Site cost

Where are we?

This chapter is about what makes a Web site good. A good site serves owners. We’ve talked about how a site can increase sales. But owners want to control costs as well. Let’s talk about that.

This lesson’s goals

Learn:

  • A business that has a Web site must pay to (1) create a site, (2) run the Web server and its infrastructure, and (3) keep the site’s content up-to-date.
  • Web servers for most small business sites cost from about $20 to $200 per month to run.
  • A content management system (CMS) can reduce the cost of updating a Web site, by (1) reducing the cost of creating the site, and (2) letting less skilled people update the site.

Types of cost

The value proposition and branding are about sales. They’re about getting people to come to the site and do business.

But profit is sales minus cost. If the site is too expensive to run, the business won’t make a profit. Owners want sites that are cheap to run.

Creating the site is obviously a major expense. But it’s not the only one. Once a site is up and running, there are two main types of costs:

  • Technology operation, particularly the Web server.
  • Keeping the site up-to-date.

Of the two, the second is usually more expensive.

Technology costs

Every site needs a Web server, a computer that sends data to browsers. The server needs to be in an air-conditioned room, plugged in to a power outlet, and connected to the Internet. It needs to be kept secure. The data needs to be backed up regularly, so it can be restored if something goes wrong.

All of this costs money. But not much, at least for a typical small business. Very few companies run their own servers. Instead, they pay other companies to run the servers for them.

Hosting companies run Web servers, and sell space on them. CarlysSchool.Com could spend as little as $10 per month on its Web server. You’ll learn more about this later.

WanderingDog.Com might need more power. But, unless the site became very popular, it would not cost more than $200 per month. That’s a lot cheaper than a physical store!

There can be other technology costs as well. For example, Carly might buy a PC for her store, so she or someone else can update the site from there.

Keeping the site up-to-date

Someone has to keep the site up-to-date. This labor cost is often the most expensive part of running a site.

CarlysSchool.Com might not change very much over time. Add new courses, change the starting dates of the next courses, change prices. Maybe a few changes per month.

WanderingDog.Com would change a lot. New products would come out. Older products would be retired. There would be new expert reviews all the time. The site would change every day.

Summary

  • A business that has a Web site must pay to (1) create a site, (2) run the Web server and its infrastructure, and (3) keep the site’s content up-to-date.
  • Web servers for most small business sites cost from about $10 to $200 per month to run.
  • A content management system (CMS) can reduce the cost of updating a Web site, by (1) reducing the cost of creating the site, and (2) letting less skilled people update the site.

What now?

This chapter is about what makes a Web site good. We’ve talked about users and owners. What about the people who build the site? What makes a site good for them?


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