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When you are looking for a new website one of the most common question’s is “how much will it cost?”
The short answer to that question is it can cost anything from $0 to $25,000+ which doesn’t really help you, perhaps the question to be rephrased to:
How much will the website I want cost?
That is a question we can answer in more detail by looking at:
- Number of pages
Each of these variables starts at $0 and increases to thousands of dollars depending on the time, the level of skill and detailed work required.
By building up a brief for each of these variables we can land upon an estimated price for your website.
Number of pages
The number of pages often acts as a rough guide for pricing. This is because with experience a good developer can start to calculate the amount of work involved.
You should make a list of all the pages that you want on your site. Don’t forget the easily forgotten pages like terms of service and customer support. Then look for other websites to get inspiration. Pay attention to details such as the amount of copywriting and unique artwork. Both will increase the cost of your website.
Once you have this information you are armed to talk with your developer. Ask them if they offer packages based on the number of pages. If they do ask them for the exact details each of package. At Affordable Web Design, we offer a 6-page website for $100 but there is only a small amount of time for copywriting and unique design included in the price.
The cost of your site can increase significantly when you think you are getting one thing but the site you want requires something totally different.
The design of a website is arguably the area most likely to change. Everybody has his or her own ideas on the “perfect design”. To stop information overload I will explain the thinking at Affordable Web. We believe in the Bauhaus philosophy of form follows function. In layman’s terms, your website should be designed with the end goal in mind.
If the goal of your website is to drive phone calls to your business. You must understand the steps a visitor will go through before they call. We recently finished a site for a LED distributor. Through our research we knew the steps visitors went through were:
- Cost – Are you competitive
- Warranty – What warranty is available
- Availability – How quickly can I have them delivered?
- Social Proof – Testimonials, case studies and specifications
- Ease of Use – Emails and contact numbers were visible.
Once we knew the steps and the order they occurred we could create a site, which leads a visitor through the steps with simple design.
The cost for this work is dependent on the amount of work. If you are using a DIY platform there is no reason that you cannot apply form follows function with the only cost being time. Alternatively larger more complicated projects may need a full team of designers, which can increase the cost to tens of thousands.
Total Cost: Free – $10,000
SEO [Search Engine Optimization]
SEO has been described as “the greatest traffic source available” by some and “witchcraft” by others. So, what is it and what do you need to optimization or search engine optimization is the methodology for achieving a higher ranking for certain search terms on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. To increase the number of visitors to a website.
For the sake of this article, I’m not going to look at every aspect of an SEO campaign but what you could expect to be included within your website and what questions you need answering.
1) What SEO optimization do I get with my website?
This question is to find out what SEO services your developer is including within their initial proposal. You will find that basic offerings vary a lot between companies. Make sure you know exactly what you are being offered to decide who is offering the best deal.
2) How do you research keywords?
You should expect your website to be optimized for relevant keywords. You should expect your developer to assess your competitor’s keywords and choose those relevant to your site.
3) Do you always follow Google best practice?
You should always be following Google best practice. Ask for details on how they do this.
4) What tools do you use?
The typical tools you would expect your developer to use are Google Keyword Planner, Alexa, Open Site Explorer and Google Webmaster
Remember these are questions to find out if you are getting the minimum SEO optimization on your site. Employing an SEO agency would require a more detailed interview process.
If you decided to take on an SEO consultant the biggest problem is how long it takes to see real change in your ranking. There are a lot of companies that will sell you the world then 6 months later they have taken your cash and blame google algorithm changes for a lack of results. However, if you pay them another 6 months they guarantee results.
SEO Red Flags
With that in mind here are 4 red flag phrases and promises:
Guarantees. Search engines are constantly changing their algorithms and ranking criteria. As a result, anybody guaranteeing results is not being completely honest with you.
Instant results. Search engines are becoming more sophisticated. They look for naturally built reputation acquired over time. This means that any real and long last results cannot be achieved overnight. There are SEO tactics that can deliver instant results. If you employ them you will eventually be found, you will lose your rankings and could work against you for years after.
#1 spot on Google. This is the same as guarantees. Being in the number one spot is great and it something to aim for. Unfortunately, it’s not something that can be guaranteed.
Spammy links. Offers of 1000 links for $50 are still going strong in certain corners of the internet. They are an incredibly appealing way to quickly and easily build up links to your site. With that many links, you must be an expert on a one-way ticket to the top of the rankings. That was the truth once upon a time but google got wise to this a long time ago. If you are building spammy and low-quality links to your site you will eventually be penalized and a black mark placed against your name.
Hourly Rate $150 – $250
Monthly Retainer $1000 – $3000
A good copywriter is worth their weight in gold. Why? Because you can bring all the traffic in the world to your site, if your copywriting doesn’t sell then you won’t make money.
At its most basic copywriting is selling through the written word.
The US Bureau of Labour & Statistics (BLS) states the average copywriter salary is $61,240 per year, or $29.44 hourly. From our experience, this number does not honestly represent the world of copywriting today. The industry has been flooded with thousand people offering low priced work. Some go as low as 2 cents per word. The price for paying so little is often rushed work that you could have done yourself.
Whilst many copywriters with experience and a proven track record will charge $100 or more per hour.
What you are trying to achieve is value for money. You do this by hiring a proven copywriter and have them work for you in the right places.
You can do this by following these simple steps.
Shop around for the best writer. Here is a list of places you can start looking:
1) Can I see examples of your work?
