Building a well-functioning website has a cost attached to it – but the costs of building a website are only the start if you want your website to deliver a return on that investment. While a website and everything that goes with it is vital for any business in the 21st Century, it’s worth being aware of the costs that a website involves in order to see a return on your investment. Better to approach this digital project with your eyes wide open.
Domain name renewal – lock down your online brand
Sadly, you don’t buy your domain name for life. There will be an annual fee payable to which ever domain registry you use. This will mean you can continue to use your domain name, and retain control over your business name in the online space.
- Locking down your brand online is an important part of digital housekeeping
Don’t just concentrate on your website domain name. Secure your brands and business name on social media too. Many businesses forget locking down their social media handles (contact us if you need help with this)
- Consider investing in similar domain names to the one you want to use
When you choose your domain name, you’ll be offered it in a variety of permutations: .com, .co.uk, .wales, .biz. It’s worth investing in all the main Top Level Domains to stop a competitor business coming along and snaffling them .co.uk / .com only.
Website hosting – A place where your website is stored and kept live
Your website needs space on a server – and there’s a cost associated with this. How much you pay will depend on the quality of the hosting service you use, but it’s an ongoing website cost that you can’t avoid. Equally, choose the wrong type of hosting and you may start to experience problems with your website in terms of accessibility and your website’s performance. Often it’s a case of ‘Buy cheap buy twice!‘
- Understand the different types of hosting and know what you’re paying for
Not all hosting is the same. While cost will always be a consideration, check out the average server ‘uptime’ quoted by the hosting companies you are considering. One area many forget is the routes to communicate with the hosting service. Many have ‘ticket systems’ which have no guarantees on when they’ll get back to you. We provide human support so you will always talk to a human that can help even if it’s just to escalate the issue to the right person.
Make sure you get an SSL on your website or it will be deemed as unsafe.
- The importance of ‘uptime’
Uptime is the amount of time the server hosting your website is operational – and the amount of time your website is seen. You might think that an uptime rate of 99% is pretty good. But the flip side is the downtime is 1% – which, over 30 days is equivalent to 7 hrs and 12 minutes. Over 7 hours when your website could be offline.
Digital marketing – the cost of getting your website seen
In the world before Google, how did businesses advertise themselves? Newspaper adverts, flyers, brochures, Yellow Pages – all great marketing material, and all needing distribution. Your website is no different. Once it’s built and hosted on the internet, you need to make sure it’s getting seen. Google will generally review your website every 28 days and if nothing changed in the site nothing will change in your ranking – except maybe going down!
- Create an online marketing plan
Your website is only the start of your online presence. Remember that your website is competing with the websites of thousands of other businesses. To succeed, you need a structured online marketing plan that fits with your overall marketing strategy and your business objectives.
- Budget for digital marketing
Again be realistic. Digital Marketing is cheaper than traditional forms of marketing however you get what you pay for. While many of the tools available in the digital marketing arsenal are ‘free’ in terms of financial cost, there is always a time cost associated with digital marketing. In addition to organic search, including Search Engine Optimisation, and social media marketing, you may also find paid online marketing through Google, Facebook or Bing is a worthwhile exercise to bring targeted traffic to your website.
Keep your website up to date – avoid damage to your business
An out of date website that has been left, unloved, on a server is a liability rather than an asset to your business. The costs of keeping your website up to date need not be excessive, but your website needs regular attention to keep it working properly.
- Fresh content supports SEO
Content goes out of date really quickly. Obvious things include seasonal offers, or anything with a date on it. Equally, your services may have changed, so keep details up to date on your website. Adding fresh content on a regular basis supports your search engine ranking too. Blogging is a good way to overcome this.
- Technical issues can threaten your online presence
It’s not just the ‘front end’ of your website that needs regular maintenance. Checking for technical issues and security updates should be part of your routine – whether you do this yourself or outsource it. Content management systems such as WordPress regularly issue patches to fix threats. You can also make sure you take advantage of upgrades to the plug ins and apps that make your website what it is.
Your website is the foundation of your online presence, but leaving it untouched once it’s up and running is not an option. To see any return on the investment you made in building your website, you need to factor in regular charges and maintenance costs to make sure it stays up to date and competitive in the online world.
We specialise in offering value for money website support including hosting and domain name management, website design and updating and digital marketing. We’re not the cheapest because we do the job well – and this takes time. However this will give you peace of mind as you know a support mechanism is in place.