What are all the costs involved getting a website up and running?
It can be such an overwhelming phase of your life trying to launch your new business, getting your branding on track and getting a website built. There just seem to be so many added costs involved over and above the cost for building a site.
What am I paying for? The short answer: the domain name (also known as a "url" or web address), the web hosting and the web build. (Potentially you're also paying for an email address).
I really like the analogy of thinking of this whole process like building a house and putting it on a certain plot of land.
So… a web designer, like me, gets paid to build a website - like a house, but we need to ultimately have land to put it on - we need a host. That host is a lot like your local council - you will need to pay levies and rates every month (or one yearly payment) to keep your house functioning well.
Say we have the 'house' on the 'land', we need an address so you can find your way to your house - that is a domain name. It's how people find your house. Get an address from the "Post office" , type in your address/url/domain name and you will be directed to your house/website home page (front door). Your email address you may be paying for is your post box at your house - it gets all your relevant business mail.
All the bedrooms in your house are your different pages and all the furniture in your house is your "content" (eg. words, pictures, forms and documents).
Content matters. It makes a difference to your visitors' experience: if things work seamlessly and everything they are looking for is where they expect, they will feel welcome and have a good time, but if doors slam and floor boards creak, there are broken windows and empty rooms, chances are they'll bounce right out and try someone else to visit.
It's a very untechnical way of explaining, but you do need to pay for all those services. These are ongoing costs, and you may retain your web builder (designer) to do regular upkeep on your house so it remains in tip top shape, or you can do it all yourself if you have the time and inclination.
Some people like to hire content writers (Interior designers!) to make sure their website/house performs to its full potential. It may also be an idea to hire a professional photographer, so your business is shown in the best possible light and isn't let down by very average images.
There is a lot to consider before your website goes live, before you open your home for all to see and visit, and it may feel overwhelming, but each is necessary for comfort and a positive user experience.
Does that help a little?