Before building a website for your business, it is important to know the costs involved. This will ensure you budget adequately for the project. Some business owners think building a website is a one-off thing. You just build it and you go to sleep. However, there are fixed costs and recurrent costs involved in having a business website.
So, here are a few items to add in your budget. I will not be giving actual cost as this can vary widely. The purpose of this article is to show you the different cost components so that you will be more informed when talking with a web designer or when researching further in case you decide to do the web design yourself.
Cost of Web Hosting & Domain Name
A website needs to be hosted on a server connected to the internet. You will need to pay a web hosting service to house your website on the web. Payment is billed monthly but you will be expected to pay every six months or annually. There are many hosting companies with varying degrees of customer satisfaction. You can use the services of a web hosting company in Nigeria or a top web hosting service.
Then you need to also register a domain name. A domain name is your unique address (a.k.a web address) on the internet like www.yourbusinessname.com. It is on this web address that your potential customers can reach your business. You buy a domain name through a domain name registrar. Domain names are billed yearly. Like in hosting, you can buy your domain name from a local or international domain name registrar.
In your budget, you need to add cost of at least one year hosting and domain name registration. Then every year you need to budget for renewal of your web hosting plan and domain name registration. Note that you can pay for web hosting and domain registration for more than a year. You can decide to pay for 2, 5, or even 10 years.
If you are designing your website via a web design service, you may be offered free hosting and domain name registration for the first year as part of the web design package. You will then have to pay the web designer for subsequent years.
Cost of the Web Design work
If you are using a web designer, you will have to budget for the cost of the web design service. If you do not have a logo already, you also need to budget for a logo design. This can be done for a fee by the web designer or you can pay a graphic designer to design a logo for your website.
Then you need content on your website. The web designer can do this for you or you can do it yourself, or you can employ a copywriter or/and an SEO consultant to write compelling web copies for your website that will be search engine friendly and draw sales to your business. An SEO will also ensure that the structure and layout of your website is search engine friendly as well as help you develop strategies that will increase website traffic.
Some plug-ins may also be required to add some unique features you are demanding. So, the more features you want on your business website the steeper the cost of design and development.
Note that a web designer will have in his team or experts network, professionals who can help in all the components of web design enumerated here. So, you can rely on your web designer for these services.
Cost of Website Promotion
This one is ignored by most businesses. Some businesses think that once they design a website, the millions of people on the internet will just start trooping in. Well, as at April 2012 there were 7.78 billion pages in the indexed web according to worlwidewebsize.com. All these pages are seeking the attention of the 2.4 billion people who currently have internet access according to wikipedia.com.
You need to allocate some budget for website promotion. You can use search marketing to promote your new website on search engines (like Google Adwords) and use social media marketing to promote your website on social media sites like Facebook. You can pay an SEO and/or SMM consultants to help with these. Offline promotions are not out of place.
You should also allocate money to update your business cards and other printed materials to include your new website.
Cost of Website Management & Maintenance
This is another cost component ignored by some businesses. Building a website is not a one-off thing; you need to allocate money for its management and maintenance. You need to connect your offline business to your website. So, any change in your business like new products, price updates, job vacancies, business expansion, etc should be reflected on your website.
This means that after the initial web design you still need to update your website when necessary. You can do this yourself, employ someone else to do it for you, or outsource the service to the web designer or a copywriter. To make it easy to update your website, invest in a web design package that includes a content management system (CMS). Going for the cheap web design options is okay if you have a tight budget, but paying the cost for a system that is easily updatable may save you some management cost.
If your website includes a blog, you may even need updates more often. Similarly, you can employ the web designer, a blogger or a copywriter to help out, or you can do it in-house. A website at some point will need to be redesigned or upgraded. For example, you can start with a static website, but with plans to upgrade to a more versatile website with CMS in some months or years. You may just want to change the layout or structure to reflect your new brand status.
Other ongoing cost you may capture yearly in your website management budget includes SEO (for link building, keyword research, web analytics, and optimisation for search traffic), SMM (for social engagement with customers and potential customers, and advertising your products), Online Advertising (Google Adwords, Classified Ads, Adbrite, Bidvertiser, Facebook), annual web hosting costs, annual domain cost, etc. If the plug-ins you are using on your website requires an annual paid license, you should also factor it into your budget.
These cost components are not meant to scare you. You do not have to spend in all of them. If your business is still small, you can handle some of the tasks yourself. Just don’t ignore them entirely.
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