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What are all these costs I have to pay, for my website?

What is Domain Name costs, Website Design costs, Website Hosting costs, Email Hosting costs, Website Maintenance Plan costs, SMO costs, and why do I have to pay for some of them “once off”, while for other I have to pay monthly or once every year.

The best way to understand all this web jargon is to equate it to a real world scenario

Let’s assume that you have an idea for a business you want to open.
You will have to follow some steps in order to make that business a reality;


You need to work out what the business will do, how it will work, and what it will offer, and how it will offer the service, and then you will get a professional to help you setup the business model, costing, what equipment you will need, and what kind and size of building you will need to house your business, including layout, furniture, staff, etc. Once you have all that, you will summarize it all into a Business Plan.

To get all this figured out and into a Business Plan will be a “once off” exercise & expense, and once you have your final Business Plan, it will never EXPIRE, and you will be able to continue using that Business Plan for as long as you want, without the need to spend any more money on the Business Plan.

This is what your WEBSITE DESIGN fee is, and like the above, it is a “ONCE OFF” expense

Many Website Design companies will also offer you an optional Website Design “revamp” periodically, to make sure your Website keeps looking fresh and modern, very much like you would do to your Business, like periodically changing your Business Plan to reflect that you will be using better and more modern equipment, new costing models, new furniture, new colours or new layout, but this is completely optional and up to you to decide when to do such “revamp”, if at all. 

Some Website Design companies will offer a special loyalty discount on a “revamp” once every year, 2 years or 3 years, but it is still your choice if you want to go ahead with such special discounted “revamp” offer.


Now that you have your business plan, and everything ready to start your business, you will have to decide on a NAME for your business, and once you have the name you will need to have that name REGISTERED so that no one else can use that name. 

The cost to register the business NAME, and to keep it registered, will be a reoccurring upfront expense every year. 

This is what your DOMAIN NAME registration/Renewal fee is (sometimes referred to as your URL Address), and as above, it is a YEARLY upfront expense.


Now that you have your business plan and your business name registered, you will need to find a suitable building or offices to operate your business from.

You will need to pay rent for this building or offices to a landlord, on a monthly or yearly upfront basis.

The payment to your building or office landlord will be a reoccurring upfront expense, for as long as you want to operate your business from that building or offices. 

This is what your “Website Hosting” part of your HOSTING fee is, and it is a YEARLY upfront expense.

Once you have rented the building or offices, it automatically comes with an address to where your mail can be sent.

This is what your “Email Hosting” part of your HOSTING fee is, and it is a YEARLY upfront expense

Most Hosting companies will combine the Website Hosting & Email Hosting parts into one single fee, simply known as your yearly HOSTING fee


Now that you have your business plan, your business name, and your business premises, you good to GO, and start running your business, but it is a good idea to make sure that you get a maintenance crew on retainer, so that you can call them whenever any equipment breaks, or if you want to make any small changes to some of your business equipment, or business layout or furniture.

This is what your “WEBSITE MAINTENANCE PLAN” is, and as above, it is a YEARLY upfront expense


Now that your business is up and running, you will need to employ a marketer who can market your products and services to potential customers via all the available advertising mediums and social media platforms.

This will be a ongoing fee, and it can vary from month to month or year to year, depending on how much marketing you need for your business and how often the marketing needs to be publish.

This is what your “SOCIAL MEDIA OPTIMIZATION (SMO)” fee is, and as above, it is a upfront expense that will vary from month to month or year to year as your needs vary.

Many years ago there was also a separate fee for Search engine optimization (SEO), but most website design companies now automatically incorporate SEO as part of their website design, and work closely with your chosen  SMO to ensure your website is seen by as many potential clients as possible.

Some terminologies used above, explained in understandable language


This is the process of creating website pages that can be displayed using your computer’s web browser, such as Google Chrome, Firefox, etc. It includes various sections such as Logo, Navigation Menu, Text, Images, social media links, shopping carts, contact information, etc.

Once the website design is complete, it can be uploaded and stored on your personal computer, and you can view it via your browser, but only you will be able to view it on your own computer, it will not be visible to anyone else on their computers.

If you wanted everybody else in the world to be able to see your website via their computers, laptops or mobile device’s browsers, then you will need to have your website uploaded and stored on a website HOSTING provider’s internet backbone connected servers.


The domain name, also known as the URL, is a unique name that you can decide on to use for your business’s internet address, and such name must be registered to avoid any other person/business from using that same name. You will thus have to check with your hosting provider to ensure that the name you want to use, is available for registration, and not already been registered by another business.

The domain name you choose will be unique, and will be used as an address to locate your businesses on the Internet.


Hosting is a service that allows you to upload and store your business’s pre-designed website onto special computers, called internet servers, which will allow access to people, world wide, to see your website via their internet browser on their PC, Laptop or mobile phone, when they type in your DOMAIN NAME.

There are many Hosting Service providers, and many Website Design companies will also offer their clients a Website & Email Hosting service.


Maintenance plans can vary, but in most cases they will allow you to pay a yearly fee, and in exchange, all text, image and any other minor changes you may need during that year on your website’s design, will be made free of charge.


Social Media Optimization (SMO) is a highly specialized area like proper website design.

The SMO will manage all your social media platforms and ensure that they are setup correctly and that each are properly optimized to achieve the best market penetration possible. The SMO will also do regular posts on your behalf to advertise your business and business website to as many potential clients as possible, depending on your budget and needs.

Your SMO will do regular report backs and check on your website’s ranking on search engines, so that he/she can guide you as to the best strategy to follow to maximize your advertising ROI.

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A great website design start with proper planning, and ends with great customer service and satisfaction