In 2021, with it being more important than ever to have a real web presence, anyone can justify starting their own website. Whether you own a business or just want to write a weekly blog, a website is a worthwhile investment of both your time and money. If done right, not only will you get your name and your business’ name out there, you can also make a lot of money from your website, including a fair amount of passive income, if your website gains the right kind of attraction and a high enough number of hits per month.
However, to run a successful website, you need to do more than using a free paint-by-the-numbers template with a domain name that is not customized. It’s never been easier to design your own website but because everyone is doing it these days, it’s important to make yours stand out and to do so, there are some unexpected expenses that might surprise you.
These are some of the most common expenses that catch many people off guard when they start up a new website.
We all know that web hosting is one of the unavoidable expenses when running a website. And for good reason. Without hosting, whether your own or through a provider, there is literally no way at all of getting your website off the ground. It’s the most basic building block in web design and picking the right host is crucial if you want your readers/ viewers to have a quick, painless experience on your site. The only catch is that the expenses of website hosting might be steeper than you expect.
Fortunately, there are several options available to you. Renting a shared server is the most common and cheapest form of hosting. The problem with shared hosting, though, is that it only accommodates websites with low levels of traffic. As soon as your website starts gaining traction, shared hosting is not enough. There is not enough bandwidth to go around and your website will either slow down or even crash. A good way to lower the worth of your brand is to have your brand-new site crashing repeatedly on visitors.
The same is true if your website has complicated functions or a graphics-rich user interface that require a lot of bandwidth. In that case, shared hosting can fall short even if you’re not getting much traffic.
A virtual private server (VPS), on the other hand, which allocates you significant bandwidth or a dedicated server that is entirely yours will serve you well in terms of security, stability, and an ability to host plenty of both content and visitors, but it will cost you a lot more than shared hosting. Keep this in mind when budgeting for your website.
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Multiple domain names
No respectable website has a domain name that ends with the name of its website host or creator. You need a domain name that is entirely yours. This is a cost every website owner should expect.
Unfortunately, it may also be necessary to get a number of domain names in addition to your primary one. A domain name that is one letter off from yours can cause confusion for your visitors and even be used against you by competitors. The same is true of websites with other suffixes. If you have the .com, the .net alternative might be the bane of your existence. It’s an unexpected cost and it is perhaps not the most crucial but it will make your life infinitely easier if you own all the domain names that are similar to the name of your website.
Consider buying a few of these domain names and directing them all to your website. It is worth buying the basic alternatives at least.
Insuring your valuable electronics is a good idea for everyone. The reality is that we all walk around with hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars of valuables on our person. Things we might not even give a second thought to, like smartwatches. But when you are running a website, insurance becomes even more important, regardless of how big your site is and what its purpose is.
Getting laptop insurance is the most basic and most important thing to start with. Even if it’s the only insurance you get, laptop insurance is necessary in order that you are never left without access to your website tools. Without laptop insurance, you may not have the funds available to replace your device if it gets stolen or breaks, which happens all the time and often at the most inopportune moments. With the right insurance and with the always important cloud backups, you can have it replaced in no time and go right back to running your website.
The good news is that you don’t need dedicated laptop insurance but can instead get homeowner or renter insurance that covers your laptop along with your other possessions. This is important for just about every individual, as an unforeseen catastrophe can leave us needing thousands of dollars for basic necessities in the modern world. It also prevents the need to insure every item individual item you own – though you will get paid out more if you do specify your device when taking household insurance.
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Most people do not need to do much writing as part of their jobs. When it comes to building a website, however, writing content is an inevitable requirement. Your pages need to be populated with copy that is easy to read and that also follows marketing and SEO standards. Nothing will turn viewers off quicker than shoddy grammar, obvious spelling mistakes, and having your website look like it was written by a bot.
Some people are able to do this themselves, but most do not have the time or skills to learn how to write effective copy. For this reason, it can be worthwhile to hire a professional copywriter on a freelance or contract basis. Obviously, the cost will determine the kind of writers you can afford but for business pages, especially, a top-notch copywriter is crucial.
If you’re a particularly adept writer, a pro copywriter might not do a much better job than you. But, there are still benefits in outside hires, most especially in their ability to do it in a fraction of the time. Look out, though, that the person you hire is as quick as they are good. Because both of these requirements often conflict with one another. Some are quick but sloppy. Others are immaculate in their writing but unable to pump out the volume that your site requires. Your time is most definitely worth the money you spend on their services.
Humans are visual creatures, and photos are going to be necessary no matter what type of website you are building. Videos work too but without a major graphical aspect to your site, it has little chance of attracting anyone, let alone returning visitors. If you’re selling products or featuring yourself and your team, many of the photos will need to be custom sourced. However, you’re also going to need photos to populate your pages and to go with written content.
There are free sites on which you can get excellent stock photos. But these sites often fall short, especially if you’re looking for a wide range or particularly niche photos. It also doesn’t help that there are tons of other people using these photos and they can begin to look stale.
A subscription to a site like Alamy or Shutterstock costs only $10 a month. It is also significantly less if you pay for a full year at a time. They will broaden the diversity and number of photos you can use on your page. They’re also more personal and unique than free stock photos.
Videos are now a great way of advertising a product or service that you are selling on your website. It is easy to create good video content that showcases your wares. But voice-overs are a problem for most people.
The problem is that unless you’re already comfortable recording yourself using a microphone, your audio is going to sound terrible. Consider getting a professional voice performer to record voice-overs for your videos. They know how to use tone and cadence to sell an idea, as well as how best to record themselves. They also have the right equipment.
You can find excellent voice performers on a site like Fiverr. There are also websites that specifically host voice actors. But these performers charge a lot more than those you’ll find on regular freelance sites.
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You may have known that running a website would not be free. But there are surprising expenses you may not have anticipated. Budget the above when pricing your website so that you are prepared for whatever comes. You won’t need to pay for all of them; just about everyone running a website needs to buy more than just basic hosting and a domain name.