Why $5,000 is all you should ever pay for a website
When I ask SME owners how much they want to spend on a website they usually tell me the same thing: five thousand dollars.
I don’t know how they’ve come up with this figure, whether there’s some club all SME owners are all part of that sets this benchmark and tells them that’s what they should be paying. (If there is I haven’t been invited.) But it’s more likely that $5,000 is just one of those numbers that doesn’t sound cheap but doesn’t sound too unreasonable either.
The interesting thing is that $5,000 is probably at the high end of what you should pay. That is, so long as you see your website as some kind of basic online brochure. For that amount of money you should be able to get a nice enough looking wordpress or squarespace template, a front-end developer and a project manager to help you put together something you’d be happy to show your friends.
Sure, it couldn’t pay for the services of a decent copywriter or designer. But if all you’re after is web presence and you’re paying anymore than $5,000, you’re a fool.
So why then would you pay more…? [So why then would you try to sell more?]
The Remember team recently went to a seminar for SMEs. We looked at the websites of the businesses attending and more than 80% were just like the ones described above.
I asked the group who was happy with their site. Almost 100% of hands went up.
This was despite Remember’s analysis revealing that more than 60% hadn’t updated their content for over a year. For more than a third of the group it was two years.
These were business owners who were hoping to win business through their web presence and they were missing any chance to make their sites a living, breathing embodiment of their brands.
The quality of your website, the relevance of its content and the amount of thought you give to how your visitors will interact with it, all go a long way to converting browsers into customers or clients. There’s a place for the $5,000 site but it’s usually not going to be very effective at doing this.
However, if you consider a slightly bigger investment, then you’d start moving into a different looking space.
You could then start with copy that actually sells your business the right way helping convert customers and increasing your sales. You could inspire your customers with quality design and original photography and you could spend some time thinking strategically about how to position and properly differentiate your business from your competitors.
Even a budget of $10,000 will often give you a more engaging and tailored solution that actually starts working for you. You may still want to view your site as a brochure – but you give yourself the chance of having a far more sophisticated brochure: one that has clarity around your brand, and your messaging.
Your site can be so much more
It is, however, only when you sit back and ask what your website can do – and how it could link to and reinforce your business objectives – that things really start to get interesting.
That’s why before you start building your site or briefing a designer or web developer you should sit back and ask yourself what is it that you want your website to achieve?
Sure, for some, the answer may just be that you only need a simple web presence. That’s especially the case if business comes through word of mouth and there’s no inclination to use the power of the web to grow. Having a prominent phone number, your address and your opening hours displayed is probably enough.
But if you do want to utilise the power of the web to drive more sales, you should start thinking vary carefully about things like user experience – or UX: part of which is the art of guiding potential customers or clients through the buying process from curiosity to conversion.
If you need a real world example of what I’m thinking about, consider the way supermarkets place key items like milk at the very back of the store, so that you’re always tempted to buy at least some of their other stock, Or the way that what they really want you to buy (the stuff with the highest markup) is at eyeline.
Getting this right will almost certainly cost upwards of $10,000. But if you’re heading down this path you can also stop seeing your site as a cost and start seeing it as an investment. Quality web design applies both strategic and logical insights to your site’s structure. And this alone can provide a solid return on investment by boosting in your sales volume, increasing the value of the average transaction and even improving your business efficiency.
Then there’s getting found…
And because your site isn’t worth building at all unless people come to it, you should also probably consider how people will find you in the first place. Will it be through social media campaigns (if you’d better take these into consideration), Google adwords or good old-fashioned SEO? Will you be building a mailing list and hitting that list with regular articles and promotions?
What about when people arrive at your site, will they hang around for a while and get a good sense of who you are and what you’re brand is about through quality content, such as articles showing off your expertise, videos, quizzes, calculators or other tools?
However, if is you decide you’re going to talk to your audiences, you’re going to have to play a long game that requires ongoing maintenance. After all, Google rewards constant updates with higher search engine rankings. And customers reward quality social media and blogging with deeper brand engagement and often more sales.
The net effect should be extra money in your pocket and a website that’s turned into a lead generation machine.
It depends on you…
So I guess what I’m saying is that $5,000 is more than enough to cover the costs of a basic website but whether it’s enough for your needs depends on how you want to grow your business and whether or not you want to use digital, great design and & online strategy as part of that equation.
Only you can answer that.
Have your say – Is the $5000 website a myth. Tell us your experiences. The good, the bad and the ugly!