How much does a website really cost—it’s a good question, and certainly one of the more frequent inquiries within the web design trade. But more importantly, it’s a question that just doesn’t have a simple, one-size-fits-all answer. Let’s explore the topic a bit.
The $99 Special Vs. A Real Website That Actually Works
First of all, don’t be fooled by the bargain basement website offers out there. They might get your most basic contact information listed on the web, but it would be a miracle if anyone actually found you through such a site (except those darn spammers—they seem to be able to find everything), yet alone found enough inspiration though the bargain site to take the next desirable action, whatever that might be for your business or organization.
Factors To Consider
Besides just being a creative, catchy graphic design, a website that works is actually much, much more. Naturally, it’s going to cost more to create than a printed brochure or a stationary/business card package.
- SEO – A well-designed website takes full advantage of search engine optimization to draw in scores of free targeted traffic from all around the world. Compare this to a direct mailing campaign, where sending just one round of sales material is very likely to cost as much as an entire web presence in many cases. The only difference is the website keeps on working every single day, not just the one day the postcards hit your customer’s mailbox.
- E-commerce – It’s not a big surprise that so many retailers are emphasizing their online stores and gradually fading away from brick and mortar locations. E-commerce operations are incredibly more efficient and fit the shopping model that so many consumers demand these days. Sure, developing an attention worthy national or worldwide e-commerce setup is not going to be cheap—but compare it to the annual cost of operating just a single retail location in one locale, and it suddenly looks like a real bargain.
- CMS – This stands for “content management system,” and without going into every last detail, it can save you thousands of dollars over the long haul. Basically, what CMS does is to allow you or the authorized users you specify to log in and make changes, additions, edits, and updates to the site at anytime from any web-connected computer. It’s as simple as writing an email. Compared with paying expensive web-designer hourly fees each time you need a word or two changed, spending a little bit extra upfront to establish a user-friendly CMS system is worth its weight in gold (figuratively speaking, that is…we know CMS doesn’t actually “weigh” anything).
And as far as other features go, there are hundreds of different options out there—each with a cost associated, but also each with a strategic advantage or selling point as well. It’s safe to think of web design as building a house; it’s not just how many rooms you want and what color they should be painted…it’s also about what features you want, how much detail to include, how long you want it to last, and of course, how much you want to spend.
Another Way To Look At It
What will a bad website cost you? What is not having a website costing you? It’s easy to become distracted by realistic figures when it comes to the price of a website, but the idea behind developing an effective, professional website is to actually build and constantly improve that every-important bottom line. Dollar for dollar, a high-end web presence is probably one of the single most practical and affordable marketing tools you’ll ever be able to take advantage of.
Your website is your online building. It’s your brand online. Done right, it’s even like having an entire sales force working for you 24/7…driving in sales and conversions around the clock and not even costing you the typical commissions.
So, how much does a website cost? Anywhere from $500, to millions, or more. It just depends on what it needs to accomplish and on what scale.
The real question is how much does not having a profit-producing website cost?