Outside of the cost of design and development, the literal coding/creation of a website there are many secondary cost associated with your online presence. Most of these externalities boast a small price-tag but can add up over time. I have listed the various externalities of web development below. When you are developing a website be sure to factor in these elements to the total cost of your site to determine an appropriate budget.
Any developers reading this post will know that this is possibly the biggest breaker when developing a website. Most folks will not factor in the time or money that it costs to develop the onsite content for your website. This includes the written content, images, video and anything else that will populate the messaging for your brand or service. Consider whether it is more advantageous for you to create the content yourself or to contract out the work to a third party. Invexi offers content writing services which is something of an outlier within the industry. My suggestion is that if you do not have an internal marketing team, save yourself the time and hire out a third-part to write your content.
Similar to content, for web-based software solutions data is paramount to a functional system. If you are moving from an outdated system or SaaS, consult with your developers to determine how to best transfer the data from one platform to another. Sometimes this process entails sitting in a room with paper documents and manually entering them into a system. Any company looking to start a custom development project should determine what data they want included in the system and how it will be input into the system.
Most folks will already have a domain purchased and while most are relatively affordable ($8-$15 a year) some “vanity” domains can command hundreds if not thousands of dollars to secure. Do some research to determine whether the domain you want is available and how much it costs to maintain. Additionally, it can be advantageous to purchase some similar domains and set up redirects if you think there may be confusion by the end user. For example, if your service is called “Pet Washer Phoenix” it would be advantageous to purchase both PetWasherPhoenix.com and PetwasherPHX.com.
Whether you are going through a third party or hosting with your dev firm hosting directly, is a recurring fee that basically makes sure your website is on the internet! Hosting packages vary wildly in price depending on multiple factors including but not limited to site traffic, site security, page load, database management and more. Most simple websites will only cost about $100 a year to host but larger systems will need dedicated servers and other precaution which tote a large price tag.
Oftentimes baked into the price of hosting, security is a vital component of many sites online. If you are selling products or storing personal information you should be running an SSL certificate on your site at the very least. Avoid a pricey law-suit be making sure your data, user data, and cc information is stored safely and securely.
Maintenance packages for your website/software can vary wildly. Whether it’s putting up a different photo or changing the call-to-action on the homepage, changes to your platform after development has been completed can pile up in the months following launch. At Invexi we will often include a year of free maintenance following launch but different companies may charge changes at an hourly rate. If this is the case, my recommendation would be to package your maintenence changes together to get the most bang for your buck!
If you are selling products online or simply accepting payments you must have a merchant services account and sometimes a payment gateway account on top of that. Fees vary from merchant to merchant with some accepting a percentage of total revenue charged and others offering a flat monthly fee (typically indicative of low-revenue businesses). There are some work-arounds with services like PayPal but oftentimes those will charge a larger percentage of total revenue to operate without a contract.
Logos are typically NOT included within the price of design and development and for good reason! You’re logo is a piece of branding that should live on all platforms whether it’s print or digital. Designing and approving a logo should be a time intensive process between your company and a graphic designer. You will want something original that will foster brand recognition in the future. It is not advisable to simply throw up a text-logo and hope it sticks. Inquire with your dev firm about whether or not they do logos and what the pricing/revision structure is like for that service.
This tip is geared towards startups or platforms that rely on a large adoption rate for their service. Unfortunately it is not enough to simply build an awesome platform, people need to know about your service and why they should use it before they will sign-up. If have a large amount of capital to fund the development of a platform but not enough to market the platform then you are shooting yourself (and your company) in the foot. “If you build it they will come,” is rarely, rarely the case when it comes to websites. Take the time to determine a marketing budget that will work in tandem with your development schedule to mitigate your risks at launch.