Welcome to the Web Marketing Show podcast #9 titled…..
How Much Does a Website Cost?
I started this podcast venture with one goal in mind… to educate an audience; people who care about their online marketing performance. People who depend upon improving their web marketing outcomes for their businesses, organizations or personal ventures.
My ongoing objective is to provide one valuable takeaway each episode. An action that you can do that will have a positive impact your business profits derived from your online marketing efforts. Whether that be a SEO tactic used to gain better search rankings, a tip to expand your brand awareness online or how to generatt digital media such as info-graphics or videos to reach and engage with your target audience.
Today’s topic is an important web marketing subject. First, because it is the first question most people ask me when they inquire about building a website after learning about WordPress Website Builder Bundle, realWITS, dental business builder; which are examples of websites I have developed to gain online exposure about my website development services.
Secondly, without understanding basic website features and functionality differences; aspects that ultimately dictate how much a website costs, you do not have enough information to make an educated decision about what you should pay for a website today.
And honestly, when asked about website costs, this is perhaps the number 1 reason some have chosen to go elsewhere and use another service provider.
So my goal today is to educate anyone listening that wants to dive deeper into what it costs to build a website. What goes on behind the scenes. What actions and steps are taken that produce a fully functioning website.Today’s podcast is sponsored by WPWBB.com (WordPress Website Builder Bundle). I developed WordPress website builder bundle to combine all of the tools and systems necessary to build a robust website into on easy service.
OK… onto the show. But first, let’s back up for a second. Yes, we are going to talk about how much it costs to build a website, but first let’s review why this topic really matters.
Web marketing is done to get found online when someone is searching for your services or products. Web marketing is done to generate awareness, leads and sales. And today, web marketing encompasses a variety of best practices and is not limited to just search engine optimization as it was back in 2000 when I had my first website built and did web marketing to boost my company profits.
You have probably already heard me say this, because I it is so important… your website is your web marketing foundation.
It all begins with your website. The after effects of your web marketing results can usually be directly related to how solid of a foundation your website was built. So if your website is so important, logically the next questions is… how much does a website cost? And unfortunately the answer is… it depends.
You couldn’t ask the question “how much does a car cost” and expect one single answer. It depends. It depends on the material, labor and burden costs such research & development, benefits, administrative, etc. it took to build the car. These factors influence a cars performance, resale value and an overall enjoyment factor. These factors are also reflective in the cost of a car.
So much does a website cost? While cost structure vary between website development providers, there are two basic different costs involved. One time or upfront costs and then ongoing costs.
One Time Website Cost: Building the Website
The time, knowledge and sophistication behind the concept and overall appeal and website functionality is researched and implemented during this phase.
How is the overall look and feel determined? What about the layout?
While these may not seem like complicated questions, the design of a website impacts the visitors experience through it’s usability, it can make the difference between a 10% sales gain verses a 50% sales gain, it reflects how your business is perceived and it sets the tone for what can be expected.
Everything from color schemes to deciding if you should place a call to action button on the left side or the right side of a page impacts your websites ability to convert visitors into customers.
Additional key elements include the site navigation structure, content placement to its overall ease of use.
When researching dentists online when I first moved to the town I currently reside in, the design, meaning the layout an overall look and feel of each dental office website I viewed was incredibly influencing factor that determined which dental office I chose and I still go to today. Designs varied from warm and welcoming with a professional flare to others that were cluttered and appeared un-kept. And some where hard to navigate. Because I am frightened of going to the dentist I wanted to feel like the office I chose cared about their patients and it was important I read something that spoke to my fears as well as make me feel comfortable with them before I ever met them.
Experience, research and knowledge play a significant role in web design effectiveness.
In addition to design the next portion of the one time website build out cost involves functionality.
If you are a restaurant owner, do you need to simply display your menu online or do you want to provide visitors with a way to place an order online?
If you are a real estate company do you want to list properties for sale or do you want to display them on an interactive map that highlights the a homes distance from neighborhood amenities such as restaurants or shopping?
Other critical functionality dynamics that need to be taken into consideration, while pretty techy include how the website is coded. If a website uses flash for instance it will not be view-able on many mobile devices. How a website is coded determines if is easily accessible to Google and other search engines or does it make it difficult for Google to crawl web pages?
Does it meet W3C standards which validates properly implemented coding markups.The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web and has developed protocols and guidelines that ensure the long-term growth of the Web. They offer numerous online validators and debugging tools.
I use these tools regularly to validate websites and I’ll have a link in the show notes located at webmarketingshow.com/9 so you can test your entire website and evaluates its W3C compliance and open standards to quickly identify any portions of your website that need correction.
Compliance Validator and Debugging Checkers
Built-in SEO Friendly Website
The third equation of the one time cost to build a website is SEO.
I am not going to go into specifics and outline every aspect of what parts of building a website contribute to SEO because that would take a while, but I do want you to know that how a website is built will determine how SEO friendly it is. And trust me… a website that is not built using SEO best practices will not prosper online as well as one that considered SEO while being constructed.
I mention how SEO friendly a website is happens during the building process because history has shown me that website designers are really get at graphics and designing websites, but they are not diverse with SEO best practices.
