The cost to build a website is a lot like the cost to build a house. The price range can vary wildly and there are many, many factors that make up the cost. Clients usually are ready to spend money on a website when they’ve got some kind of a problem: their current website isn’t converting leads efficiently, it’s difficult to manage or they are fed up with their unprofessional web agency. If this is the case, figuring out what you spend on your new website is as easy as figuring out what the current problem is costing you. I would never recommend spending $20,000 on a website if the problem it’s solving is only costing you $500.
Using this method to figure out what your budget should be will tell you how much to spend. However, figuring out exactly what you can get for that budget can still be a challenge. The rest of this article will discuss the things that most directly affect the cost of a professional website.
Custom design versus using a template
With over 2.2 billion people online, the internet has revolutionized how we find and share information. The online world is moving at a rapid pace and doesn’t show any signs of slowing. For businesses, a web presence has become a fundamental part of success. But why is a presence on the web so important? How significant is the impact of being online? We’re glad you asked.
After several years with Fidelity Investments, in 1996 Richard Sexton decided to step away from the corporate world and follow his passion by opening Himal Home Gallery, a local home furnishings store in his hometown of North Carolina.
“I didn’t have any experience in running a retail operation. [The] learning curve had its fair share of mistakes,” Sexton said. “Going online early and choosing to use Google products were some of the better moves.”
During the ‘90s, no one knew for certain if there was a place for small businesses online or if they could find success there. But Sexton took the chance and launched a website for Himal Home Gallery. The online presence gave Sexton’s small business a great deal of attention and the small shop took off. In 2000, Sexton relaunched the furniture store as Carolina Rustica, focusing primarily on wrought-iron furniture, their best selling item.
“We started with a small 500 square-foot booth in an antique mall and now our gallery is almost 20,000 square feet,” Sexton said. “Through the web, we could reach a much larger audience, and we began to invest in marketing activities that could connect us with us potential customers. I am very happy with the results. Our sales have increased 50% year on year.”
Carolina Rustica is just one of the many small businesses that found great success establishing an online presence. But can their model apply to other business types? Can business that don’t sell products online still find a success with a website? Is having a business website really that important?
Never before has the world been able to connect across the globe and interact so easily. Think about the last time you needed to know something, anything — chances are you went to look it up online. The Internet has completely changed the way we live and how we gather information. Not only is it now our primary source of information, but it has revolutionized the way businesses operate and communicate with customers.
Websites and the online tools that promote them should be the focal point of all advertising and marketing for all businesses, big or small. Here’s why:
Because people are online. If you’re looking for an audience, more customers, or people to influence, the web is where your business needs to be. With over 78% of adult Americans using the Internet and an astounding 2.2 billion people online worldwide, it’s no surprise that small businesses with websites experience an average of 39% greater revenue per year than those without websites, according to the Small Business Administration.
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7 Benefits of Having a Web Site
Don’t know why you need a web site? Read these seven web site advantages and see for yourself why web sites are important to small businesses.
1. Plenty of space
It can be hard to choose what to say in your limited-space print ads. One benefit of having a web site is that you have enough space to market all your services, announce events, display product photos, show maps and directions, list staff education and credentials, post client testimonials and industry awards—anything you feel will help potential customers make an informed decision.
2. Available 24/7
Another web site advantage is that it’s available even when your business is closed or no one is available to answer your phone. You can encourage callers who’ve missed you to visit your web site for more information while they wait for your return call.
3. Easy to update
Printed material, while still very necessary, can be expensive and troublesome to keep updated. With a web site you can easily let the public know of changes to your hours of operation, product or service offerings, business address or phone number, staff, etc.
4. Adds credibility
One of the best benefits of a having a web site: a well-thought-out, professionally designed web site can add credibility to your small business—no matter how young or small your business is. A web site can also convey a sense of stability—especially important if your small business operates without a storefront; potential customers will feel reassured that they could contact you if they lost your information.
5. Great word-of-mouth marketing
Another great reason for a web site (that is often overlooked!) is that’s it’s easy for someone to share your web site address with a friend in an email, a phone conversation or a meeting where none of your brochures or business cards are available.
