We get this this question a lot and it is a very good question to have when choosing to build a website for your business. The answer is that it depends on what your needs and goals are, which is the answer we know you didn't want because it isn't a direct number value. Websites can cost between $50 to $5000 and more depending on what it needs to do. Take in consideration the large factors regarding the process of buying a car which can range from price, speed, comfort, style, utility, mileage, reliability, features and more. Every one rates the importance of these aspects in their own way based on their needs how they will be using the car. The car buyer who is looking at a Ford F-150 truck probably has different needs then the car buyer considering a Smart Car. Do you need the Honda Civic will basic features, or do you need the BMW with all the advanced features? Both of them go from A to B, right? We could get a custom paint job for the Civic and make it look really good to the point where you say "what kind of car is that?" We even modify the civic so it goes faster and takes tighter turns. You may even end up modifing it to the point where you should have just bought the BMW (or Mercedes) from the beginning since you have invested the same amount of money but in the end still have a Honda Civic. Don't get us wrong, the Honda Civic is a great car, it just might not be great for everyone.
This is a bit like asking "How much do you spend on fuel?" It really depends on the company size and need. A single stay-at-home freelancer is going to spend less on fuel than an multi-billion dollar international airline. Similarly, their website needs will be different, and so will the cost of development and maintenance.
The answer will vary based on what you need as a business and what your budget is. For some customers something like SquareSpace or WordPress with a theme will work great. Both have their pros and cons and we recommend them for customers if it is a great fit. Once you start to leave what is in their wheelhouse in terms of functionality things get a bit messy. Plugins may get you there in some forms and may not work at all for your purposes, especially if the website needs to integrate with a business process or needs to have a custom functionality that is unique to the business.
Since a website can have a great range of costs, what it boils down to are a few questions which determines how much you should invest in your website:
- What functionality is require for the website?
- Does it need something more than content management?
- Would a landing page be sufficient?
- Do customers need to login or have user profiles?
- Do you need to process credit card payments?
- Do you need great exposure to search engines and better page ranks?
- Is the website a focal point of your business?
- Could you operate without one? If you're a dry cleaner or restaurant, Yes, the website has nothing to do with business operations, but it sure will help in getting more customers to walk through the door.
- Is the majority of you sales generated by your online presence?
- Are you tech savvy enough or have the time learn how to do it yourself?
- Some people do have the time and knowledge to build their own website. Others do not. While some people may think you're overspending on a website by paying for $5000 for a custom website that isn't the case. That person is busy running their business and wants to pay a professional to deliver a professional service and results. It is the same reason you don't hire a plumber off of craigslist at $10 per hour to replace all your pipes (it's not an exact 1 to 1 analogy, but you get the idea).
- Who will maintain the website after you're done setting it up?
- What is it that you want your website to do?
- Is it just informational?
- Do you have content that needs to be updated frequently?
- Will it provide unique service that only you will offer?
Depending on how you answer those questions, you may want to invest more than you initially thought into your website depending on what your budget will allow.
Websites certainly do not always cost $5000 but the bottom line is that you're gonna get a lot more for $5000 website then you are for a $50 one. You may not need the $5000 website as a $50 one will be able to serve your purposes effectively, but you may also may buy a $50 website not knowing how much potential a $5000 website has for helping your business. We are here to help you answer those questions and guide you through that process as we know your time and money are important to you. There are many instances where we have recommended clients to cheaper solutions. Contact Us for a free consultation and we can recommend what will work best for you situation.
As a small business you are probably not in the 6 figure range, but even a small website can cost quite a bit if it still needs to fit a specific requirement and needs to be scalable and stable. A lot of people will tell you to do it yourself for free, and you certainly could with only your time as a cost. But, you get what you pay for. You could probably "build" your own race-car and get it to start or move down the driveway, but would you put it through the Indy 500? It really all depends on need.
There are so many other factors you may not be considering such as how reliable, how quick, how secure, how scalable, or how multilingual the site needs to be.
Why Not Word Press?
When we do recommend Word Press we like to get a feel of how technical savvy you are. There are many pitfalls to Word Press that unexpeirence users run into and in some cases will not recommend Word Press to clients if they don't know what things like FTP or CSS mean. In our experience there are so many people who were beginners that chose the cheaper option and have broken sites within 6 months calling for help. They may not stick to proper taxonomy, don't scale down their 5MP images so now their site runs like molasses, they don't update plugins (and when they do it breaks functionality) or have their site compromised by a hacker losing control of their site, their customer data and getting flagged as dangerous site by google.
We believe that Word Press is a great solution for people who invest a small amount of time to understand how it works and maintain it properly, but that's not what most small business owners want to do. They want something that's easy and "just works" and that isn't always the case with Word Press.