WHAT SHOULD MY WEBSITE COST?
Lets get the quick answer out of the way.
You can get a basic website up and running for just a couple hundred dollars. If you have basic technical ability (or you know someone who does) you can buy a domain name, set up hosting, tweak a free WordPress theme, and just like that you are online. An increasingly popular option is to use a template website builder such as Wix or Weebly. These inexpensive, user-friendly, non-technical, methods of getting your business online are fine if managed correctly, and as long as the limitations are understood. All-in you can be looking at a website cost of less than $500 with recurring annual costs of, say, $250 or less.
Perfect! What could go wrong?
Well, a lot, actually. Consider the time and effort you put in to starting your business. Months of planning, business development, and getting ready to open. Almost as an afterthought you bang together a basic website because you need to save money. In doing so you could be starting the death by a thousand cuts of your new business. More often than not you are presenting to the public an unpolished representation of your company, often the only representation they will have. Sure you will have a Facebook company page, perhaps a Twitter account, Google +, and other outlying social media accounts that are relevant to your business, but you are putting this together on a shoestring budget, remember. It is highly unlikely that there will be any marketing consistency across these different outposts. Again, more confusion and inevitable brand damage.
So you want to do something a bit more polished. What are your options?
There are no end of web developers available in the low end range. By this we mean $750 – $2,500. They do a good job of making your site a more polished user experience. Typically they will be using a WordPress theme… yep, the same one you can buy for around $50. These web developers depend on volume as their business model. When you review examples of prior work you will typically see remarkable similarities between a variety of sites for different customers.
I have a new small business, should I go with one of these companies?
It depends. Many do a fine job for the advertised price. The thing to look out for is the bait and switch. A $1,000 quote for a webpage can become a $2,500 page with the addition of a few cleverly up-sold plugins, and keep an eye on the annual contract that may commit you to $500 or more for updates that can be done with literally the click of a button on the website back-end. The reality is at these prices you are buying cookie-cutter websites – remember, volume, not a customised marketing strategy for your business is how these companies make their business work, and that may be perfectly fine for your business.
We don’t do $1,500 websites. We don’t use website builders like Wix and Weebly. We seldom use commercial templates, and when we do we heavily customise the coding for the client. How do we justify our approach and our pricing?
First off our hourly rate is $150. We have analysed our operating costs (wages and annual overhead) and the typical billable hours per month. For the bespoke work we do, and the attention and responsiveness we dedicate to our clients, we simply could not charge out any less. We are quite sure others can, and we know there are others that charge more per hour, but our price is based on our costs to run a sustainable business while producing quality work.
Why would you pay more for our services?
Well, you run a great business, right?
- You want a great website, and a supporting ecosystem of social media outposts linked to the website, each with a defined audience and communications profile.
- You want a modern website that is well designed, elegant, functional, incorporates the best practices for mobile responsiveness
- You want a site built with the end in mind, a site that will be found by its audience through great search engine optimisation (SEO) management.
- You want a website that is yours. A URL that you control, a content management system (CMS) back-end that allows you to control the content easily with minimal need for ongoing agency services.
- You want integrated marketing that clearly communicates your brand promise to your audience through all relevant channels and moves them to top of mind for your product or service, and of course, the all important sale.
We do not throw out a standard template or solution. We work to understand your business, your clients, the user experience, before proposing a solution that best fits your need. This takes time, and time is money just as much in our business as it is in yours.
Our agency is not for everyone. We also believe that we deliver more value than simply throwing a website up on the world wide web. What goes into the price for a website will be as varied as the clients seeking the information but will typically include:
- Domain Name: We can research and buy your URL (an similar or related URL’s for re-direction in case of typos, etc.) if you don’t already have one.
- Hosting: We do not offer hosting but can set you up. Price can vary widely depending on the type of hosting required and if other technical requirements such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate or a static IP address are needed.
- Custom Design: This element varies depending on the business and the complexity of its offering on the web. This stage essentially designs the website (layout, user experience (UX), sitemap) before a single line of code is programmed.
- Project Management: This incorporates all the meetings, the flow of communications between the client and us, administrative duties in the project, as well as any other inputs into the website or social media that may come from third parties such as brands the client represents.
- Usability Testing & Client Training: This all-important step ensures that the end result of the project meets the client brief, is properly functional from a user and a technical perspective, and addresses the needs required by the client. We test our websites rigorously internally and through various online testing services to ensure that on launch day all will go as planned. As a client we come to your offices to train you and your designated staff or host a training session in our boardroom, and we provide you with a manual on how to perform updates and content changes to the website so that you can do this independently.
For us, a custom website project will typically start at $6,000, and websites with complex site maps and/or functionality (e.g. member log-in area, e-commerce) can easily increase to over $15,000.
You may not need this level of detail in your project. That’s ok. We may not be the right agency for you in that case. However, if you do need a website and an integrated approach to digital marketing that takes these factors into consideration you could do very costly damage to your brand and your business if you make the mistake of letting low cost guide your approach.