Exploring Your Options
The question above is one that nearly every business owner will ask numerous times. So let’s talk about your options and what will work best for your business – and your budget.
What Does Your Business Really Need?
If your business is a start-up, launching with little-to-no capital, and focusing on good old-fashioned hard work, then you probably aren’t going to be jumping into a six-figure, custom website from the start. Instead, you need to do what is right for you at this stage of the game.
On the other hand, if you have a seasoned, successful business that needs a website that has as much credibility as the business itself, it’s most likely the right time to invest more into a website. For example, if you secured the perfect location for your business in a trendy new shopping plaza with marble tiles and crown molding, would you hire your cousin, the “not-so-handyman,” to do all of the carpentry and woodwork needed to finish the build-out? Probably not.
What Are My Options?
1. Do-It-Yourself Website Builders
If you spend any time watching TV or run a Google search for “website design,” you will find thousands of “do-it-yourself” website builders. This is usually where most businesses get their start, and if you’ve ever built one of these websites, you’ll know why you never want to do it again. They pull you in with a “free” website, or one for just $99, but once you actually get in there and want to add any cool functionalities or options, the add-ons start. Just $7 per month for this option, $12 per month for that one, and before you know it, with hosting, security, and maintenance, you are spending much more than you anticipated and it doesn’t look the way you envisioned.
2. The One-Man Shop Web Designer
In the web design field, there is a very low cost of entry to start your own “web design” firm, so chances are you have a friend, cousin, or nephew who “builds websites.” Typically these designers will take a pre-existing website template and customize it for your business. This can be a great option for companies looking to spend a few thousand dollars and need a more tailored and professional presence than the “do-it-yourself” site builders. Plus, someone else is doing the work for you.
However, the “one-man shop” may not be able to provide all of the services you’re looking for. There are several factors you need to consider before choosing the “one-man shop,” including whether you need to have content written, if you need additional online marketing services, and who is going to be responsible for hosting and necessary updates.
3. Custom Website from a Boutique Agency
Boutique agencies serve the majority of businesses in the U.S. They tend to have anywhere from five to 25 employees and almost always have an actual office space that you can visit. They will have in-house designers and developers on staff, and are able to offer you a variety of services with lots of creativity.
This type of professionalism comes with a price though, typically costing $5,000 and up for a custom website. Boutique agencies are usually hassle-free for business owners, as they have processes and timeframes so you can know exactly what to expect when you work with them.
4. The Insanely Custom Website Design Agency
If your business is at a place where you can afford an agency like this, you are probably reading this from your top floor, spacious executive office with a view. If you can dream it, these agencies can do it. There is nothing that they cannot do, and with those kinds of promises come large price tags, usually $50,000 and up. Insanely custom websites from agencies like this will often include back-end software integration and functionality that a standard website developer could not do.
Making the Right Choice
With so many different options out there, it is tough to know what is right for your business. The bottom line is this: when you spend money on your digital marketing strategy, you are making an investment in the future of your business. Try not to think about your website design cost as a sunk cost, but more as an investment, that if done correctly can bring large dividends back to your business— and your bank account. Make sure you have a strategy that can be considered “investment worthy” and enjoy seeing the fruits of your labor in years to come.
Scott Brazdo, MBA, is the CEO and co-founder of Black Tie Digital Marketing, which combines the power of ten traditional marketing vendors into one agency. Find out more at BlackTieDigital.com