This article is directed to entrepreneurs or any average person who is not familiar with the technology needed to set up a new website. The terminology alone can choke someone, so here is an analogy that may help.
Various expenses to build a new home:
- To secure the property in your name, a title must be secured, which involves surveys, and such.
- Even though the cost of the land and the cost of the house are usually combined together, they are two different things. Land may be purchased without a house, and the house built later. In some cases, a manufactured house may be purchased first and later moved onto a piece of land.
- In addition to the title, land, and house, additional related expenses include insurance, utilities, and.. .
- Ongoing maintenance costs.
Various expenses to build a new website:
The cost of building a website compared to building a house is less than pennies on the dollar. Websites are usually less expensive when the “real estate” they run on is leased rather than purchased outright. Whether purchased or leased, each website owned must also be separately maintained at additional cost.
- To secure the domain name you want, you must first locate one that is not already taken. A domain “realtor”, called a domain registrar, must be contacted to find out what “properties” are available.
- A domain name is like the title to a house address. If the house is already occupied you will have to pay the “residents” a lot of money to convince them to give it up. One would have virtually no chance of buying, for example, apple.com, even though you are the owner of a multimillion dollar apple orchard, because the computer manufacturer, Apple, Inc. is very unlikely to sell it to you. But you might be able to obtain appleorchards.com or apple.life or hundreds of other variants.
- After finding a domain that is available, it may be leased for a number of years. Unlike real property, domains are never sold, per se, they are always leased by the month or by the year, usually up to no more than 10 years at a time. Typical per year leases run from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars per year. The more expensive ones are the more popular domains!
- Leasing a domain is not actually leasing the property — it is more the purchase of a trademark agreement. For example, you want your shoe business to be associated with the domain showshoesforbroadway.com. Once leased, that name is locked to your use alone.
- Domain name leasing is flexible — you can pay for multiple domain name leases and have them all point to the same location. In this respect these domain names are very much like billboards to your actual business location, which we get into next. You may wish to secure the plural and any variant spellings of the name you choose. That way your neighbor around the world cannot spoof your business site with a similar name.
- The real estate in a website is called hosting. Similar to real property, there are two parts to hosting: the land on which it sits, called the hosting server, and the buildings on the land, called the website content. Each has its separate cost. For easiest understanding, suppose the land is bought first, and briefly later a house built on it. This is most commonly analogous with website development. In today’s world hosting servers rarely are purchased as it is far more economical to lease part of a server’s disk space from a company that specializes in setting up the hosting servers on a super-high-speed Internet connection (enough to support 100,000s of users).
- Typically, for a small website, one might need only 10-20 Gigabytes of space, running about $100-$500 per year to lease. The cost difference varies according to how many tools the hosting service provides, and how many website viewers you expect to have. If you expect hundreds of thousands of people to be on your website simultaneously, you will pay more.
- What about free website services? Yes, there are a number of them, just as there are free samples at the grocery store. The free services have various restrictions and limitation that make them impractical for organization or business purposes. They are best left to minimalistic personal website creations.
- Finally, once you have the land, er, the hosting server space leased, the actual website “house” may be built on it and “landscaped” by adding words and pictures to your space. If you have leased your hosting space with a respected hosting service, all the tools you will need are typically provided: editors, fonts, possibly stock photos and definitely the ability for you to upload your own. This development, called web-mastering, takes
- Building the website, called web-mastering, is the most time consuming and expensive portion of website development. It requires talent, vision, creativity, ability to write, and technical skills. Consider the effort that goes into building a house–floor plan, permits, plumbing, electrical, framing–very similar effort must be put into website development. Substantial effort similarly is required in initial website design considerations: Coloring, menuing, titling, photography, animation, and other facets.
- To keep costs low, stock blueprints are available for housing, and likewise for website development. These “blueprints” are called themes which allow a webmaster to choose from a selection of preset color and menu schemes.
- If you are paying a professional webmaster to build the site, you will be given opportunity to provide your theme input at the initial stage of development.
- In addition, you will be asked by the webmaster to provide photos and wording clips to get the site started. These pics and clips do not need to be perfected yet because they will only be initial placeholders. The final finishing that will be done later: First the framework, then the drywall, then the final trimming!
B. A. Computer Services provides an initial website setup service that incorporates these elements together into a one-time charge. The charge covers only the service to secure the domain, secure the hosting service, and build out the initial framework of the website with sample wording and imagery related to your business or organization. The cost of the first year lease of the domain name, hosting space, and initial build-out will be itemized on the invoice and must be prepaid. The site itself will be built over a period of a few weeks. No charge is made for initial corrections or updates during that initial site build-out period. Afterwards, a separate maintenance contract will be required if you wish the webmaster to continue maintaining the site for you. You may also maintain the site yourself.
Alternatively, you may pay a small service fee for each instance of a set of change to be made to the site (photo swap, sentence revision, new text). At the end of the yearly lease period, the domain name and hosting will come up for renewal at the going rates of the respective services. All website leases are prepaid–if you fail to renew you will permanently lose your website name and space in about 30 days of non-payment–you will however not be billed again or have any past-due debts for non-renewal. Hosting and domain name registration fees are non-refundable, however, the domain registration will continue to be “owned” by you for the duration of the lease term for which you paid. You may resell it to another party just like reselling any other property is possible. B. A. Computer Services will facilitate discharging the domain to you (in the form of username and password, and your registration name, email, and contact information) at cost of doing so.