Further website development

A common question from people just starting a website, is what ongoing costs will they face? And there’s no definate answer, other than you probably will face some at some stage!

A website is rarely every finished! There’s always more you can add or things you can tweak – but manage these updates wisely otherwise you’ll spend your life refining rather than running your business!

A big thing you’ll learn when launching a website (mainly systems, rather than brochure sites), is that even with all the planning and customer research possible, you’ll still get insightful feedback from your users after launch and the site is in action. And so sometimes, if there’s a feature you’re toying with and you’re not sure of the best way to roll it out – maybe wait and see how people use your site and it may become clear. Rather than spend a fortune on every bell and whistle from the offset, do what you need to to make your offering professional, informative, and easy to use – and then work on the finer points as you learn more about your customer’s needs.

We’ve discussed how sometimes including things from the off set can be more cost effective than adding them later – but it’s a balancing act and you’ve just got to chat it through with your web development team and decide the best course of action.

How further development is costed will completely depend on your development company. It might be that they prepare a fixed quote based on deliverables (and includes some contingency should issues crop up from new functionality clashing with previous), or it might be that they work on an hourly rate and it’s just an ongoing arrangement as things need doing. If you work on an hourly/day rate then you’ll only be charged for the time taken, and so if then alterations come up/it ends up there was more to do/testing brings up issues, then there will be more time taken (and charged for) to carry on the work.

Typical future costs

Of course you’ve got your hosting charges, which are typically annual or monthly. And the cost of registering / renewing your domain name.

The biggy is SEO – how much search engine optimisation are you going to carry out and are you going to do it yourself or pay someone to do it? And if you’re using PPC / Google Adwords, what monthy budget are you going to work to? But even those are – to a large extent – budgetable. You can plan in advance your budget for each year, and just cut back if you need to.

The costs that are impossible to know from the offset are future development costs. Below is a list of just some of the things which may incur costs from your web developer, which neither of you could have accurately budgeted for at launch:

  • You decide want graphics made and uploaded to promote a seasonal sale or new product / offering.

  • You change your business address or telephone number – these items are often in the template of a website and so not editbable via a CMS. And change so rarely it’s not worth building them into the CMS.

  • A few years down the line, browser technology means that the newest browsers are showing things slightly broken on your website.

  • There’s a new tablet in town! Or mobiles work differently than they did 18 months ago.

  • You have a change of business direction / you need to overhaul your website.

  • Your site uses software – such as WordPress or Joomla! – and needs upgrading – for security as well as new features – every once in a while. Your developer might have given you some ball park costs on this, but no one knows how the software is going to change for sure, so can’t know how long the upgrades will take exactly.

  • Your site uses a 3rd party service which changes how it works, so your developer needs to update your website to work with it.

  • You start your business using a payment merchant such as Paypal but then decide to start processing payments yourself when you grow.

  • The VAT rate changes so your developer has to update the core configurations of your site. Again, it happens so rarely unless you’re using a piece of off-the-shelp shop software for a traditional shopping cart you might not be able to change it yourself.


Websites are often seen as cheap businesses – and they really can be. But if your website is your whole shop front, you need to be realistic about technology and your needs changing over time. In the same way as you’d expect to have to buy new light bulbs and paint your real-world shop every now and again, or re-print your business cards and signage, you’ll need to pay to have things updated on your website.

The Knowledge Base

Our knowledge base is split into categories, with an introdution to various differnt aspects of that category, followed by current topical articles which we constantly add.

Search the knowledgebase