When it comes to starting your own website, you need to consider many aspects, but one of the first things to take into consideration has to be how much money it is going to cost to operate each month.
If your website is gaining plenty of traffic with little revenue but a lot of outgoings, it’s not going to be sustainable.
Although it might seem obvious to tighten the wallet as much as you can, budgets can escalate very quickly without the right moderation and care taken.
If your hosting package needs upgrading to deal with an increase in traffic, you could soon find that your profit margins become that much more slimmer.
When it comes to the cost of website maintenance in 2016, there are plenty of costs and necessities that you need to accommodate for:
There are so many different hosting providers out there that it can be a real headache to choose one which suits your needs. Providers like Hostgator offer dirt cheap hosting, but as you’re sharing servers with possibly hundreds of other websites, you might find that your site speed suffers as a result.
This might be suitable for a smaller website with low traffic, but for any eCommerce site or online magazine, it could prove to be a sticking point.
That’s why, budget allowing, it’s advisable to opt for a package that is on the slightly pricier side with the sort of performance to back it up. Fasthosts and Siteground are two providers that cost a premium, but give results in return. The latter provides a package for £9.75 a month to suit websites with ~100,000 monthly visitors, a good investment considering the low downtime and customer support they offer. Be sure to research the right hosting provider to suit your venture instead of making a snap decision based on reputation.
Many web design companies will offer web hosting services and will provide a 6 or 12 month free offer of hosting if they build your website – we do. While this provides a hassle free option, it’s important not to get ripped off, unfortunately some web design companies will charge a premium for less than impressive hosting.
Estimated yearly cost: £120
Business Domain Costs
This will likely be the very first thing you arrange. Unfortunately finding a domain can sometimes prove to be an issue in the congested modern web. If you already have your brand name sorted but find that its .com variant has already been claimed, you might have to opt for a .co, .org, or your national version instead.
Another option to consider is to reach out to the domain registrar and privately buy it from them. The asking price for this can vary, likely to be lower if they are just holding onto it for a small profit or much higher if they’re doing something with it.
Many web designers include the cost of the first years of the domain registration in their overall website cost.
Estimated yearly cost: £10
In an age where viruses can be the death knell for any burgeoning business, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your website is as secure as possible. Hackers can take over your website and use it to their own ends, damaging your reputation in the process. It doesn’t even bear thinking about the outcome if they get their hands on your customers’ confidential information.
Luckily, although it’s almost impossible to be 100% secure online, investing in SSL certificates helps to shore up your defences. Google prefers websites with these, but are yet to confirm that they will positively impact your rankings should your website have the right certificates. Future-proof your website by investing in certificates from as little as £30 from providers like 123reg with other more inclusive packages from Trustico coming in at £229 per year.
There are also other avenues you can go down to make your website as secure as possible. A practice growing in popularity is to invest in security monitoring: a tool that will periodically scan your website to find anything that may be amiss. More often than not, these will automatically remove the malware and alert you, meaning that any security holes are harder to exploit. Siteground offer this add-on from £5 a month.
For that added bit of security, you can also invest in a plugin for your CMS that will add extra layers of security. For WordPress users, WP Security is a must, allowing for IP blocking, firewalls and much more.
Estimated cost per year: £290
Update & Redesign Cost
The modern web is always shifting and adapting to new trends in design and performance, meaning that your website might need semi-regular updates to keep it fresh. If you aren’t a designer/developer yourself, you could be looking at escalating costs to hire external parties.
From simply changing the font to a complete overhaul of your website’s design, there a lot of factors that result in soaring costs. Even if you’re just purchasing a premium theme or plugin for your CMS, they’re outgoings which need to be considered.
The costs of this can highly vary. A developer might want payment on an as-and-when basis depending on the scale of the job or allocate a yearly budget for them to draw from. You might want to set aside anywhere between £200-£1500 a year to accommodate any costs, just to be on the safe side.
If you intend to make several additions and updates to your website each month then it’s probably worth asking your web designer if they can offer a monthly package to make these changes for you.
Estimated cost per year: £200-£1500
In-House Website Co-Ordinator Cost
A surefire way to ensure that your website is maintained properly is to hire someone internally to oversee any updates and deal with issues as they crop up. Even better, with a website co-ordinator, they can produce quality content and run your social channels, as well as many other exercises to help improve your brand. These experts might require a premium salary, so hiring them may not be feasible for small, new businesses. It is worth bearing in mind however if you plan to expand the online side of your business.
Alternatively. you can also invest in freelance experts or marketing agencies to help you and your website stay ahead of the game. You might not have someone readily available to assist in the office, but their expertise could prove to be a great benefit nonetheless.
Estimated cost per year (In-House): £12000-£35000
Estimated cost per year (Freelance): £1000-£55,000
As you can see, maintaining your website isn’t something that should be done on the cheap. The old adage of “you get what you pay for” certainly applies: scrimp and save at every possible opportunity and you might be doing your website justice. Maintaining a quality website is a necessary step towards making your new business into a long standing, reputable one.