If you’re shopping for a website (a basic one, without custom functionality) and look long and hard, you could locate just about every price point from $500 to $20,000.
In 2009, my telecom partner and I were looking for a new site and one developer showed us some site examples that blew us away. Then he gave us a quote for $20,000. Most of the $20,000 would have gone towards graphic design. Everything about the site would have been custom. For our purposes, a custom site was an unnecessary expense. What we needed was an optimized site with a clear call to action.
If my partner and I broke the bank and agreed to his price, it would have been equivalent to purchasing an exotic car that we couldn’t afford to insure or were afraid to drive; the beautiful car would sit in a garage where no one could see it. Is a $20,000 website impressive if no one sees it?
On the opposite end of the price spectrum is the $500 website. If you pay $500 for a website, I guarantee it won’t look professional, so it will not instill confidence in a prospective client. It won’t be visible on the web, so the only traffic you’ll receive will be self-directed. If you pay $500 for a website, zero people will find it when they’re looking for the products or services your company has to offer. If you take it a step further and set up a Google Adwords account, you might get people to click on your ad but your $500 site won’t convert site visitors into customers.
Paying $500 to “Web Developer” for a website when you don’t know how or are unwilling to add new, original content to your site, would be equivalent to paying any amount of money for a billboard buried in a cave. In 2012, Netcraft determined that there are 644,275,754 websites residing on the web. I’m sure that number is closer to one billion today. What are the chances that your non-optimized $500 website would stand out?
What happens when you purchase a $500 website? Unless you train yourself on the site’s content management program and regularly work on improving and add new content, the site will be equivalent to a box of brochures gathering dust in the corner of your office.
If you reach out to your “web developer” to determine the cost of improving your site, there’s a good chance that person won’t be in business. For some reason, it’s difficult to stay in business selling cheap, ineffective websites. At that point, you’ll have to make a choice: continue on with your ineffective site or bite the bullet and purchase a website produced by a professional web developer/internet marketer.
So how much should you pay for an optimized, lead generating website? If you’re willing to accept a template-based site, $2000 is a good starting point. For $2000 you should expect a site constructed on a good foundation that, with some effort, could become a lead generating machine.
For a one of a kind appearance, a graphic artist is required. Design costs can double the cost of a basic website. So, $2000 for a template-based site would be $4000 for its custom equivalent.
A secure Ecommerce site, custom functionality, APIs, or a user interface can add to the production cost of a website. Those sites need to be priced on an individual case basis.
Web development is a relatively new technology. The majority of the population hasn’t purchased a website and has no idea what one should cost. A lot of people are intimidated by the technology. If you attempt to explain concepts and areas of concern, they cut you off because they don’t want to know or try to understand. But if you offered those same people a $500 car, they would want to know the catch. Eventually, most people will understand that a $500 website has more in common with a $500 car than a high quality, appropriately priced website.