What to budget for your website on an ongoing basis
November 23, 2022 | Web Design
You probably thought a lot about the cost of getting a new website. When creating your website budget, including the domain name, hosting, SSL certificate, licenses, and email, don’t overlook the continuing costs to keep your site up and running.
Keeping track of your licenses and renewals is important to ensure your site continues running smoothly long after launch day.
Here is a breakdown of some ongoing costs to prepare your website budget.
Your domain name is purchased at a registrar and is your top-level URL.
Some hosts include a domain name registration for free, but on average, they are about $12-15 annually from most registrars for common domain suffixes such as a .com.
Consider setting your domain name registration to auto-renew so you don’t have to worry about your site going down or losing your domain name.
Some businesses have multiple domain names registered. If your extra domains redirect to your main site, you’ll need to pay for domain name registration (but nothing else listed below).
TIP: If you forget where you registered your domain name, you can use this tool to look it up.
Your host is where all the files and databases that make up your site are stored. Hosting costs can vary, with more expensive hosting having better support and more features. Basic hosting is around $15-30 per month, but your site hosting needs may be as much as a few hundred dollars per month.
An SSL certificate is a must-have for websites for security, SEO, and customer trust. This certificate makes the “S” in the HTTPS in your web address.
Often the easiest way to get an SSL is from your host. Many hosts include free SSL certificates or provide them for purchase.
A one-year SSL certificate averages about $50, but it can be hundreds of dollars depending on your security needs. If you let your SSL expire, visitors will see a security warning about your site.
Licenses (plugins, fonts, etc.)
When setting up your site, you or your site creator may have purchased software, plugins, or fonts. Most of these licenses need to be renewed yearly. The cost for these can range greatly, and there are various options for renewals.
For example, some plugins will no longer work if you do not renew your license. Others continue to work but cannot be updated without a current license. Or, you may not receive technical support without an out-to-date license.
It’s important to understand what your license and renewals include.
Depending on what you use for email service, this may or may not be a cost for you. Many hosts offer basic email as part of their web hosting service.
However, some hosts don’t include email, and many people are switching to more robust email services like Microsoft 365 vs Google Workspace. These both have tiered pricing and can vary depending on your needs.
Ongoing updates and maintenance
Your website will inevitably need updates. In addition to content and design changes needed to keep the site current and fresh, you’ll also need regular maintenance to update plugins and the platform to keep them up-to-date and secure.
Think about what you feel capable of doing yourself and what you prefer to delegate, either internally or externally. You may be able to make changes on your own, have staff to maintain the site, or need to hire out depending on your needs.
Like many things, your website will run better and last longer with regular maintenance.