Ah, your website. Your virtual home away from home. Unfortunately, just like a real home, owning a website comes with a lifetime supply of to-do lists and maintenance costs that nobody warned you about… think sump pump.
It’s worth it though since your website is your very own plot of land within a digital world bustling with potential customers. So, let’s get into it.
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The not-so-hidden costs
First, let’s quickly run down the costs you’re probably aware of:
1) Domain Name. This is what people type into the search bar to find your website. It’s your web address and it costs between $10 and $20 per year.
2) Website Hosting. Website hosting is like the land you purchase to put your house on. In order to build a website it must be hosted somewhere. The cost will vary depending on which hosting option you choose: Shared, VPS, or Dedicated.
3) Web Design / Content. This is the architect and interior designer you hire to build your home. If you’re talented and watch a bunch of HGTV, maybe you can do it yourself, but most of the time you should expect to pay the professionals to do it. You know, to avoid it all crashing around you. This too will depend on who you hire for the job.
Now that you’ve got all those payments out of the way, you’re done right?
Well… not really. Websites certainly have their versions of leaky faucets, window repairs, and HVAC filters of their own that a website owner should consider.
The hidden costs
1) Website Policies
Not complying with these laws could lead to massive fines. Think Home Owner Associations (HOA) violations, except the fine is $2,500 per person who visits your website whose rights you’ve infringed upon.
Fortunately, this maintenance can be very easy and inexpensive. Sure, the best option is to hire a privacy attorney to keep your website compliant, but this can be expensive. Free templates/generators are like complying with the HOA rules of a neighborhood in a different country. They won’t take the time to get to know your specific business/website.
You probably lock the doors to your house, and your website should be no different.
Similar to the Website Policies, this is a “you get what you pay for” situation. Cybercrime is on the rise and falling victim to it could be an absolute disaster for your website. Prices do vary greatly depending on the size and scope of your website, so be sure to do your research to find a good fit for your site.
3) Content and SEO
You should always be updating your website’s content and SEO strategies to stay relevant. Green carpets and floral wallpaper may not be as cool as they once were. In the same fashion, maybe it’s time to remove the auto-playing audio from your homepage and ease back on repeating keywords every other word.
While many website owners feel this is something they can do on their own, time is money. Also, like with the initial building of the website, it’s sometimes better to just let the professionals take care of it so that it gets done correctly the first time.
It’s worth it
While it can be a little annoying, proper website maintenance is absolutely worth it for you, your business, and all those visitors you have over.