The 7 Questions 85% of Business Ask Before Buying Website Services
Over the years I’ve found that a lot of folks have the same, roughly seven, questions about buying website services. In an attempt to save some time I’ve listed and answered them below.
The, roughly seven, 7 Questions
- How much does a “from the ground up” website cost?
- How about a website redesign?
- How long does it take to complete a website project?
- How do we keep our website up-to-date once it’s delivered?
- Is my website going to show up in Google search results?
- Can you (Mike) help with content creation for the website?
- What if, in the end, I don’t like what you build for me?
- What’s the best way to handle business email?
- How do you manage email lists and newsletters?
The cost of a website is a really important consideration, I completely understand. To explain my pricing process, here’s an analogy:
When you buy an asset like a house or a car, the price varies according to the features of the asset. This idea applies to websites too. The more your website does, and the better it does it, the more it costs because it is higher performance.
Ideally, that increase in price and performance yields an equivalent increase in return on invested capital. Money that goes into website design and development should support and stabilize the site’s longevity and ROI.
Basic project pricing framework:
- Online Brochure Style Site
These are beautifully-designed responsive websites with email list building functionality and more. They can help you show up near or at the top of Google search results for keyword phrases that are important to you – resulting in leads and sales. There are lots of other benefits, like reputation management, and you are poised to create an eCommerce or Membership site if you decide to in the future.
These start at $2,500 and go up from there, depending on all of the required functionality or additional marketing services.
- eCommerce Site
Additional complexities of eCommerce sites require a higher level of investment to build them. Depending on the quantity and type of products being sold, projects start around $5,000 but can easily reach ten to twenty thousand.
- One-page Scalable Site
To help establish a business’ online presence quickly and cost-effectively I have a one-page website option. These start at $750 and deliver a ton of bang for the buck. Build email lists, have complete control over your site, and be poised to expand the site quickly when you want.
Also keep in mind that there are ongoing costs to owning a website. Requirements like website hosting, domain registration, and all the software that powers your website need to be accounted for and managed.
In addition to the required costs mentioned above there is the time commitment that must also be considered. Activities like backups, site security, and uptime monitoring are just as non-negotiable as the aforementioned costs of doing business.
To take care of these required maintenance tasks almost all of clients enroll in my Website Management services. This offloads the responsibility from their shoulders on to mine, freeing them up to work on their core business.
The same pricing from above applies to site redesigns. Depending on the site details, like how many pages or products there are, the quote will be adjusted in the project proposal.
A typical website project takes 4-6 weeks once the proposal is accepted. There will be a more precise estimate and delivery schedule in the proposal.
I use a project management method that uses clearly defined phases, so we methodically move from preparing to delivering.
This transparent process lets all project stakeholders track progress and estimated delivery date of the site.
The delivery timeline is most impacted by the quantity of content; text, images, videos, etc. If all of these assets are already available, then building the site will go faster than if they are not.
That’s why, often, a site redesign goes faster than a full site build – content is ready to go. Creating content, like answering these questions for example, can add significant time to the website delivery date.
My job is to help ensure the project stays on budget and on schedule, and the main way I do that is through extensive planning. Having a solid content creation plan, if needed, is essential to website success.
Just as important as asking How is asking Why keeping websites up-to-date is important. Big picture, it’s a requirement for success. Out-of-date websites are guaranteed to fail.
It’s also important to search engines that your site is current because for their uses’ experience. If they recommend a link to an outdated and possible broken or compromised site that reflects poorly on them.
Using WordPress, the most popular website an blog building tool by far, it is easy to keep the site updated and content fresh. Updating blog posts with new text and photos is a great way to create content and entice visitors to return to your site.
I also provide training on how to make content updates and other small updates yourself.
But to keep things simple I offer Website Management services that include everything needed for your site to stay blazing fast and ‘new car smell’ fresh.
During the proposal process I’ll explain more about the management services so you can decide if you’d rather handle website upkeep yourself – or if it would work better for you to offload that responsibility to me.
Whichever route works best for you, your site will be set up for both short and long-term success.
