5 costs to know for launching and maintaining your small business website

Ready to jump in with a new website? Congratulations! According to Google, your prospects and clients expect you to have an online presence (even though according to research firm, Clutch's small business survey 29% still do not have a website even in 2017).

The sparqLOCAL team has been busy helping local businesses with professionally designed websites since our inception six years ago. While the development and design costs tend to be what is quoted, there are other costs involved. Many agencies may add a mark up to these costs (we do not at sparqLOCAL). Here is your guide to understanding the costs of launching and maintaining your small business website.

Read on for the required costs to having a website.

1. Url or Domain: Just like where you live, every website has an address. You too will want your website to have a destination name of course, and that name costs money. First, you will want to see if the name you want is available. This is easy enough. Go to godaddy.com and plug in the url you wish to research. Often the ".com" version may not be free, but you can possibly purchase the ".biz" or another ending. Typically urls should cost in the $10 a year range with the first year being lower if there is a promotion. If someone else has bought the url you want, well, then the price can be much higher. You should budget a minimum of $10 per year.

2. Hosting Costs: Domain hosting is defined as the service provided by Internet service providers to allow groups and individuals to bring websites onto the web, providing Internet connectivity, file serving, storage, security measures and email functions. Once again, this is typically a monthly cost. Beware of the companies that give you a free site but then mark this cost up dramatically ($60 per month was the last quote we saw!). Hosting should generally cost about $10 per month give or take a few dollars. As you can not have a live site without hosting, then you must build that expense into your maintenance budget.

3. Template Pricing: Most agencies and developers use site templates. Site templates come in thousands of styles, themes and colors as well as code. Wordpress and Joomla are two common, open-sourced codes. A template usually costs between $30 and $100. Most of our small business clients are able to use templates in the $30 range. There are even a few free templates that look great and get the job done but we always recommend you put some budget towards this expense. Once again, sparqLOCAL does not mark up the template pricing but you may find other agencies do.

4. Stock Photography: Chances are you will want your site to have photography to make it stand out and bring your brand to life. Photography costs money with photos typically ranging from as little as $10 per image up to the hundreds. We occasionally get the question, "Can't I pull images off the web?" The answer is, "No!" Taking images from other sites is illegal and is frankly not fair to the artist who took that image. Of course, if you want to provide your own photos that you have taken then that is a different story. We recommend that most business clients budget at least $100 for stock photography; more if you think you will want some higher-end artistic photos.

5. Site Development and Design: This cost is usually the one an agency is quoting you up front. It includes the work of their developers and designers. The cost can range from under $1,000 (what we offer most of our sparqLOCAL clients) to tens of thousands. If you have a very complex business such as a high-volume retailer, then custom coding may be required. Our small business sites are generally under $1,000 and are created by developers and designers with decades of experience.

At sparqLOCAL, our goal is to work with you and your budget. Contact us today for a consultation.

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