You already know your website is a business investment – and a smart one at that! You may have hired a web designer or you may have decided to go the DIY route. It may cost you thousands for something completely custom or less than a hundred dollars to get up and running with a decent pre-made theme. Either way there are other costs involved in this precious investment of yours – and they can not be forgotten.
Your domain is the URL where your website lives, like www.scoutdesign-co.com. Typically a web address ends in .com but there are several other extensions to choose from (.org, .net, .co. .us, etc.) You absolutely, positively need to invest in a custom domain name. Without one you may as well have “amateur” tattooed to your forehead. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to come off as professional. It’s also a requirement for self-hosted WordPress sites.
A domain is an annual cost and will run you $10-15 a year.
*I recommend setting up an auto payment so you don’t risk losing your custom domain. Once it expires, it’s up for grabs again!
A web host is like a landlord. They rent you the space you need to store all your website files. There are many different hosting companies to choose from and different levels of hosting offered. Generally, a small business doesn’t require much server space or any fancy features , so a cheaper hosting plan will work just fine. I recommend using SiteGround. They’re quick, affordable and have incredible customer service.
You can successfully host your website for $6-$12 a month.
*First timers receive a free domain for one year when purchasing a hosting plan!
Security + Maintenance
You may not consider yourself at risk of a website hack, but I would not skimp out when it comes to your site’s security. The best way to keep your site solid is to keep it well maintained. Make sure you’re always running the latest version of WordPress, check for plugin updates weekly, and always (always!) have a full backup of your site. Maintenance isn’t difficult to manage yourself, but it does require weekly attention so you may consider hiring help.
The security and maintenance of your site can cost from $0 – $40 a month.
*I offer a maintenance package to all of my clients for $40 a month.
This is a cost that can be easily overlooked. I can’t tell you enough how important your website photography is. (Actually I can. And I did, here.) The quality of your images, or lack thereof, can truly make or break your site’s design and limit its potential from the get go. You can spend nothing but your time if you take photos yourself or splurge on a professional photographer. A happy alternative to both is stock photography.
Stock photography will cost you $50-$150 once, upfront.
This expense is definitely an optional one, but I had to mention it. G Suite (formally, Google Apps for Work) allows you to use your unique domain name in your email address. Like firstname.lastname@example.org. I recommend this because it comes off more professional and is especially helpful if you have a team working with you or want to separate different types of emails you may receive (inquiry, support, info, personal, etc.)
G Suite is only $5 a month per user.
And your subscription comes with it’s own Google account so you can have a separate Drive, Docs, Calendar or whatever associated with your business email. Cool!
The ongoing cost of your website depends on your needs and how much work you’re able to learn and do yourself. You can keep your site running like a well oiled machine for less than $200 a year if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and learn some maintenance basics. And there’s no shame in hiring some help if you’re not. For about $600 a year you’re off the hook and buy yourself some peace of mind.