Websites require 2 things to exist on the Internet – web hosting and a domain name.
Web hosting is where you pay a service provider to store your website files and make them accessible on the Internet.
A domain name is like a street address for your website that makes it easy for people to find your website.
However, these are not the only costs involved that you will need.
Whenever you register a domain name, you are required to put in your contact information that gets published into massive directories online.
Often what happens is that this information is then used by web development companies in India and elsewhere to advertise their services.
Yep, that’s right, that cool domain name you just registered has now made you a target for spam.
The only way to prevent it is by using a paid privacy service. Unless the company you registered it with includes it with their service, you will often have to pay $7 to $10 or more per year in addition to the cost of the domain name.
SSL stands for secure sockets layer. It secures the information passed from the client to the server.
For example, let’s say a person uses a contact form on your website to send you a message, SSL helps prevent that message from being intercepted by hackers.
There are different types of SSL and each offers a different level of encryption.
Unless you are a bank and have a large insurance policy, you should not be storing credit card information on your web server, or any other highly sensitive information like social security numbers.
If you have a regular website or an online store, a free or low level SSL certificate should be sufficient for your needs.
Free SSL certificates are not available everywhere – it depends on the website hosting provider you are using and it may go by different names. One of the free SSL solutions is called Let’s Encrypt but it’s not the only one.
If your website hosting provider does not include SSL with their hosting and they do not offer free SSL, then you will need to pay for an SSL certificate which can often cost $50 or more per year.
SSL is important for all websites, because websites without it may be ranked lower in the search results and can be penalized by the web browsers that may warn visitors that your website is not secure.
Some web development firms will charge $50/year for hosting each email address. This can really add up if you have a lot of employees, and it can be a big added expense that wasn’t initially considered in the initial design proposal.
Do you need this kind of hosting for your email? Well that really depends on your needs, but chances are if you’re a small business you can host your email addresses on the same server as your website.
Just because you have a website, doesn’t mean you will have people see it. Here’s the typical scenario…
Someone, let’s call him John, runs a business and he gets the idea that he would like a website. John goes to a local web development firm and pays them $2500 to build him a website. They make him provide content and then they come up with a design, build the website, and he gets it roughly 4 months later.
John is excited about his website and he puts it on his business cards and expects to see lots of traffic and see his sales greatly increase. Unfortunately, months go by and John’s site rarely gets traffic, the traffic he does get doesn’t convert, and his website just sits there not doing anything. It soon becomes abandoned and forgotten, and that $2500 John spent essentially goes down the drain. So what went wrong?
Problem #1: John did not have his content or website designed and written in a way that converts visitors (potential leads) to sales.
Problem #2: John did have a marketing strategy or do enough to direct traffic to his website.
Problem #3: John did not do any keyword or market research to find out what his market is looking for and how he can solve their needs, and how best to reach his target audience.
Simply having a website is not enough – it takes content, planning, and strategy. No matter how you choose to go about these things, it generally takes additional time, money, and effort.