This is a question we get asked all the time, and the answer is always unsatisfying. The answer is, it depends on how much money you want the website to generate for you. So if you want a single basic page with a phone number, you can likely get that for free if you go to Wix or Squarespace. However, if you want a website that generates leads and sales, you’re going to need to invest in a successful website, rather than just a website.
So perhaps the better question to ask yourself first, is: How much money do you want your website to generate for you?
This is a question that even the most savvy business owners forget to ask. If your answer to the question is “Oh, it doesn’t matter, this is a hobby for me,” then chances are you don’t need a site that is too complex. However, if your answer is “A lot. We rely on this website to generate most of our leads,” then you that’s a different story.
There’s a difference between having a website, and having a website that works for you. Understanding which of those you need is the first step.
When your business relies on your website to generate the leads you need, it’s important to ensure it’s set up for success. Your website is a 24/7 salesperson, and like any other employee, you have standards for how this “person” should look, behave, and perform. And this is even especially true if your business is in a an industry where trust is a big issue for clients, like medicine, health, home construction, etc.. If you are looking to have your website visitors pick up the phone and contact you, your website needs to look beyond reproach.
The appearance of your website is just as important as that of your office, store, or staff. Picture this: a salesman in a cluttered, disorganized office, wearing a baggy, ketchup-stained suit, who—due to incomplete product knowledge—is babbling to your customer about company history when they had asked about product servicing. An employee like this would be a 5-alarm nightmare for your business and your website must be held to the same standard.
Your website is the perfect opportunity to give your viewers the “Your Business” experience. When your customers visit or interact with your business, you want them to have a certain type of experience. For example, it may be about creating a welcoming, knowledgeable, low-pressure encounter. If you extend that sentiment into your website, you’re creating an experience that mirrors that which they would in real life. A positive experience like that builds trust with your business and users are much closer to becoming new customers.
Flip your thinking
One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make when planning their website is to look at the website from their own perspective to determine what they want on their website. Often I hear clients say, “I want to talk about our products and services, plus have a section about the business and a form so they can contact us.” And this is all pretty important stuff. However, there’s a few other important questions you need to ask, and it makes all the difference between site that is okay, vs. one you can rely on for a steady stream of leads.
People don’t visit websites for fun.
People are coming to your website for a reason, and if you don’t identify that reason and speak to it in a professional, credible manner, they’re going to be hitting that big ole’ BACK button. How do you know if you’re giving your visitors what they need?
- What is it that my visitors are coming to my site for? Are they:
- doing research into a purchase they will soon make like a home remodel or renovation and are looking for ideas?
- are they looking to buy a product like supplements or cosmetics?
- ready to make a purchase and are trying to decide who to work with?
- are they looking for advice and help with a medical issue? Something for their children?
- What are the feelings my users are feeling when they come to my site?
- How do I present that information in a way that is easy for them to understand?
- When they look at my site, will they think it looks as professional as my business?
These questions are often very hard for a business owner to answer because we’re all too close to our own businesses. Working with a firm who has a deep understanding of how to really connect with all types of users will great increase your website’s success.
360 degree approach
Websites are incredibly complex, but at the core, there are three important keys to a successful website:
- professional design
- concise and compelling text
- the site must provide a good user experience (and for search engines too!)
Like a three-legged table, if any one of these parts is missing, your website will not perform the way you need it to.
A lot of firms get one or two of these right. Many design firms or development firms are spectacular at what they do, but are just good at that one aspect. They’re great with design, or amazing developers. But being good at one or two of these things just isn’t enough if you need a website to deliver leads or sales.
But knowing this helps you to know what questions to ask when you’re hiring a firm to build or rebuild your website, so you can compare apples to apples. It is important to work with a firm who understands how to create a well-rounded website that is successful in all three areas and not all of the realize this importance, so you as the consumer, will have to do your due diligence.
You get out what you put in.
So going back to the original question how much should a website cost? The answer is, how much would a site be worth to you that brough you X of leads a month? If it took 20 sales to pay off a $20,000 website, at 5 leads a month, vs. 1 lead to pay off a $2000 website, generating a lead every few months, it’s easy to see what the better investment is.
When you look at your website as a salesperson, rather than an ad, you can see how much harder your website could be working for you. When you realize that the experience users have with your site is the start of their relationship with your business, and that experience influences their perception of your company if it was a good experience or erode their impression if it was a bad experience, you’ll realize how important it is to focus on that user experience and impression.
A basic website that is professionally designed, website copy and content that is professional, clear and written for a website audience (and search engines) and a well-built website, will likely run you anywhere from $5000-$7000 and up from there. Again, it’s better to spend $10,000 that generates the leads than a $3000 website that doesn’t.
When you buy a website based on price, you’ll likely end up paying for it twice, either in a rebuild situation, lost revenue or yours or staff time rebuilding it to be what you need. Save the hassle and get the right site the first time, then you can push your sales machine forward and start dealing with those leads.
Common pitfalls to avoid:
My business is new, so I’m going to start small.
Consumer’s don’t care that you’re new, or a small business. What they care about is your product and will it be what they want and design and presentation is an easy tool to demonstrate that.
Presentation, clarity and _________ are key to the success of your website, as is your branding. The design of these as well as all visual aspects of your business must be the same calibre as your competition. Design and presentation are easy ways to demonstrate that your business is professional, capable and credible. You don’t have to say these things because the design will say that for you.
I’ll just get something basic up and then drive traffic to the site with social media and ads.
A great way to part with your hard-earned $$ is to drive traffic to your site when it’s not ready and Google has no problem taking every cent you want to give it. You can drive all the traffic in the world to your website but if users aren’t finding what they want there, or don’t find your site to be trustworthy, they’ll hit that big ole BACK button and at $10-$15 per click (conservatively) Google can empty your wallet out pretty quickly if you’re not getting a return on that.
Expecting your website to have a landslide of traffic on day 1 of the site’s launch.
The phrase “Build it and they will come,” only applies to movies, not to websites. And this is especially true if you’re in a saturated market and a largely populated geographic area.