Develop a Budget for Your Online Presence

Estimating and budgeting costs for website presence is notoriously difficult because every site is different, with its own features and unique challenges. Creating an online presence is a lot like remodeling your kitchen: The cost depends on the features you want to install, and they nearly always mount up to more than you anticipate.

To estimate your web-development bill, ballpark development, and maintenance costs, factor in the following list of typical expenses:

  • Development costs, including computer hardware, communications equipment, systems installation, website design, website content development, and testing and launch.

  • Maintenance costs, including website administration, website content updating, communications services, hardware servicing and upgrades, and software upgrades and support.

Before you invest in the equipment and staff required to maintain an Internet presence, explore the possibility of having an outside company host your website for you. Web-management companies can provide you with the entire hardware and software infrastructure you need and guarantee that your site is up and running 24/7, often at a very competitive price.

After you’ve estimated the tab for your new or expanded web presence, list the business benefits you hope to gain from your presence on the Internet. If some of the benefits add revenue, include the sales in your financial projections.

Don’t be surprised, however, if you have a tough time attaching revenues to some or many of the benefits you expect your site to deliver. If you do, consider how the investment will enhance your business efficiency, heighten customer service, or add other attributes that may help justify the cost of your Internet-development plans.

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