Yes, it will, and to rank higher for the keywords you want to is called Search Engine Optimization. This basically means making your website search engine-friendly by following their guidelines and best practices.
Search Engine Optimization is one of just three core services offer, and woven into the fabric of the other two; website design and website management. This means that the proper structure and source code markup are used throughout the sites I build, making them very search engine-friendy.
As part of delivering your website when it’s completed I will submit the sitemaps to the major search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, and Baidu.
We can’t predict the ranking results you’ll get because they depend on literally hundreds of ranking factors. Metrics like page load speed, links to and from your site, and the age of your website are a few examples.
If organic search traffic is part of your online strategy I offer three tiers of SEO services designed to get your site ranking for valuable keywords.
For redesign projects there is a research phase where I audit the current SEO tactics, strategies, and results. Often times there is room for improvement, all of which is documented for review and tracking purposes.
The short answer is yes, I’m happy to help with content creation. However, you as the business owner know your business best. That’s why we’ll work together as a team to create compelling web-friendly content.
My website building process begins with gathering and organizing all of the website content. This content-first approach is part of the planning phase and is essential to successful design & development phases.
Big picture, we are blending your subject matter expertise with my editing and web-optimization experience. It’s a powerful combo.
A well-conceived content plan simplifies the publishing process and amplifies the results you get on your site; whether that’s newsletter signups, eCommerce purchases, or some other metric.
In my experience, the content creation process often takes the longest part in any website development project. That’s why an outline, publishing plan, and other measures are used to stay on track.
Having content first is essential because that is the core around which the site will be built. It helps ensure that the final site is in line with the original vision and proposal.
Luckily, there are great options available to you if you don’t want to write the content yourself. We can quickly and easily hire a vetted 3rd party copywriter to help produce the content we need on schedule.
When it comes to video and images, we’ll implement a sharing system so I can curate what I think is the best content from your collection. Any additional assets we need can be purchased from professional stock imagery sites.
I’m also happy to help you with any other creative work like custom graphic design and artwork, whether editing old pieces or designing new ones.
There are steps we take along the way to ensure that the site build is on track. This way we never get too far off track before correcting. And, quite frankly, this isn’t a question I get very often – just to put your mind at ease about it happening.
Addressing it now, uncomfortable though it may be, is better than leaving you guessing about it. To clear the air though, in the 12+ years I’ve been building site there are a low single digit number of times the final result wasn’t enthusiastically accepted.
I put a lot of emphasis on process, because it provides order.
During the initial phase of the project we’ll go through a detailed questionnaire I have that unpacks your vision, taste, industry, business goals, and other aspects of your project. Most importantly though, I need to understand your customers very well. This informs the design and development decisions I make – because this site really is for them.
There are well-researched design best practices and principles that I will employ. This helps us make confident design decisions that withstand the test of time, and leave open enough leeway to change with it too.
To get you the website you are thrilled with, there is no limit to the design revision requests you can make. It’s not like there is a ‘2 redesign limit’. Once the site thrills you (and your visitors) then my design and development work is done.
Just to explain a bit more about the design process, typically 80% of the work is done before a single web page is created.
You and I can both be confident you will end up with a site you love that performs well.
The short answer is to pay $6/month/user for Google’s Business GSuite.
Why am I so quick out of the gate to recommend that? It’s simple, and it’s one word.
Yes, there are many great options when it comes to sending email, some of them cheaper than $6/month. But at that price, why not just go with what is most likely to send emails that inbox?
It’s literally all about inboxing. Ending up in spam folders or other tabs besides the Primary one is a waste.
Though my business is a website agency, I’m happy to provide help with selecting and using the right email service for your specific application.
My first recommendation is to use the MailPoet plugin. Without going into too much detail, it integrates very nicely with WordPress. The user interface is intuitive and help users through newsletter workflows and scheduling.
There are other options for newsletter and list management – it’s all about fitting the right software to the situation.
Thank you for taking time to read any or all of this post, I personally appreciate it. Hopefully it was helpful.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out or schedule a time to talk.