by Mary C. Long
There’s a pretty terrible trend that should have died a loud death two years ago, but persists: over-paying for a website you really don’t need. And if you’re in a niche area where budgets are high and tech savvy (comparably) low, like the legal profession, you’re a prime target.
First, a distinction: Internal websites where you interact with colleagues, store knowledge management repositories and other essential, hopefully cloud-based functions is a separate, complex animal – and the price tag is justified.
But external websites, your client-facing persona where your business pitches its services is something else entirely and does NOT require a significant spend.
Let’s break it down.
First, reasons why you might need an expensive website:
The things you don’t need:
But SURELY there are things you’ll miss out on if you “cheap out”, right? Yes! You won’t be able to move your logo a micro-midge to the left and other silliness that is entirely unnecessary - like having multiple blogs that each live on their own page and feed into one main blog. (FYI: Either clients want one large blog to browse or you have a highly segmented audience with disparate interests. Sort it out and pick one.)
And you might not have one of those pop-up boxes asking for a visitor's email address (that are mostly annoying anyway).
Your website is a marketing tool and needs to be used as such – that’s it and that’s all. It needs to be dynamic, it needs to be updated quickly and you need to know how to use it – just like you know how to use a phone. And if you can’t, why do you have it?
An expensive site with lots of backend whatnots will NOT attract more business. A solid content marketing and digital strategy will. So take that money misspent on website creation and maintenance and redirect it toward attracting your target audience.
So how much should it cost, specifically – and what should you expect for your money? I have it detailed for you here, but will sum up:
Creating a website (up to ten pages), including expert copywriting, analytics and Adsense setup - AND social site creation/linking, should cost approximately $2,500. Need up to twenty pages? $5,000. FORTY pages? $10,000. And if you envision needing more than 40 pages, we'd likely advise you to scale that baby back! (Unless you're a huge law firm (for example) with MANY practice areas, of course. And even then, I'd bet the quote you'd expect would be MANY thousands more than what you need!)
But wait - what about tech support? You don't need tech support. You need to know how to manage your site YOURSELF. Just like you make your own phone calls and send your own emails. It’s really not much harder than that these days. And if it is, it doesn't have to be.
And here’s a quick litmus test to ask that website creation consultant you’re considering: Did you create your own site – and do you update it yourself?
If not, reconsider that consultant!