There are a number of costs associated with building and running a website, so as a website owner it’s important to understand who bills you, and for what services.
Every website project is different, but the following costs are applicable for most clients:
- Initial build costs
- Ongoing website hosting
- Ongoing website maintenance
- Domain and email fees
Initial Build Costs
When instructing a development agency to build your website, this is most often in the form of a fixed one-time fee. The process involved will vary depending on the project, and may include design and programming time as well as project management time.
A quote provided to a client will stipulate what is included, and payment amounts and terms are made clear. We ask clients to pay 50% of their build fee before commencing a project, and 50% after completion.
Ongoing Website Hosting
A completed website consists of files: code, images images and usually a database. To have a website ‘live’, and publicly available 24/7, it needs to be installed on a web server. The cost of keeping the server running, and the website traffic accessing it, is covered by ongoing website hosting costs.
If you imagine your initial build cost to be paying a builder to build a shop, your hosting costs are your ongoing rent and rates to keep it active. You can, if you own your website, move it to another hosting provider, or a large company may operate servers of their own, and host their own website.
Our computers and phones have regular updates to upgrade the software on them. Similarly a modern website that uses a Content Management System, will also have regular updates. These updates may include security fixes, bug fixes, or incremental improvements to your website dashboard.
Website owners may choose to maintain and upgrade their website themselves, or they may choose to pay a developer to do this on their behalf.
Domain & Email Fees
If your website has a one-off building cost, and your website hosting is your rent, then your domain fee is analogous to installing a phone line so people can reach you.
Domain names are registered with Domain Registrars, who will bill you directly. Domain renewal costs are usually every year or every two years, but may be longer. As the domain owner, you will have a login with your domain registrar so you can manage your domain name. It is important to know who your registrar is, so you recognise their renewal billing invoices.
We advise clients to maintain their email mailboxes with their domain registrar, for a number of reasons. Again, your domain name provider will bill you directly for this.
How We Work
Firstly, the above may seem unfamiliar and overwhelming, but rest assured, we make it clear to clients what they pay for, and advise them every step of the way. We help and advise with setting up a client’s domain name and email so they do not need any technical skills.
A typical project for a client would involve the initial build of their website, for a clear one-off fee. We then offer ongoing website hosting, with optional maintenance moving forward. For clients on our Bronze plan, we bill them annually in advance. For clients on Silver and Gold, with regular maintenance to their websites, we bill them monthly. Read more about our hosting plans. Alternatively we can install a clients website on hosting of their choice that they manage themselves.
We will advise clients on their particular requirements with regard to their domain name and email, and help set them up. They will then be billed by that third-party directly for these elements.
Depending on the project, other costs may be incurred. Clients would be notified, and the costs agreed upon in advance. These may include:
- Payment processing (for websites taking payments)
- Content writing and photography
- Stock photography fees
- Ongoing development work after go-live
- Ongoing search engine optimisation work
If you would like further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact us.