Okay, now we’re finally getting to the nitty gritty. You learned all about the wonderful benefits of a professional website, but you consciously avoided the price. Why? Perhaps you’re terrified of the potentially monstrous price tag, or overwhelmed by the amount of time such a laborious project might take.
Well, this particular post will help assuage your fears with a few facts from your favorite website designers and digital marketers. The focus of these facts? The ever-elusive pricing of a professionally developed website.
Before we really dig into the cost of professionally developed websites, it’s important to understand that one size DOES NOT fit all. Every business is different — their needs to present services/acquire customers are utterly unique, which means their websites need to be tailored to their specific audience.
A professionally designed website isn’t a template, or run through a website builder that doesn’t take into account search engine optimization (SEO). A website by Amity Digital is a unique online entity expressing your distinctive visual branding. It’s built to inform, engage, and transition website viewers to paying customers.
A Moment of Honesty: If you’re looking for a simple website that conveys your story, and you’re not concerned with people discovering you online, I suggest using a popular website builder like WIX or Squarespace.
You’ll be charged a monthly fee to host your domain on their server, and you’ll be able to choose specifically priced plans for the features you want. This will certainly save money in the short term, but you should ask yourself these questions before deciding on a website builder:
- Do you have the additional time to build and then promote your website? Running a business is incredibly stressful and time consuming. Do you have the time — or tolerance — necessary to learn yet another skillset? A skillset that, in and of itself, is an entire dedicated industry filled with companies and individuals who spend their lifetime perfecting said skillset? And this sets up the next point perfectly:
- Do you have years of web design experience comparable to a professional web design firm? A level of experience necessary to create a visually appealing website with intuitive navigation and other elements allowing for a strong user experience (UX)?
- If a website looks unprofessional and DIY, visitors will think the business itself is unprofessional and continue their search elsewhere. (And that’s based on an actual statistic).
- Search engines like Google will shy away from ranking it since people click off immediately after clicking on. This recurring user behavior tells Google your website isn’t a dependable, competent option.
- Are you okay with being invisible online? Website builders don’t allow for in-depth search engine optimization (SEO). Because of this, search engines like Google won’t present your website as an option when people search online for services like yours.
- Are you okay with little to no return on your investment? If you’re not promoting yourself online, the chances of people finding your website and doing business with you are slim to none. And if it’s not helping your business or bringing in customers, it’s not worth the time you spent or the money you invested (and continue to invest, considering you’re still making monthly payments).
If you answered the following questions with something comparable to “meh,” just go with one of the builders I mentioned. If you need a fully functioning website that features a professional, branded design, allows for search engines to easily crawl, define, and present your website in search results, and engages visitors while pushing them through the sales funnel, you’re going to want a professionally designed website.
Feeling Overwhelmed? Let’s talk about it.
So, How Much Does a Website Cost?
Sorry, I felt it necessary to stress the importance of professional website design. Having done that, let’s forge ahead with the cost of a website, and what factors into said cost.
Again, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for our customers. Because the needs of every business are unique, we meet with said customers and determine the kind of website that works for them.
When determining the features they need, and therefore, the website cost, we ask them questions like these:
Who will provide the content (text, images, videos, etc.)?
- Do you need professional images, and/or custom images taken at the office, workspace, or in the field?
- Who’s creating the text? Will it be handled in-house, or do you need our professional copywriter to enhance what’s already there, and/or create brand-new text to fill out pages?
- Why is content important? Content informs and educates visitors regarding your services. And if potential customers find they information they need, and it’s thorough and complete, they’ll have an incredibly positive user experience. You know what really likes a site that offers a positive user experience? That’s right – a search engine (like Google).
Do you have a logo?
- A logo is the crux of a business’s branding. Creating or modifying a logo is a thoughtful process that involves creating a visual, immediately associative representative of your company. It usually results from meetings, mock-ups, and a few modifications before reaching a state of approval.
Do you want your website optimized for search engines like Google?
Of course you do. That’s why you’re here – to be discovered when people search for your services online.
Do you want to sell products, services, subscriptions, music, or other digital media files through your website?
If so, we’ll need to incorporate eCommerce functionality.
Do you have a domain?
- What’s a domain? A domain is essentially the name of your website – it comes after the “www.” in a web address. A few examples of website domains:
- amitydigital.com (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
- yourcathatesyou.com (Okay, that one doesn’t exist, but I read your cat’s diary and he’s definitely planning something. I believe he calls it “The Accident.”)
- Why is a domain important? A domain is your unique website name that no one else has – you simply have to purchase it, host it, and register it annually (registering maintains your unique domain name so no one else gets a crack at it). It’s yours and yours alone, creating a discernible online identity for your website. It helps enforce your brand, and it’s usually the focal point of digital marketing efforts.
