Hidden Costs to Think About When Building a Website
When investing in a new website, it may be easy to overlook some key expenditures that go along with building the initial website. This article examines the hidden costs associated with a website project.
Regardless of what business you run, it's an absolute necessity to have a website. While many focus on the initial investment of setting up a website, there are costs that most people fail to anticipate and account for in their initial budget. Here's a breakdown of the most overlooked expenses you should anticipate when launching or revamping a website:
Copywriting and Content Creation
At the heart of any website is its content. It's what you say about your business, your team, your mission, your product or services. It's not just about filling pages. The quality of the content, its relevance to the audience, and its originality play critical roles in attracting and retaining your website visitors. Too often clients want to build a website, but don't think to invest in good copywriting. Professional copywriters can ensure your message is delivered effectively and a compelling way.
Whether it's photos, videos, or even custom illustrations, every website needs appealing imagery to make it pop. While stock photos can be a good starting point, custom photos can make your website stand out and feel genuine. High-quality professional photographs convey a sense of commitment and value, subtly assuring visitors of the brand's credibility and caliber. Not budgeting for a photographer is a critical mistake that most new customers make.
Similarly, video content is also another form of media that is expected on websites nowadays. From explainer videos to product demonstrations, good videos help to tell your brand's story to your audience. While this may be considered optional, we always encourage our clients to account for this in the initial audit of their content.
Related to visual assets are animations and interactive design elements that can make your website more dynamic. Motion design can improve user experience and really make your website stand out from the crowd. However, it's almost never accounted in the website development budget. If the website uses things such as 3D animations, then this is a separate line item that would be added to the cost of goods. A high-quality 3d models and animations can easily add a few thousand dollars to the project.
Today, it's not enough to have just a website. Your online presence should be complemented by active social media profiles. This means equally investing in developing social media content to integrate with your website. In many ways, social media is one of the primary channels that helps drive traffic to your website, so it's vital to ensure you have the necessary budget to nurture this channel.
In addition to budgeting for the design and development of your website, you should also consider the on-going costs associated with its upkeep. Chief among the on-going costs is premium web hosting. A good web host offers faster load times, better security, and more flexibility. In addition to your web hosting costs are your annual domain name registration, as well as video hosting like Vimeo, CDN (content distribution network), SSL certificate, and more. Depending on your expected level of traffic and bandwidth usage the costs for this may range widely, but it's critical annual cost to properly budget for.
Just because you build it doesn't mean that people will come. Once you've built your website, you need to think about how people will find your website. These days that means either driving traffic to your website with ads or building relevancy through search engine optimization. A beautiful website is meaningless if no one sees it. SEO ensures your website is discoverable on search engines and this ongoing task often requires the expertise of SEO professionals. Good SEO pays for itself, so it is worth the monthly investment.
Understanding your visitors' behavior is paramount. While some tools are free, like Google Analytics, it is important to budget for having a professional review your monthly analytics to identify potential issues and opportunities with your website performance. Advanced analytics and metric tools allow for monitoring user behavior and traffic trends.
Maintenance and Updates
Regular website maintenance and updates are also vital for security and optimal performance. If you run a Wordpress website, it may be something as simple as updating your version of Wordpress on a regular basis to address any newly discovered security vulnerability or caching your content to improve your site performance.
Email Marketing Integration
Finally, building an email list and running a regular newsletter or email campaign is a tried-and-true method of digital marketing to engage both prospective as well as existing customers. This is another expense that is often overlooked in the original budget estimation for a new website.
Building a website is more than just a one-time cost. It's an ongoing investment in quality, functionality, and engagement. By being aware of these hidden expenses, you can budget effectively and ensure your website remains a powerful tool for your brand or business.