The hidden costs of a website that you should know of

The hidden costs of a website

A website project costs much more than just design and development. Knowing the hidden costs associated with maintaining a website will help you better plan for your budget and ensure you make the most out of your website.
by Vu nguyen
February 27, 2017

What is profit? In short, profit is 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 fails apart?
Since most if not all of us own a vehicle (automobile) at certain point in time, lets 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 in-house team to take care of your website, you still need to factor 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. This figures can go up or down depending on the level of work you want to put in 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 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 doubt about your business liveliness. Outdated and wrong information on the website can mis-lead 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 reason to keep coming back to your website, but also allows you to attract more visitors via search engines.

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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 channel, 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, a developer, and a founder of While his love is in the backend website development work, his experience covers eCommerce (being both a real online store owner and a developer), Search Engine Optimization, UX Design and Content Strategy.

Since 2005, Vu Nguyen has led and directed UX design, full-stack development teams on projects large and small for corporations, start-ups, individuals and more. He was involved in every task of each project, from idea to concept and vision, prototype, detailed design, build and deployment.

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