It is something we get asked all the time and it is akin to asking “How much does a house cost?”. Sure there are ways to determine some kind of median price point, but just like with a house the number of variables that affect the price are almost infinite. You need to ask yourself what “must-haves” you are really willing to invest in and what items are “want-to’s” that would be nice if your budget permits.
In the Reno/Sparks area a house might set you back $50,000 or $3 million. Just as a website from a Reno/Sparks web design agency might cost you $500 or $30,000. Do you want to live in a one bedroom apartment in a less-than-desirable part of town or do you want the sprawling estate in the foothills? Do you want a cookie-cutter template site or a robust custom web application? Plywood or hard wood floors? Iframes or AJAX? I could go on this way all day, but you get the point.
The beautiful (and the frustrating) thing many people fail to understand about the web is it’s flexibility. If you only have a $500 budget there are ways to get a website started for you. However, you need to be realistic about your expectations. You wouldn’t expect a $50,000 house to have marble floors, so don’t expect your $500 website to process online orders.
Your Website Should Cost Nothing
All that being said, a website should not cost you anything. Zip, zilch, nada, nothing. Your website should help you generate revenue or in some way get a return, therefore it is not a cost – it is an asset. If your website costs you money then your web designer or developer has done something wrong.Â Yes, you will be required to invest something up front for this asset. Usually this investment will come in the form of time and/or money. If your website is a money pit with no discernible return on your investment it is time to ditch your designer. If you’re working alone stop trying to do it yourself and seek professional help.
Just like all your assets, your website will require maintenance to maintain and even improve it’s value. So make sure you are taking care of your website and are not neglecting it to the point where it becomes a liability. Once it becomes a liability then it will cost you money to bring it back to the point of being a valuable asset and this is always more expensive than maintaining it’s value.
Just remember, like most things in life, with your website and online marketing you get what you pay for.