Anyone with a basic knowledge of WordPress can cobble together a website, but the quality depends largely on the experience of the person making it.
If you’ve ever looked up “Pinterest fails“ on the web, you’ll understand that seeing something cool and making it yourself can yield dramatically different results.
You could save money by having your cousin’s nephew make your website, but unless he knows what he’s doing the results might be…
…um, less than professional.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with giving your nephew a shot at making your website (everyone has to start somewhere) but there comes a point when you need a quality website for your business.
3 Questions to consider
When considering a professional website for your business it’s important to ask yourself these 3 questions. Doing so will help you know how accomplish goals and find the best solutions for your business.
1. What Kind Of Website Do I Need?
Every website should have a goal, whether you want to provide information, sell products, or encourage people to call you. You you need to take payment online? Do you need customer logins? These things matter, as they will affect the cost to build it.
Here’s a short list of types of website functions you could have developed…
Informational Websites are the simplest and most common business websites. They tell about the company, its products, its services, and how to contact the company. They are usually have 3 to 15 pages (though some can be much larger).
E-commerce Websites sell products online. They generally have a catalog of products for sales, and allow customers to pay directly on-site. Some e-commerce site have just a few products, while other have thousands.
Blogs are a collection of online articles. They’re great for people who want to regularly write about a specific topic or industry. Blogs can also be a valuable way to attract visitors.
Online Directories are websites that collect and organize information, such as business listings.
Beside the types listed above, there are several other types of websites including social media websites (like Twitter or Facebook), online dating websites, job boards, forums, wikis, and web apps. Keep in mind, these types of sites generally require extensive programming and may be expensive to create.
2. What Am I Willing To Spend?
Which brings us to the subject of budget. Large corporations (like Nike, Amazon, or Microsoft) often spend well over $100,000 or more to develop their websites, but for small businesses that isn’t realistic.
Luckily, there’s no need for most companies to spend 6 figures on a website. Depending on what you need and where you go, a quality custom website will set you back somewhere between $1000 and $9000.
At EZ-NetTools about 80% of custom design projects cost between $1500 and $3000. Some projects can cost more or less but that’s a pretty good ball-park figure.
3 ways to get a website that fits your budget
For some business owners $1500 is more than they can afford. When I talk to new customers, I explain that they have 3 options for getting a new website, depending on their budget…
- Do It Yourself (with training) (~$90) – For people that have some time but don’t know where to start, having a professional show you the ropes and setup an account for you is a lot less scary than figuring it all out on your own.
- Use a Template ($300-$700) – Many new business owners aren’t concerned about exact look of their website. They just need something simple and don’t have time to figure it out on their own. Using a template is faster and cheaper than doing it custom, but you can still have a professional put it together with satisfying results.
- Custom Website ($1000-$5000) – Custom website will look and behave exactly the way you want them to. The value of consulting with an experienced designer are hard to overstate. When you combine your knowledge with the expertise of a experienced designer, the result is great than the sum of it’s parts.
3. What Message Do I Want To Send?
Your message is more than the words on the web page. Color scheme, photos, and design style all contribute to your message.
What’s my message?
Many business owners struggle to write about their business. A thoughtful designer can make a big difference here. Determining a message is usually a collaboration between you and the designer. You talk back and forth until the answers start to emerge.
Look at other websites
It’s a good idea to look at other websites (both inside and outside your industry). The goal isn’t to copy them, but to get inspiration. Giving your designer a list of websites you like and more important, what you like about them. This will help them understand your tastes and make sure you’re both on the same page.
Talk, don’t just email
Use the phone. I can’t overstate the importance of actually talking with a designer, at least in the initial stage of the project. Emails are great for sending information or simple revisions, but you can’t have a consultation over email, and consultation is critical to a smooth final product.
If the designer isn’t willing to actually talk with you in the initial stages, consider it a red flag and look elsewhere.