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Why You Need to Treat Your Website as an Investment Rather Than a Cost

A common refrain heard by anyone who designs and builds websites for a living is: “But I can build my own website for free or for a lot less money than that.”

We tend to hear something similar to this right around the time that we start talking about price.

For example, clients often say they envision an amazing looking site that can perform A, B, C, D and E and they have a set budget. Let’s say $5,000.

The problem occurs when the website the client is envisioning that can do A, B, C, D and E would cost at least $15,000. In these cases, I tell clients that we can build them a great looking site that does A, B, C and D for about $7,500 or a nice looking site that does A, B and C for $5,000.

And then it comes.

The client will then say something along the lines of: “I can build a site for free or maybe for about $500 with a consultant using that site building service that I see everywhere online.”

To those clients and to every other business person who is thinking about making their own DIY website (with or without the help of a consultant), I say: go for it.

You absolutely should run your business as intelligently as possible and if you can build a site using a DIY site-builder with a consultant for $500 and you believe this site would provide your business with enough conversions to be profitable, then you should do it that way.

But it's important to understand that a website, is not a great website. It's also important to understand that like everything in life, you get what you pay for. If I need to go to Los Angeles, I can walk there without paying for a ticket, or I can spend a few hundred dollars and fly. Both options will get me there, but obviously the second option would be better. This applies to anything, and websites are the same. It’s just that with websites, it is sometimes not that obvious.

Your Audience Should Dictate How Much You’re Willing to Spend

audience

It is true that you can go to Craigslist and find someone making websites for $500. Most will get you a functioning website, and it might even look good, too. But, what if a better website doubled your conversions? What if a better website was a big factor in whether your business would be successful or not?

How much would you value that?

A mediocre site with iffy functionality might save you money up front, but it could end up costing you thousands of dollars in lost conversions. Conversely, a site that looks and functions superbly will cost you more up front, but you can potentially recoup that cost quickly with increased conversions.

Regardless of what you’re selling, you need to have a website that looks good enough to instill trust in people and that also has a smooth checkout. If you’re selling cheaper products or generic services, you can get away with having a decent looking site with ho-hum functionality.

But, the more upscale your product or service, the more upscale your website needs to look.

If you go to the Walmart website you'll see sales stickers, prices prominently displayed, and a lot of products. If you go to the Apple site, you see high-end photography for just a few products. The price is secondary on the Apple site because they focus on style and functionality rather than on giving you the lowest price.

They’re two different approaches to websites that feature two different sales tactics and they both work well. People shopping on the Walmart site are looking for the lowest possible price on already inexpensive products while people shopping on the Apple site are more focused on the style and functionality of the products.

So, when you’re trying to decide how much you’re willing to spend on a site, think about who you’re building the site for and what will drive more conversions for you. A DIY website made from a template might work for you and I absolutely encourage you to build one for free if you legitimately think that’s the case.

But, if you are going for a more upscale clientele, you’ll need a site that a DIY template just isn’t going to be able to give you.

Like any work tool, a website is an investment that turns cash positive as soon as it pays for itself. If a $500 website takes six months to pay for itself while a $15,000 website takes a year to pay for itself, which one is the better investment? Your website is your presentation online. It’s what gives your potential clients their first impression of you. It’s worth it to make it a good one.

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