I believe all good conversation starts with definition.
So if we want to talk about websites (and, specifically, the cost of a website), let’s begin by defining what a website actually is.
A website, plain and simple, is a collection of pages which are stored on the hard drive of a server and can be accessed via the internet by computers around the world.
Now, that’s all well and good as far as basic definitions go. But, to be honest, it isn’t particularly useful. And that’s why, from here on out, we’re going to talk not about websites, but instead, about what are called web properties.
Properties and the Game of Monopoly
If you’ve played the game Monopoly, you know that there are several different types of properties:
1) STREETS, on which you can build houses and hotels (ex. New York Avenue, Park Place, Boardwalk)
2) UTILITIES, for which others must pay you a fee to use (ex. Electric Company, Water Works)
3) RAILROADS, for which you receive a steady stream of income depending on how many of them you own
Now a hotel is not the same as a railroad, nor is a house the same as a utility. But they’re all called properties because ultimately they all do the same thing. They make you money, and help you win the game.
The Web Properties of Coca-Cola
Like the properties you can own in the game of Monopoly, there are different kinds of properties you can buy (or, in most cases, rent) on the internet.
For example, here are three properties owned by the company Coca-Cola:
1) The WEBSITE Coca-Cola.com
2) The Coca-Cola FACEBOOK PAGE
3) The Coca-Cola YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Let’s say Coca-Cola wants to introduce an all-new soft drink. They want to reach a different set of customers and believe, say, chocolate peppermint soda is what these customers are really after (which it is!).
So how could they do it?
Maybe they publish a new page on Coca-Cola.com with news and information about their awesome new soft drink. Maybe they run a contest on Facebook, getting fans of their page to spread the word. Maybe they launch a series of funny videos on YouTube, with celebrities describing how the soft drink has changed their life.
In reality, of course, they’d probably do all three.
The Bottom Line
The point is, things get a lot simpler when you talk about web properties rather than websites. The chances are you probably do want a website, but that’s not where the discussion should begin.
So now that we’ve established that what we’re really after is a web property, let’s move on a HUGE (but rarely-talked about) factor in what you’ll ultimately have to spend for a website…