The default template you used on your company’s website has broken… again… and you are now tasked with the job of finding a designer and hosting company to get back on page 1 of Google. Time to start looking, but you ask yourself: “How much does a website cost?”
Before you start asking design and advertising agencies in Cleveland, it’s best if you can answer these questions with certainty.
1. Based on The Current Market, What Should My Website Provide to My Customers?
Different markets expect different results from a website. Restaurants and food distributors rely on social media and recommendations to get more business. If someone lands on your website, what do you expect them to do? If they email you, do you have a way to respond within the next 3 hours? How many back and forth emails will it take to answer their question, and could the website have been structured to have all these answers already organized, so that an email never needs to be sent?
Knowing the 3 Main Goals of your website will focus your attention on what your clients need.
2. What Functionality Does My Website Need?
Another aspect to focus on is looking at your current market. Your competitors may have been providing an online service for years, and they already have a giant head start on the problems and solutions clients may ask. Learn from your competition, find what they do well, and do it better, and find where they are lacking, and become the main hub for that solution.
Once you know what you should be providing, research the best way to provide it, and list out all the companies and services that have mastered it. Collaboration (even for a cost) works better than re-inventing the wheel every time.
3. Will I need to Scale My Website in the Future?
A simple solution that can solve the problem now is good, but what about 3 years from now? Do you have a plan in place for a phase 2, 3, 4, or 5? You need a chain of command that will allow you to make your website grow organically, without ending up a complicated mess as pages, people, and projects get added.
Always have a plan for where new pages will go, what to do if you hire a marketing manager, or even if you want to let someone write a guest blog post. A well thought out structure may increase your website cost, but it will save you and your company money in the long term.
4. Who Do I Call When Something Breaks?
No one wants a page to break, but it happens. Disaster can always happen and the only way to soften the blow is to have a disaster plan. Understanding who to call and what steps need to be taken to get your website fixed are crucial. Are there backups? Is there a plan in place if someone’s email only sends cat photos? What if someone mentions your site on TV, and you get 6,000 people checking it out at the same time? Could you handle that traffic and get 6,000 customers?
Having a policy and plan in place will save you a countless amount of headaches and missed opportunities.
5. So, What Does A Website Cost?
After you have answered all these questions (or wrote them down), start asking around your local Cleveland advertising and marketing agencies. Shel Perkins at AIGA wrote a great article about pricing models and the phases of purchasing a website design, and knowing what you are buying is always a good idea.
JAC Creative also has a system for scoping and estimating a website cost broken down by Market Standards, Functionality, Scaleability, Security & Backups, and customer support. We have been doing this for some time now, and we’ve gotten pretty good at it.
Shoot us a message to get started.