WordPress is the popular blogging software used by millions of bloggers around the world. It received some rather unusual attention recently when it was reported that a certain municipality in South africa forked out around R40 million for website development. Apparently some of these websites were built on WordPress and used inexpensive commercial themes that costs around $40 (about R360). It is as yet unclear if there were any other IT services included in this price.
Although professional website design and development in South Africa is overpriced, a R40 million price tag is just plain ridiculous. So what would be the actual cost of a WordPress blog? WordPress is free but the domain, hosting and theme are usually not. So let’s take a quick look at two possible pricing options in South Africa for a personal or commercial blog. Please note that this article is not in any way intended to pass judgement on the recent R40 million website development scandal that is a hot topic in South Africa. Our article and costing estimates are solely to educate readers.
If all the tech stuff is a bit confusing, here is a quick rundown.
- A domain is your website address like www.MyBlog.com.
- Hosting is the server space where the file of your blog or website sits, similar to your computer’s hard drive.
- WordPress is a free blogging software where you can log in though the administrator area to add, edit or delete content.
- A theme is basically a template that is deigned to give your website a specific appearance on the front end that users see.
Personal WordPress Blog
You can actually start a free blog on the WordPress website but it has limitations. You cannot have your own domain name and will need to use a subdomain instead. In other words, instead of being www.MyBlog.com, you will have to settle for MyBlog.wordpress.com. However, a domain name and hosting are both cheap for the private blogger. Hosting starts from as little as R9 per month through Bisnet or you can fork out a bit more with Serve Hosting prices starting at R30 per month. Serve Hosting offers cPanel, which we will discuss later.
A co.za domain costs about R50 per year for registration and R75 per year thereafter. A dot com will set you back around R80 for registration and around R96 for renewal each year. This is excluding business registration or domain privacy which is not necessary for a personal blog. WordPress offers a range of free themes, literally in the thousands, that you can use or you may want to buy a commercial theme which can vary in price from R40 to R4,000. Alternatively, you can get a custom designed theme which may set you back a few thousand depending on your designer’s rates.
In our opinion, the lowest price for a WordPress blog = R158 in year one and about R183 every year thereafter without factoring in inflation. Optional theme design ranges from free to several thousands rand but most personal bloggers settle for free themes.
Business WordPress Blog
The process and requirements for setting up a business WordPress blog does not differ significantly. You may want to add a few of the extras that are going to increase the price but it is unlikely to break the budget of even a small business in South Africa. The domain costs do not change but you may want to opt for business registration and certified domain validation which will add another R140 to the annual price.
Business hosting through Hostgator means that you can get a dedicated IP address and free SSL certificate. Simply, you have your own piece of the Web with security verification. Business hosting will cost you about R110 per month for unlimited space and bandwidth. Dedicated IP, SSL certificate, business registration and certified domain may be confusing to you but let’s just say that you should have it as a business – nice but not necessary.
Of course, the standard free WordPress theme may not do and you may instead opt for a pre-designed commercial business theme. The more popular pre-designed business themes can set you back around R900 once off. A designer may charge you around R2,500 to R5,000 for a custom-designed WordPress theme. This is a once-off fee and has all the little extras like a slideshow functionality and other nifty features. The cost is largely due to the hand coding required in creating these custom themes although inexpensive drag-and-drop software like Artisteer can help any person without programming knowledge to design a theme within minutes.
In our opinion, the lowest price for a WordPress business blog = R1,510 annually in year one and R1,535 for every year thereafter, not including the once-off fee for a business theme.