The real cost of a website with CMS
I have seen lately more and more users who want to create their own websites. Most of them are wondering about how much it would cost a site made with CMS. Another category of users, those who have already decided about the CMS that they are going to use (they choose it by its popularity on forums), but most of them are tricked believing that if the CMS is free, the site will also be free. Another category is that who selects a firm to create a CMS site, but they don’t do their research and they end up paying a lot of money.
Here is in fact the costs of a website from A to Z. The prices will vary from country to country, based on local salaries or web development companies prices. You can get the idea from this article, that there are additional costs.
Domain and hosting
The very first thing is selecting the domain. This is not very expensive, usually it's standard, varying between 10-15$/year. The domain should be very easy to remember, the choices being companyname.com or easy-to-remember-name.com, the first one is usually chosen by companies, the second one is chosen when someone wishes to have better page ranking. one buys one company name related domain name and one or more for placing them on several sites, using them as aliases. An article about choosing the domain name can be found http://www.articlealley.com/article_31889_1.html. Hosting can also vary between 3$ and 20$/ month, depending on what the preferences are. Usually a small site doesn’t need much space, many e-mail accounts, but it is important for it to have an available database, most of the CMSs use databases, but there are a few "text based".
TOTAL COST: 100-200 $/year
Even if most of the CMSs have a few templates, these are not always good enough for a company name related site or a high quality site. It would be easy to recognize that the design is a one of the default templates. Another choice would be to buy a template. The prices can vary between 50 and 100 $ (Template Monsters, Template Word, etc). This way you can choose from thousands of templates, but there is a risk that the selected design cannot be used with the selected CMS. Make sure that the template is compatible with the CMS. After selecting a template, this will have to be changed in the desired colour and the company’s logo will have to be applied, photos will have to be uploaded. This requires picture editing knowledge and changing the selected template into HTML. If one counts the wasted hours and the lack of knowledge this can be very expensive.
A much more elegant solution would be to contact a company that can make a custom design for your company. You can have a nice looking design for 200-500 $, prepared for the selected CMS. Such a company can take the present image of your company, the branding and the pictures you provide, or they can provide you high quality pictures from different sites that they are registered to.
TOTAL COST: 100-500 $
Applying the template into the CMS
You can buy a template or a designer makes you one, either way the template will have to be applied to the selected CMS. This can take 2 or 3 hours but there are cases in which it takes even days. When selecting the CMS, one should also consider its price. Show the chosen design (before buying it) to the person who will be applying it into (X)HTML/CSS, and ask whether it is possible to apply it into the selected CMS. The prices vary between 100-500 $, dependingon how many pages have to be made.
TOTAL COST: 100-500 $
Selecting and managing the CMS
It’s one of the most important part that we have to consider, we have to make sure that the selected soft (Joomla, Drupal, Company Website Builder, MiniCWB, etc) has all the advantages we need. If not, it would be difficult to find an addon to provide them. The admin page can be very easy to handle for the client’s purposes. We need to mention that NOTHING is FREE, everything has its price, especially the time that is spent on it.
TOTAL COST: 0-100 $
I consider this as a hidden cost. When choosing a new soft, the first thing that we have to do is learn to use it. This means time spent and time is money. It can easily take at least 4 hours up to 2 or 3 days. Once, a client, who had chosen Joomla, was satisfied with the users’ interface, but he found it difficult to use the administration pages.
TOTAL COST: 100-300 $
Preparing, updating, managing the site, backup ...
This is a cost that we are aware about, but most of the existing sites die because of the lack of administration. Almost 50% of the sites end up to be abandoned after a period of time, without being updated. Find a reliable webhost provider that protects the data placed on their different servers. Also from time to time ask your hosting providers for backups or ask for a tool to do that. If you lose your website, you lose your business and this is a major cost.
TOTAL COST: 100-300 $/month
Launching the site and marketing
Sites won’t develop on their own, they need to be promoted through different marketing methods. Here we need to mention that if the CMS is well chosen, it can do half of the marketing on its own, if it has URL optimization, Title Tag, Metal Tags, XHTML template. Otherwise there will be problems with page ranking. It’s an aspect that should be considered with CMS.
If we look at the costs mentioned above, it might seem a expensive, but there are real costs, depending on what the clients’ needs are. Consulting an expert, before making any decisions, can save us a lot of money and time, especially in this time of financial crisis.
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