise a junior lacks.
I once hired a very affordable junior developer to build a site for my friend’s café. Unfortunately, the developer made some mistakes that led to issues down the road. I realized I should have just hired my go-to senior developer from the start.
Ongoing Maintenance & Support Costs
Make sure to account for ongoing management and changes after launch too.
Maintenance contracts – Plan on budgets starting around $500/month for periodic updates.
Support – Volume-based support typically starts around $150/hour as needed.
I advise setting aside 20% of the initial development costs per year for ongoing expenses.
For example, if you invest $6,000 to build your site, expect around $100-$200 per month for maintenance, content changes, etc.
Prioritize Must-Have Features & Functionality
To get the most value from your budget, I recommend focusing first on the key features that are most important for your business goals.
For my client’s jewelry site, her non-negotiables were:
- Showcasing her products through an image gallery
- Allowing customizable orders
- Integrating an online payment processor
We developed those core features first for $5000 and will add on nice-to-have features down the road.
Staging Development Over Time
If your budget is tight, you can also consider a phased approach:
Get an MVP (minimum viable product) live first, then progressively enhance it over time.
For example, start with a simple informational site, then add ecommerce functionality once you’ve generated revenue.
Think through what’s absolutely essential for launching your site vs. what could come later as part of ongoing development.
Finding the Right Developer Fit
Ultimately finding an experienced WordPress developer that aligns with your business goals and budget expectations is key.
I suggest having candid conversations about scope, priorities, and budget early on. Look for reasonable transparency around pricing.
Quality developers know what they’re worth, but also work with your constraints. With some thoughtful planning, you can get a site that meets your needs and provides real ROI without breaking the bank!