So, you have read hundreds of free WordPress tutorial on the internet and launch your first website. However, you might have missed a simple point of evaluating the estimated cost for running a WordPress site. When your site starts growing, it is not possible for you as a single person to handle everything. When you want to fix an error or need a custom development, you will realize the cost of WordPress development is way higher than your financial capacity. In this article, we will cover up the reasons why WordPress development cost is heavy.
Why Should You Understand Development Cost?
Running a website as a hobby is completely different than choosing it as a career. It is really a challenging task to replace your 9 to 6 jobs with blogging. You have to come out of the imaginary world from “5 Minutes WordPress Setup” or “Make Your First $1000 with WP Blog” or “Be Your Won Boss with WP Blog” kind of stuffs. Not understanding the development cost can potentially halt your online blog or business.
Here are some reasons you may need development when running a WordPress site.
- Your free plugin or theme does not work after a WordPress update and you find the PHP code of your plugin/theme is no more supported with the latest version. The current developer did not update the theme/plugin for many years and you have no other option to find other developer to continue using the theme/plugin.
- You always assume your hosting company will resolve all website related problems only to find they will ask you to approach your developer.
- You want to have a custom functionalities which is not available with any readymade theme / plugin.
- Wanted to install a custom script on your WordPress installation.
- Your site was hacked and you need a developer help to cleanup your database entries for restoring purpose.
- You are changing old theme to a new one and want to incorporate the features of old theme to new theme.
- Trying to fix a conflict with a premium plugin on your site and the plugin developer ask you to hire them on hourly basis.
The list will go endless and the major reason we found is the use of plugins that you want to repair or migrate to other plugin.
How Much is WordPress Development Cost?
Well, we have checked the contact or hire us page on some of the sites and the lowest cost for development we can see is $500. Let us explain this with two examples for you understand better. Remember, we are talking about development cost and not the price of the hosting or plugin or theme that you can buy for a cheap price.
Example 1 – Mythemeshop
Probably you will be knowing that Mythemeshop is one of the cheap online store for purchasing WordPress themes and plugins. You can go to their contact page and find the cost for customization services.
We have WP Review Pro plugin from mythemeshop and the plugin will create more than 25 custom fields on each and every post on your site. This means, even if you don’t have a review on your article, the plugin will create 25+ custom fields from your default settings. All these data is stored in wp_postmeta table and you will find it affects the database size as well as the website performance. In addition, the plugin will also load junk of CSS/JS files on all articles regardless of whether an article contains a review or not.
Unfortunately, you will never find these details on their product page. Now, that we need to pay thousands of dollars to fix this only for our site.
Example 2 – Highend Theme
We use Highend theme for the past many years. Similar to the above plugin issue, this theme loads tons of CSS/JS even though you do not use the functions on your site. For example, it offers custom post types for portfolio, FAQ, teams, etc. The theme will load all the CSS and JS required for these custom post types when you are not using any of them on your site. This will slow down your site and show optimization opportunities in Google PageSpeed Insights as remove unused CSS and JS.
In order to fix this theme issue, we have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars as a custom development.
Why WordPress Development Cost Heavily?
Now that you understand the reality that people sell a theme for $19 and ask you to pay $500 for fixing an issue. With this, we can say WordPress development is one of the costliest services available on the web. When you start analyzing, there are many reasons for this high cost.
1. WordPress Ecosystem
WordPress is an open source and free software. However, unlike many other software, it is promoted heavily by companies. For example, Automattic is the company behind wordpress.com, Jetpack and WooCommerce and they promote WordPress to sell their products. With this kind of setup, WordPress created an ecosystem that hundreds of thousands of developers rely on. When people heavily promote a free open source software, they will try to get their investments back from their customers.
2. Big Clients Have Budget
Many popular websites like CNN are using WordPress. These big clients have huge budget and ready to pay handsome money for simple services. Though they may use wordpress.com, the software is the same open source package you can download freely from wordpress.org site. It gives big advantage for developers to charge heavily for supporting both hosted and self-hosted platforms.
2. The Free Trap
WordPress offers a free repository of plugins and themes. You can find thousands of free themes and plugins in the repository. In addition, you can also find items on third-party websites. The problem here is that there is no guarantee those free stuffs will be supported forever. After few years, you may find the free plugin you have installed on your site is no more supported. Especially, individual developers can stop supporting their items anytime and you have no other options than hiring a custom developer to use that item.
The new developer has to first read and understand the code before trying to fix the issue. This can easily take long time and hence cost heavily.
3. PHP Errors
Learning curve for WordPress is very long. It will take few months for an average non-techie guy to understand and use WordPress. However, this learning is only about using WordPress admin panel and understanding the basics. You can’t resolve code related problems like PHP fatal errors with basic learning. The only option is to give up the functionality you are looking for or pay for custom development.
4. Site Specific Problems
This is a genuine issue that each WordPress site is different in terms of hosting parameters, installed plugins and themes. Due to this fact, problems are specific to individual WordPress installation. Therefore, generic approach may not work in all cases. Developers need to understand all dependencies on your installation before trying to resolve the problem. This obviously will cost you heavily especially when you have to hire multiple developers.
5. Shortage of Quality Service Providers
WordPress powers more than 36% of websites on the internet. In order to support this volume of sites, you need to have plenty of services site available. However, the fact is different that it is difficult to find a generic WordPress development services. For example, Yoast SEO is kind of monopoly in WordPress SEO field. Even you can find some alternatives, there are less than handful of quality SEO plugins available for millions WordPress site owners. Since you can’t disable SEO plugin, you have to pay to Yoast or any other developer when you struck with a problem.
We hope this article helped you to understand the hidden facts behind the WordPress development services. Though there are some legitimate reasons for high service cost, many Asian bloggers can’t afford such a high cost. The solution here is to strict with minimal options and do not start your site with custom plugins unless you allocated sufficient budget for development.