10/10 times this is the question I’m asked about websites. Often clients are looking for a single answer, but of course, answers can vary. In this post, we’ll identify the factors to consider that directly affect website costs.
1. Let’s put this into perspective.
If you wanted to build a house, would you approach a contractor and ask him how much will it cost to build a house? Of course, there is no one answer. The size of the house, the amount of materials, the quality of materials, the accent or statement elements within the house – these all directly affect the cost of the house. This same perspective needs to be considered for websites as well.
2. Outlining the blueprint of your website.
With a website, the first thing we need to know is – what will be the purpose of the website? Starting with the purpose sets the tone for the entire project and gives the website architect an idea of what direction to take for construction. Some examples of what your website can be used for could be:
- an information resource,
- a platform for current clients,
- lead generation, or
- an ecommerce store.
Once you’ve identified the purpose, you can start outlining the important elements which must be included in your website. Depending on your industry, target audience, and potential market, these next elements can vary but could include:
- a membership directory,
- product inventory/store,
- a disclaimer page/privacy documents,
- a landing page, or
- an email funnel system.
Needless to say, any addition of another element will automatically increase the cost of your website. It’s important to have a general idea of what your website will achieve, and what will be available for users to read and access.
3. Identifying additional assistance for your website.
Beyond the architectural design of your website, there are further logistical details to identify for your website needs. Creating the entire website takes more building of the “inner” pages themselves. There are additional pieces that can change the overall cost of your website. Some options will be more costly than others, for example:
- An in-house copywriter writer vs. a contracted copywriter.
- Using stock imagery vs. have original photos commissioned by a photographer for your website photos.
- Paying annually for a website-hosting site (such as Squarespace or Wix) vs. owning your website rather than paying an annual fee (such as WordPress).
If you’re hiring contractors, the cost varies based on how much they charge. Your buddy might do it for free, but does he understand your business, or how search engines work, or what call-to-action statements are?
4. Finding the right people to create the right website for you.
As the client, it’s your job to do your due diligence and research possible website developers, designers, copywriters, and photographers and decide who will be the best fit for your website project. The person you hire should ask plenty of questions to understand what the website will be used for, who will be using it, and what it needs to accomplish.
You can do your research through a Google search or you can hire a marketing strategist who will assemble a team that is right for you and take this undertaking off your shoulders.
Just as important as finding out the great options for website developers and designers, is to find out who has the wrong options. Some developers and designers might not have a good reputation and that’s usually for a good reason. If you have a colleague who has been burned by another designer, that’s a red flag.
In conclusion …
Slapping together a website in all my years working with SMB never works. I see people coming back after a year or two of poor traffic, low ranking, and disappointing low turnout on their contact page.
Even when we are in the business, we can get snowed by people who will tell us all the things they want us to hear. Many business owners I see these days have spent plenty of their hard-earned money, but didn’t get what they expected. They realize their website is not ranking very high with search engines, the navigation is cumbersome, and the website itself doesn’t grasp the vital elements of a great user experience.
At times, entrepreneurs will attempt cost-saving cuts which they don’t consider to be vital or they feel it’s “easy enough that they can do it themselves”. A quality website isn’t about just one great quality, it is about many important quality elements coming together to create a fabulous experience for website users. A word of caution to those who may believe, “I’ll just get my person to get a website up and I’ll work on it more later”. If you’re hiring out the website build to begin with, don’t cut corners or only go half-way with the quality of the production.
Don’t make this mistake. It will hurt your business. You are better off to forgo the website all together until you are ready to launch the one that best represents your business and visible brand. If your website is a flop, it will directly affect your business is a negative way.
The effort and investment you put into your website will communicate to visitors how much YOU appreciate value and quality in the services you offer. Cutting corners isn’t just a cost-saver, it’s a potential brand-hurter.