Homepage Articles The hidden costs of a website
Feb 27, 2017

The hidden costs of a website

Article brought to you by Nilead, a website builder platform with fully-managed design, development, and management services.

The hidden costs of a website


Table of contents

What is profit? In short, profit is the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent. To maximize your website return on investment, you must first understand the cost of a website project and the hidden costs that go with it.

Ok, so your website is launched, now you can relax and wait for potential clients/leads to flock to your site? Not quite so.

Websites need Support and Maintenance

A website is a piece of software built on top of many other pieces of software, running on one or multiple machines (servers). What is the chance that one of these pieces falls apart?

Since most if not all of us own a vehicle (automobile) at a certain point in time, let's take the automobile as a good comparison to the website. When you purchase an automobile, do you leave the oil unchanged for years, do you ignore the flat tire, do you ignore your break tear, and wear? If you do all that, when things happen, it won't be just a minor accident.

The website is exactly the same, it must be constantly checked, oiled, repaired if broken.

Take a look at a few examples:

  1. The vehicle needs gas to run; your website needs a web host/server to run.

  2. The vehicle needs to be periodically checked for issues (oil level, tire pressure, engine issues); your website needs to be constantly monitored for warning signs.

  3. Your vehicle needs to be fixed as soon as possible when things fall apart; your website needs someone to step in and address the performance, stability, security issues when they happen.

You may have an in-house team to take care of your website, you still need to factor in the cost of your in-house team. You may have to hire 3rd party provider to maintain your website, in such cases you may need to research the possible costs and support level.

Project Cost as an Indicator for Support and Maintenance Budget

It's difficult to say how much Support and Maintenance should cost, but we can use the project's total cost as a factor. In most cases, the project's cost reflects the site's complexity and functionality and thus can act as an indicator of the level of support and maintenance required.

In general, you can look at a figure of 15-20% of the original project cost for Support and Maintenance. These figures can go up or down depending on the level of work you want to put on your website. For example, if you constantly add new web pages to your site, or if your site has very high traffic and needs to constantly grow then you can expect a higher cost for Support and Maintenance.

The Website Support and Maintenance consist of:

  1. Monitoring service uptime and reviewing logs to discover issues.

  2. Performing software updates and repairs to fix discovered or potential issues.

  3. Drafting notifications and instructions of changes for end-users.

  4. Providing support for users such as troubleshooting or providing guidance on how to do a particular task.

  5. Documentation, correspondence, and discussion.

Of course, you can ignore all the above tasks and your website may still run just fine if you are lucky enough. It's the same with people who go without health insurance, as long as you are healthy then you are fine.

Websites need fresh Content

What is the purpose of your website if it contains outdated or simply wrong information? If your visitors find your website outdated, they may have doubts about your business's liveliness. Outdated and wrong information on the website can mislead the visitors and lead to lost opportunities.

You will need to budget the time for updating website contents, the contents may include:

  1. New articles.

  2. Graphic designs (banners, photos, graphical elements).

  3. Website styling (new sections or new look for specific occasions).

Keeping your website alive and active not only gives your visitors a reason to keep coming back to your website but also allows you to attract more visitors via search engines.

Websites need Marketing and Search Engine Optimization

A website is useless without its visitors and followers. You have to plan for your digital marketing budget, which is a major cost contribution for maintaining and growing a website. This is the place where you cannot and should not cut back on spending because it will generate leads and sales for your business. Most businesses spend 30-35% of the marketing budget online. If your business relies heavily on online channels, consider spending much more on this channel.

At Nilead, we help you to maximize your investment efficiency with our website management services:

  1. Our hosted solution saves your time and resources on website maintenance.

  2. Our management services give you access to our professional web developers, designers, SEO experts.

By utilizing the efficiency and experience of our team, you can cut back in-house team overhead costs and maximize your profit.


About the author


Vu Nguyen

Vu Nguyen is an entrepreneur, developer, and founder of Nilead. He loves backend website development and has experience in eCommerce (owning an online store as well as being a developer), Search Engine Optimization, UX Design, and Content Strategy.

Since 2005, Vu has headed and overseen UX design teams for projects in corporations, start-ups, individuals, etc., regardless of their size. He has been involved in both the creative and technical aspects of each project - from ideation to concept and vision, prototype building to detailed design, and build-up to deployment.

You may be interested in