What Does a Small Business Website Cost?

Website Pricing Guidelines and Website Design Costs

Grow Your Local Business with Internet Marketing

What Does a Small Business Website Really Cost?

If you are a small business owner in need of a new or updated website, one of the first questions on your mind is probably:

How much will it cost me to get a new website?

From a business owner’s point of view, this seems like a simple question that should be easy to answer.

From the website designer’s and website developer’s point of view, it is a complex question that cannot be answered straightaway without some preliminary information gathering. (You may be wondering whether a website designer and a website developer are one and the same thing. They are not — but that is the subject for another future article.)

Buying a Website Can be Compared to Buying a House or a Car

If you have ever bought a house or a car, you know that your final purchase price is determined by a host of variables.

Housing Cost Factors and Variables

When buying a home, your purchase price will be determined by factors such as:

  • Location: Is your home centrally located, close to quality schools and shopping? Or will you need to commute an hour each way to work every day?
  • Size: Total number of rooms, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, total square footage, etc.
  • Age: Is it a new home or an older home that will need costly renovations and repair?
  • Acreage: What size is the lot on which the home sits?
  • Taxes: What real estate taxes apply to this home and how much will they increase your monthly mortgage payment?
  • Neighborhood: Does the home belong to a neighborhood that has covenants, restrictions, and home owners’ association fees?

All other things being equal, identical homes can vary in price by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars depending on where they are located, the size of the lot they sit on, and other pricing factors.

Car Cost Variables

Likewise, when buying a car, your purchase is determined by variables such as:

    • Car Make and Model
    • Age of Car
    • Mileage
    • Additional Accessories (leather seats, premium sound systems, power steering, premium wheels and hubcaps, etc.)

OK, I Get That: But What Should I Expect to Pay for My Website?

As a general guideline, you should expect an expert website designer and developer to devote a minimum of 40 hours to the website design and development process.

Website design and development tasks include:

      1. Preliminary consultation: Meeting in person or over the phone with the business owner to gain a proper understanding of his or her business and business goals, as well as his or her design vision for their website.
      2. Initial website design: creative envisioning and incorporating the essential graphic elements in a visually pleasing layout that effectively communicates your business message. Effective design will guide and persuade website visitors to take one or more desired actions that will grow your business. Those “calls to action” could include invitations to call you, visit you, schedule an appointment, request a quote, or purchase products or services online using online order forms.
      3. Design refinement: Reviewing the initial design concept with the client, revising design according to client requests, advising and educating client if desired design changes are ill-advised and why.
      4. Keyword research and consultation: Identify top-level keywords and keyword phrases that are relevant to your business, have high search demand and are necessary for search engine optimization to ensure your website gets found online by your best prospects and customers.
      5. Web Content Development: Ideally, clients provide ready-made content that is properly written for online viewing. Website content should be structured in small chunks of 5-6 lines per paragraph for easy scanning. Website content also should incorporate the relevant keyword or keyword phrase in the page title, in the first paragraph, in the last paragraph, and link to other related or supporting pages within your website. In actual practice, it is a rare client that provides ready-to-go content that does not require some degree of professional copywriting and / or copy editing.
      6. Image Editing: All images or photographs should be edited so they load fast (website visitors are impatient and hate to be kept waiting while large image files load). They also should be properly identified through “meta tags” (image names, image titles, image descriptions, image captions) that tell search engines what the image or photo means and how it relates to your business. It also takes time to upload images into your website and test to make sure they look right and that related text is placed correctly relevant to that image — i.e., does the text wrap correctly to the left or the right or beneath the image? Does there need to be more white space or margin between the image and surrounding text?
      7. Add-On Features, Bells and Whistles: Many clients want at least a few add-on features to enhance their website functionality. Such features could include customized contact or request quote forms, image or photo galleries, web video, ecommerce functions (paypal buttons or full-fledge online stores), social media integration (Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and RSS feed hotlinks, social sharing buttons allowing visitors to share or email page links to other people, etc.)
      8. Under-the-Hood tasks: Tasks that few small business owners understand but are also essential include creating and submitting site maps to search engines, installing anti-virus and anti-spam tools to keep your website secure, checking to make sure your website looks right in all popular browsers (different versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari); setting up Google Analytics to measure traffic to your website, etc.
      9. Search Engine Optimization: Optimizing website content for search engine visibility and indexing to make sure that your website is getting found by your best prospects. This includes adding your business name, address, phone number and relevant keywords and keyword phrases in search-engine-readable and consistent standardized format to every page of your website. It also includes adding relevant, unique titles and page descriptions to every page, and building external links pointing back to your website from at least 5-6 external “authority websites” like Google Places, YellowPages.com, SuperPages.com, Merchant Circle, Yelp, InsiderPages, and more.

