Having a website can be a wonderful experience. I have experienced the joy of owning and operating a brilliant website created and hosted by a genius. I have also experienced the misery of owning a lousy website hosted by notorious scammers. So I’ve seen websites from both ends of the spectrum.
This article is to learn about all the costs associated with building and operating a commercial website. There are millions of netizens who seem to believe that everything they see on a website should be available for free. This will clear things up for these people to appreciate a bit of the costs involved in providing them with information. (Note: rates will vary from provider to provider).
First, a distinction: there are two basic types of websites:
- Personal – Mom and Dad type sites – multiple pages of “family” style information
- Commercial sites – commercial – from one page “sales letter” sites to massive sites of several hundred pages.
For the purposes of this discussion, I will limit my comments to commercial websites only.
A commercial website has been described as the great business leveler. You see, small businesses can compete on a level playing field with giant multinational companies in what have been described as “niche” markets. That is, specialized markets.
As I mentioned before, many netizens expect all websites to provide them with completely free information. After all, websites are really cheap to build and virtually zero maintenance. Or do they?
Let’s take a look at what it entails and typical costs:
First, you will need a phone line. No problem. Most people have them. The cost is variable depending on the country in which you live.
Next, you will need a computer. Again, no problem, most people have them too. They can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand US dollars, depending on the make and model, its capacity, its range of features, and the like.
With a phone line and a computer, you will need an Internet Service Provider (ISP). An ISP will charge around $ 20 a month for Internet access. Broadband access will cost around US $ 750 per year, depending on your ISP.
Keep in mind that so far we are only incurring the cost that the average navigation information hunter incurs.
To have a website, you will need to create it yourself or hire a specialist to do it for you. Obviously, if you don’t have the knowledge and ability to do it yourself, you will need a trained person to do it. For about 15 pages (a reasonably sized website), you could pay around $ 1,500, often more.
So now you have a phone line, a computer, Internet access, and a website. Is there something else? Sure there is.
You will need a domain name for your website. This is so that it can be found by its Unique Resource Locator (URL) name. This is how people will be able to find you, through links to your http://www.domainname.com Name. A domain name will cost you around $ 10 to $ 20 per year to keep it registered.
Then there is the accommodation. You will need a website hosting company to keep your site up and online for the whole world to see. This is where the site “lives”. It is where you are domiciled and can be changed by adding or subtracting from the pages. Accommodation can cost you between $ 200-300 a year. Yes, I know some people get it for a lot less. However, like everything else, if you want quality and performance, that’s the current rate.
Anything else? It is safe.
Now you can really spend some money. Now your website desperately needs what all other websites need: traffic, also known as visitors. You can spend thousands, even tens of thousands on this if you want.
So, let’s add everything up so far:
- phone line – standard variable cost
- computer – standard variable cost
- ISP – US $ 240 per year.
- $ 1,500 to $ 2,500 website build (initial setup)
- domain name US $ 20 per year
- Website Hosting: US $ 200-300 per year.
- website traffic from zero to infinity (whatever budget allows)
In short, without the initial cost of a phone line or a computer, the minimum cost of a commercial site is in the order of $ 1,960. That does not take into account traffic costs. It also doesn’t take into account an optional email collector or delivery system to send digital products automatically. These can add most of another thousand dollars per year to costs. However, we will only count what are the basic ongoing annual costs listed above. These amount to around US $ 460 at a minimum.
I emphasize that these costs are conservative. In reality, a website owner can spend every hundred they have on a commercial website. It is easy to do.
So if you are looking to have your own website, now you know what kind of money you will need to fund it and keep funding it year after year. And we haven’t even talked yet about the cost of anything you want to sell or the time it might take to develop digital products that can be downloaded from the website to a consumer.
If you are an Internet user who wants everything to be free, now you know why not everything can be free.
Many website owners are very generous with what they offer for free. Just don’t expect them to give you everything for nothing. If you do, your favorite site may not work the next time you visit. If you see something you want, buy it. Very little in this world is free; someone, somewhere, has to pay. Something is free for you only if you don’t have to pay for it.
Website owners can show this article on their own sites to explain why not everything can be free for the many visitors who expect that. Perhaps it could be included under a title like: “Why can’t everything on this website be free?”
Now Joe and Mary Websurfer will understand the costs that the average website owner has to pay before a single sale is made.
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