How much should a website cost?
The price can vary widely depending on the platform and the complexity of the website, and who you hire. Expect $1500 to $15,000 and beyond. Now before you roll your eyes and think “I’ll never pay for a $10,000 website”, ask yourself this. Would you rather buy a $10,000 website that pays itself off in 6-12 months or a $2500 website that doesn’t?
A good rule of thumb is that you are running a business that you’re serious about, you’ll probably pay $6000-$9500+, depending on complexity, for a quality, properly-built website.
There’s no two ways about it, a proper website that works is an investment. It’s important to know that one way or another, you will pay, either in lost revenue opportunities or in frustration, failures or a website that doesn’t do what you need. We like to say, “When shopping for a website, if you buy based on price, you’ll end up paying twice.”
What website platform should I use?
There are many website platforms out there you can use for your website. DIY website builders like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace are limited, in that you can only build within their framework. If you outgrow that, you’ll be left with a website that isn’t meeting your needs.
Rent vs. Buy: Remember, websites on these DIY platforms are rentals, so when you don’t want to use that platform anymore, you can’t take your website with you. WordPress is free to use (though you pay for setup and hosting) and far more future-proof than the DIY builders. Also, you own a WordPress website. You can move it from host to host, no problem. WordPress has security hazards to be aware of (as do many platforms,) but these are easily mitigated with proper website maintenance. Shopify is also good, but it is a rental as well.
It comes down to your needs. If your business is a hobby or temporary, a DIY builder is probably enough. For the rest, WordPress is most often the go-to because of its many features and plug-ins. While most people can’t see into the future to know what their site will grow into, when it does, people are grateful they went that route.
What makes a successful website?
For most businesses, a successful website means a website that converts your traffic into leads or sales so you can see a return on your investment. Successful websites have four
things in common:
- Professional design: The look and feel mirrors the calibre and professionalism of the business.
- Clear, concise content: The content is meaningful to users and taps into their motivations & needs.
- Good user experience: Users can easily navigate the website. It loads quickly, has SEO, etc..
- A follow-up plan: “Build it and they will come” only works in the movies. You need to have a post-launch strategy in place to get traffic on your website.
Not every firm, and very few freelancers know how to get all of these right, so it’s important to ask about their plan for each area.
Who do I hire to build my website? There are agencies, one-person solo shops, freelancers and students. They all say they can help.
It comes down to your needs and your budget. As discussed earlier, it’s important to make sure your hire has enough knowledge to build a website that will work for you because if it doesn’t do what you need, it’s a poor investment, regardless of how much you saved.
Agencies: A good agency will likely give you absolutely what you need, but you’ll pay big bucks for it, but it will be done right.
One person, or solo shops: A one person business, or a solo shop that uses contractors can be a more cost-effective option as they don’t have the agency overhead. Often, these businesses know what makes a good website, and this is why they hire freelancers for the necessary skills rather than do it all themselves.
Freelancers: Freelancers often have one, maybe two skills they specialize in, and often their projects lean heavily in those areas. Sometimes other areas are missed altogether. Price-wise, they are often cheaper than a solo shop.
Students: Students can sometimes excel in design or development, but often lack the real-world experience to know how to plan a project that will meet the needs of the client. Students are often very economically-priced, as they’re interested in getting real-world experience.
How can I save money on website development?
Every project has a budget—there is no shame in that. The trick sometimes can be bridging the gap between what a client needs and what they can pay. A reputable firm won’t price for your budget.
They’ll price for what you’re asking, and if there’s a gap, then the scope is discussed and adjusted. Be transparent with firms about your budget. Some might not work with you, but think of all that conversation you saved. For firms who can, it helps them work with you to a plan that fits your budget faster.
There’s nothing wrong with being cost-conscious, but if you let that affect every aspect of the project, you’ll end up paying more in the long run as you create a lot of rework. Here are some cost-saving tips:
- Do as much planning as you can before reaching out to firms. Be as specific as possible.
- When you choose a firm, provide your input, but trust your team—don’t pick things
apart to save pennies here and there. Micromanagement will blaze through project management time like a match to gasoline.
- Stay engaged, read correspondence thoroughly and be organized in your communication.
How do I improve sales on my website?
Unfortunately, this is a really hard question to answer, but this is one of the most important questions to ask. And the answer—and what you do with that information—can either cost you or save you a lot of time and money.
If you feel you should be having more success with your website, if you’re having cart abandonment issues, or you’ve got lots of traffic but not a lot of conversions, chances are there is something on the site that isn’t hitting the mark with your users. It doesn’t mean the site is a failure, it just means that it needs to be looked at and tweaked. Rarely in life is anything perfect the first time and websites are no different.
The quickest way to get a reliable answer to this question is to hire a firm to look at your site and report back on any recommended improvements. It might cost you a couple hundred bucks, but the report will likely be full of great advice. You could also have people look at your site, focus group-style, but you must be careful to ensure you ask people who won’t give you answers you want to hear, vs. the truth.
If your website isn’t getting the success you want, THIS IS THE FIRST STEP you should take before investing any more money into the website. Paying for traffic to come to your website will just create a larger number of people not converting. Get the site converting first, THEN pay for traffic.
How do I hire a social media firm that will get me the results I need?
Hiring a social media person or firm is hard because the internet is full of really bad advice
from well-meaning but often very unqualified people.
In addition, there are many people claiming to be specialists, but what that often means is they can create pretty posts for you. It’s very hard to find a person or firm who can create a
campaign with meaningful quality posts, measure the success on the fly and pivot if (and when) something doesn’t work.
If you want to generate leads from digital marketing, this is something you really need to get serious about. Get ready to spend big bucks. $2000-3000+ a month. Also, it’s important
to know that you may not see a return on that investment for the first three months. A reputable firm likely won’t work with you for less than that.
Start simple, pick one goal. Ask how the firm will make it happen. Where will the content come from? What strategy will they use? What kind of posts will they create? Ask to see
their success stories. Check references. A good firm will never promise or guarantee results but may project estimations.
It’s important to note that this is something you can’t delegate entirely or the results may be lackluster. You will always have to oversee what your team is doing, so know that you’ll need to invest some time weekly to this endeavour.
How do I know which SEO firm to hire?
SEO, or search engine optimization, can get expensive fast—it can range anywhere from $500-$2500 a month and well beyond, depending on what they’re doing for you. With
these firms, it’s hard to know what kind of an improvement they can make for you as success in this area can be impacted by the calibre of your competition as well.
When you’re interviewing firms, ask about what kind of results are typical for somebody in your industry and population density. Ask them what success they’ve had with other similar clients.
A good firm will do an initial assessment and report. You will likely pay for this, but this report will reveal the areas that need to be focused on.
SEO often follows several tracks: on-page work, backlinks and content development. You may need all of these tracks, you may only need one or two. A reputable firm will explain what they feel will work for you and what the next 3-6 months should look like for you.
Like a digital marketing firm, an SEO firm likely won’t work with you for less than three for six months, and it’s good to be wary of firms trying to tie you into contracts longer than that.