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The Website Planning Guide – Part 1

By Heshy Friedman

Whenever we engage a potential client to use our services, we send them a Website Planning Guide. This provides a comprehensive understanding on what needs to be understood and what to organize in order to put together a website. It also explains all the costs involved.

Part 1: Website Development Costs

1. Domain Name Registration

Registration, or domain name registration, is purchasing the .com (or .net, .org, .edu, or dot whatever) name of your site. Domain registration can only be done with special domain registration companies such as Godaddy.com, Network Solutions, Register.com, and several others.

We usually recommend Godaddy.com for this service. Registration with Godaddy is generally a little more than $10 a year for a .com name. You can purchase as many names as you prefer and they can all be pointed to your website using a domain forwarding service or domain alias.


2. Web Hosting

Hosting, or web hosting, allows your site to be displayed live on the Internet. To be online, a web hosting company must host your website on their servers. Just as a brochure and catalog must be first designed and then printed, websites must be first developed and then published to a hosting server in order to be available online. Different types of websites require different hosting plans and servers, but most the sites that we create only need a shared hosting environment, which are inexpensive.

You may choose any hosting company you wish, but we usually provide hosting services through our hosting partner. Hosting with us allows us full control of the server and all hosting needs, and allows you the freedom not to have to deal with hosting technicalities. Our standard hosting cost is $12 / month, though sites with low traffic and simple pages can be less expensive.


3. Web Design and Development

This is the actual creation of the website. This is where all your ideas and content are combined into a design prototype and then optimized and coded. This also includes programming and debugging for complex websites such as database-driven and shopping cart websites. The cost of this varies significantly, from single page Landing Pages starting at several hundred dollars to standard 10 page websites that range from about $2000 – $2500, to complex data-driven and shopping cart websites that can run several thousands of dollars.


4. Website Maintenance

Website maintenance describes the work that is done to a website once the site has already been placed online. Every website requires some level of maintenance; some minimal and some major. The most typical forms of maintenance are page changes and page updates. You may need to change page content or add pages to the site after it is launched, or promote specials and notices. These changes can be done at anytime and are typically billed hourly. We can usually complete any changes that are less than two hours of work done the same day (during business hours if the task is clearly defined and provided early in the day.) Simple text changes that take 5 minutes or less are usually done as for free as a service to our clients. Some of the website we develop have built-in self-maintenance administration modules, known as Content Management Systems (CMS), in which the site administrator can make changes and updates on his own. This is more costly to develop, but can save money in the long run if changes will need to be made frequently.

Another website maintenance cost important to many websites is advertising and marketing. If you want to promote your website to the general Internet audience and to be found by the search engines, you will need to advertise your site. Besides for traditional media venues, websites can be promoted through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or by Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns where you pay to be an advertiser on the search engines. Since there are numerous options for SEO and pay-per click, the cost varies greatly.


Stay Tuned for Part 2 next week!


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