6. Adds value
Your web site can become a valuable resource to potential and current customers. Post information on how to care for products you sell, referrals to related services, interesting facts, how-to’s, tips, trends, mistakes to avoid or a glossary of industry terms.
7. Stay ahead of or keep up with competition
People use the internet to research everything from furniture to limousine service to preschools. If your competitor has a web site listed in their print ad and you don’t, those online savvy people may check out your competitor’s offerings first. That’s especially true if you advertise in online “Yellow-Page”-style directories and don’t have a web site. Hello! Your target customer is already online! If your competitor is just a click away, who do you think will get the first opportunity to serve that customer?
With all the hype around Facebook, blogs and Twitter, I often get asked whether a business still needs a website. YES! YES! YES! (seriously) Having a good website for your business is even more important now that technologies like Twitter and Facebook make it easier for more people to find you. Here are my reasons why having a website for your business is still vitally important:
1. Being Found – The #1 goto place when someone is looking for your business is your website. People search through search engines like Google or Bing, not via Facebook for fan pages.
2. Search Engine Optimization – Websites (and blogs) are important for ranking well in search engines. Much of Facebook is still a walled garden that is invisible to search engines.
3. Primary Activity – People are on Facebook for entertainment or to see what’s going on with their friends or family. They’re not there to hear about your latest promotions (which doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t necessarily have a Facebook fan page, but it certainly shouldn’t be your main online presence).
4. Control – You need a place online that you own, where you control the information and the data. Facebook can change their site or terms of service at any time (they’ve already done that numerous times).
5. Opportunity – A website allows for a much more robust experience for visitors than most other platforms. This means that you can be more efficient at providing visitors the information that they’re looking for, as well as the opportunity to create web applications for more value to your visitors.
6. Branding – Websites also allow you more control over your branding. While sites like Facebook allow some customization, it’s still inside Facebook’s shell. Companies are able to control all aspects of a design with a website.
7. Measurement – Metrics and measurements to know how well your digital tactics are working are much easier to get via a website. Facebook and Twitter do provide some metrics (as well as some provided by third-parties), but the metrics are not as business oriented, making it more difficult to measure specific tactics and promotions.
I also believe that it is vital for a company to have a website (or sometimes a blog can work too) that is working well in terms of providing potential customers with the information they want, being easy to use, and having the right calls to action to lead people down the sale funnel.
Why is a Website Important? 5 Reasons to Be Online
Although ALL of you know what a website is and use the World Wide Web to find information there are still some who don’t think they have any reason to have any presence online.
That said, I give you 5 reasons why you should be online:
1. 80% of people search for local businesses online.
If you have a business it is and will be more vital than ever to have a presence online. Many search engines display local search results allowing customers to connect to businesses locally; which is much easier than competing with major websites in the same industry. In addition, mobile applications are becoming more popular; with the ability to suggest businesses based upon your location; but if you’re not online it’s impossible to be found
2. Up-to-date portfolio/resume.
Each of you has a talent to share and promote. Whether it revolves around a product or your internal genius; people are looking for talent you possess, be there for them. Having a controlled place of residence that can be accessed from any computer has obvious benefits! You’ll ensure potential employers or customers will never have outdated information. Plus you can impress them with your mad internet skillzz online.
When I graduated from college I contacted many potential employers. Each time I contacted them I told the regular things… which they heard all day from everyone else, who I am, what I like, etc. The reason I am here today is because I could end each email with a call to action to click the link to my website containing more information, which is what I did when I landed a job with WestHost. Same principle applies to designers, construction companies, financial firms, anyone. In my experience it usually converts very well.
3. It’s a great job, make some money.
There are so many ways to earn money with a website. One of the easiest ways is through affiliate channels. Here’s how it works; paste a banner (or a unique URL) on your site provided to you by the company, like the one below; when someone clicks on your banner (linking them to the company’s site) and buys something you get paid. Our affiliate program pays each affiliate up to $200 for each sale they refer to us!
4. Shared Web Host – WestHost Web Hosting Banner
A lot of affiliates write a simple blog post reviewing a product or service containing their unique URL scattered through the post. Your visitors will then click the link and buy whatever you suggested having been solidly referred from your post.
