I hope this isn't too off topic, but I have a question regarding budgeting for website technical support. How much should one allocate for yearly webmaster support of a smaller database driven website (PHP/MySQL)? I'm speaking of hiring someone (or a firm) to perform basic periodic updates (non-database or advanced programming), answer user support email (such as lost passwords or logon issues), and so on.
The site is educational in nature, and is accessed by 100 or so teams of students (each team is composed of 4 or 5 students). Advanced programming is performed as needed by an outside development company (as such, any application bugs and so on would be outsourced to this company), but how much should we allocate for basic ongoing support of this site, as provided by one who might fall under the category of "webmaster"? Would it be best to consider this as a position requiring 10-20 (or so) hours per week of support during the school year? If so, what would a fair hourly rate be?
personally I'd think that paying by the hour would become far too expensive, if you employed someone on a full-time-basic. Why not consider outsourcing any problems you have to a company if and when they arise?
I like this idea a lot, especially for larger issues. But what about basic upkeep of the site, including just checking if the site is up and functioning properly (or receiving email from users indicating a problem). Perhaps most of this basic work can be done inhouse, but then how many hours should be allocated per week? Would budgeting five hours per week seem sufficient? As you can probably tell, the issue now is mostly financial, that is, attempting to determine how much to allocate from our budget to website support.