A website is an integral part of any business

When I ask people why they don’t have a website, the most frequent answers are the cost of setting one up, or the time it would take to set it up and maintain it, with a few saying they don’t think they need it or saying they don’t know how to start. I am not sure why they do not need it, but I can dispel the myth about costs. I hear people mentioning thousands of dollars to set up and maintain a website.

Perhaps the large corporations spend a lot of money on complex websites, but I asked my son Jason to give me and idea of what it would cost for entrepreneurs to have a basic website designed for them – one that would include the ability to sell products or services. Also, what the monthly fee would be to outsource the maintenance. (post articles every month, add products, and make revisions or updates, if necessary, on a regular basis.)

Jason owns Web Design Ajijic, situated in Mexico, and is a certified webmaster, so I thought he would be able to give everyone a better idea of actual costs involved. I asked him to provide costs in U.S. dollars so everyone could easily convert to whatever currency they use. Here is his response.

“There are four main components and recurring costs involved when setting up a website.
1. Domain Name
2. Hosting
3. The website itself
4. Maintenance

  1. The domain name is generally the first place to start. This is the name that will be attached to your website and how people will find you. You will need to choose an appropriate name that somehow relates to your company or brand, for example, tonysmeats.com.  With a domain, you get professional email addresses. Many small companies use addresses such as TonyMeats@hotmail.com, which simply look unprofessional. Any 8-year-old can have a Hotmail account. With your own domain, however, you can create sales@TonysMeats.com which looks a lot better than Hotmail or Gmail. You can also make your company look larger and more professional by having several more targeted email addresses such as sales@TonysMeats.com, accountspayable@TonysMeats.com, info@TonysMeats.com and so on.

Securing your domain name will cost about $15 to $25 per year depending on which company you use. These companies are called registrars and most of them also offer hosting as well. Some examples are GoDaddy, HostGator, and DreamHost. There are many.

2.     If you register your domain with one company it is not a bad idea to use the same company for hosting, mainly because of convenience. What is hosting? Once you have a website built, you need to put it on the Internet so people can see it. A hosting company does that. They host the website on their computers and serve it to the web. There are many different types of hosting plans that offer a variety of services at a variety of prices. Generally, you are looking at $60 to $120 per year for a decent hosting account.

Finding the right hosting package might be easier by talking to your web designer about what you need. Different packages offer different features and options. For example, package “A” may come with 1GB of space and three email accounts and package “B” may come with 20 GB of space and thirty email accounts and so on. So, the type of hosting plan that you will need depends on the complexity of your needs.

3.     Another piece of the puzzle is the actual building of the website. It is difficult to put a monetary value on this because no two websites are identical. It would be like asking “How much does a bag of groceries cost?” But a ballpark figure for a basic website with a “Home” page, and “About” page and a “Contact” page will likely cost between $250 to $700. If you add an eCommerce component, the price range will rise, with the lower end being around $500. Again, this will depend on how many products you have, how many photos are required, what payment gateway you use, how complicated the shipping costs are, and so on. It is a good idea to work out as much of this as possible on paper before you go shopping for a web designer. The more information you have, the more accurate your quote will be. You want to avoid surprise costs as the project manifests.

4.     Most sites these days are built using WordPress. WordPress started out as a blogging platform, but developers quickly realized the potential it had for designing fast, attractive, and inexpensive websites that are easy to upgrade and maintain. Your website will require maintenance. WordPress and its plugins need to be kept up to date. As things become outdated, they present a security weakness and you stand the risk of having your site attacked by hackers. Having a site hacked can be very time consuming and expensive to repair. In many cases the site will have to be rebuilt from scratch unless regular backups were kept. It is not a bad idea to find a web designer that will keep your site up to date and backed up for a small monthly fee. You could probably learn to do this yourself, but it would require a bit of technical knowledge.

All of the above may seem a bit daunting to some, especially the non-technical types. For this reason, I would suggest finding a reputable web designer first. They can walk you through the process and even help you get a domain and hosting company. They can explain the different steps and costs so that you feel more at ease with the process. The best way to find a web designer is by referral. Ask a few colleagues or friends if they know a good designer and go from there.”

Now if I am adding the figures correctly, the least it would cost someone is $500 to build a site capable of eCommerce, plus $75 per year if you maintain it yourself. I would estimate about $50 per month for someone else to maintain it and make all the additions of products, updates and so on. That cost probably would not be necessary if you do not have products. But I am a firm believer in making money while you sleep, and if you want to know how I did it, check the next issue of this newsletter.

If you need further information on website costs, I’m sure Jason, won’t mind if you contact him directly at webdesignajijic.com. He built my website about 20 years ago and still maintains it.

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