5. Your website works 24/7 for you
A website is the best employee and advocate you’ll ever have. It works through the night, early mornings and will do everything you say. As support to a traditional brick and mortar store or a full force e-commerce shop your website will give your customers what you need when they need it.
It’s the cheapest office space you’ll every have.
If your business model can function without a physical location, other than perhaps your living room, a website is the cheapest storefront you’ll ever have… but on the other hand the sky is the limit. You could spend thousands on dedicated servers and professional design. In most cases you’ll come in around $10/month for basic space.
One post could never give all the reasons why having a website is beneficial so share your thoughts! If you have a website, how’s it helped?
In the modern business world, having a website is important for business for a variety of reasons. Anyone running a legitimate business today will naturally consider whether to establish a professional website. While such a move might initially be simply a matter of corporate image development, there are other reasons to establish website. Here are three.
Reason one: legitimize your business. Most companies can improve their corporate image development by setting up an attractive, professional website. Some businesses avoid doing so because they which remain private — for example, companies offer financial services to only the super wealthy — but most people running a legitimate business believe that having a website is important for business. Customers want an official site they can look up online. If no such site is available, it instantly raises concerns for consumers that a business might be a scam or too small to matter.
Reason two: taking orders. A professional website is an essential tool for any retail company that wishes to do business online. For web retailers, corporate image development takes a backseat to order processing. Customers will only place in order if they believe they are dealing with a legitimate business. There have been many occasions on which I have wished to purchase an item online, but have chosen not to do so because businesses website looked cheap were unprofessional. Despite the protections offered by credit card companies, people do not want to have their identities stolen online. Thus, having a website is important for business because it allows that business to sell online. Online sales systems are usually automated, and therefore present a possibility of significant savings for a retail company.
Reason three: communication to customers and investors. If you run a legitimate business online, you probably use your website to issue press releases and otherwise communicate with both customers and investors. A corporate website is a free way to spread the word about important announcements, and corporate transitions, changes in management, as well as sales and promotions. A professional website cannot become an information center for people interested in a given business. This, too,feeds into the corporate image development the company undertakes.
Having a professional website is important for business, whether it’s is in the business of online retail or any other legitimate business. Strictly as a matter of corporate image development, a website is important. It can also allow companies to take orders and issue press releases, and is thus quite useful.
When looking for a web design company most people will shop around, which is a great idea but beware. If something sounds too good to be true, chances are it probably is. It really comes down to you get what you paid for. So, if a web design company offers to do your website for a lot less than others, you need to ask yourself why? Why can this company do my website for less? The more questions you ask the more likely you are to find out why. Ask them the following questions: Is the website a template site?, Is your web design company located in the United States?, Are you a recent college graduate or are you still in college?, Do you have experience? and Will you provide me with a project scope?.
Does the web design company use template websites or do they build custom websites?
When looking at a web design company’s portfolio, keep a look out for sites that look an awful lot alike. If a web design company has a few websites in their portfolio that look nearly identical in design ask if they are template websites. Some web design companies make or purchase templates and use the same template and just change the wording or colors for all of their clients. Every business is different so using the same design for numerous businesses does not work and will lead to unhappy clients. If a web design company prices your website a lot cheaper than others they might be using a template to build your website rather than building you a fully customizable website to fit your business.
Cheap web hosting services give you more than you can get with a free hosting provider. Free site hosting is nice if you only want to build a small personal website so you have a presence on the Web. But if you really want to build a personal website and show yourself off to the world, but don’t want to pay a lot, Cheap web hosting services are a better alternative.
What Does Cheap Hosting Cost?
That all depends on what “cheap hosting” means to you. Cheap web hosting services can be found for as little as a couple dollars a month. Some cheap web hosting services are no better than free hosting services, so research each one before signing up to make sure it offers what you’re looking for.
Can I Upgrade My Free Hosting Service?
Many free Web hosts also offer cheap web hosting services you can upgrade to. These are good because you can try them before you buy them. They also offer some of the better cheap web hosting services.