It depends on whether you go with WordPress.org (the self-hosted, heavy duty customization option) or WordPress.com (which we feel is most appropriate for the vast majority of small business clients). The decision is yours, and you can inform your decision by reading WordPress.com vs WordPress.org and talking to us.
WordPress.com does indeed offer a no-to-low cost alternative for website design and management. The basic package is entirely free and will allow you to get up running. The downside is that ads can and likely will be served up on your site and you are restricted in the amount of design customization that you can do.
The costs that we consider essential for making the most of WordPress.com include:
$99 USD per year for the full WordPress.com package, which means no ads, greater design customization and a domain name
$1 – $3/month for email hosting if you need one or more email addresses that use your domain name (we can recommend good service providers for this)
The fees that you pay WordPress consultants like ourselves to customize your site. More on this here >
For self-hosted WordPress.org sites, you are responsible for finding and choosing your host, and we can help you to do this. Annual hosting fees can run from about $200/year and upwards, depending on your requirements.