Every business needs a website, period. We live in an age fueled by digital activity, so tapping into the single biggest user base on the planet is a necessity for any business that wants to remain competitive. But, having a website isn’t enough. There are 644 million active websites on the web, so building a site that stands out in the crowd is mission-critical for small businesses.
But, what goes into building a competitive website? What are you paying for?
Let’s bucket the primary costs associated with building your website, and why each one is important to your overall success.
Check out our white paper on Website Budgeting.
Web Design & Development
Here’s the secret to web design — you don’t want to go cheap. We understand that every business (especially small businesses) have budget constraints that restrict some of their overall fluidity. But, cheap web design typically looks cheap and functions poorly. You don’t have to take out a second mortgage on your home, but you should try to work with an agency or dev that’s reputable and understands the basics of UI and UX.
Beyond the actual design, a good designer or dev team is going to help you plan out your website, and work with you to create a roadmap and custom development plan.
There are also costs associated with owning your domain name, hosting and the tools and applications needed to build out a site.
The last thing to remember in this bucket of costs is optimization. You’ll want to work with a team (or designer) who has quality control. At the very least, your designer should ensure that your site is optimized across platforms (hyper-important now that Google is a mobile-first indexer.)
The content on your site is like a thriving ecosystem. Each page, document, and UX element should play off of each other in a smart, branded way. Remember, your website is a 24/7 lead magnet, salesman, and marketer, and content is its fuel.
This bucket of costs includes things such as:
- Where the content is located
- The quality of the copy itself
- Navigation optimization
- Overall conversion strategy
Search Engine Optimization
This is where you can start to get scrappy. Believe it or not, a bulk of your SEO strategy starts with website design. Search-optimized sites rank better, and they give your content a good backbone architecture. Optimizing content and simplifying navigation can do wonders for your ranking. Luckily, businesses can save a ton of money on the backend by optimizing your site during the design phase.
CRO & UX
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) and the user experience (UX) are mission-critical. This is going to determine how easily users are able to browse and consume content. A fluid, thoughtful CRO design will also boost your conversions, which is the whole reason for having the site in the first place. CRO and UX run deep in your website’s ecosystem. Simple changes such as increasing image load speeds (39% of users will stop engaging if images take too long to load) and keeping content thematic (46% will stop engaging if there is a “lack of message”) can be a huge boon to your conversion rates.
Project & Account Management
This is a cost, but more than anything it’s a cost saver. Project and account managers will keep the entire design process on a timeline, create workflows, and make sure that you’re not going over budget. PMs and AMs are a cost to keep in mind, but having one leaves you at a net positive. You’ll avoid going over budget and the entire process will run much smoother.
Need help planning for your new website? This guide has planning tips, a helpful worksheet, and insights by industry.