We’ve previously written about how much it costs to have a website built, but that didn’t include the costs of running it. Just like your house and car, you need to maintain it from time to time. So in this article, we discuss how much it costs to have a website.
We won’t go into details as this has already been covered in our previous article. In short, between building a website yourself and hiring professionals, cost ranges from $0 to tens of thousands. For most small businesses, the price tag is usually under $10,000.
After having a site built, you need a web server to host it. Hosting costs as little as $5 a month, but sky is the limit if you have a high traffic site. Do yourself a favour and steer away from cheap hosting, you’ll thank us later. The reason is that cheap hosting plans are usually oversold, meaning that too many websites run on the same server. We have had very bad experience with GoDaddy in the past for that reason, so we can’t recommend them. Also, support is very important, which is why managed hosting costs more. If you were to manage the website yourself, expect to pay at least $20 a month for what we consider quality hosting.
You wouldn’t open a physical store without advertising it, therefore it only makes sense to also market your website. How much you spend on ads is up to you, it costs as little as $5 to start advertising on websites such as Facebook. However, if you’d like to see significant results, I’d spend a lot more or hire professionals. Every marketing agency charges different fees, usually a fixed fee plus a percentage of the ad spend. The good news is that it works, because online marketing can be very targeted when compared with traditional advertising. It also provides much more data for analytics, so marketers can fine tune the campaigns to improve them.
Websites run on software, and just like your computer and smartphone, they need to be updated from time to time. Sometimes updates bring new features, but more importantly, they fix security flaws in software. A website that doesn’t get updated is more prone to cyber attacks, which compromises the site and the information stored on it. You could have a PR nightmare if you had your clients’ information stolen. So the rule of thumb is to always keep your site updated with the latest software or plug-ins. In order to receive updates for your website, there are often costs associated with the subscriptions. Again, cost varies depending on what software your website is built on, and if you have to pay a pro to do it for you. Although very rare, there’s always a chance that updates could break your site due to software conflict. Hence, another reason to have an IT professional do it for you.
There’s also cost associated with updating the contents on your website if you don’t know how or can’t be bothered with doing it. From time to time, you might want to change the information on your site. Even if you don’t, you should try to add new, quality contents for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. SEO is a never ending battle, because even if your site ranks #1 on Google today, your competitors will always try to outrank you. So if you don’t update your site or create new content to improve SEO, you might notice the number of site visitors starting to drop. SEO is an art by itself, and we recommend that you hire professionals.
Even though we discussed various costs associated with operating a website, you shouldn’t be discouraged. A website is an investment that will bring you financial returns when properly designed, marketed and maintained. We know that running a site could be a bit overwhelming, which is why we offer website maintenance plans that cover web hosting, SEO, as well as software and content updates. If you’re looking for professionals to custom design your website and maintain it for you, we’d be more than happy to help you.