Whether you’re in charge of a brick-and-mortar establishment, or you have an eCommerce website, running any kind of business costs money. You may spend less on a website than you would for a physical office or retail space, but it’s far from free. The question is, how much does it cost? The answer will depend on several variables – the size of your website, how much of the maintenance you’re doing yourself, how many “extras” you have, and so on. Even so, it isn’t too hard to come up with a loose estimate of what you can expect to pay to maintain a business website.
When it comes to making sure your business website is top-notch, there are a few expenses that aren’t exactly necessary but will still make all the difference. For instance, having a live chat feature or a dedicated business email address inspires confidence, and using an eCommerce website design company ensures a seamless, modern user experience. If your website is on the smaller side, you might just pay a few dollars per month for upkeep. Larger eCommerce sites could pay closer to $5,000 per month, and the truly gigantic sites (like Amazon and Netflix, for example) pay a correspondingly huge price to keep the sites operational and available to their millions of monthly visitors. By way of introduction, let’s go over the most common costs associated with maintaining a business site. After that, you’ll find some average price ranges for everything discussed below.
Maintain a Business Website – Website Design
This isn’t technically a necessary expense, but for most businesses, web designers are responsible for making their website a reality. Yes, it’s possible to design your own site, but if you want the kind of business site that’ll stand out from the competition – and work smoothly to boot – you should seriously consider paying professionals to do it for you. You may find that this is one of the biggest one-time expenses, but the payoff is equally big: site visitors will have more confidence in websites that offer a polished user experience, and with some expert designers to fine-tune your brand’s “look”, you’ll have better brand recognition too. Also, many (if not most) online businesses hire a web design company to keep their site updated and well-maintained; this can be another few hundred dollars or more each year.
This expense is definitely necessary, but it won’t be too pricey – at first. The one thing to look out for is the fact that it usually costs more to renew than it does to register; up to 10 times more in some cases. Some domain registrars are actually scams, so confirm that whoever you’re registering with is listed on ICANN’s accredited registrar list or a similar list.
Maintain a Business Website – Web Hosting
Just like the domain name, you’ll have to pay this expense if you want a functioning website. That being said, you may not have to pay it directly; the price of web hosting is often included in what you pay to a website builder. If you have a say in the subscription length, longer is better; the more long-term your commitment to a hosting provider, the less your monthly payments will be. Your website’s size will be a significant factor as well because the larger your site is, the more space you’ll need on the host’s servers. Popular options include VPS hosting, cloud hosting, shared hosting, WordPress hosting, and dedicated hosting.
Here’s something that’s far from necessary – unless, of course, you want site visitors to trust your business. Tech support is just one of those things that people expect to see on business sites, so it’s a good idea to make it available on yours. It could take the form of email support, live chat, phone service, a knowledge database, or community forums.
Maintain a Business Website – Ecommerce Features
If you’ll be selling products on your site, you’ll at least need an eCommerce platform to accept orders, process payments securely, etc. You should consider using a payment gateway (such as PayPal), but that certainly isn’t required. You could also get an inventory management plugin – also not required, but it’ll save you a lot of time and effort when managing your inventory.
If your business website will be handling sensitive information (like login information, credit card numbers, etc.) you’ll need an SSL certificate in order to securely encrypt that data and prevent cyber theft. It’s a yearly expense that costs the same year to year unless you buy a lifetime SSL certificate. That’s a bigger upfront cost, obviously, but it pays off in the long run.
Not all emails are created equal, and if you have a business website, you should have a dedicated email address (for example, “[email protected]”). It’s one of those details that won’t necessarily make or break the way visitors perceive you, but will definitely have an influence. Fortunately, it’s usually pretty inexpensive.
Now It’s Time to Talk Numbers
Here are some approximate price ranges for different kinds of business websites.
- Ecommerce websites – around $1,500 – $5,000/month
- Multimedia entertainment websites – around $300 – $2,500/month
- Larger company websites – around $200 – $4,500/month
- Small to medium business websites – around $35 – $500/month
Here’s a breakdown of what each of the individual expenses above would cost (more or less).
- Website design costs at least $6,000 to build the site, and $500 to $1,000/year to maintain
- A domain name costs $1 to $20 when you register (valid for one year), then $10 to $90/year for each renewal
- Web hosting costs $1.39 to $300/month
- Tech support costs $0 to $11.99/month
- Ecommerce features cost $18.99 to $1,000/month
- An SSL certificate costs $7 to $1,000/year
- Email services cost $0.99 to $18/month
How Much to Maintain a Business Website – Final Point
You could probably find prices outside these estimates, but the most popular and reliable options will generally fall within these ranges. And these aren’t even all your options for building and maintaining a business website! You get to decide which ones make sense for your website, but remember that when it comes to a business’s online presence, it pays to look good.