How much does a house cost?
Often when I talk to a new prospect, I get the question “how much will a good website cost?” This question has more layers to it than you would think. This is why when people ask me how much a website will cost, I answer that question with another question, how much does a house cost? The answer to that is; it all depends. It’s the same idea with how much a website should cost, it all hinges on what you need your website to do. So you have to start thinking about the audience you’re trying to reach, do you plan on writing your own content or having someone else write the content, do you want to take payments online, do you need custom forms on your page, etc. Clearly, there’s a ton you can do with a website, and its cost will really depend on what you need it to do for you.
Your website is an investment. It’s often someone’s first and only impression.
As you can imagine, most businesses don’t want to fork over $3,000 or $5,000 for a new website, in some cases, it can be upwards of $10,000. This is why I always advise people to find a website development company who will offer a payment plan instead of chalking up that lump sum all at once. Before I talk about the advantages of a payment plan, I want to make a footnote here that I am not an accountant and I am not giving you financial advice for your business. What I do know, however, is cash flow management from owning my own business, and I would rather take on a monthly payment and log it as an operating expense than burn five grand in one month and put a crunch on my cash row.
The advantage payment plans can be a smart choice is to have leverage on the building of your site. Since your website is being built over the course of a month or two, you’re going to continue to pay for it for the next 12 or 16 months. With that being said, you’ll still have some hooks in your web developer so if they built your site and you find out that your contact form isn’t working or that you asked them to put in some other feature that wasn’t done correctly, you can effectively say “well this is what you agreed to do and if it’s not fixed or it’s not working properly then I’m not going to continue to pay my monthly price.”
The Dangers of Website DIY.
The average 5 page website can take a developer about 50 hours worth of work. The typical is anywhere between $65-$100. Now you see where the expense comes in. Sure, you can fork over a week of your life and take the task on, but there’s critical things that need to be done and if you don’t know how to do them efficiently, you can double that time allocation to 100 hours. Take into account the learning curve you’ll have setting up a Google Ads account or doing some keyword research. Implementing meta tags and descriptions, resizing and compressing images- it’s going to be daunting to learn all that and do it right.
You are way better off paying someone, then using that 100 hours to find business that will pay for your web project. Focus on what you’re good at. We’ve all heard that before.
What To Ask
Now that we’ve covered a few of the general basics, let’s break down some of the specifics that you need to be looking at when considering a quote for a website. If someone’s going to come along and do your 5 page website for $500 or $800, then you’re going to have to ask some questions. They’re probably skipping out on some of the things that take a little bit more time but are so very important and critical to having your prospects find you in their searches. Here are some points you should hit with your web developer:
- Are they setting you up with Google Analytics?
- Are they creating a My Business Google account for you?
- Are they doing on-page SEO like keyword research?
- What features will be on the site? Will it have online purchasing, self-scheduling, etc?
- Previous work
- References or look for reviews online
Never let a developer or web agency take ownership of your domain, EVER.
Let’s break down all the incidental costs:
Hosting $200 per year
Basic 5 Page Site – $2700
Additional costs with more functionality such as:
- Shopping cart
- Email marketing integration
- Custom forms
Really understanding who your customer is, what you want the website to do, and how it will serve you, your prospects and your customers is going to be key to keeping your cost in line. Pad your budget a little bit in case something comes up that you didn’t plan on. More importantly, think about ways to get a return on this investment in the form of time-savers or moneymakers.
Final thought- Don’t skimp on the most important marketing investment. Think about it this way, if you needed a vehicle for your business to get to customer jobs, would you buy one that only gets you halfway there? Would you pull up in a vehicle that makes you look like an amateur?