When considering a website build or refresh cost is, of course, one of the factors involved in the decision of who to hire. But as you’ll see below, cost should not be the primary criteria for who to choose to build your website. Your website is your online property for your business, and just as you wouldn’t skimp on your brick and mortar location it’s vital to invest wisely in your online presence as well.
Here are some considerations when determining how much to invest in your website:
What costs are included in the website build?
- Design Concept – The visual structure, look and feel of your website is important for engaging visitors and moving them to act.
- Website Architecture – This is a key aspect of any website and is very important not only for the humans that visit your website, but also for the Robots (read Google).
- Content / Copy – Sometimes web designers include a certain amount of copy and content writing (or rewriting) for websites. The scope often depends upon the nature of the project, whether it’s a brand new website with no existing content, or if it’s a redesign with lots of content to pull from. Content can range from copy writing, core messaging, to visual creation of content elements.
- Images – Most web designers include the cost of stock photography to be included on your website. However, it’s always good to confirm if this is included.
What costs are not included in the website build that I should be aware of?
- Domain Name costs: Your website must have a domain name in order to be seen by visitors. A domain name is the key identifier on the internet for your online store and property.
- Website Hosting costs: If your website is like your online store, your website hosting is like the property on which your store sits. Without property, you don’t have a store, and the same is true with your website. A site without hosting is a site that can’t be served to visitors at all. Every website has hosting of some kind. It’s also important to understand that not all hosting is created equal. We have spent years working with different hosting companies and have very high standards for who we work with.
- Content Creation costs: Depending upon the scope of the project some website designers include a certain amount of copy and visuals in the development costs, but you can’t expect a blank check for content as some websites can be quite large and content isn’t inexpensive to produce.
- Photography costs: Websites always benefit from professional photography that is custom to your business. Whether it’s headshots of your key people, or shots of your store, clinic, business, you always benefit from great, professional photography. Good website designers will share ideas for what photographs would look great throughout your website.
- Website Maintenance, Updates, and Security: In order to keep your website protected you must keep Wordpress, plugins and themes updated or your website may fail, become unstable, or have security risks. Security is always a factor on the internet. We highly recommend our clients invest in additional security services to help protect their investment from hackers.
Long Term Investment View of Website Design vs. Short Term Expenditure View:
- Property Investment View: One of the healthiest approaches to considering the cost of a website design is to think about how you must invest consistently over time on a real life property, store, or clinic. If you don’t invest well at the start and maintain your property over the years, it will be less appealing to your visitors. The same is true with your website.
- Website Average Lifespan: Most well-designed websites can last about 2 to 3 years before they need a redesign. This is true because of the changing tastes, needs, and expectations of visitors as well as the ongoing innovations in the industry. I’m sure you’ve come across an old website and immediately had poor thoughts of the business. Perception is everything.
- Amortization: If the average website lasts 2 to 3 years and the average cost is between $4,500 and $9,000 for a small business website, then consider how that equates to an average cost of $2,250 to $4,500 per year, an extremely small cost to your business as the hub of your digital presence (where most of your prospects will be looking for your product or service). The real question to consider is not just the cost, but what new business will my new website generate for my business within that time. From our experience, the sales generated by the websites we build for clients eclipses the cost by such a degree that clients want to spend more in order to generate even better results. In essence, it becomes a sales multiplier.
- Recuperating Website Costs: When considering the cost of your website it’s important to determine how quickly you can recuperate the costs. Calculate how many sales you have to win via your website in order to recuperate the cost. Most businesses recuperate the costs of the website within three months of building it, if not sooner. Your website will be designed to generate sales, so if it only takes a few sales to recuperate the cost then it’s an easy decision to move forward quickly and get your online sales engine running.
- The cost of hiring the wrong web designer:
I hate to bring this up as it feels rather biased, but we’ve been hired numerous times to fix problems that bad web designers have caused. From websites with forms that didn’t go anywhere (i.e. people filled in forms but the business never got them), to poor SEO (meaning Google couldn’t find them, so neither could prospects), it really does pay to hire the best designer you can within the budget you have.
So how do you choose a good web designer?
For starters, I would recommend not looking for just a web designer. A web designer may be good at designing website visuals, but it doesn’t mean they can build brand messaging or market a business very well. A full-service marketing agency can offer you a lot more than you even know you need when first looking. Having said that, here are some questions you should ask the designers or agencies you’re considering:
- What is the average cost of a website design/redesign?
- What’s included in a website design?
- What platform do you build websites on? (we highly recommend WordPress as it’s very accessible and widely used)
- Where can I see examples of websites you’ve built?
- What is a realistic launch date from the time we start the project?
- Are there any other costs associated with my website I should consider?
- Will my website be SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ready? If yes, please explain what’s included in layman’s terms.
- What SEO results do you usually see with sites you’ve built?
- Are there ongoing SEO costs I should consider after a website is built?
- Do you incorporate Schema markup onto the web pages? (Schema is special website tagging that has now become an important part of SEO)
- What is your website design process?
- What tracking do you put on my website?
- What proprietary things are built into my website that I should know about? (If they have any proprietary plugins, themes, platforms, etc. run away! You do not want to be tied to them for anything in case things go awry.)
- What credentials do you have?
- Have you won any awards?
- Do you have any client reviews or testimonials I can read?