In the article, I am going to cover several important questions when it comes to getting a new website such as basic questions you should ask and explaining the different price ranges.
First, we’ll cover the basic questions of your new website. Here’s a list of questions you should always ask:
- Will I ever own my website?
- How do changes work? Do I have to make them or pay you to make them?
- Will it be responsive across all devices? (Desktop, Laptop, Tablet & Cell Phones)
- Will it be in a CMS system such as WordPress?
- Will you be creating my website from scratch or buying a template?
- Will SEO be included?
- Can you briefly explain what SEO work will be done on and off my website?
- When will my site be completed?
Now that I have a basic list of questions laid out, I’ll touch on each of the points briefly.
Will I ever own my website?
If you’re purchasing a website, you should always own it after it’s paid for. Normally, after your contract is up, any changes you may have will not be covered and you will be paying an hourly rate or flat fee to make the changes you want. Some companies give you a website for a few hundred a month, but at the end of the contract, they take the site down because you were just “renting” it. Make sure you own your website after it’s paid for.
How do changes work?
With most companies, you pay a monthly fee and that will cover changes until the monthly payments stop. After that, you’ll pay a hourly fee or flat fee for changes. If your website is made with a CMS, such as WordPress, it makes it easier for you to maintain it after it’s yours. If you’re paying for it all at once and will have to maintain it after, WordPress is normally the way to go. Keep in mind, however, that most WordPress sites are just a purchased template and images/text thrown together. While this can look okay sometimes, keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
Will it be responsive across all devices?
Whenever you get a new website these days, it absolutely needs to be responsive. With Google taking into effect if your website is responsive, there is no reason it shouldn’t be. In this day and age, everyone has their phone within a hands reach most of the day. They use their phones to search online for things they need, and if they happen to find your website, it can be the difference between getting a call from them or not.
Will it be in a CMS system such as WordPress?
Like the point above, if your website is built using WordPress or another CMS system, most companies will be purchasing a theme which takes out 95% of the coding. All they do is purchase the theme, upload it and then install it. Once it’s installed, they will add pages, pictures and written content. You’ll have to find out who is providing the pictures and content because some companies rely on you. The plugins vary, but they’ll normally install Yoast SEO and a few other plugins depending on what you need.
Will you be creating my website from scratch or buying a template?
If they are buying a template, that takes 80% of the work away. If they’re building you a WordPress website with a purchased theme, you could do most of it if you had enough time. If they are going to purchase a WordPress theme, I wouldn’t bother. You should be getting a custom built website that reflects your business. Any good developer can see if a website was built from a template or not. You shouldn’t pay thousands of dollars on a website that has the design of thousands of other websites.
Will SEO be included?
If Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t included, why are you buying a website? There’s no reason to spend $100 or $10,000 on a billboard in the middle of the desert, so why would you spend money on a website that people won’t be found? Without SEO, your website will never organically be in front of potential customers who are in front of their internet capable device searching for a service that you offer! This should always be a yes. If it costs extra, ask why? A website should always be built optimized for user experience and search engines.
Can you briefly explain what SEO work will be done on and off my website?
You don’t need specific answers when you ask, you just want to make sure they don’t say “umm” or “I’m not sure”. They should mention meta tags, proper headings (h1’s), tagging images for things on your site. For off your site, if they mention link building, make sure you ask how. If they say anything about a program, building profile links, outsourcing, run. Google is smart and sooner or later you’ll be hit with a penalty and you’ll be better off changing your domain completely.
When will my site be completed?
For me, a website takes about 2-3 weeks to complete from start to finish, from scratch. Add an extra week if it’s in WordPress. If it takes them more than a month, ask them why? If they are using a purchased theme, it should take a two weeks tops unless they’re golfing every other day with your money.
Website Pricing Levels
Basic – Up to $2500
For a basic website with minimal SEO, expect to spend up to $2500 for a decent looking website. Normally, these don’t have many pages or any custom functionality. This is a price range for when a company purchases a theme and swaps out information. With a basic website, you’ll end up buying a new one year after year wondering why it’s not bringing in new customers.
Standard – Up to $5000
A standard website comes with decent SEO focused around your primary area, looks nice and has a decent conversion rate. This will almost always come with responsiveness and will last you for 2-5 years, depending on how current the code it was built on. It was built on outdated code, it will be out of date faster. Most companies pay between $3500 and $5000, which if it lasts you 5 years, you can break the cost down to each year to about $1000 a year as an investment. 2-3 decent jobs a year generated from this site over the course of 5 years will easily cover the cost of the website.
Advanced – Up to $10,000
For a typical residential painter that doesn’t need any sort of custom functionality, this will be a top of the line website that was custom created for your business that is responsive across all devices. It’ll be pixel perfect, using the latest up-to-date code and should provide an excellent conversion rate, depending on your area and industry. Like the standard, this level of website will last 5 years or more.
Your website is an investment
Your website is an investment, so try not to think of it as a cost. A professionally built website that is driving new customers to your business will pay you, not cost you. If you receive 3, 5 or 10 new customers each month from your website (that you wouldn’t have generated otherwise), it’ll generate more money for your business and cover its costs.
However, I know there are a lot of residential painters out there that don’t have $2,500 to spend on a website, let alone $5,000 or $10,000. There is another option however; pay per lead. You can learn more about pay per lead from a different blog post I created here.
While the price, quality and amount of time a website can take to build can vary significantly from company to company, the end goal of your website should remain the same: make your business look professional while generating new customers.
What additional questions do you ask when starting a new website?