By reading someone’s work you can immediately get a feel for their ability. You are looking for someone who can sell your business. Are you a warm and homely company selling cookies or cold and analytics financial services? The style has to match.
2) What were the results? Do you have access to the analytics/results?
Copywriting isn’t the only thing that will deliver sales. By looking at previous campaigns you will start to notice obvious differences between good and bad. You want someone that has not only delivered the work in the past but has worked as part of a successful team.
3) How do you go about researching a subject?
Experts in copywriting will have an easy job explaining to you how they structure their work based upon the best examples in each industry.
4) Have you written about ______ before?
Your preference should always be for someone who has written or has knowledge of your business sector. You will most likely have a good knowledge of your own industry. Use your knowledge to appraise their work. If they have not written about your sector then do not pass on them immediately. They could still do a good job for you but more care must be taken to interview them on their research method.
5) What are your qualifications?
A degree is not crucial to being a good copywriter but a solid grounding in the written word is always helpful.
6) Have you worked to deadlines in the past? Can you provide an example?
Bringing a website together requires the coordination of many different specialists. You need to know that your copywriter can work in that team and can deliver on time so that others can do their job.
Delays usually lead to increased costs and you want to be protected.
7) Tell me your process for telling a story
Selling is about telling a story. You want the best story teller on your team. The greatest story telling structure of all time is the hero’s journey. Some of the most successful films in history follow this structure. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, and Silence of the Lambs are just a few. Here is a breakdown of the .
If you are still looking for a way to reduce your cost on copywriting remember this quote from David Ogilvy the father of copywriting “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Hourly Rate: $25.00 -$125.00
Small Project – less than 10 hours
Medium Project – 10 to 40 hours
Large Project – 40 hours plus
Every website needs a domain name. Your domain is the web address people will go to when they visit your website. It needs to represent your company and be memorable. It would make no sense for Apple to use the domain Pear.Com.
All reputable web development companies will offer a domain purchase service.
Some will offer the service for free and others will charge a standard rate.
If you want your developer to purchase the domain name you need answers to these questions:
- Will you find me different variation to choose from?
- What is the cost?
- How long is the domain registered for?
- Will I own the domain name or will the web developer?
The cost of your domain will be determined by its popularity. If I owned “The Affordable Baking Company” I may be able to purchase:
for as little as $20 per year. If I wanted Baking.Com then I could expect to pay thousands of dollars.
Unless your company is an established brand with a large budget. You are best to go with the lower cost option. There are no negative consequences to this and you can still be found under Baking through SEO and paid search.
Purchasing your own domain is a simple process which can be done through many online providers. If you decide to do it yourself then here are the top 5 websites that you can use:
They are all simple to use and allow you to purchase your domain within minutes.
Service: $0 -$200
Domain $10 to $5000
Once your website has been built and is ready to go live the question of hosting will be brought up. Most web developers will offer to host your website for a monthly fee and some will offer a discount if you pay for the full year upfront.
Not all hosting deals are equal and you should examine different proposals to get the deal which is best for you.
Hosting can generally be split into two camps 1. Purely hosting and 2. hosting plus maintenance.
Each has its pro’s and con’s and you must decide if you want to keep your sites maintenance in-house or outsource to another company.
To ensure you get the right deal here are 20 questions you will want a:
1) How Long Have You Been in Business?
This is not to say that new companies are bad or will offer poor service. By asking this question you are looking for a proven track record. You want to be secure that they have the expertise required.
2) What Experience Do You Have?
This is a great follow-up question because the employees of newer companies could have a wealth of knowledge depending on their history.
3) How Are Upgrades Handled?
4) Are There Discounts for Paying Ahead?
Most companies will provide you with a discount for paying 6 or 12 months hosting in advance. Discounts vary between companies so it is worth asking.
5) Are There Any Setup Fees?
Find out if there are any setup costs. Some companies will charge $20 to $50 to place your website on their servers.
6) Is the Tech Department Available 24/7?
Most hosting companies will say they are available 24/7. This isn’t always true in practice. Find out what procedures are in place to ensure you receive 24/7 service and if there will be any delay in response on weekends, national holidays and after 9 pm.
7) How Many Customers Are On Each Server?
Too many websites on a single server can cause your website to run slow. Try to find a company that has the fewest websites on each server.
8) How Often Is My Site Backed Up?
Look for a web host that backs up your site once a day.
9) What Is Your Average Monthly Uptime?
You should be looking for an uptime minimum of 99.8% each month.
10) Where Is Your Tech Support Located?
The question you are trying to answer here is communication. If you need to call support then you want to be able to communicate with them clearly. If you cannot communicate then solving problems with your website is made difficult.
11) How Many E-mail Addresses Can Be Created with an Account?
Email creation should be included within your hosting. It can be unlimited or you can have a set number. Find the answer to this question and see if it works with your business. If you are allowed 10 emails but you have 50 staff then you could be in trouble. Find out the cost for creating additional emails if you have a limit.
12) Are There Any Penalties for Cancellation?
If you decide to leave then you don’t want to be hit with unforeseen penalties. Ask for the cancellation procedure and if there are minimum terms in the contract.
Setup: $0 – $50
Monthly Cost: $5 to $100
** If your website has a large amount or sensitive data then you may require specialist hosting packages that can cost significantly more.
With this in mind you should be well armed to decide on a price for your new website. If you are ever unsure, ask. That way you will remove any confusion and get exactly what you are looking for.