How Much Can You Charge for Building a WordPress Website?

WordPress itself is part of at least a quarter of all websites on the internet. WordPress themes and code modules are found for free across the internet, which is in part how WordPress became a leading content management system with about three fifths of the market. But how much should you charge for building a WordPress website as a developer?

The Content

If the customer is asking you to create content for their website, whether it is ad copy for landing pages or detailed product descriptions for ecommerce pages, you have the right and obligation to charge them for what is essentially writing. If you outsource the content creation to other freelancers, charge the customer around 50% more than you’re paying the third party content creators because of the time and effort it takes to manage the crowdsourced content creation. If the website owner is creating the new content for the website, then this isn’t an issue.

The Costs for Third Party Code

All of the costs that the project incurs should be paid by the customer. If you’re paying for an ecommerce package complete with a complex shopping cart module that integrates with a mid-market ERP system, your customer should pay for that, too. If you have to pay for a code module that connects the website to the person’s SQL server or MySQL database so the website presents that data to the world through a global CDN, the customer should pay for it.

Another factor to consider is any software licenses you handle for the customer. If you’ve set up IT security software on their server or plagiarism scanners that look for people who’ve scraped proprietary content off the customer’s website, you should charge the customer what you had to pay for that software or those services. Do take care to let customers know how much they’ll need to pay to continue those services and how to do so.

The Complexity

If you’re setting up a basic website with a fast WordPress site, you could charge several hundred to a thousand dollars. If you’re asked to add ecommerce functionality, you’re going to have to spend more time testing it. As they add more payment options and features like coupon codes and loyalty programs, the project’s complexity and time requirements all go up. The more websites that you need to interface with, whether social media sharing buttons or RSS feeds, the greater the cost. If you’re tapping into multiple databases, you’re right to charge more. Fewer people can create a working site with so many interconnecting elements. You should charge more for such work.

Your Time

Your overall cost estimate should include their expected demands on your time in the future. For example, too many people provide a line in the contract that they’ll tweak the site if the customer isn’t happy or if there are problems.

This statement is intended to be a form of warranty for the customer, that if their new site is broken, you’ll fix it. It too often becomes the subject of scope creep. Yes, you added 100 ecommerce pages, but we want you to add 50 more and consider it already paid for by the original project order. You added five social media sharing buttons, can’t you just add one more? We said we liked this theme and this style of text, but can you alter it again?

One solution for this problem is stating that you’ll dedicate X hours for the first month after the site goes live for bug fixes and little enhancements. Make it clear that changes beyond that scope require a new agreement. If they want you to commit to website maintenance over a long term, they need to pay you for your time.

If they want you to spend time training them how to update and maintain the site, this should be part of your hourly estimate or factored into the flat fee you charge them for the project.

The Price of Assistance

If you need to bring third party experts in, whether you are tracking down suspected malware on their existing site or trying to add new payment methods to the site, you need to include these costs in the price quote since it is part of the website cost. If the customer asks for these services and they weren’t part of the original scope, you need to discuss it with the customer and ask for an addendum to the agreement.

How much you charge for your services will depend on a variety of factors. If you need the assistance of various third parties, the client will eventually have to foot the bill. It’s also essential that you charge them based on how much time you have to invest in the project and the complexity of the work.

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