This is a high-level overview, and by no means exhaustive, list of the tasks a professional, qualified website designer and developer will perform for small business clients.

Hopefully, it will give you a better understanding of the time required to create and deliver a well-built, properly optimized website for your small business.

So What Is The Bottom Line? What is A Reasonable Price to Pay for a Small Business Website Costs?

The fairest website pricing model from the website designer/developer point of view would be to charge by the hour, because it is hard to predict how long any one website project will take. A fixed-price quote can result in a net rate of pay of $10 an hour or less, which is not a sustainable rate of pay for professional assistance and expertise.

Some small business owners are easy to please and approve designs quickly with few or no revisions; other small business owners may require two, three, or even dozens of design revisions before they are satisfied.

However, few small business owners are willing to commit to an open-ended website price based on the number of hours a designer spends on their website project. Most designers will, therefore, agree to a fixed price with specific limitations on the number of revisions that will be included for that fixed price.

In the American marketplace, professional website designers and developers typically charge between $60 – $120 per hour for their time and expertise. Using that figure as a guideline, you should expect to pay somewhere between $2,400 and $4,800 for a basic 8-10 -page small business website if quality design and workmanship are important to you, and you want a customized design and a few custom add-on features.

Wow! That’s a Whole Lot More Than I Want to Pay for a Website!

If you think about it, a $60-$120 hourly rate is pretty common and standard for a wide variety of personal and professional service providers: hair dressers, massage therapists, personal trainers, accountants, lawyers, plumbers, electricians, copywriters, graphic designers, and other professionals typically charge fees in this range, and even higher.

To put these rates into a livable wage perspective: At $60 per hour, the professional will only keep about $40 per hour after paying federal and state taxes. There are also costs of doing business that reduce their net pay — investments in computer equipment, software, professional training and tools, and more.

Assuming the individual’s productive work hours are about 30 hours per week (discounting time spent in client meetings and consultations, professional development activities, and more) then at a net $30 per hour, your website designer or developer is only earning about $900 per week, or $43,200 per year for a 48-week work year.

Even at $120 per hour, your website designer or developer will only be earning a net $86,400 per year after paying taxes and typical business expenses. This income level does not support a lavish lifestyle in our American economy by any means.

I Really Can’t Justify That Cost So I’ll Build My Website Myself

Some business owners decide to build their own websites using cheap or free website building services to save costs on website design and get the web presence they need. This is a mistake for the following reasons:

  1. If you want to be perceived as a professional business, you need to invest in professional design.
  2. Do you build your own house, do your own plumbing, or do your own car maintenance to save money? Most people hire professionals to do these and similar jobs for safety reasons and peace of mind. Website development is no different. Your website presents your professional face to the world of online consumers and prospects; the first impression you make will be a lasting impression. If your website is not designed to impress your prospects the minute they arrive, and guide them towards an action that will lead to a purchase, your time and money are wasted.

    As a business owner, your time is better spent managing your business than spending time working within limited free or cheap website design services to create a web presence that will market your business professionally.

  3. Websites built on free or cheap services usually don’t get found by your target marketplace.

Google search results for Lee Highway Nursery, Warrenton, Virginia

Page 1 Local Search Results: Essential for Local Businesses

Very few self-built websites will ever get found online by your best prospects and customers. It’s unlikely you know what you need to do to optimize your website properly for best search engine results.

If your best prospects and customers can’t find you by typing logical search phrases into their computers or mobile phones, you may as well not have a website at all.

Request a Website Quote

If you would like to discuss your small business website requirements and request a website quote, please Click Here to Contact Us

Three Mobile Marketing Solutions for Fauquier VA Businesses

Mobile marketing is a catch phrase that you hear a lot these days.

