This article is an excerpt from our Consumer Awareness Guide to Website Design. Download your copy today for more essential information about how to effectively plan, hire & avoid costly mistakes.
So, you want to build a website? Great! But do you know the true cost of owning and maintaining one? If not, you've come to the right place. In this article, you'll discover the main 5 hidden costs that come with owning a website.
Read this article until the end to discover essential tips to help you reduce or eliminate unnecessary costs.
1. Domain Name & Hosting
What is a domain name?
A domain name is the address of your website. In order to visit your website, people must type the name into the browser bar. In simple terms, if your website was a house, your domain name is the address.
What is the cost of a domain name?
You can get a domain for $15/year or less…or more. With so many people squatting on domains for profit, chances are your business name might already be claimed by someone else. If so, you might have to negotiate for a much higher price...sometimes up to thousands of dollars.
What is hosting?
Hosting is essentially a virtual storage unit that holds all the files and software that make your website possible. The hosting provider’s job is to supply the technologies and services needed for your website to be viewed on the Internet.
What is the cost of hosting a website?
The cost depends on the scale of your business and how many visitors you get. For most businesses, you can get hosting for as low as $5/month, but it can go up to $125/month for dedicated hosting.
2. Themes & Plugins
Nine times out of ten, the freelance web guy/gal will build your website using a technology called WordPress. Why? Because anyone with the teeniest bit of tech knowledge can build a website using it. Such is the sad state of the website industry.
Because WordPress can do just about everything under the sun, it makes it really easy for not-so-techy people to build websites for other people. Is it the right option for you? Not always, especially if you just need a simple 5 page marketing site for your business.
To save time and energy, your WordPress web "specialist" will most likely charge you for a pre-built theme and for plugins to extend the capabilities of your website.
How much does a WordPress theme cost?
The cost of a WordPress theme goes between $19 all the way up to $99. But you might have to consider paying for ongoing support. That's the catch of WordPress. Everything gets updated all the time and stuff tends to break because of that. Expect another payment of $25/year for support from the theme provider.
What are WordPress plugins and how much do they cost?
Plugins are little pieces of code that extend the capabilities of your site. If you want a backup system in case something breaks, you'll need a plugin. If you need to have a more complex form on your site, you'll need a plugin for that too.
There are over 55,000 plugins made for WordPress. The vast majority are free...but the problem with "free" plugins is that they are less frequently updated...and that means the chances of your site getting hacked grows exponentially with the number of free plugins you've installed.
Expect to pay at least $100 a year in WordPress plugins. This isn’t a hard and fast rule but in our 10 years of experience dealing with WordPress, it's the average.
3. Third Party Services
3rd party services includes things like:
- Storage for site backups
- Payment processing
- Scheduling or booking engine
- Chatbox for website
- Email marketing service
It's difficult to give this one category an average cost because of the wide range of possible use case.
4. Cyber-treat and Hacking
Hackers are out there, and their tampering could be devastating. If you haven't taken the necessary precautions, your website could be damaged beyond repair, or worse, completely lost. The possibility of being hacked is the biggest hidden cost for your website.
To prevent a hacker from destroying your site, or using it for nefarious purposes, you have to keep all your plugins and your theme updated as regularly as possible...which can be time consuming when you have a business to run. This leads us to the next point.
5. Maintenance & Support
Most freelancers sell you on a maintenance package upon the launch of your website. Why? Because your website will need it.
Usually the package covers an hour of work a month to update everything and perform content edits. And if something goes terribly wrong (which happens more often than you think), it covers the time spent rolling back the site to its previous state.
Expect paying $49/mo to $79/mo for a maintenance package.
How do I reduce the costs that come with owning a website?
The #1 way to reduce your costs is to arm yourself with a bit of knowledge before hiring a web specialist. That’s why we’ve created a Consumer Awareness Guide to Website Design. You don't need to be a geek or fluent in technical jargon to reduce your costs. You just need to know enough to not get oversold.
If you can answer this question, you could save big money: Do you really need your website to be built on WordPress? Because if you’re like most of our clients who simply need a 5-page website (Home, About, Services, Testimonials, Contact Page), you don't need this time consuming, needy Behemoth that can do everything under the sun.
In short, if you don't intend to blog on a regular basis, you don't need WordPress.
Once you’ve made this distinction you can now look at better options based on your true needs.
Most of the costs outlined above can be avoided by walking away from big software that is expected to be everything for everyone, like WordPress.
For example, Supersonic Sites® are built differently. We used to build websites on WordPress until we found a better way for our clients. Going back to the essentials of the internet, we coded a solution that just simply works. Our next-generation sites never break and never get hacked. With a Supersonic website, you could eliminate all the extra costs that come with the mainstream way of building websites.
We hoped you've enjoyed learning about the 5 hidden costs of building a website. Now that you’re equipped with this knowledge, you can move forward!
Download a copy of our Consumer Awareness Guide to Website Design and arm yourself with all the wisdom you need to make an informed decision about web design.