How much should you pay for a website?

Wow, that’s a loaded question, and one that has many variables. For the sake of this blog, let’s explore the scenario that you, “the client” does not have any prior experience, and that there is no one ‘in-house’ to manage or administer the project, and that is an informational site not e-commerce.

Typically a website is built in 3 parts. The first is the wireframe or blue print based on the needs / goals / wish list that you have determined are important. A good wireframe is the result of several good ‘discovery’ meetings that explore what the purpose of the site is, what a conversion looks like, and what the user can expect to find/access.

The second phase, once the wireframe is approved is to design the site so that it aesthetically meets with all of your requirements, as well the functionality/ tools & resource features you agreed on. If the website developer is experienced, this is where a great deal of that knowledge comes into play. The warning flag is to find your developer agreeing to all of your requests, without any question or challenges. The more you ‘want’ the more they can charge based on more development time.

This is why your initial discovery and needs analysis should be very clear and focused, and that your goals is to build a functional site, that can grow with your needs. I’ve seen many projects go over budget and overtime because the client wanted everything at the same time. Cover your basics, make sure the site is focused on a conversion strategy, and the rest can slowly be added over time.

The third phase is the coding so that the site becomes live and you can actually test all of the functionality and make sure everything is working correctly before it’s published for public consumption.

On average for a new site developed from scratch, you should anticipate anywhere from $750 to $1,000 per unique or “Index page”. For example if one of your pages is a blog, that is an Index page; each blog entry although it counts as a new page on the site, should not have any ‘development’ cost associated to it. Main navigation pages such as ‘About Us’, ‘Services’, ‘Results’, etc., are also referred to as ‘Index Pages’. The pages that are contained under each Index Page, typically referred to as ‘Content Pages’ require much less development cost because they build off of the theme and schematics already developed for the Index page.

A new site, like the one I described above, typically consisting of a Home Page, and 5 to 7 Index pages, which are featured on your navigation, and then 2 to 3 content pages under each index, would end up being between 10 and 15 pages. This is more than enough to launch your site, and should cover all of the information a visitor is seeking on their initial query. The site’s future relies heavily upon the original content added through blogging, updates and links with Social Media, and smart search engine optimization.

So, the answer to the question of this blog is: (for a website developer that understands the process, and implements a good conversion strategy), you should pay between $5,000 to $7,000 dollars.   The best developers never leave off your mobile version of the website, and can be included in this range or add an additional $500 to $1000 dollars for a basic mobile version of the site.  

Of course, there are many variables, and a site that integrates back-office enterprise functions as well as an APP can easily run you $50,000 to $100,000 or more. This post is a good gauge for an effective website that will start generating leads, and move you in the right direction. If you’re in need of a new site, or require updating your current one, feel free to contact us for a website evaluation and make sure that your endeavor gets off to the right start.

The traffic driving value of social media

So many business owners today quickly discount social media as an ineffective medium to drive sales. They barely budge on the value of using social media to increase engagement or as a way to improve customer service, let along ring the register.

However, most business owners believe that there is value in driving traffic to their website. After all these years, many are convinced that a visitor, who frequents their site, is more likely a loyal fan of the brand or a very motivated buyer, and the chances to convert increase with each visit.

Using this mindset with social, and tracking the results, can prove just how valuable your social media network is to driving traffic to your site.

When you post a link on your Facebook page, and nobody ‘likes’ it did it have any value to your company? It is quite possible that although nobody liked the post, they actually simply clicked on the link because they were interested in learning more about it.

By adding a tracking tag to the link using a tool such as bit.ly you can instantly see just how often this occurs on each post. There have been times where I posted a new blog and have received hundreds of clicks on the link with barely a ‘like’ or new follow.  If I had not been tracking it, I may have been quickly discouraged and continued down the path of skepticism when it comes to the value of social media. The bottom line is that your Facebook Fans and Twitter followers freely chose to be a part of your network, and that is one of the most valuable commodities you have at your disposal.

This built-in focus group, may not reply the way that you want them to, by liking every post and sharing it on every network they are a part of, but they are looking for new information from you, and will engage if the message resonates with them.

It’s amazing how some things go viral, and completely change the landscape of that company’s business. There is no denying the power of a social media campaign that is embraced by the masses, and the impact it has on the recipient. Achieving that kind of success remains the result of creative posts, and consistently seeking the feedback of your network.

When you push messages that focus on you, you’re missing the target. Find out first what your audience is interested in and match your message to meet those needs. When you do that successfully, you will quickly see that your Facebook and Twitter account will become major traffic drivers to your site from your Google Analytics reports.