Mobile Marketing Solutions Fauquier VA

20% of mobile phone users -- 50 million people -- own smart phones

If you own a business in Fauquier County, Virginia, you may be wondering how, exactly, mobile marketing can help you grow your business and reach and connect with your best prospects and customers.

Three Reasons Why Mobile Marketing Matters to Your Business

  1. Almost everyone over the age of 13 in the U.S. has a mobile phone.
  2. Twenty percent of mobile phone owners — 50 million people! —- have “smart phones” that can access the Internet and email.
  3. The number of mobile phone owners is increasing by 20 percent every month.

Three Mobile Marketing Solutions for Fauquier VA Businesses

Mobile Text Messages

Mobile text messaging is one of the easiest, most affordable ways to contact and follow up with your prospects and customers.

smart phone text message

Reach Customers and Prospects Instantly With Text Message Promotions

You can post a sign or include an invitation in your print ads inviting your best customers and prospects to text their name and email address to a special phone number to receive VIP savings offers, coupons, and announcements.

Then you can set up your mobile phone marketing system to send out text message specials and invitations whenever business is slow, or at predetermined times each week or each month.

Most people check their text messages right away, so appealing money-saving offers and time-limited promotions sent via text message can be very effective in boosting sales fast.

Voice Mail Messaging

Voice mail messaging is another great way to reach and connect with customers, prospects and other people who matter most to your business.

Similar to text message campaigns, you can set up a voice mail messaging system to send a customized voice mail greeting, invitation or announcement to clients and prospects who agree to receive voice mail invitations and promotions from your business.

You can send a one-time message thanking recipients for subscribing to your text message service and reminding them to check their text message for a special offer you just sent out. Or, you can send a monthly or weekly voice mail message with reminders about upcoming business events, time-limited offers or invitations to check your website for current news and specials.

Mobile Websites

Mobile websites from Herbst Marketing Fauquier VA

Mobile websites make it easy for customers to contact you fast with the click of a button

Mobile websites make it easy for your clients and prospects to contact you fast via their cell phone with the click of a button.

Dynamic QR codes are one of the easiest ways to create and manage a mobile website for your business you can print your custom QR code on your business cards, brochures, fliers, print ads, and even your car. People can then scan the QR Code and be taken instantly to:

    • Your website
    • A button they can click to call you
    • An email message form
    • A map to your business
    • Your Facebook or LinkedIn pages
    • A special landing page to sign up for your email newsletter or special offers
    • A coupon code
    • and much more.

Get Your Personal Demonstration of Mobile Marketing Systems

Want to know more? Call or email me today to request a personal demonstration. I will be happy to show you how automated text message systems, voice mail systems, and mobile websites can work for your business, and how easy and affordable they are to set up and manage.


You Might Also Like:

How to Capture More Leads With Less Effort

How Consumers Use Smartphones: What Every Local Business Owner Needs to Know and Understand

37 Ways to Make Money with QR Codes

Websites That Work: Success Tips for Local Business Owners

How to Capture More Leads With Less Effort: Website Tips for Small Business Owners

Capture More Leads Online With Special Offers and Lead Capture Forms

Offering a free sample of your product or service to first-time website visitors is a time-tested, proven way to grow your business fast.

Everyone loves to receive free gifts. When you offer free gifts available only through your website — and require website visitors to provide their name and email address to receive those gifts — you develop an email list that is worth its weight in gold.

A highly-targeted email list also increases the inherent value of your business, if you ever decide to sell your business in the future.

Did You Know?

On average, email marketing delivers a $50 return for every dollar you spend on email promotional campaigns.

When people sign up to receive your special offers, you can follow up with more enticing offers and invitations to come back to your business again and again.

An email opt-in form that is prominently displayed on every page of your website with an invitation to sign up to receive a special gift will help you build a targeted list of prospects who are likely to buy more of what you have to sell.

Regular email messages and promotions sent to your highly-targeted list of prospects can quickly turn one-time visitors into repeat customers who can be prompted to refer more business your way as well.

Examples of Effective One-Time Offers

If you own a restaurant and offer one free dessert with the purchase of two entrees, this will likely lead to the sale of at least one more dessert as well. If your coupon prompts a visit from a family of four, then you will likely sell two additional meals and as many as three additional desserts as well.