Mobile Device Accessibility
The last on the one time cost list is mobile device accessibility. Not much to say about this.The percentage of website traffic from mobile devices is extraordinary and continues to rapidly rise. View your web analytic to find out what percentage of your traffic is from people using a mobile device. Today it is imperative a website is built mobile friendly and this should not be an after thought but fully considered and be included in the cost of building a website.
How Much Should You Pay for Website to be Built?
I can’t answer that question for you. But because it would be almost impossible to get the exact same design from two different website development providers, it is as important to focus on cost as it is to put as much emphasis on the results.
It is subjective.I think you should pay what is necessary to get a website that accomplished your business goals.
Ongoing Website Costs: Maintenance and Monthly Costs
Ok, Now you have a perfectly built website! You paid the website developer and your home free. Well… not so fast. Up next let’s go through ongoing website costs which as normally paid monthly.
First on the ongoing website cost list is hosting. Last episode was devoted to web hosting and the difference between hosting providers so I won’t go into full details now. If you missed the podcast go to webmarketingshow.com/8.
What you do need to know is very website must be hosted somewhere. And hosting services vary in costs too. Hosting plans can range from a few dollars a month to thousands of dollars. While most will never need to pay thousand of dollars to great hosting… the cost you do pay is reflected in how much content your website can have (content takes up space), how fast your website loads and how often your website goes down.
A website can not be a set it and forget it business asset. New technologies are rapidly being deployed and keeping up with them is important for several reasons:
- user experience
- modern and current
- security: hacks and vulnerability
I build websites using WordPress. WordPress has a minimum of 2 updates every year. In addition to WordPress pushing out updates, plugins used on a website need to be updated to continue to function with WordPress’s updates.Ninety percent of the website I have developed have 2 to 4 updates needed each month. I manually do these updates and then check to make sure everything went good. On occasion things can go bad. But that does not occur too frequently.
We’ve looked at hosting and regular updating and last I want to discuss ongoing website maintenance costs. A maintenance plan ensures that your site is functioning and up-to-date on a regular basis.
Throughout the month there are tasks that arise to making sure a website remains current such as adding an event to the event calendar or adding the bio of a new employee or adding promotional content about a special offering.
Other ongoing or monthly maintenance tasks include backups, broken link checks and overall integrity checks to prevent small issues from turning into larger ones. Back to the car example to help illustrate what I mean. After a car is purchased to keep it running properly it needs regular oil changes and other recommended tuneups at different mileage intervals. Similar ongoing website maintenance tasks ensure it runs properly.
How Much Should You Pay for Ongoing Website Costs?
Hosting is an unavoidable cost. Hosting is required to have a website appear on the World Wide Web.
Paying for updating and maintenance tasks could be considered optional. However, things break, website get hacked, technologies evolve. If web marketing is important at all than ongoing updating and maintenance is essential. You can do it yourself or hire a professional to take care of these ongoing tasks.
How Much Does a Website Cost?
I covered the major considerations.
I wish there was a magically answer, it would make my job easier. I hope by understanding more about what is involved in the process, will help you make more informed decisions. It is not always about price.
Next time you are shopping for website developer services I encourage you to contemplate the overall website design expertise the service provider offers, the functionality and capabilities it will have, how much SEO is incorporated into the build-out, how it will look and perform on a variety of mobile devises, a hosting plan that meets the needs your website demands and does it include regular updates and ongoing maintenance?
Because time Matters…
And because time does matter I encourage you to visit webmarketingshow.com/9 to get the links to the two free compliance and debugging checkers. Visit these websites, enter your URL and learn if your website was built on a solid foundation. It is often what is not visible that matters the most.
Also in the show notes at webmarketingshow.com/9 is a link to WPWBB.com. A website owned by me that provides website development services.
How much did you pay for your last website? Were you satisfied with the results? I want to hear about your experiences. Leave comments below. Let’s all learn together.
Next Web Marketing Show Podcast Episode: Domain Names
Domain names are the address to your website. But there is so much more to know about domain names every website owner must know about. Are you protected? Find out! 🙂
What is a Widget?
Web Marketing Show Episode 9 Word is… Widget
A widget is… a small application that can be installed and executed within a web page It occupies a specific portion of a webpage and does something useful.
A widget is what is placed in a widget area of a website. Widgets can display virtually any type of content on a website. Popular widgets used today include calendars, login or signup forms, slideshows, links to deeper web content, call to actions, social media icons, contact info, interactive map with driving directions to your office or advertisements. A widget can be virtually any type of content.
Widgets should add value to the visitor, not distract. Widgets can visually enhance a website. Widgets can can be fun or goofy. The possibilities are endless.
On the webmarketingshow.com’s website on the right hand side bar are the following widgets:
- don’t miss an episode
- an email sign up form
- view upcoming episodes a picture that links to a calendar
- list of the most recent shows
- search box
- YouTube video podcast player (embedded)
The theme I chose for the WebMarketingShow.com has numerous widget areas. In fact the home page is primarily made up of widgets. One of the reasons I love this theme (and have used it on several websites) is the flexibility I have over how the website looks with virtually unlimited customization. For instance…I wanted a prominently placed visual element and a sign up form t make it easy for visitors to get email alerts when a new podcast is published. I used widget areas to place these elements exactly where I wanted them, I wasn’t restricted to placing my form below a slider etc.