How Much Should You Spend On a Website?

Honestly, there is no single answer to the question that this blog title poses. There really isn’t a baseline for what a website <i>should</i> cost. What matters the most is what you’re getting from the website and that it can meet your business goals. A solid website with good content, SEO, and accessibility can cost $5,000 at dev agencies serving smaller-scale businesses. For medium to large businesses, depending on their technological needs, the website can cost well into the 6 figures. The thing is, both websites will serve the business that owns them exactly as they need. This is to say it’s – more about a client’s needs rather than a standard dollar amount.

How to Assess Website Costs

Determining what your business “should” spend on a website will take some close evaluation into your company’s needs and plans for growth. Below, we’ll go over a few main touchpoints that dig into how to establish the scale your website should be. This will be greatly informed by evaluating what it needs to be able to produce.

Calculate Current and Competitor Marketing Costs

You may not be able to directly ask your competitors where and how they are spending their marketing money. You can, however, make some educated guesses based on what you see them producing. Here are a number of things to consider when you look at the online presence of your biggest industry competitors. Check out the businesses that show up on pages one and two with the keyword Google searches you’re aiming for. For example, a roofing company in Boise, ID would search “Roof replacement, Boise, Idaho” and “Roof Repair, Boise, Idaho”.

  1. When you search for the keywords you want to be found with, do your competitors pop up with Google Ads?

    Keyword Research:

    You can search for the value of certain keywords using this free tool from WordStream to see what they may have approximately spent on those keywords. The real cost will depend on how aggressive of a plan they have, so if you’re seeing their ads consistently pop up for a lot of expensive keywords across many regions, they have likely spent a good amount.
    *This is not a paid sponsor ad for WordStream, our team just thinks it’s a handy and easy tool to use for novice keyword research.

  2. Social Media

    1. Are their social media profiles updated regularly with solid content?
    2. Do they have paid/sponsored posts on Facebook, Instagram, or other socials? 
  3. Website Functionality

    1. How complex is their website and what does the complexity of the site do to serve their potential customers?
    2. For example, are there a lot of “bells and whistles” such as pop-up chat features, geolocation, and online ordering integrations that work smoothly? If yes, that’s money well spent.
    3. Conversely, for the same type of goods and services as above; is there a way to receive immediate assistance from the business? Can you efficiently and accurately order, then check out from their website without issue? Can you book appointments or consultations with ease? If no, that’s not money well spent.
  4. Website Design

    1. How modern is their website? Whether you are fairly new to the idea of a website for your business or not, you can still tell when one is out of date.
    2. Does the design look modern, or does it look like it could have been made in the mid 2010’s? Hard to believe it, but that’s 10 years ago now.
      1. If you feel like you don’t have the eye for it, you can test this by using the “Way Back Machine”. Drop their URL into this website and it will show you a timeline of the website’s existence and you can click through the years to see how often they are updating and modernizing their website. 
    3. Is the website responsive? You can test this by expanding and shrinking your browser window back and forth – do the pictures and webpages adjust to the screen size accordingly? They ought to, as all modern websites do this when utilizing Google’s SEO and user experience best practices.
  5. Content Updates

    1. Does their website have space for content to be regularly updated? 
    2. This will include pages such as a blog page, a news page, and/or a testimonials page.
  6. User Design/UX

    1. How easy is it to get what you need from their website? 
    2. Does it have a good User Experience? If so, take note of what would work well for the user experience you wish to provide.
  7. Website Integrations

    1. Does the website appear to have a lot of integrations? 
    2. As previously mentioned, these can be (but are not limited to) a newsletter sign-up, a real-time calendar for making appointments, geolocation API, or service request forms.

If they’re doing all of the listed items above, and doing them well, it’s safe to guess they are spending a good amount on marketing. Based on your research, it is good to look into what standard pricing for this technology is. Then it’s time to start reaching out for pitches from agencies. We wrote a blog about the process of finding the right dev company for your business’s needs. If you’re ready to start the part of your journey – check it out!

Evaluate Business Expenditures

It’s a good idea to approach this in a few different ways. Assess whether you are evaluating your business’s budgets and expenditures to…

  1. See where you can make room for the cost of a new website.
  2. Determine if your business requires a brick and mortar anymore, or if you can move to a fully digital and online experience. 
  3. Some combination of the two above to glean what specific aspects of your business should be transitioned online while keeping your brick and mortar, to both save and make more money.

Budget For The Website You Need

We’ve all heard the expression “you have to spend money to make money”. As cliche’ as it may be to say, it doesn’t make it any less true. That being said, we do not personally believe in pushing a business to spend money that they shouldn’t or can’t.

If you have specific needs for a website that can be met with an initial phase of development, do that! Go with a dev company that can find ways to help get you online and make money. This will help with your ability to budget for the next phase of development and growth.

What we do not recommend, is sacrificing quality and longevity just to get your business online. Quality over quantity is very real when it comes to having a website that will truly serve you. We wouldn’t recommend bringing a Tonka truck to a worksite, the same should apply to your website.

A common belief is that a website should cost a fraction of your total income. For example, traditional car dealerships spend at least 50% of their revenue on marketing to be able to differentiate themselves from other dealerships. When it comes to having a website, you’re on a similarly competitive plane. If you’re not willing or able to pay a percentage of you’re revenue to ensure people come to you and not your competitors you may miss some great opportunities to capture business.

Boost Business With The Right Website

It matters how your business is presented online for so many reasons. From establishing trust to making sales – it’s all vital. So, it’s about getting the right website, not just any website and this blog is meant to help you determine the budget needed to accomplish this. Discovering what is most important to your business goals will inform what should be budgeted for and prioritized when it comes to building your website.

Lastly, remember that the creation of your website should be supported by a well-established plan for how it will make you money and continue to support your business. Ensuring your website and marketing are well baked into your business’s overall budget with a mindset of growth and company expansion is crucial.

Give Daggerhart Lab a shout if we can help you get your business online!

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