With the way the world is moving increasingly online, businesses have had to follow suit. Successful business leaders already know that their companies are at a massive disadvantage if they don’t have a website. According to recent statistics, a whopping 97% of new customers discover businesses online.
Of course, it’s not enough to just have any website. A successful, modern website should be easy to use, gorgeous to look at, and great at introducing your company to the world. But how can the average small or medium-sized business create a budget that ensures a spectacular web presence? Without a well-designed and realistic budget, it’s easy to overspend on your website, which can strain your finances.
A Website Budget Begins with Clear Goals
Before you build your site, there are two things to narrow down. Like any business venture, it’s important to understand what you want to achieve with your site. It helps to identify your goals by asking yourself two questions. First, what is the purpose of your website, and second, what is your top priority? Some common website goals are:
- Selling products or services online
- Generating leads
- Increasing brand awareness
- Educating customers or employees
- Improving customer service
It might be tempting to prioritize everything at once, but then your site can overwhelm visitors with too much information and conflicting calls to action. That’s why it’s smart to narrow your focus and start with the top priority, which will help you determine your budget.
For example, if your aim is to grow your sales, then your site should have a robust eCommerce platform that can handle large transactions. If generating leads is your top priority, then you must guarantee your site has a strong call-to-action and a form that captures lead information.
Identify Essential Site Features and Functionality
If deciding your goals and priorities is the “why” behind your plans to build a website, then this next step is the “how.” Decide how to accomplish your aims by getting specific about the features and functionality your site will require.
It’s easy to get carried away with all of the possibilities for your new website, so it’s helpful to have your goals and priorities in mind as you make these decisions.
Some features are essential for all websites, like contact forms and search functions. Others are less essential but may still be vital for your particular site. For example, if you’re selling products online, you’ll need a shopping cart and payment processing. If you’re a service-based business, you might need online scheduling or appointment requests.
A Website Budget Should Include Design and Aesthetics
The factor that matters most when creating a website budget is the site’s design. It should be professional, appealing, and easy to navigate for users from all sorts of backgrounds. A simple and clean design is often best for small and medium-sized businesses.
Website design can be divided into two main categories: visual appeal and functionality. The visual appeal includes the overall layout, color palette, font choices, and images.
Functionality encompasses how easy it is to use the site, how well it works on different devices, and whether or not the site is accessible to people with disabilities.
There are ways you can save some money on your design, such as using a free or low-cost web template, hiring a freelance web designer, or even using a do-it-yourself website builder. How much you allocate to design in your budget depends entirely on personal preference.
For example, if you have your own pictures for your site, you can get away with spending less on design. If you have a particular idea of what you want your site to look like, be prepared to spend a bit more money.
Consider How Content Impacts Your Website Budget
When determining how much money to budget for your website, the type and amount of content you intend to post is a substantial contributing factor. If you have more pages on your site, it will take more time to design and develop each page.
In addition, if you plan to have a blog or other forms of content that need to be regularly updated, this will also require additional resources. For example, video content is popular, and if you want video content on your website, you will have to allow for the cost of cameras, sound equipment, and editing software.
The price of these items can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the quality you’re looking for. You can get by with a much lower budget if you’re just looking for text and images because a good laptop and some basic editing software will do the trick.
Of course, if you want to hire someone to help with content creation, that will add to the cost. Therefore, it is important to sit down and map out all the content you want on your site before even thinking about the budget.
Now let’s take a look at some fees you might not plan for.
Don’t Forget the Details
Once you’ve set aside the appropriate funds for the big things, don’t neglect all the small, hidden fees that can cost up and create havoc with your bottom line. Some hidden costs to think about when building your website are:
- Domain Name
- Consulting Fees
- Training Fees
- Extras: SSL Certificate, Google Apps, Project Management Systems
Make sure to do your research and add the cost of these hidden fees to the website budget for your business.
A Website Budget Within Reach
One way to help create a realistic budget is by working with experts who have been around the block a few times and know what your business truly needs—and what it doesn’t. The pros behind Buddy Web Design and Development have expertise in all aspects of website creation and will be able to give you an accurate estimate of the costs associated with your project. Get in touch with us here and we’ll help you prep a realistic website budget to achieve your business goals.