Like so much of like, getting started on the web is often a case of trial-and-error with people making plenty of mistakes in their first months and years online. In order to help our clients we’ve developed some guidelines to help people find their feet and we though we’d share them this month. This WebSavvy is a cut-out-and-keep guide to how much you should be looking to pay for important services.
Under no circumstances should you be paying more than $10 per year for a .com, .net or .org domain name. The companies that actually register the domains normally get them for $3 to $6. A 50% mark-up on that is the maximum you should be expected to pay. Very reputable companies such as GoDaddy.com sell domains for less than $9. For that price you should also expect some extra such as email, domain forwarding and domain name server management. If they expect you to pay extra for them and that takes it over $10 – run a mile. Companies that are guilty of this and should be avoided include: NetworkSolutions.com and Register.com. Over at AllediaDomains.com we offer .coms for $7.45 and add-on services for a dollar.
The cost of hosting really depends on what software your website is using and how big your site is. What I can do is give you some general rules of thumb to follow. Nearly all small business can exist happily with the “small” option. The large option involves having a dedicated server all to yourself and is only necessary if you have thousands of people accessing your site on a daily basis. Of course, once you start to reach 100,000s of people per day you will need more than what is on this list, but most small companies should pay no more than $120 per year for hosting.
|HTML, PHP||$10 per month||$20 per month||$100 per month|
|ASP (Microsoft)||$10 per month||$35 per month||$200 per month|
A maintenance contract from a web design company should cost no more than $100 per month unless they are actively updating and working on the site. You would need a very good reason to pay any more than this.
The first thing to say is that you should never sign a long-term contract for web services. You’ve heard about how old-fashioned cell phone companies that force you to sign a 2-year contract are being squeezed by more customer-friendly brands that allow you to cancel at any time? So it is online. If you can’t pay month-by-month then you need to go elsewhere. A long-term contract is a company’s way of saying that they’re not confident that their product and prices are good enough to keep you.
Whereas the first four topics were relatively straightforward, webdesign is a more complex area with different niches. Again, some ballpark figures might be the best idea. You should be able to higher a very good webdesigner for between $50 and $80 per hour. For very demanding and complex tasks which demand rare skill-sets you can justifiably expect to pay between $75 and $150. Any more than that and you really should be shopping around and comparing prices from rival firms.
All in all, the Internet is a great hotbed of capitalism. The sheer number of companies offering their services means that price-competition is strong. It’s a buyers market and I hope you’ll be able to take full advantage.