Web site upkeep no small expense

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When budgeting for Web services, marketers need to take into account not just the cost of building a site, but also the ongoing maintenance. Those charges can run as high as $162,800 for a large site.

This month's Web Price Index asked developers how much they would charge to host and maintain small, medium and large Web sites. Median prices for even a small site came in at $2,500 per month with medium sites at $5,000 and large sites at $14,750.

Explore your options

For hosting, several options exist at different price points. On one end of the spectrum, marketers can have their developers subcontract the hosting of their servers to dedicated Internet service providers. Smaller marketers can cut costs by outsourcing the hosting of their sites, or even sharing their servers with other companies.

"It's a great solution for marketers with low-volume sites," says Dave Skwarczek, president of Chicago-based Streams Online Media Development. "Sometimes performance isn't quite as good, but it's a 'you get what you pay for' situation."

ISPs are likely to have the kind of facilities needed to provide consistent, high-speed services for their customers.

These services often include redundant hardware and uninterruptible power supplies in temperature-controlled environments. The servers should be hooked to the Internet by multiple providers.

For marketers who are particularly concerned about protecting their sites, Dallas-based c2o Interactive Architects offers a few unusual items in its hosting product description.

Among the security features of its trademarked WebVault:

  • Earthen berm with outside concrete-retaining walls prohibiting vehicular access.

  • Dense vegetation on top of berm, restricting personnel access.

  • Five buildings, each with its own water, uninterruptible power supply and fire walls -- the physical kind plus the software ones.

    c2o recognizes the importance of the data to its clients and is willing to commit to 99.95% uptime for its servers.

    "We mostly focus on high-end customers, so it makes sense," Mr. Harding says.

    Keeping costs down

    Keeping a site current can start ringing up hourly charges quickly as well. However most marketers should be able to negotiate a reasonable upkeep plan that meets the needs of their sites and their budgets.

    One option is to work out a retainer-type relationship with the developer. Another solution is to spend a little more initially on development of software tools for in-house development of the site.

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