How Much Does a Web site Cost? Web Design Pricing.

The Brochure Web Site

by Dave Curtis on 10/06/2010

in Small Business SEO

The Brochure Web Site.

Many small business owners feel that a picture perfect web site lending just the appearance of doing well will build confidence amongst potential customers. They haven’t budgeted seriously enough for a killer site that will bring them in way more money then they paid for it. “Getting a clearer sense of what you need the Web site to do will go a long way toward zeroing in on a true cost. Still, Schwab (Curt Schwab, in Fortune Small Business) says, ‘you are going to be hard-pressed to find a reputable firm to do a website for less than $5,000 – and that’s even if it’s very straightforward.'” [reference]

So looking at what they want to pay (and not understanding what’s behind the costs of actions, software, backlinks and onpage SEO) at first many small business owners reason that they can get away with an online “informational brochure” web site. They envision something they can add to the bottom of a business card and a flier, a website address they can have listed with the Chamber of Commerce, or a web address they can add to small newspaper ads so readers will come to their online brochure full of pretty graphics and photos and a map to get them into the store. The whole purpose of having a site though is to build more business – the site will build it for them, that’s what killer web sites do. The way it works is just like opening a brick and mortar store at a busy intersection with plenty of traffic. Even without an ad in the paper, without a dime in advertising, without even a Yellow Pages ad you can open your doors and have hundreds of people come into your store who were never there before, simply because of location.

The opposite is also true. For a very small rent you can get a store where no cars go by, out of the way, hidden from view from all the traffic just several blocks away. So for a few to several hundred bucks they get what they reason will be a good introductory web site that will serve them nobly until their business starts to boom. Only just like that business tucked away out of view where nobody drives by, the web site will not help them, it won’t make them very much money at all, and they’ll be scraping for customers while spending their reserve capital to keep the utilities paid. Over time any serious investment money they may have had has gone toward more rainy days than they bargained for, and upgrading to a real juggernaut of a money making web site is now beyond their means. It’s too late.

The webmaster they approach to do the cheap job (or who knocks on the door trying to pick up the work), whether it be a friend, a relative, a high-school kid or someone local who is known to build good cheap web sites understands graphics and how to make a pretty site.

For a few to several hundred dollars the webmaster who does know about optimization will design the site in as little time as possible in the most search engine friendly way under the severe budget and time constraints that go along with it. The webmaster who only imagines that he knows anything about optimization will do his best to stuff the right keywords into the meta tags section of the site, over-cram keywords into the page (or not use any keywords at all, but instead put in exactly what you tell him to put in “Hi, my name is Bob and I was born in bla bla bla, lived all my life in bla bla bla and graduated from bla bla bla high school – won’t you come shopping with me because you’re from bla bla bla too and we stick together”. Search engines love that. It really tells them what your site is selling in big fat clear terms. It’s about bla bla bla. Don’t forget to put a big picture of your store on the page. Search engines really love trying to figure out what that is.

The reasons why things are “wrong” aren’t obvious to either the site owner or the webmaster inexperienced and unknowledgeable of what SEO is all about. After all, ignorance of the inclusion of things like Latent Semantic Indexing or Latent Dirichlet Allocation in Google’s algorithm is not the kind of thing any normal person not into professional search engine optimization should be expected to be aware of, nor are any of the more than 200 other variables in Google’s search engine algorithm.

Dozens of changes occur in search engine algorithms every year, and what was valid two or three years ago may not be valid today. Business owners who are having a site built as a brochure site might do well to consider their dependence on print media (business cards, fliers, newspaper ads and even billboards) as a way to get a site viewed in order to convince people to come and do business with them. Print media of any sort is expensive.

Web site rendered on an Android Smart Phone

Web site rendered on an Android Smart Phone

According to NPR 96% of young adults own web access capable cell phones

(Listen to the NPR report below)

(Download audio here)

So people old and young are increasingly visiting an area or passing through and doing a quick online search from their mobile devices – if your site isn’t showing up they can’t visit you because they don’t know you’re there. If your site shows up they can’t read it because it wasn’t built to render right in a mobile device. Same thing. You lose. 96% of young adults own cellphones.

Properly displayed text portion of the same site on an Android Smart Phone

Properly displayed text portion of the same site on an Android Smart Phone

Computer users use the internet almost exclusively to find businesses in their area serving what they want.

Whether it be a Lutz plant nursery, (Wayne Hudson’s “Let’s Grow Plants”) or organic skincare products brooksville (Trish Sprinstead’s ESP Botanicals web site), the Hernando airport business directory. And finally, let’s not leave out  Cathy Merco’s “Great Stuff” in Florida (www.toomuchgreatstuff.com) shown in the Android Smart Phone photos above – a site competing against over 14 million other pages in Florida using the words “Great Stuff”. … or any of a billion other pages and web sites somewhere (most of them hopelessly lost) on the internet all scrambling over a few key terms and phrases – built for a couple of hundred bucks, and never, ever showing their faces on page one in Google for what’s really important: Increased Income.

Invest wisely. When you want a small budget site built, expect to pay at least a three or four thousand dollars to get it started well and a few more for proper optimized. Professional level optimization is extremely involved but the end result is more money in your pocket – and isn’t that what wise investments do?

Working SEO – Office: 917-521-4798, Cell: 813-308-8614

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