9 WordPress website expenses for your online business

It can be hard to know in advance all of the WordPress website expenses you need to plan for. In order to take some of the guesswork out of budgeting for your online business, here are common expenses. I’ve also included what you can expect to pay for each of them.

The expenses you need

Domain name

A domain name is what someone types into their browser to get to your website. For example, my domain name is tinyblueorange.com. It’s also called a URL.

This expense is annual, meaning you have to pay for it every year (unless you pay for a few years at a time). Some companies offer deals for the first year, but the average cost for a domain ending in .com is $9-$15 per year. Adding private registration + other things will bring that cost up over $20 per year.

Managed WordPress hosting

Think of hosting like storage for your website files. Your hosting company will keep the server your information is on maintained, secure + functioning. That doesn’t mean bad stuff can’t happen, but you are paying for the space as well as the service.

A lot of your WordPress website expenses will be recurring ones. And just like domain names, hosting is often paid for yearly. However, it can be paid monthly. There are many levels of hosting, but most of my clients pay between $20 + $100 a month for their hosting plans. Keep in mind that companies give you a discount for payment on multiple years at a time, but that can make it more costly to switch if you don’t like your hosting company or need more services.

Nice to have WordPress website expenses

WordPress theme/site design

Once you have a name + place for your site to go, you can start talking about the look-and-feel of it. I only do WordPress sites, so that is my focus for this post. WordPress is free, but you will want to change the look of it to better match your brand + appeal to your audience.

There are two ways to go about this. The first way is to buy a pre-existing theme that you install on your site. The con to this is that others can also buy the same theme. Expect to pay anywhere from $0-$200 for a WordPress theme, with the majority of them costing you less than $60.

The second way to change your site’s appearance is to hire someone to do it for you. Just like with all service-based business, there is a huge range of prices for site design + development. I’ve seen some for as little as $500 + others for over $12,000. If you are starting out, but want to budget for a fully custom site, I’d recommend setting aside $4,000-$8,000, depending on the features you are looking for.


Plugins are specific to WordPress + refer to additional functions that you can add to your site to make it better for you or your site visitors to use. Some commonly installed plugins tackle spam prevention, backups, opt-ins or forms.

The majority of plugins are free, which is great. But there are some that are not + are worth paying for. Especially as you get into the more complicated features like ecommerce + memberships. Expect to pay between $30 + $260 for most plugins that will add great features to your site. I have 3 that I paid for + they total less than $300.


If you are running a business online, it is your job to think about security. Alternatively, you could hire someone to do that for you. Things to protect are your files, your customer’s information + your systems.

Just like design, the cost here can vary quite a bit. There are reasonably priced plugins or hosting company add-ons that will protect your business really well + run you anywhere from $100 one time to $20 per month. There are also services that are designed to keep your business safe for $50-$150 per month. This expense is something that you can decide on a budget + then pick a solution that matches. Or you can figure out what is best for you + your site visitors, then research the costs from there.

Email marketing services

Unlike hosting + a domain, email marketing services are not a requirement to running an online business, but a lot of business owners want to have a way to communicate with their audience. If you’ve ever gotten an email from your favorite brand with a link to unsubscribe at the bottom, they used an email marketing service to send that message to you.

You might be seeing a trend by now when I explain that different features affect the cost that you can expect. If you are starting small + don’t want to spend money on this, MailChimp offers a free option until your list is over 2,000 email addresses. Otherwise prices can range from $10 to $379 per month (Infusionsoft is one of the most expensive solutions but offers a lot of features). The average costs that I see fall between the $10 + $40 a month range.

Font licenses

A font web license gives you the rights to use a special font on your website, allowing you to tie the look-and-feel more closely to your brand.

If you haven’t already purchased a font web license when creating your brand + logo, you can expect to pay between $0 + $80, on average, for the license. Some fonts are priced over $200 but typically include many different weights + characters. Google Fonts is a solid free resource if you’re looking to not pay for the font you use.

Graphic or image WordPress business expenses

Just like font licenses, having the rights to images or graphics created just for your brand can set you apart from the crowd + tie everything back to your personality. Examples of this include stock images for your blog posts, icons to use for social media links, sidebar banners marketing your services or products + professional images taken of you to be used on the site.

Stock images + graphics can be found for free, otherwise expect to pay less than $15 per image. Custom graphics or banners can be created by your designer for anywhere from $25-$200 depending on the size + complexity.

Professional photos can vary based on the number that you require + style. I’ve seen clients pay anywhere from $100 to $750 for the images they used on their site.

File storage + delivery

This is one of those WordPress website expenses that can help you level up your online business. While hosting handles the storage of your website files, paying for file storage + delivery can help with downloadable products, client documents, or — my personal favorite — website backups.

Services like Dropbox are very affordable as they have a free option + a $10 per month option, but also an $800 per year option.

Amazon s3 provides storage based on the amount of space you need just charging pennies per GB per month. They also have a free year plan for users interested in trying the service.

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