For most businesses, your website is your single most important marketing asset.
It is used to reach your target audience and convert them into your ideal clients. Even if your website is not used for heavy promotion online, potential clients who have been referred or heard of you from some other source will still visit your website to decide if they want to work with you.
Your website is also more than a mere marketing tool. It can also offer customer support, educate your audience, expand your market and reduce your operating costs.
So, how much should you spend on your website?
It depends largely on the goals you have for the site. If you want to change the world by building the next Facebook competitor, the price will be significant. However if you are a small business with simple marketing needs, they are very affordable. Thank goodness!
If you can set aside some time you can build your website yourself using one of the popular site builders like wix.com, squarespace.com or wordpress.com.
These sites make it incredibly easy to build your own site, as they provide you with a choice of beautiful templates which you then fill with your content. Pricing for these services is $10 - $20 per month which makes them incredible value for what you get.
While these DIY services make it very easy and affordable to get online, the thing they don’t have is professional advice. You can build your website but you won’t get any advice about what will work best for you or why certain information would work better than others.
Hiring a web designer to help you is the next step.
Hiring a web designer
Because a website is such an important part of your online marketing strategy, you must take a strategic approach if you want to see success in the online space.
A good web designer will be able to help you develop a strategy, and look at where your website fits into your marketing funnel. This means you’ll get higher value from the resulting site, as it functions to reach your business goals.
When working with a designer, you need to find the balance between the value you’re getting, your budget, and the size of the project you’re working on.
For a simple marketing website, for example, with a few pages of content and a blog, you could pay anywhere from $1000 - $5000 depending on who you go with and the services they provide. If you want to get a high-level expert or need to create branding as well, it will cost more – but again, you should consider what value branding has in your business plan and spend accordingly.
After a site is launched you’ll have relatively low ongoing costs for hosting and your domain name registration, anywhere from $8 - $30 per month is normal.
An important key to success: remember to allocate an ongoing marketing budget for your site.
Marketing budget for your website
Creating a website, but not promoting it is the equivalent of printing a pile of beautiful brochures and leaving them in your garage. Instead, plan for how the site will get in front of people: commonly by getting found in Google, by advertising, or by using social media channels.
Many of these promotional activities can also be done DIY for very low costs, or expect prices to start at a few hundred dollars per month for an agency to handle that for you.
In then end, think of your website expenses like any other marketing activity.
The goal you have will shape what is needed. And the sophistication and performance of the resulting site will reflect what you invest in it.