What is all involved in a new website?

What is all involved in a new website?A brief guide to typical costs of running and maintaining a website. Discusses common types of costs such as hosting, domain renewal, etc.

In today's interconnected world of the information age, it is often not enough to promote yourself -- or your business, for that matter -- using traditional means; therefore, many people and business organizations are increasingly turning to the Internet to promote their services, history, experiences -- whatever it is, it's the same with your web site.

These are but a small number of reasons that running a website is the best and easiest way to introduce yourself online -- or, in the case of a business, introduce your services and publish information relevant to your business -- that increasingly makes the best sense for self-promotion in today's global society, economy, and so forth. However, there are several financial costs to doing so. The purpose of this guide, is to familiarize you with the most common costs associated with an online presence (in other words, your own -- or your business entity's -- actively published website).

First things first - choosing your online identity (AKA domain name)

Before proceeding further, it is necessary to determine what your online identity -- that is, your website's domain name -- is going to be. There are several reasons for this, you should start with the most important one to remember: It must not only reflect who and what you or your company is, but it also must be wholly unique. You read that right: No overlap with any other established website's identity or domain name, ever! Not only because of copyright issues, mind you but also because of the underlying structure of the Internet itself.

All domain names are stored in centralized databases authorized by ICANN, which is just an acronym for the master Internet domain name authority. ICANN, whose full name is Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, serves as the central authrization entity responsible for all domain name standards on the Internet, including the selection of the all-important TLD's (top-level domains, such as .com, .biz, and .org, that we are all familliar with).

While the TLD's are outside of our control because they're chosen directly by ICANN, you do have the control over the part before .whateveryourtldis (albeit not directly, since domain registrars, database supervisors, etc. asre certified directly or indirectly under ICANN regulations). Domain Registrars are companies you go to with your idea for a domain name to check if it is in use; and if it is not, then you can register ownership of the domain name, provided you can legally do so (no copyright conflicts or unauthorized trademark use). Domain registration generally costs at least $10 USD on average; however, you can also add domain privacy (WHOIS database record substitution) either at no cost or for a nominal fee, depending on the registrar.

Speed Limit Media provides your first domain FREE, and each additional domain is $9.99 per year for registration.

Domain privacy may be a suitable add-on for certain types of websites, or for personal reasons -- since it uses a generic record entry instead of the one you provide when you register your domain (as it's a standard requirement for all website configurations) domain privacy virtually guarantees that your website registration details won't be exposed to crooks and hackers without your knowledge -- at least when it comes to public WHOIS database searches. You can add to this protection by not posting sensitive information in easily-accessed portions of your website once it's up and running -- this includes putting email addresses anywhere on the front page, putting contact information in a specifically-designated location, etc. Never post social security numbers or banking information puiblicly... or you're going to regret it!

We take care of this for you. All of our domain registrations are completely private, and each domain is wholly owned by you the client and will never be held hostage for payment of any kind. If you ever wish to transfer your domain, you have full right to do so. Always ask this of any company wanting to register your domain name for you.

Hosting Providers

Choosing a hosting provider is about as important as choosing a domain name. In fact, we will register your domain and set up your hosting account at the same time.

There are literally hundreds of features that come with your hosting providers software. Understanding what all these are, and how they work can be a daunting task.  You can find hosting from $1.95 per month all the way up to a few hundred dollars a month, all depending on which company you use, and what package your website needs.

Some of the more fully-featured hosting plans with the highest per-capita storage and bandwidth limits can cost upward of $60-$100 USD or more. However, if you only need a website for your family, friends, coworkers, or current or potential employers to get to know you better, then you can safely reduce those amounts by at least half.

We have spend countless hours tailoring our hosting platform to fit small business needs perfectly. We started with unlimited storage. (nothing is ever truly unlimited, however we do give as much storage space as you need without any fee's for using too much). Then we gave you complete control over email, spam blockers, FTP, and much much more. We can handle all the complicated things for you, but if you want to login and take care of yourself, you're more than welcome.

Then we compared it to hosting costs around the net. We found that $19.99 is the average price for business class hosting that includes everything you will ever need to host your website and give you the tools you need to effectively manage it.

Continuous costs -- dealing with upgrades, renewals and self-promotion

Once you have the website up and running, the costs should be all taken care of, right? Wrong! You still update it, upgrade it and promote it.  Alas, every single one of these items is going to cost you in one way or another.

Fortunately, these can often be done for less than you initially paid, either for the first instance or completely low-cost.

When it comes time to renew and you've committed to another go, we can assist you with this through an automatic billing (like your Internet service provider does) or by providing a link to an area of its website dedicated to account renewals for the hosting services you utilize. Usually, you only need to do this once or twice a year, so that it gives you time to plan ahead. But remember, if you no longer need the hosting services for whatever reason and you're content with closing down your site, that's fine too. Just be sure you know of any deadlines you may have, in case there are any penalties for cancelling a renewal too quickly.

Updates are a very important part of your website. You will want to keep the information fresh, and new. Each time a customer visits your site, you want them to read new information about your company. Let them know your still there, and you still value their business. Updates are usually charged at an hourly rate, depending on your package. We do offer a free 30 minute update, once per month to those that are hosted with us. Simple email us your changes and we take care of it within 48 hours unless otherwise specified.

Upgrades are a tricky issue. Basically there are two types of website upgrades. Standard HTML websites that need to be redesigned would have to be rebuilt from the ground up. This can cost you almost as much, if not more than you spend to have the first website built in the first place.

The second is software based websites. These are usually content management websites. Much more robust, more tools, more features, and less hassle. These websites can be completely redesigned simply by dropping a new template in place and making some adjustments. With these websites you can expect to pay about 20% of your initial cost to redesign the site  in a few years. This is your most cost effective way, especially since these websites are very easy to use and very easy to deploy.

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