Do you need a “responsive” website?
You should really answer “yes” to this. Why? Because a responsive website is one that “responds” – or scales itself – to the size and shape of the device being used.
- A responsive website looks great, and it’s super-easy to use on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.
- If you pull up a website on your smartphone and the text is too small to read, or the menu is impossible to see/use, and the images are almost imperceptible, you can be sure it’s not responsive.
- Why is it important? Google pretty much demands your website be responsive. Since more than half of all online traffic occurs through smartphones and other mobile devices, Google wants to present websites that are primed for mobile traffic. If they aren’t, Google will be less compelled to present them as viable options for searchers.
How simple, or how elaborate, is the actual design?
Website design not only covers the visual appearance of your website (which is a VERY IMPORTANT factor), but it also deals with the usability of your site.
- The importance of a modern, attractive website: Website visitors form their first impression of a company within 1/20th of a second after clicking onto a website. If the website is visually deficient, dated, and not at all modern, visitor will consider the entire business deficient, dated, and not open to embracing or evolving with the times.Yes, a less elaborate site will certainly save you money, but don’t sell yourself short with a basic, bare bones design.
- Do you sell high-end items that are absolutely dependent on a powerful visual presentation?
- Perhaps you’re selling more of an idea – a lifestyle — a certain tone that lends itself to breathtaking visuals. In either case, it’s always best to create a website based on the expectations of your targeted audience – an audience that expects a certain visual experience when interacting with your branding, products, ad services.
The importance of a usable website: Does it load quickly, or does it time out? Is the navigation sensible, allowing visitors to easily discover information, or are they struggling to find what they want? Google always wants to show the best results, so if your website is difficult to use, Google will kick you to one of the back pages on search results.
Want to know what’s on page two of Google search results? Perhaps an atomic wasteland littered with zombies, or a fiery beast that consumes puppies? Whatever resides there, people tend to avoid it.
How robust is your CMS?
A CMS stands for content management system. What’s it for? It allows your and your team (if they’re not wholly unscrupulous) to make changes and edits to the website. A CMS is the user-friendly portal to the backend of your website, and it makes changes to a single page, or universally across the entire website. And when I say “user-friendly,” I’m referring to the fact that you can make changes without modifying any code, or having any serious technical computing knowledge.
If you’re simply updating text, adding blogs, or editing content, your CMS won’t need to be robust. But if you’re selling items, or creating landing pages for digital marketing efforts, or adding layers of functionality, you’ll probably need a more involved CMS.
A few examples of popular CMS platforms include WordPress, Shopify, and BigCommerce.
For the Love of All That’s Holy – What Is the #$%#ing Cost of a Website!??
Okay, okay. You’ve been patient, and I appreciate the time you spent learning about the various elements determining the price of a website.
But because of the varying elements at play – the many varying factors that have to do with a business’s unique needs and targeted audience – it’s very, VERY hard to standardize our pricing.
HOWEVER, the following range of estimated prices should give you an idea where the cost of your project might fall. Again, there are SO MANY THINGS that determine the price, so all the estimated amounts could go out the window the second we sit down and figure out the best solution for your products, services, audience, and bank account.
The Sidekick: Starting at $1600
This is a basic website containing 1-20 pages of content and a few professional images relevant to your business/hobby/travel blog.
- It isn’t concerned with ranking in search results or attracting online audiences, so there’s very little attention given to search engine optimization.
- All text is provided and proofread by you.
- The design is simple and clean, and it’s happy to bring you a sandwich while you’re bringing justice to the streets.
The Hero: Starting at $3400
This is our standard pricing for most projects. This includes up to 30 pages, a strong design, assistance with content (professional images, copywriting, and proofreading), and a robust CMS.
- The Hero is an informational or small business website that can also incorporate eCommerce functionality if need be (either through WooCommerce or Shopify, depending on the number of purchasable products and services).
- It incorporates features allowing visitors to engage with the website in order to learn more, ask questions, receive a quote, or set an appointment. It’s the focal point for most digital marketing endeavors as it participates in the sales funnel, and it’s the branded, dedicated online representative of your entire business.
- It includes the creation of a custom logo – the crux of your visual branding. This logo will feature across all public-facing company assets and media.
- It’s properly optimized for any future SEO applications or digital marketing campaigns.
- If the number of pages and accompanying content need to increase, which begets the need for a larger website and more robust CMS, we move on to the following price tier:
Beyond the Hero:
For projects that demand more features, more pages, additional functionality, a more robust CMS, and/or more involved content creation, our pricing will scale accordingly. A website that requires more attention than The Hero’s incorporated services will take longer to create, organize, and effectively manage. Again, our pricing is much more dependent on unique needs than a cookie-cutter pricing structure.