• Website Governance Framework FAQs

    Website costing questions

    What should I report on under each cost category?

    The Website Cost Reporting Worksheet provides a list of website related elements for consideration when calculating website costs. These are suggestions only and do not represent the complete list of elements contained within each cost component.

    Agencies can use this template as a working sheet for calculating cost or for approvals from appropriate authorities (e.g. CFO, Executive Director Corporate Services, DGs, CEOs) on the website costs information before submitting it in the OWRS, and for their own record keeping and future reference. 

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    How do I calculate hardware costs?

    Hardware costs are associated with the physical components only. Provide total hardware costs, including any purchases, rentals or leases.

    Some hardware may be provided as a total package by a third party, which includes setup and installation fees as part of the hardware cost. Where possible please separate these out from the Hardware Costs component, and include it in the Web Hosting & Support Costs category. Where this is not possible, include the whole amount in the Hardware Costs category.

    Some elements for consideration when calculating website hardware costs include, but are not limited to, web servers, application servers, database servers, network hardware, line rentals, hardware warranty, additional hard drives, video cards, etc.
    Website business owners should consult with their agency's IT branch for assistance in completing the Hardware Costs information for their websites.

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    How do I calculate software costs?

    Provide total software costs for websites, including any purchases or license renewal fees.

    Software provided as a total package by a third party may include setup and installation fees as part of the software cost. Where possible please separate these out from the Software Costs component, and include it in the Web Hosting & Support Costs category. Where this is not possible, please include the whole amount in the Software Costs category.

    Some elements for consideration when calculating website software costs include, but are not limited to, operating systems, web and database applications, website management applications and associated license fees - software license fees include both new and renewal fees.

    Examples of Web and Database applications:

    • web development applications
    • web design applications
    • database applications

    Examples of Website Management applications:

    • content management systems 
    • reporting systems (e.g. web analytics, link checker)
    • system diagnostic software
    • monitoring systems

    Website business owners should consult with their agency's IT branch for assistance in completing the Software Costs information for their websites.

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    How do I calculate web hosting & support costs?

    In general, include in this category the costs of support and services needed to provide and operate the agency's online environment (i.e. not individual websites).

    Some elements for consideration when calculating Hosting & Support Costs include, but are not limited to:

    • website hosting fees
    • ISP connection fees
    • data usage and excess fees
    • high availability fees (for system to be continuously operational during a measured period of time) 
    • additional environments (e.g. for testing  and disaster recovery purposes)
    • web and network performance tuning and testing (calibrating the system to a desired response time)
    • security audits (evaluation of a system's security against a set of criteria / standards) and risk management
    • data backup and recovery
    • hardware and software upgrades and testing (e.g. software upgrade installation)
    • application faults diagnosis
    • help desk / technical support (e.g. help desk service provided by IT branch or external third-party)
    • user and application training (e.g. writing for the web, using the web, web application - CMS)

    Website business owners should consult with their agency's IT branch for assistance in completing the Web Hosting & Support Costs information for their websites. 

    Please see FAQs for information and examples on calculating Employee Costs.

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    How do I calculate maintenance costs?

    Website maintenance cost refers to the cost of operating a website. In general, include in this category the costs of maintaining the business and technical aspects of individual websites.

    Some elements for consideration when calculating website maintenance cost include, but are not limited to:

    • content authoring (creating, adding and updating content), reviews, approvals and publishing
    • website reporting and evaluation
    • website modifications (HTML, applications & design)
    • application maintenance (modification or additions to functionalities)
    • content archiving and record keeping
    • decommissioning websites
    • domain name registration (and re-registration)

    How do I calculate web planning & development costs?

    As a general principal, include in this category all costs associated with improving the organisation's online capability, efficiency and effectiveness in meeting the needs of citizens, business and other users. Typically, this will encompass the costs of specific initiatives and projects relating to new developments, significant re-developments and a range or potential activities aimed at improving online delivery of information and services.

    Some elements for consideration when calculating Planning & Development Costs include, but are not limited to:

    • planning and development of website strategies, business plans, policies, guidelines, standards
    • optimising the organisation's website architecture
    • measuring and evaluating user satisfaction
    • website promotion & marketing (N.B. Only include where the cost is specific to a website or the organisation's online capability – do not include costs relating to a specific campaign of which a website is only a component)
    • project management activities related to websites
    • website design, development and re-development
    • application development, testing and implementation
    • content authoring and acquisition
    • website optimisation (to make the system / design as effective or functional as possible)
    • Search engine optimisation (improving the visibility and findability of the website and its content through internet search engines)

    How do we report on websites where the costs are shared with other agencies?

    Report on your agency's costs and include notes as to which agency shares the website costs and details of the arrangement.

    We have a secure extranet site that is only accessed by staff. Should cost relating to this site be included in our website cost reporting?

    No. Any website that is accessed securely only by staff does not need to be included.

    Do we need to report on web application costs?

    Where possible, only provide the web interface cost to applications that are accessible from public facing websites. Where this is not possible, do not include the web interface cost in your cost reporting. The cost of developing the application should not be included. Web interfaces developed for intranets or extranets need not be included in your cost reporting.

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    How do I calculate whether my agency has made any savings this financial year from the consolidation and/or rationalisation of websites?

    Example 1:
    We consolidated two websites into one. It cost $20,000 to maintain both websites previously. It cost $20,000 to consolidate and decommission the websites into one. No cost savings were achieved.

    Example 2:
    We consolidated two websites into one. It cost $20,000 to maintain both websites previously. It cost $15,000 to consolidate and decommission the websites into one. A cost saving of  $5,000 was achieved.

    Example 3:
    We consolidated two websites into one. It cost $20,000 to maintain both websites previously. It cost $30,000 to consolidate and decommission the websites into one. No cost savings were achieved.

    Example 4:
    We decommissioned a website that was no longer required. It cost $20,000 to maintain the website previously. It cost $5,000 to decommission and archive the website. A cost saving of $15,000 was achieved.

    Example 5:
    We removed a section from our website that cost $5,000 to maintain. It cost $2,000 to remove and archive the content. A cost saving of $3,000 was achieved.

    Other areas where savings may have been achieved:

    • hosting costs, particularly where this is done externally and there is a specific fee involved
    • reduction in related tools that might be duplicated and there are licensing or hosting costs involved, such as Content Management System and Search.

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    What are Employee Costs?

    Employee* Costs relate to the total hours spent by employees on website related activities.  Examples of website related activities include but are not limited to, website planning, meeting, developing strategies, writing, editing, reviewing and approving content, developing and maintaining websites, training and providing support.

    * Employees consist of both in-house employees and contractors.

    Should salary on-cost be included when calculating Employee Costs?

    Yes, employee salary on-cost should be included when calculating Employee Costs for in-house employees. For the purpose of this Framework, please apply a 20% on-cost to staff direct salaries. This will provide a level of consistency across agencies.  
    NOTE: We recognise that some agencies may apply a higher/lower on-cost figure in their standard budget calculations.

    Where do I report on Employee Costs?

    Employee costs are associated with more than one cost component. Please include Employee Costs where applicable under the appropriate components.

    Should salaries of officers responsible for maintaining websites be included under support fees in the costing spreadsheet?

    Yes. See FAQ on calculating Employee Cost above.

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    All my web services are provided by an external Internet Service Provider. How do I provide costings for the various cost components?

    Where possible, provide a breakdown of the costs for the various cost components. Your Internet Service Provider will be able to assist you with this.

    Where is it not possible to provide a breakdown in cost, please provide the total contract cost under the 'Web Hosting & Support Costs' component.

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