There is common belief that WordPress websites should be cheap or free. I hear objections like:

  • “But WordPress is free.”
  • “Why invest $1,000’s into a website that may or may not work?”
  • “I can get a template for 50 bucks.”

Those are valid points and attention-worth concerns. But they aren’t the whole story.

Is WordPress really free?

Yes and no.

You can get an account on WordPress.com and set up a free website. You’ll have limited design and feature options. And you’ll still need to pay for a domain (if you want 1).

The core software for a self-hosted WordPress website is absolutely free. But you’ll need to provide hosting and a domain.

So WordPress is free. A WordPress website might not be.

How much could a do-it-yourself WordPress cost?

How much does a car cost? Well, it depends.

A plain website could be set up for less than $20 in initial fees and $5 or so a month for entry-level hosting. If that’s all you need, go for it.

But is that really all you need? Do you want a specific look? Do you need specific features or functions? That could quickly add up to hundreds of dollars and you’d still have to set it up and configure it.

You don’t need “a website”

No one has ever needed “a website”. If all people needed was “a website,” everyone would be on WordPress.com. But that isn’t enough. Your goal should be to have a platform that works for you.

If you’re still reading, you know I’m right. You want a website that converts strangers into fans and fans into paying customers. You want a website that works while you sleep. You want it to be fast and secure yet easy to use.

Can you do that yourself? What is that worth to you and your business?

What is professional help worth?

What can a consultant provide?

Expert advice – What are you an expert at? How long did that take? How long would it take for you to become an expert at internet marketing or web design?

Time – You could invest the time in doing this all yourself. Or you could work on what you’re good at and pay someone to do what they’re good at.

Risk reduction – How comfortable are you with being responsible for the security of your website? Save a little money or sleep soundly.

Connect the dots – A business website is about more than what is on the pages. It’s about how they’re connected. It’s about how the website guides visitors from page to page. It’s about how the site makes the visitor feel.

It’s hard giving up control of your online presence. But did you do your own plumbing? Do you cut your own hair? (Ok, I do, but I just shave my head.) Think about all the other professionals you’ve hired. Was it worth it?

What is all that worth to you?

What should a consultant make?

Here’s another way to look at it. Let’s start with annual income.

Per PayScale.com, the median income for a marketing consultant is about $58,000. Supposing a 40-hour work week and 2 weeks vacation, that’s 2,000 work hours. That works out to $29 / hour. That isn’t much.

But that doesn’t include sick time or other holidays. And if we’re talking about an independent consultant, we’re also missing the fact they have to do all the other work in the business from accounting to marketing to customer service. A self-employed consultant is lucky to do 25 hours of client work per week. That bumps the hourly up to over $45 per hour.

And there’s self-employment tax. An employee making $58k would pay $7,600 in taxes. If you make that same amount while self-employed, you’d pay $14,800 in taxes. To get the same take home pay, we’re over $50 per hour.

And that assumes back to back to back projects. Which would you prefer: a consultant that disappears into their next project (to keep getting paid) or a consultant that pads the timeline to allow for hiccups, handoffs, and any other surprises?

Summary

WordPress is free. A website can be cheap. But that isn’t enough.

While you can take free WordPress software and build a website, a marketing consultant can take that same software and build a tool that grows your business.

 

Featured image by Jules Marchioni