How Much Should a Website Cost?

May 14, 2019// Category: Digital Marketing // Author: Omari Valentine

In today’s digital marketplace, a website can cost whatever you want it to. Weebly offers free websites if you are willing to get your hands a little dirty and design it yourself. So, if cost is the only consideration, a website should cost you nothing.

But if you’re asking the question, you either aren’t aware of this, or you know that a website is not a compulsory item that you should be making as cheaply as possible.

With that in mind, there are a few considerations to determine the cost:

What is the value to your business?

A professionally designed website can either be critical to your success or simply a “nice-to-have”. Your decision to invest should be relative its importance to your business. While all business owners, CEOs and boards should look to invest in a quality web presence, there are some in which quality will make or break a business.

High-yield businesses

If a single sale could make you 10K, you should not be pinching pennies on a website. A poor-quality site will cost you valuable search ranking for your money keywords and lose you 50% of your visitors in the first 3 seconds due to slow loading. Then the 50% who remain will convert at a lower rate due to a lack of proper prioritization of your page content and poor user experience (UX). There’s no question that you will lose more in a single sale than the cost of a very well-made website, so it should be priority one to build a premier website.

Insurance

The walk-in agency is quickly becoming a dinosaur. Millennials are increasingly engaging with insurance companies through shopping for policies online. If you can’t connect with the online market though a strong website and great content, you will eventually lose the race against more forward-thinking companies.

Ecommerce

It’s important to recognize that selling retail is more than simply listing products in an online store. Selling anything retail puts your store in competition with major retailers and to give yourself an edge in your niche, clever branding and product marketing is paramount. Like other web solutions, understanding design and UX can not only put you ahead of the pack in terms of sales conversions, but search position as well.

What do you want your website to do for you?

If you owned a 24-hour coffee shop and placed an ad for an employee where they would be working non-stop doing the following tasks:

  • Greeting people at the door
  • Keeping the shop clean and presentable
  • Keeping the shop safe and secure from burglary and theft
  • Placing inventory items strategically so that customers will buy them
  • Finding people interested in your business to get them to come into the store
  • Updating the menu items on the board
  • Explaining the products to the customers
  • Building trust in your business
  • Working the cash register when needed
  • Collecting feedback on products
  • Collecting customer information so you can send them information

Does that sound like the job of an entry-level employee or a manager? Probably not. This super-employee would be a combination of a manager, a security guard and a barista, at the minimum.

That’s nice, but what does that have to do with my website?

Your website’s job is similar to that hypothetical employee. A quality website designer will be able to give you a plan on how your website will…

Attract online consumers

Your website content attracts customers who are searching for your products or services. A better website will include better content with optimized keywords, title and meta tags and schema for featured snippets.

Click the graphic above to view an enlarged version

Protect your customer’s and company’s sensitive data

A simple website is surprisingly easy to hack. A more complex backend infrastructure will allow you to maintain your company’s and client’s sensitive data on a server that cannot be accessed through a browser via HTTP.

Direct visitors to the information that’s most important

The moment a visitor loads your page, you have a mere seconds to present the most important information to them. If you wait, you run the risk of confusing your visitors or leaving them to abandon your website.

Build trust in your business

Consumers are loyal to what they know. A well-designed website connects your business with valued and trusted brands through prominent mention of partnerships and accolades. You can also go a long way by presenting testimonials from your customers.

Provide the most up-to-date information

If your business or organization holds events or maintains a schedule, the website is the place to keep this information fresh for your regulars, as well as letting others know that you are still in business and active.

Collect customer information for re-marketing

Whether you are looking send email newsletters or product promotions, a better website will give visitors every opportunity to leave their information behind so that you can market to them. It is estimated that it takes as many as 5 contacts to make a sale on average, so even if you don’t sell on the first visit, you can drastically improve your conversions by remarketing

And more…

Basically, your ideal website is a super-employee with 3 job titles, and an endless supply of RedBull for those long nights in the coffee shop.

And since websites have an average lifespan of 2 years and 7 months (Source: https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/website-lifespan-and-you/). That means that if you paid a website minimum wage, you could expect it would cost you $11 per hour (in California), over 22,512 hours, or a whopping $270,317 with payroll taxes!! Even if we assume a 40-hour work week, a full-time employee will cost you at least $67,195.

Or it could be like this lady:

What are your business goals?

What you spend should be aligned with your business goals.

If your competitors have extremely well-designed websites, chances are, you will need one to compete for a piece of the web market. If your industry and competition is not very advanced, you can get by with less, though you stand an opportunity to grab a nice piece of the pie if you are among the first to really embrace the web as a vehicle for your niche.

The web marketing budget should fall in line with what your goals are. Are you entering an aggressive market with a splash? Or testing the waters before making any commitments?

Okay but really, how much should I spend on a website?

Alright, alright. I’ve said a lot, but you want a number.

The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8 percent of your gross revenue for marketing and advertising if you’re doing less than $5 million a year in sales and your net profit margin – after all expenses – is in the 10 percent to 12 percent range.

To subdivide further, your percentage spent on digital marketing should be in proportion to the amount of leads you expect to generate online. Digital marketing will be subdivided between website, social media, email and PPC spend.

Let’s use 50% as a guideline though, for the sake of discussion. You may want more or less, depending on how much you forecast you will need to “go digital” over the coming years. And let’s take 50% of that number to spend on your most important digital asset: your website.

So with that in mind, here’s a general rule:

Spend $500 if…

  • Your expect to average $25,000 in gross revenue over the next 3 years

Or…

  • You are building a temporary site and plan to make a bigger investment in the near future

Spend $2000 if…

  • You expect to average 100,000 in gross revenue over the next 3 years
  • You already have lots of quality content, or have a plan to create that content
  • You want a nice, clean, no-frills custom-built website
  • You understand basic concepts of how to build your web traffic

Spend $5,000 if…

  • You expect to average 250,000 in gross revenue over the next 3 years
  • You need professional branding assets (logo, photography, etc.)

Or…

  • You plan on spending significantly on online advertising

Spend $20,000 if…

  • You expect to average 1 million in gross revenue over the next 3 years

…And so on.

Match your expectations with the cost. You will not be getting a lot of personal care and expertise for the $500 price point, so know that going in. You will also need to provide your own brand assets. On the other side, for $20,000 or more you will get the red carpet treatment, and you will probably be dealing with an agency that is invested in maintaining you as a long-term client and building a successful platform for you.

The hardest thing for most small business owners to do is wrap their heads around spending on digital marketing. But the old adage is still true in the digital age. You have to spend money to make money.

If you’re curious how much our websites cost,  try out our new build a quote calculator.

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