How Much Should a Website Cost

You ask for a quote for a website.  What you get is not three similar prices, but three very different prices.  What do you do?  How do you determine what it should really cost for a website for your company?

You don’t want to pay too much or too little for your website.  You want to achieve your business goals, and you want to make sure you get the website you need – without overpaying.

If you are a small or mid-sized business owner, you may be struggling to understand what you should be paying for a website.  Depending on who you ask or where you search and what you need, there is a wide range of price variations attached to the creation of your online presence.

So what dollar amount should YOU be allocating?

After all, the website has become the focal point of any marketing strategy.

Here are some business factors that could influence the cost of your website:

  • What business objectives do you have for the website, including:
    • your brand
    • professionally presenting your product or service
    • attracting new clients
    • selling your product or service
  • What your clients are expecting when they come to your site
  • What is needed to get people to take action
  • How you provide support (if any) for your product or service

Here are some other factors that can influence your website’s cost:

  • Design – look and feel
  • Number of pages
  • Copywriting for pages and any resources like how-to guides and whitepapers
  • SEO Keyword Research
  • Strategy for conversion (getting prospect to move to become a client)
  • Database Functionality
  • Images (stock photos, custom images or photos)

The best place to start is with a critical analysis of your needs and business goals. The clearer you are about your requirements, the easier it will be to get a solid price for how much a website should cost.

Defining what you need:

  1. What are your online business objectives?
  2. Do you require a new site or a website redesign?
  3. Do you have strong content that can meet your online objectives?
  4. Do you have brand standards and site graphics?
  5. What types of features and functionality do you require? For example, a blog, ecommerce, videos, portfolios, membership forum, etc.
  6. Do you want people to find you when they search for the product or service types/categories that you sell? Or do you just need them to find you when they search for your company name?
  7. Will your site be viewed primarily by mobile phones or tablets?
  8. Will you be making changes to your website on a regular basis?
  9. Will you be involved in social media?
  10. Will you need someone to maintain your website on an ongoing basis?

This kind of analysis will help you and your service provider to design the right website and online program you need to meet your business objectives.

A word about website copy

Many today opt to save money by writing their own web content. This can be the greatest mistake they can make. Poorly written content, that’s unclear or rambling will drive away customers.

Ensure your web investment pays off. Make sure your copy is simple, scannable, SEO friendly, and relevant to your customers. The average visitor will not spend more than 45 seconds deciding if you have the answer. Give them a COMPELLING reason to give you a call.

Does your website sell your business?

Your copy needs to engage your visitor and take them from beginning to close. The secret is to find a way to clearly provide them with what they are looking for in order to pull them into your sales cycle.

Here’s a few things for you to consider for the design and development of your website. An effective business website must have content that is:

  • Easy to skim
  • Relevant to the visitor. The copy should tell them clearly how your business is qualified to solve their problems
  • Effortless to navigate to find what they are looking for
  • Credible, compelling and convincing
  • Clear call to action (signup, buy, etc.)

After all, the average visitor will not want to spend more than 60 seconds determining if they are in the right place. Above all else, they need a COMPELLING reason to give you a call. Only a perfect marriage between professional copy and design can achieve this.

This is just a guideline

This is a rough guideline for you to help you understand the scope and possibilities involved.  What you should pay for your website (for companies with 1-100 Employees):

Less than $1,000 – The do-it-yourselfer

  • Get online fast with a website that looks ok
  • Look and feel more “home-grown” rather than a serious, professional business
  • Limited functionality
  • Provide your own copy
  • There are very low end providers or you may want to consider a do it yourselfer like Wix.com. Just keep in mind that in order to do something professional, this will take longer than you expect – your time is valuable. And be very careful of providers that promise the world for next to nothing.

$2-$5,000  The online brochure site

  • Professional look and feel, responsive design: generally speaking, the better the look, the greater the cost
  • Functions primarily as a ‘calling card’ or ‘professional online brochure’
  • Recommended for those doing ‘referral business’ where people visit their site to affirm credibility
  • Includes foundational SEO to ensure your company can be ‘found online’ but doesn’t include SEO for specific products or services
  • Professional copywriting and editing to enhance web results
  • Generally around 5 pages
  • Links to your social media accounts
  • This should provide you with a website that provides a brief professional image of your company.

$4-$8,000  Be found online and rank locally

  • Top-notch design from a visual professionalism point of view
  • Includes copywriting or editing for some or all pages
  • Generally 5 to 15 pages
  • Enhanced SEO, such as keyword analysis and copywriting, to ensure site is readily found and achieves higher search engine ranking
  • May include copywriting focused on conversion rate optimization
  • Development and/or enhancement of social media sites
  • Often achieves significant rankings in local searches
  • May include some keyword analysis to enhance SEO to stronger copy impact on the website

If you want a website that’s going to profile your business professionally, overview your products and services, and be found online, you should start here.

8-$15,000 – The works

Highly-professional website with all of the above mentioned features plus some or all of the following:

  • Specialty articles
  • SEO and/or PPC Campaign
  • Conversion Rate optimization techniques and campaigns (focused on getting people to act, no matter where they are in their buying cycle)
  • How-to guides or other resources
  • Videos
  • E-commerce
  • Mobile dedicated site: a site that’s specifically designed for the mobile user. Usually that involves less content, simpler visuals, and geared towards making it easy for people who are mobile to find and get what they need
  • With this type of website, you are likely looking to tightly align your business objectives with your online business strategy. You will probably want to start using social media, even in a limited fashion, to promote your company online.

$15,000+ – High Impact

  • Will have most or all of the above incorporated in some shape or form.
  • With larger budget websites there is normally a much more formal process for understanding expected Return on Investment and the measurement of that investment.
  • Larger budget websites are for companies that are very serious about their return on investment and are looking to be able to analyze what their investment has delivered to them. These websites are very closely aligned with the business objectives. There is often a significant budget amount allocated monthly to track and manage the effectiveness of the website, marketing (such as: Social Media, SEO, PPC, Email Marketing, and Conversion Rate Optimization) and updating content.

A Quick Word about Hosting

Your website needs to sit on a server somewhere.  There is a cost for hosting your website on that server.  Don’t go for the cheapest host server.  The speed of your website impacts your rankings and more importantly, your user experience. 

You also want to have someone who can help maintain your site – working to prevent problems. And they are there to resolve problems should they occur.

How Much Should a Website Cost?

How much should your website cost?  When you understand your online business goals, you can better communicate what you want.  And you can better understand what your budget should be.

Helping You Achieve Your Objectives

The Story Web Design & Marketing believes that your website should play a valuable part in your business.  Whether you just need a professional presence online or you need a site that is generating new leads and closing new business for your company.

We work with our clients to understand their business objectives and what they want to achieve online.  We discuss alternatives where appropriate so our clients can make informed decisions in their best interest.

We are committed to providing professional websites and marketing services to help our clients succeed.  Schedule an initial consultation with The Story Web Design & Marketing to see how you can succeed online.