Mike Hanbery October 2, 2017

How much Does a Website Cost?

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A very natural tendency among marketing executives and business owners exists to ask, “How much does a website cost?” Or, “How much for Search Engine Optimization, (SEO)?” Or…you get the idea.

We’re all human, and we’re all busy, and our budgets are limited. When we are in a purchasing role, therefore, we are frequently oriented toward the immediate, nonrecurring investment, rather than the ongoing opportunity cost of cutting corners and doing things on the cheap.

Webolutions believes in making a positive difference in people’s lives. One of the ways we do this is by creating optimized websites with ongoing revenue generation coded into their DNA.

(Hey, y’all, if you’re in a state of mind or if your business is in a stage of life that has you committing to, “I just need to get a website up,” then you have my blessing to skip the rest of this article and move on to the next thing. No hard feelings. Before you go, though, please understand that another way to state this is, “I just want to throw money at a problem and hope the problem goes away.” Also understand that, in the course of human history, that approach has never delivered the desired result. Ever.

You can pay a lot for cheap. You’ll pay a lot for up-front risk and aggravation, and you’ll pay a lot on an ongoing basis for the opportunities you forfeit all day, every day, to your competitors.)

See our FAQ: What is a 404 Error and Why Are They Important?

How to Measure the Cost of Your Website

If you’ve spoken to or researched more than a couple of marketing, website, or SEO providers, you’ve probably been provided a direct answer to, “How much does a website cost?” And you get anything from, “Build your stunning website for free,” to “We only build websites for $65,000 and up.”

You’ve also probably been offered off-the-shelf packages for SEO, social media, and Google AdWords. It’s an easy answer. Yes, we sell that, they’ll say, and we’ll gladly sell it to you, and you can sign a contract and commit to paying us this much money for this many months, after which you can leave.

For your website, Webolutions is probably going to land somewhere in that broad middle. For the other stuff, our answer is more complicated. And it’s probably a lot more like you approach your business, and how you expect others to approach selling to you.

How much for a new driveway for my house? How much for car insurance? How much is it to buy a car?

You don’t know, right? Because the answer is different for everyone. How big and long is your driveway? Who’s driving the car? Do you just need a small commuter to get you from home to your nearby office, or are you commuting a couple hours a day and need some comfort, or are you going to pack up a fully-luggaged family of 5 and all of your camping gear, and hitch a camper to it, and drive it into the mountains every weekend in the summer?

Only if you get some foundational answers can you responsibly advise your prospective customer. And that’s the same way it should work in the marketing and website development industry.

And that’s how we work at Webolutions.

Clearly Defined Target Personas

It is important for you to like your website. It is more important for your prospective client to like your website.

Generally, people decide if they like your website in 6 seconds or less. 61% of that decision is based on color alone. People of different demographics and actual and perceived socio-economic strata interpret colors and color combinations differently.

Webolutions begins by understanding all your target personas, and designs the website to gain their approval, hold their attention, and convert those visitors to leads. We help you develop the right message, to the right people.

Maximizing Lead Generation Opportunities through Optimized Architecture

Most website companies build your website, then start thinking about SEO. This is backwards. It is the equivalent of baking a pie, and then deciding what type of pie it should be.

It is important for your prospective client to like your website. To get more of them to see your website, it is important for search engine algorithms (e.g. Google) to like your website. Or, more plainly stated, for those algorithms to be able to clearly identify and verify what your website and each of your website pages say they are about.

On-page content is, conservatively and briefly stated, a significant factor in search algorithms. A web page’s web address—its Uniform Resource Locator (URL)–is a substantial part of its content.

Because it is hard work and not easy to explain, or because they lack the experience or expertise to understand its importance, this is frequently discounted or ignored by website design companies.

The client–you–saves a few dollars on their up-front investment, then loses revenue opportunities month over month. The website doesn’t rank as well as it should, so fewer leads enter the pipeline.

Conversely, Webolutions websites improve SEO performance by as much as 70% at website launch by systematically addressing this.

That system includes reverse-engineering to arrive at an optimal website Search Engine Optimized (SEO) architecture. The steps are:

  1. Our SEO experts conduct broad, exhaustive keyword research to determine how many searches are performed for all potentially relevant keywords and phrases per month within your geographic service area (usually national, state, or metro area). We also conduct competitive research to determine how competitive, i.e. how difficult / expensive it will be, to get your website in position to generate purchase-oriented inbound human traffic for those terms. This may result in hundreds or thousands of keywords.
  2. Based on our expert analysis of that data, we narrow the list by one-half to two-thirds, and present data-driven recommendations to the client. Pay Per Click estimates are included and current website search ranks, if applicable, are documented.
  3. Through conversations with the client, juxtaposed against information provided in Market Positioning, persona development, and historical marketing and sales analytics, a Target Keywords List of the top 20-30 search terms is created.
  4. If applicable, the current website Information Architecture (IA) is documented. This includes all website sections, pages, navigations, and URL’s.
  5. If applicable and available, analytics from the current website are examined to determine the existing pages of greatest value, and opportunities to maintain or improve visitor behavior flow, such as toward a conversion.
  6. A complete, SEO- and conversion-centric IA is developed with the client for the new website.
  7. To prevent 404/File Not Found errors, which are detrimental to your SEO and User Experience, Webolutions creates a 301 (permanent) redirect plan. This tells the search engine to permanently “detour” visitors from the URL’s it has already indexed, to the new, optimized ones.

You should only work with a website company who can demonstrate its systematic understanding of when and how to employ this approach. At Webolutions, we call it The Intrinsic Multiplier ApproachTM.

Thoughts? Questions? Let’s chat over coffee.

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