Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Running a website is expensive

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
Get posts in your inbox:
Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

There’s always been a certain amount of email from people outraged by the audacity of selling healthcare information. “You scum! How can you sleep at night? Scammer!” This is from people who like what I’m selling, mind you — they just don’t like that I’m selling it. I’ve respond to this outrage in various ways over the years. What I’d like to point out right now, as I prepare my taxes, is that I spent $7200 on various expert services in 2019. SEVEN GRAND. Which is remarkable to me in three ways:

  • That’s nothing in the context of what it would cost to have employees. This is still a small business, a sole propreitorship, and hiring even one full-time employee would be much, much more expensive.
  • It’s also nothing compared to what’s actually needed. Those services, although super helpful, barely dented the to-do list.
  • Although not actually all that much money, it is also rather a lot more money than most people think it costs to run a website. People tend to assume that it’s cheap to run a website. In their imaginations, it tops out at a few hundred dollars per year maybe. How bad could it be? they think. It’s just a website. And while there’s some truth in that — it’s cheaper than renting a retail space — it can be a lot worse than they think. My consultant’s fees added up to quite a bit, but that was only the biggest of several categories of expenses. My total costs for running the site in 2019 was about $25,000. Which means that I have to sell roughly 1500 books just to keep the digital doors open.

And yet I get holier-than-thou email from people who sincerely believe that all my information — not just 95% of the pages, but all of it — should be free. Not cheap, but actually free. If I stopped selling some of my content, would go dark in about three weeks.