The need for Website Yearly Fees?

Every now and then a client expresses some surprise a year after I build their site when they get an invoice from me for Domain & Hosting renewal. If I don’t mention the yearly fees in person or over the phone when building the site then at least the initial quotation and invoice as well as terms & conditions that everyone receives will clearly mention the “per year” prices. As a result of this unexpected or forgotten bill there can be a perception among some clients that a web designer is trying to pull a fast one by continually requesting money even though the site is already built and complete. I’ve also had other web designers question the price I charge for my own domain and hosting services. I will attempt to justify both here.

First things first. No matter who you go with to build your professional website, unless it’s some crappy free web building service, you will require both a web address (Domain name) and Website Hosting which is basically storage space for everything that will display on the site including text, images, databases etc.. Hosting also includes professional Email services, ie YourName@YourWebAddress.ie. Both of these things are rented as opposed to purchased one off. That’s just the way the industry works. There’s no option anywhere to buy those things for a once off fee. But at least once you are renting them or they are in your name. no one else can have them.

So baring that in mind, there are two choices for you as a business when you are having your site built:

  1. Purchase both the domain and hosting yourself which will enable you to shop around for the best prices etc. Then forward the details to your designer who will setup and work with the system you’ve bought, or
  2. Let the designer take the hassle and complexity out of the process of purchasing domains and hosting by organising it all for you.

In my own personal experience whenever I used to suggest that the client organise their own domain and hosting I was usually met with the response “I wouldn’t have a clue how to set that up. Will you do it for me?”. In which case I say yes no problem but there will be a yearly fee because I will have to pay for both a domain and hosting on your behalf. Most clients are happy to accept this. There’s also the issue of you buying hosting that isn’t suitable for your website or one that the designer is not familiar with and can’t work with so it’s really best to let them use a system they are familiar with.

However, one thing I’ve realised recently talking to other web designers is that they don’t all want the hassle of managing hosting and domains for clients and many would actually prefer if the client done that themselves so that if any issues arise with hosting being down, limits exceeded, domains expiring etc the designer is not obliged to help out and the client will have to contact the hosting company they used themselves. I think this is poor service and laziness from the designers especially considering that most clients wont be technically savvy enough to explain the issues at hand or even remember who to contact about it.

With regard to my pricing. I would guess that my domain and particularly hosting prices are somewhere between low to mid-range compared to others. That is to say they are definitely not the cheapest but not overly expensive either. For €79 per year (early 2016 prices) you get modern, professional hosting with email and also local support from someone who knows the right channels to go down when something goes wrong. Also, because I buy hosting in bulk form a third party, I can sell it on at a price that’s cheaper for the client then if they went to the same company directly. Hardly expensive in my opinion?

Leon