I’ve just finished writing an article on my I think a paid Screaming Frog subscription isn’t worth it, and now I’m saying that Ahrefs isn’t worth it either for most website owners! Am I just being a contrarian? Is it clickbait? If so, my opinion is, at the very least, genuine. I’m a website owner, and I’ve subscribed to Screaming Frog and Ahrefs. They’re both great products – the best in their class, in fact. But like Screaming Frog, Ahrefs isn’t worth the cost for the overwhelming majority of websites. Here’s why.
Simply Put, Ahrefs is Too Expensive
Ahrefs costs $99/m. The problem with any pricing model is that the same amount could be insignificant for some players but still represent a good chunk of expenditure for others. Paying $1200 yearly might not seem like a lot for large websites or SEO agencies that use Ahrefs as part of their workflow, but it’s a major expense for most other sites.
For comparison, consider the other expenses associated with running a website. If you host on NameHero’s starting plan, your entire hosting expense comes to less than $10/m in renewals. Ahrefs is asking you to pay 10 times more for its tool than you pay for web hosting! And if you’re thinking, “Well, that’s low-cost hosting, ” consider that NameHero’s managed VPS cloud renews at $40/m. That’s less than half of what Ahrefs wants you to pay for their SEO tool.
I’m sorry, but I can’t justify this kind of expense. It’s not a question of “How much can you afford”, but “How much is this worth to you?”.
The “ROI” Argument
Advocates for Ahrefs will often tell you that any amount is worth paying if it brings in more revenue than it costs. True…if you can measure it. And even then, it might take a lot of time before you begin to feel the difference. However, for a website that makes a few hundred dollars a month, that’s over 20% of their entire income stream!
Not to mention that no one has compared the ROI of Ahrefs and other free alternatives for things like keyword research.
So Who Should Use Ahrefs?
Ahrefs is for two kinds of users:
- Large websites with multiple content writers and an organized SEO team
- SEO agencies with multiple clients
Both of the above are “power users” of a sort. They have multiple projects, need to track the performance of hundreds of keywords and keep tabs on dozens of competitors. They must create multiple keyword lists and priorities and keep track of the backlinks they build. For such organizations, Ahrefs is a great tool that is absolutely worth it.
But the pricing plans on Ahrefs specifically mentions that the starter plan is for small websites and even “hobby projects”. This is a flat-out lie. Ahrefs is not meant for hobby projects. No hobbyist will spend over a thousand bucks a year on an SEO tool!
Use Ahrefs Free Tools Instead
There’s a free tier from where you can see some basic stuff about your website. But not everyone knows that Ahrefs has free SEO tools, including the following:
- Keyword Generator
- Keyword Difficulty Checker
- SERP Checker
- Keyword Rank Checker
- Backlink Checker
- Website Authority Checker
And more. While these are useful, I find other tools even better for keyword research. Google itself is a fantastic keyword generator through its auto-suggestions. One tool that builds really well on this is KeywordTool.io, which leverages Google’s auto-complete. For keyword tracking, you can use SEMRush for up to 10 keywords.
And, of course, the daddy of all rank tracking tools – Google Search Console. Once more for free. The bottom line is that you don’t need to purchase Ahrefs to get ahead if you’re a small business or website.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!