How much money should I spend on my new website?
I can’t tell you how many times clients who are looking to launch an online business ask this question. While I am not about to start telling you how to spend your money, there are a few practical things to consider when you are just launching your business… and what will get you the biggest bang for your buck.
Most of the business decisions you make *should* be based on whether or not you will receive at least your investment back plus some. If you spend $100, you want it to bring you back at least $100 in earnings (more if you want to make a profit). Some of the start-up costs associated with launching a business or blog, are a bit harder to quantify your return on investment (ROI). But that doesn’t mean that there can’t be a return!
Determine what kind of site you need.
Notice I said NEED, not want. It is easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of spending money and time on something that has a visual impact, represents you and your brand, and can distract you from sales/marketing. I’ve done it… more times than I’d like to admit.
Knowing what your site will need to function as for your business, is the most important part of determining how much money you should invest on day one.
Here are some general guidelines:
|Site Goal||Investment Range||
|Blog||Share your knowledge and information, no monetization||Free – $100||WordPress.com; Theme from WP.com|
|Monetized Blog||Share your knowledge and make money from your blog through ads, sponsored posts, etc.||Free – $200||WordPress.org; Framework with a Child Theme or Theme template|
|Landing Page||Hang up your shingle so you’re found online, but not generating any type of action from visitors||Free – $300||WordPress.com; WordPress.org; Theme template|
|Online Business||Have a fully functional website where visitors get to know you, can interact with you, and purchase products and services from you||$300 – $1000||Hire a designer within this range; WordPress.org with Theme template|
|Large-scale Multi-functional Business||Many different sites, options, actions people can take, large network already in place, established brand||$3000 – $5000||Hire a designer|
You see that I wouldn’t recommend hiring a website designer or spending a ton of money on a site, for many different new sites/businesses/online presences. The reason being – you will most likely need to rebrand or relaunch or tweak some things about your site, business and brand after the first year of operating. That is when you should be investing in your business at a higher level. Otherwise, you will be investing twice to get the same results.
Where do you start?
Once you know what kind of site you are looking to launch, start with hunting around the internet. Look at as many sites as you possibly can and keep track of the ones that you liked, loathed, or elements of both. Pay close attention to sites within your competitive field (direct and indirect) and check-out the sites that your potential clients hang out at.
What is their general design aesthetic? What colors work/don’t work? How does the landing page impact you? Are you encouraged to stay on the page and learn more?
With that list, you can do your own investigative work to get even more examples by:
- Scrolling to the bottom of the page and seeing who designed the site. Click through and see other examples by that company and if there are more likes/dislikes from their portfolio list.
- Use a coding trick… in Chrome right-click and “Inspect Elements” and then do a control + F, “themes” (no quotes). You can also do this in Firefox using Firebug. What this does is it looks in the code from the website page and brings up every time themes is shown. Followed by “themes” is the name of the framework or template that was used. For example: (themes/headway) à Headway Framework; (themes/elegant/nevo) à Elegant Themes framework using the Nevo theme.
- With this information, you can go to the theme’s site and see how much it would be to purchase it, and review other possible templates to use.
I have a running list of sites that I envy – I admit it, I have site envy often. Every time a new big site launches I am fascinated by all of the bells and whistles and how new, shiny and pretty it is. And then I get depressed… my site isn’t up to that caliber; my site isn’t that pretty; their site is so clean and perfect; I want to redesign NOW!
But that’s not practical, nor would it make an impact on my business. In order to invest in a big overhaul, your business needs to be ready for it. Not only the investment, but the time and scale. You have to have systems in place to be able to handle the increase in traffic, subscribers, expectations, clients, and so on that *should* come when you invest at that level. On day one (or 365), it’s most likely not ready for that.
So focus on what your audience needs to start building a relationship with you on your site, and deliver it to them. Don’t worry about the bells and whistles until your business tells you that it’s time. Until you can breathe easy investing $5000+ on your site, without batting an eyelash. That is when it’s time to go super custom and bring out the big guns.
Until then, there are so many great themes and options out there to help you make an impact.
Need some ideas? Send me a note and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.