Just like in your personal life, the same concept applies in your business: if something doesn’t cost you your time, it probably costs you money. And when it comes to creating a website for your business, this couldn’t be truer.
If you are just starting out in business, you are probably more willing to exchange your time to get the things you want because that’s what you have more of. You read a thousand blog articles to figure out how to bootstrap your business. You watch a ton of Youtube videos to figure out how to make your graphics in Canva not look like a total hack-job. You spend hours researching other businesses, trying to learn from the best. As your business grows though, you begin making more money and your time becomes more valuable. At this stage, you are probably more willing to make investments if it means you can have more time. I know this is certainly true for me.
So if you ask, “what is the cost of a professional website?”… I’ll say “it depends!” I know, not what you wanted to hear, right? BUT it really does… even the term “professional” is open to your own interpretation. But bear with me here – This is why I am going to break down the cost of a website by the stage of your business. I feel like this will be more helpful to you and give you a better understanding of what you can expect and what you should plan to spend in your business.
For the New Business Owner
Have you been in business for less than 3 years? Certainly, there are ways you can design and develop your website all on your own at a very low cost. Especially, if you are pre-revenue in your business, this will probably be the most attractive option to you unless, by some miracle, you have buckets of extra cash lying around (In that case, you probably aren’t too concerned about what the cost of a website is.) But you will need to also prepare yourself to make an investment with your time – the time it takes to learn everything that goes into creating a website.
You’ll need to research website hosting services, buy a domain, and most likely, find a website design template just to get started. After that, you’ll need to put together your site structure, content and visuals to integrate into your website. At the end of it all, you’ll also need a way to get people to your site which could involve setting up social media channels, paid advertisements or a beginner SEO strategy. If this sounds like a lot, it’s because it is! BUT you don’t have to get it all done overnight, you can start small and work your way up. Depending on how extensive you make your website, will determine your true cost, but here’s a quick estimate based on my experience.
Your Time Investment: 10-40 hours (research and setup)
Your Dollar Investment:
- Hosting: $60-240 / yr
- Website Template: Free – $500
For the Experienced Business Owner
If you’ve been in business for 3-5 years (or more), you may feel like it’s time to make an investment to lift some of the burdens off your shoulders. First, you should congratulate yourself because you’ve earned this! Taking your business to the 5-year mark is a big accomplishment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Likely, you’ve gotten to this point because you have a sound business model and are in tune with what your customers really want. You’re passed the stage of feeling like you have to do everything in your business all on your own and you recognize the expertise that others can bring to the table. This is a great place to be in because it’s where you open up your capacity for growth!
Related Post: How to Find a Graphic Designer that Fits Your Business
If you are ready to hire a graphic designer to help you with your website, thankfully, they will be able to do most of the heavy lifting for you! After finding the right person to do the job, you likely have a few meetings to determine your goals and ensure you are both on the same page. After that, depending on the scope of the work outlined, your designer may even bring in some additional resources to help give you a stellar end-product. If they’ve outsourced a copywriter and developer, that will factor into the overall cost as well. Apart from who’s involved in the creation of your website, the biggest influence on the price will be the size of your site (# of pages) and how complex the functionality. A single page site will put you on the lower end of these estimates, while a 10+ page site will put you on the higher end. In my experience, most service-based businesses fall somewhere in between.
Your Time Investment: 5-10 hours (for meetings & approvals)
Your Dollar Investment:
- Hosting: $60-240 / yr
- Website Design: $500 – $4500+
- Website Development: $1000 – $6500+
- Copywriting: $500 – $4500+
This isn’t to say you can’t get a website for less than $1000 or that no one’s ever paid more than $15,000 for a site, but if you are at this stage in your business, you also must be mindful of cost vs quality and value. If you are paying a designer to manage the entire process for you as well, this is especially valuable because of how much project management is involved with a website. You will need to weigh the pros and cons and of course, do your research to ensure that the investment makes sense for you!
What do you think? Are you ready to make an investment in your website or are you still at the beginning stages of your business? Let me know in the comments.
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Kristin Pruis • January 22, 2020