This article looks at the factors that should be included in the investment of your website design. With services ranging from search engine optimization (SEO) to additional website security, purchasing a website is more than just focusing on the website design elements.
If you are running a business you probably look at every cost and say, how much should I really be spending on this. When it comes to website design, there are many cheap and affordable options. You can even build a website on your own for free! This is an option that many entrepreneurs and small businesses starting out end up deciding to do, but what they don’t realize is that their website should be an investment in the growth of your business. With that in mind, you may be now asking yourself ‘well then, how much should I pay for your website?’. The short answer is… it depends.
Much like buying a car, there are many factors that go into a purchase and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all option. Whether you need an SUV to bring your kids to soccer practice or you just want the cheapest option to bring you from point A to B, you can find what you are looking for in your price range. When it comes to your website and your company’s online presence there also isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
Some factors that increase the cost of your website design include:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Hosting and Maintenance
- Dashboards and Analytics
- Advanced security protection
- Live and AI chatbots
- Email Hosting
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, is by far the most expensive additional web service add-on in the above list. However, it is also possibly the highest return on investment (ROI) that a business can make for their bottom line from their website.
The goal of SEO is to move your company up in the Google Rankings in order to help increase the amount of high-quality web traffic that visits your website. Roughly 70% of the clicks for a Google search go to the top five organic search results. If you aren’t in those top five, not only are you missing out on potential customers, but they are going to your competitors instead. To add to that if you aren’t on the first page at all the probability of high-quality leads finding your site organically plummets. Just ask yourself, how often have you gone to the second page of a Google search result?
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Having a company host your website can make the world of difference in ensuring that your site is always up and runs at blazing fast speeds. Google actually uses the speed and load time of your website as one of the factors when ranking your website in search results. Therefore, having a fast website on a dedicated server can help increase web traffic and ensure that your website is always online for your customers.
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The job of your website development team shouldn’t be done after the website goes live. Your website should be consistently monitored to make sure that everything is still in working order and that all the features are up-to-date and current.
Having a maintenance plan also allows you to make basic changes to your content after you have brought the site live. Typically, most content changes are covered in a maintenance package but any bigger changes (i.e. new page or feature) may come at an additional cost to the business. Even in those cases, it will still be much more affordable for the company that originally built your website to make that change than to have a new website development company do a redesign after that fact. Lastly, having your website not up to date by having out-of-date software can leave your website vulnerable to cyberattacks.
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Dashboards and Analytics
Though this typically comes at a higher upfront fee, investing in dashboards and analytics can help you monitor the key performance indicators (KPIs) for your website. Some examples of KPIs include, but aren’t limited to:
- Conversion Rate
- New Users
- Pages / Session
- Session Duration
- Traffic Channel (i.e. organic search, social, etc.)
- Sessions by Device (mobile vs. desktop percentage)
Having a website dashboard that leverages Google Analytics and other reporting tools allows your business to make data-driven decisions to help your business continue to grow.
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Advanced Security Protection
Malicious web traffic continues to be on the rise and protecting your business data and information has increasingly become more important. Most website packages will always include the most basic website security feature, SSL. Secure sockets layer, also known as SSL, is shown on your browser through the lock icon next to the website domain. This basic level of security is something that should be included in every website package and maintenance plan.
Advanced website security does typically come at an additional premium per month but is worth the investment. Advanced threat defense security software is designed to block malicious traffic by providing firewall protection as well as malware scanning tools for your website.
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Cloud Email Hosting
Are you currently using a Gmail account for your website’s business email? If the answer is yes, you are missing out on an excellent and easy company branding tool. Having your email hosted allows your email to have the company’s website domain as the last part of the email. This alone increases the company’s credibility to your customers and can help with boosting your brand identity. Additional cloud email hosting through Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace allows your employees and yourself the ability to access your email anywhere at any time.
Live Chat and AI Chatbots
Adding live chat functionality to your website is one of the best ways to connect with your prospects and help increase sales through customer engagement. Typically, these are set up in one of two ways, either using a real person or having automated AI Chatbots programmed to help answer the most basic user questions before connecting to your customer support. Automated AI Chatbots come at a premium upfront cost to the business but can be an efficient cost-effective way to help answer customer questions quickly.