Having a website is critical in today’s world. Despite this, many people don’t understand what it costs to build and maintain a website. This article covers the most basic costs, and when to expect them.
Building a Website
In almost every case, the biggest investment in a website comes with its initial construction. This work involves planning the website’s structure, preparing assets, and writing code to take the website from concept to reality. At the most basic level, you’ll a Web developer, server infrastructure, and a domain name.
Web developers are programmers that specialize in the development of websites. Developers charge for their services based on the experience they have, and the details of a project. In addition, different developers will bill for their services at different times. With this in mind, you’ll want to ask the developer about their rates and billing practices to best plan for their costs.
In order to be available online, a website must be “hosted” on a server. Many websites accomplish this by using a hosting service. These services are usually billed monthly or annually, and cost anywhere from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. DigitalOcean (my go-to hosting provider) offers servers for as little as $5 per month. This tier of service is more than adequate for small websites, and even includes 24/7 support.
For users to find your website, you’ll need a domain name. A domain name is a unique identifier which points a Web browser to your website. Domain names are obtained through registrars. Many domain name registrars will charge on an annual basis, though some offer multi-year registrations. The cost of a domain name depends on what you’re looking for, and the registrar you choose. Most of clients spend about $30 per year on domain name registrations.
Maintaining a Website
Once a website has been built, it’s important to maintain the website. You should expect to spend about 20% of what you paid to build your website to maintain it every year. Despite this, the costs can change from year to year based on specific maintenance needs and how your site was built. If you’re unsure of what to expect, ask your Web developer for an estimate.
For technical maintenance, it’s best to have a Web developer do the work. In many cases, this can be the developer that built the website. Maintaining a positive relationship with the developer that built your website can be a great way to minimize costs, and make sure technical maintenance is completed correctly.
For non-technical tasks, it may be possible to take a DIY approach. This is especially true for a website built with a content management system (CMS). WordPress has developed a reputation for giving website owners control over their content. It even includes tools to perform website updates. Because of this, I often find myself recommending WordPress to my small business clients.
Though these are the most basic costs to build and maintain a website, understanding these costs is a great way to start budgeting for a website. If you are looking to build a website and want to gain insights into the costs, get in touch and I’ll be happy to provide an estimate.