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Why So Expensive? Why So Cheap?

There are many factors that go into the costs of creating a WordPress website. And I did a thorough review of all those factors in my pricing series. But once you establish a price for a project you may have a client ask one of two questions: “Why so expensive?,” or sometimes “Why so cheap”?

I was recently shopping for a new electric guitar. I have tendonitis in my wrist, so I needed a guitar with as low action as possible. I spent a lot of time in guitar stores trying different models and brands. I settled on Paul Reed Smith SE Custom, which is in the mid-price level, just under $1,000. Right next to it was a Paul Reed Smith Hollowbody II, with a price tag of $7,520. Now I confess, I don’t know much about the specific components and features that make up the pricing of guitars, but that’s quite a range. Mike, the guitar expert at Harry’s in Raleigh explained how the mahogany hollowbody is meticulously hand carved to a quarter inch thickness and its gorgeous wood texture isn’t painted on, it’s the real wood. He described its high end pickups, tremolos, and locking tuners, and how it’s handcrafted in the United States.

From an outsider’s perspective it’s really hard to know why some things that look very similar from the outside can have such wide price differences. And the same goes for WordPress development. Clients have probably seen companies offering WordPress development in the sub-one thousand, PRS SE price range, and also services well over the PRS Hollowbody’s $7,000 price range. 

So when a client, who’s seen these broad ranges, reacts to your price, you need to be ready to give a simple explanation—without having to go into all the details I covered in our pricing series.

First, let’s clarify the low end of the market. WordPress, right out of the box, provides a significant range of functionality. It allows you to create pages and blog posts, has fields for featured images, allows you to organize content into categories, offers built in search capability, and includes content widgets for images, galleries, videos, tables, and more on all your pages and posts. 

Additionally, there are over 12,000 free WordPress themes available that can provide the front end look and feel. Not to mention the multitudes of premium themes out there. 

And with over 60,000 free WordPress plugins and even more available for modest license fees, you can significantly extend the functionality of WordPress at almost no extra cost.   

So, if a website’s requirements fall within WordPress’s basic features, and if an existing theme provides adequate design, there really are viable low cost options out there. Any number of freelancers on Upwork or Fiverr can fill that ticket.

Things get more complicated when the out-of-the-box options aren’t sufficient. One of the great things about WordPress is that it can be fully customized. You can create custom post types, custom fields, and write your own custom functions. 

But when you customize WordPress, none of those pre-built front-end design themes are going to work. They weren’t built to account for custom content types, fields, and functions. And so, for custom WordPress sites, in addition to the costs of customizing the backend, you’ll also need a custom front end theme.

Enter website developers. The primary way to create a custom theme that recognizes custom content, fields, and functions is to build custom theme templates using a programming language called PHP. Then, in order to display those templates you need to provide custom front end styling using CSS and JavaScript. 

And this accounts for the huge gulf between low end WordPress and higher end custom WordPress development. 

Most of the time clients need to understand why a project quote is so much higher than the very cheap options they may have seen. And you’ll need to explain the gulf between out-of-the-box and custom WordPress, and my pricing series can help flesh that out. 

But sometimes, at least in the case of HOLTER Strategic, we get the opposite question—why so cheap? 

You see, if a client understands their need for custom development, and they’ve received prices from other custom WordPress dev shops, they might compare our prices with other proposals and wonder why ours is possibly half, or even a third less than the others. We’re all so accustomed to the maxim, “you get what you pay for” and so sometimes a lower cost raises flags.

So how can HOLTER Strategic deliver fully custom WordPress sites, with custom themes, so much less expensively than other custom WordPress shops? 

It has to do with our Low Code / No Code development philosophy. You see, in addition to utilizing the incredible range of professionally supported plugins available to extend the functionality of WordPress, we also utilize WordPress frameworks that allow us to build both fully dynamic backends and front ends, without having to do all that custom PHP, CSS, and JavaScript. This significantly reduces the biggest cost center of custom development—programmer time. 

Additionally, our Low Code / No Code framework is extremely flexible, so when a client needs to make changes, or add new features, we don’t have to go back and re-work custom code, we have all the tools ready to adapt a site without additional coding.

If you’d like to learn more about our Low Code / No Code framework check out our article, “Join the Low Code / No Code Revolution.” I’ve added a link in the notes below. 

Price expectations can be all over the map, but helping a client or prospect understand the lay of the land can help them either justify the necessary budget, or enjoy all the benefits and possibilities of a Low Code / No Code framework. 

Until next time…

Be Clear. Build Trust. Win Clients.

Why do some charge $1,000 for WordPress development and others $100,000? Everything about WordPress pricing is explained in our eBook “Why Pay Less?”