Many of my clients who come to me to build their websites do not give consideration to the ongoing costs of running their website. Today I would like to outline those costs so you can know what to expect as long term costs for your website.
Your Domain Name is the URL that a user enters into their browser to visit your website. While there are many different choices for domain name registrars, the price range for a domain name can vary between approximately $10/year to $50/year depending on the top level domain that you choose. A top level domain is “.com”, “.io”, “.app”, etc. You are probably most familiar with “.com” however finding that perfect name with a “.com” top level domain is getting harder and harder to get, thus the availability of other top level domains.
In order to display your website the files that make up the website must be housed and served when someone makes a request (visits your domain name in their browser). A web host is who you will pay for this service, typically you will pay between $10/month for a small website and up to $1000/month for a very large web app. For most small businesses you can expect to be on the lower end and pay between $10/month and $50/month.
Up until a few years ago having an SSL certificate was a major expense to running your website. You could expect to pay up to $1000/year, however in recent times Internet Research Group has provided free SSL Certificates for websites. So now the only real cost is having a developer do the initial setup and configuration.
Your website and server will require some maintenance as time goes by, this can range from bugs that are uncovered after the site is live or upgrades/patches to software the server uses. Typically you can expect to be offered a maintenance contract from a developer who creates your site, the pricing on this will usually vary but could range from $100-500/month for x number of hours and then an hourly rate after that if there are needs that go beyond the normal maintenance.
We have looked at several ongoing expenses that you should budget for when running a website for your business. Below is a summary table to put it in perspective. As you can see you can expect to spend between $1,330 – $7,650 per year on running your site. This total does not include SEO and Upgrades (keep reading for info on those) but just the basics of running the site. If you are looking at these numbers and thinking that they are a lot then you should probably work on determining how you can make more from your site than it costs you to run it each year. Things like having a storefront to sell your products online, selling a service that your company provides where users can subscribe at a monthly fee are good ways to not only recover the cost of the website but to grow your business in other ways.
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Before we say goodbye, let’s talk about two final topics that don’t exactly fit in the site budget but you should definitely plan for your budget.
Typically a weld website should last for several years but trends change in technology quickly and at some point you will want to update or upgrade your site to add additional features or just give it a facelift.
Having proper Search Engine Optimization helps your website be found by the large search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc) which will drive traffic to your website and customers to your door. Therefore this is an extremely important part of your website and business strategy. SEO is priced accordingly and you can expect to pay either an SEO company or a SEO freelance consultant a monthly retainer for their services. The average monthly retainer can range from $100/month to $50,000/month!. Do you think that upper number is crazy expensive (I do!)? If you have a large business having the right SEO strategy in place can make or break your company. The best advice I can give here is don’t skimp on this as you get what you pay for, so budget well for this expense, however you may be able to find someone in your local market that is an expert that does great work and won’t break the bank. I would look to other business owners that you are friendly with and ask for a referral.
That’s all for now! If you’re looking to have a website for your business created or updated, please contact us directly to discuss a quote – Pillar Consulting