Free Offers Can Work For Any Kind of Business

No matter what kind of business you own, chances are you can think of something you can give away for free in a way that will lead to at least one sale, and potential repeat sales. Here are some ideas to get you going:
Free Consultations

  • Free hair color consultation
  • Free inspection
  • Free skin type analysis
  • Free wardrobe analysis
  • Free first-time coaching session
  • Free first-time tutoring session
  • Free business card design consultation

Free Giveaway With Purchase

  • Free topping with any ice cream sundae
  • Free topping with any large pizza
  • Two free drinks with purchase of two entrees
  • Free haircut with purchase of coloring or other chemical treatment
  • Free facial with purchase of massage
  • Free makeup brush with purchase of skin care and cosmetics package
  • Free tote with purchase of $50 worth of product
  • Free tire rotation for one year with purchase of four tires
  • Free dessert on your birthday

VIP Discounts
Offer exclusive subscriber-only discounts to get more people to sign up or your email list.

  • $10 off your next service when you review our company on Yelp
  • $5 off your next purchase when you like us on Facebook
  • 10% VIP discount on all purchases when you sign up for our email list

Get Creative

There is no limit to the creative offers you can develop to appeal to your target market and grow your list of highly-qualified prospects.

Need Help? Call Today!

Sometimes we all need a creative jump start to help us set up a website that works and craft the kinds of offers that will grow our business fast.

If you would like expert help or coaching, call me direct:

540-937-7234

or Email me here

Warrenton VA Website Design: How to Attract More Qualified Prospects Online

If you are a local business owner, chances are you could use more leads to keep your business growing and thriving.

If you could get 10 or more additional calls or visits each week from people who are actively shopping for your products and services, would that make a positive difference in your bottom line?

How to Generate More Leads With Less Work With Local Search Marketing

One of the best and fastest ways to attract more highly-targeted and qualified leads for your business is to make sure you have claimed, verified and optimized your Google Business Listing and listed your business in as many other local business directories and review sites as possible.

As you can see from the pie chart on the left (click the chart for a larger view), you need to include at least 17 different elements for a complete local business directory listing.

Know the Top Local Search Ranking Factors Before You Start

While you can create and submit your local business listings yourself, this task is not as simple or straightforward as you might imagine. Before getting started, you should read and understand how to apply these local search ranking factors.

How Much Time Does It Take to Create and Submit an Effective Lead-Generating Local Business Listing?

An effective lead-generating local business listing starts with keyword research. You will want to spend some time researching which business categories are the best choices for your business. Here for example, is Google’s list of official business categories.

Whenever possible, you should list your business using at least one of the “official” business categories used by each directory. If your business does not fit neatly into any of the listed categories, choose the category that best fits your business.

Every directory has its own set of business categories. Unfortunately, there is no standard list of business categories that is used by every local business directory, so you must use your best judgment in each instance to decide where your business best fits within that directory.

Next, you will need to craft a concise, well-written business description that incorporates highly-searched keywords and keyword phrases. You can use Google’s Keyword Research Tool to research and identify keywords and keyword phrases that are most likely to generate search traffic for your website.

Your business description should include a call-to-action that will motivate online visitors to call or email you right away to get something valuable, such as a time-limited coupon or special offer.

Realistically, you should budget 10-20 hours to do the preliminary keyword research and then create and submit a properly constructed lead-generating local business listing to the top local business directories.

This Sounds Awfully Complicated: Is It Really Worthwhile?

Once your complete, well-crafted business information is listed everywhere it needs to be online, you can expect a high return on your investment. Local online business listings can get found by hundreds — even thousands — of people every month who are searching for businesses just like yours. When you make it easy for them to find and contact you online, you can expect to generate many more highly-targeted leads, with little or no additional effort.

I Don’t Want To Do This Myself: Can You Do It For Me?

If you do not want to take the time to learn how to create and submit effective local business listings yourself, Herbst Marketing can do it for you.

Get Started: Call 540-729-4076 Today

Or Send Us an Email

We can get your business listed everywhere it needs to be listed online. Pricing depends on the number of directories in which you are listed. We will need to talk with you first and get a better understanding of your business in order to identify the best business directory listings for you.