Thursday, May 16, 2013
How Much Does It Cost To Build A Website?
Q: How much does a website cost? Can I really afford it?
A: I think the question would better be asked, "Can I really afford NOT to."
With such easy access to technology and softwares, there are tons of "shade tree designers" offering websites for prices as low as $200, and a plethora of companies offering build-it-yourself templates for a nominal monthly fee, and sometimes even FREE. With options like these, it is easy for ANY business to have a website, and every business SHOULD have a website. Here's the exception to my rule: It's actually better to have no website at all than to have one that makes your business look bad. Your site speaks volumes about your business. It either says, "Hey, look, we take our business so seriously that we have created this wonderful site for our customers!" or it screams, "Hey, look, I let my 10-year-old nephew design my site. Good luck finding anything!"
With that being said, it's not enough to just have "a website." You must have a professional-looking site if you really want to be taken seriously. Since many consumers now search for information online prior to making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, your site may be the first chance you have at making a good impression on a potential buyer. If your site looks like it was designed by a barrel of color-blind monkeys, your chance at making a good first impression will be lost.
There are numerous elements that come into play when it comes to creating a successful website. The colors you choose, how the page is laid out, and how things are worded are integral factors in how an individual feels, relates, and responds when visiting a website. A well seasoned, professional web designer and a strong supporting cast of writers, marketers, photographers, designers, and programmers, know what it takes to connect with any market base. They know how to get a customer to your site, make it easy for them to find what they are looking for, convey whatever message your company needs to convey, and in the end... Make a sale!
So how much should I expect to pay for a professional website?
Even if you're not actually selling online, your business should at the very least have a presence on the web so that customers, potential employees, business partners and perhaps even investors can quickly and easily find out more about your business and the products or services you have to offer. A recent article in The Houston Chronicle tackled this topic and said that "A five-page small-business site could cost as little as $500, while a five-page site for a major firm could have a $100,000 budget. The difference in budget relates to the complexity of design, cost of custom photography, motion graphics, animation and interactive tools. It is important to discuss your site within the budget realities you face. Talk about your expectations with your developer. A simple but professional website can usually be produced starting at $2,500, plus basic Web hosting."
You must understand that a great website will be tailored to work hand and hand with, and fit your business model perfectly, making it more of an extension of your business than just a marketing tool. With this being said, it would be very difficult to find a web company able to give cookie cutter pricing, but some companies will offer base pricing and you can add on the features that you need from there. At the end of the day, when you consider the value that a well designed website can add to your business, any obtainable fee may be well worth it. In today's marketplace, a website is one of the most important parts of your business. Make sure you treat it as such.
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Written by: Larry D. Wriser, Jr of Wriser and Associates