Wordpress web design kelowna, BC

Website Buyers Guide

Thinking of building a website? Become an informed buyer and make your next website project a success with this guide.

So, You Want To Have A Website Built?
That’s Exciting!

In the process of working on dozens of projects, I’ve found informed buyers have the most successful projects.

Tech can be overwhelming and confusing— that causes people to be unsure of what exactly they are looking for and even what questions they should ask. It’s simply hard to make reliable decisions buying anything when you’re in that position.

Becoming informed reduces risk.

I wrote this guide to help you understand more about the process of buying, owning and operating a successful website. With this knowledge you can become a more-informed buyer— increasing the chances of a successful project while reducing your anxiety, and boosting your confidence (you got this!).

Inside you’ll find answers to many of the questions you already have— but more importantly, several that you haven’t thought of yet. By the end you’ll end up with a more clear understanding of what your needs are and the ability to find and hire the right company to partner with to bring your new website to life (even if that’s not me).

What are we waiting for? Let’s dive in!

Understanding Your Project’s Goals

No two websites are exactly alike— each come with their own specific goals and requirements.

Maybe your goal is to drive traffic to your site to get more leads from local shoppers.

Or, maybe it’s to educate the public on a topic or matter that's important to you.

You might even have a product(s) that you’re ready to start selling online.

Each one of these scenarios have different requirements your website will need in order to be successful.

Before you start looking at portfolios, or making calls to every web developer in town, it’s important you start thinking about (and I suggest writing down) the goals and requirements you have for your new website.

Once you have a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve, looking at web design portfolios and filling out contact forms becomes a lot easier— because you already have an idea of what you're looking for.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few things you might want to consider.

  • How many pages (approximately) will my website need? Ie. Homepage, about, services, contact, etc.

  • How important is it to be found in search results? Having a website and having a website that is optimized for search engines isn’t always the same thing. Think about how crucial it is for people to find you on Google.

  • Do you need to publish content regularly? Having a system (like a blog) will give you the ability to regularly publish new & fresh content to your website. This is great for educating the public on what you do and a fantastic way to improve your search engine rankings.

  • Do you need to sell products online? eCommerce stores are generally more complex and more expensive— but are a great way to provide return on investment. Do you have something to sell online?

  • Do you need to list events, or properties, or have some sort of directory? These systems can make your website powerful and help keep your visitors informed about events or things that update frequently.

  • Do you plan on doing any email marketing? Email remains to be one of the most effective forms of marketing. Incorporating your email marketing efforts into your website is a great way to register new subscribers.

  • Do you need to offer booking or scheduling online? Maybe you don’t sell products, but you do have a service you could sell. Offering online booking is a great way to allow clients to book your time without having to constantly be on the phone or answering emails.

  • Do you need a “members” area or a place for people to login? You might want to restrict access of pages, documents, or other information to specific users. Creating a login and membership system will help you manage those accounts. 

There are hundreds of possibilities. Your first goal should be to think about all the things you’d like people to do on your website, things that would make your customers happy and/or make your life easier. 

Create Your Budget

One of the biggest fears businesses have when hiring a web dseigner is getting taken advantage of or not being delivered the value they were promised.

That’s understandable, and the web industry has put that burden on itself. Because anyone with an internet connection can call themselves a “web designer” and there have been many bad actors who have made the industry hard to trust as a whole.

Unfortunately there isn’t much standardization in the web industry from a pricing perspective. If you get multiple quotes (and you should!), you’re likely going to find that those prices range drastically from one designer to the next.

You might not have the slightest clue on what things should cost. While websites can range from free (do-it-yourself options) to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here are some of the average prices for different kinds of websites in the US:

  • Brochure Website (including 1-3 pages): $1000-$3000
  • Informational or Small Business Website (including 3-16 pages): $3,000 – $9,000
  • Corporate Website (25-75 pages): $10,000 – $35,000
  • eCommerce Website (100-1,000 products): $5,000 – $55,000

As you can see, even those price ranges vary widely.

Your individual needs and the experience and skills of the designer you choose (more on that in a minute) will be the biggest factors in determining your website’s cost.

Small businesses who are just starting out, wanting to at least have a website to list on their business card, won’t need much functionality. These types of projects are usually less expensive.

Projects that require eCommerce, have a critical need to be found in search engines, or require members areas can become more expensive quickly.

While no one can answer the budget question but you— think about the problems you have and what it would be worth to you to solve those problems. A website that accomplishes its goals can be very valuable to your business.

Keep in mind that websites aren’t just an expense— they are an investment. If you have clear goals in mind (ones that can result in bringing your business more profit) it’s not uncommon for a website to pay for itself quickly (and hundreds of times over).

Many designers will help you effectively use the budget you have and give you reasonable expectations of what they can deliver for you within your range.

“Build It and They Will Come”
or They won't

At the time of writing this there are  1,744,517,326 websites online right now? That’s about one website for every 7 human beings on the planet. 

When the internet was a smaller place, it wasn’t uncommon for a website to get traffic quickly just from being published online. But today, there is a fierce competition for visitors.

Each day around 5 million new blog posts get published— yet somehow you need to attract attention to yours. This doesn’t happen by accident. 

Since you started reading this guide more than 10 thousand pieces of content have been published on websites— and that doesn’t account for all the other things posted on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

While all of that sounds like a big mountain to climb, you’re not vying for everyone’s attention— just your ideal visitor’s.  When you can identify and focus on just those people, there are a lot of strategies to start getting visits to your website. 

You may end up wanting to work with someone to help you drive traffic (like your web designer, social media manager, content creator, etc.) or you may want to do it yourself— but either way you go, you must have a strategy to attract visitors for your website to be successful. 

Let’s take a look at a few common ways people drive traffic to their website:

  • Search Engine Optimization
    Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is an umbrella term for a lot of strategies— all of them aimed at helping you rank inside search engines for specific (targeted) phrases. While you’ll want your new website to be setup properly for SEO, true SEO strategies require ongoing work (like content creation, research, link building, etc.).

  • Social Media
    More than just a fun way to waste time, social media can be a great driver-of-traffic to your website. Of course, you need to have something worth sharing, but by building an audience on social channels you can drive some of those people to your website (where you control the messaging).

  • Paid Advertisement (PPC)
    Paid ads, most commonly in the form of Pay-Per-Click (or “PPC”) are the quickest way to start driving traffic to your website— but it’s not cheap! You can pay to come up in search results, or be shown in advertisements online that will drive traffic to your website. These campaigns need to be developed and monitored by a professional to be effective.

  • Traditional Advertising
    While you might not get hoards of people to your website this way, don’t forget to advertise your website offline too. Ensuring you list your website address on your business cards, flyers, and any other marketing collateral can let your customers (and prospects) know that there is more information (content!) that’s available online.

A website that doesn’t get traffic likely won’t produce much value for you (monetarily or otherwise). When you are considering building a website, you need to also consider how people will manage to find it among the billions of websites to choose from. 

Ongoing Costs for a successful website

The day your new website is published isn’t the finish line— it’s just the beginning.

As we’ve talked about with both content and the “build it and they will come” myth, there are ongoing tasks, strategy, and work that will be required for your website to thrive into the future.

Maybe you want to take this on yourself, or maybe you want to rely on a professional that can save you time (and honestly, be more effective).

Let’s look at some of the things you’ll need to consider in order to be a successful website operator.

  • The Techie Stuff (Security and Maintenance)
    Your website is a bunch of computer code and software. In any form, software and code requires monitoring, maintenance, and security. Left alone, your website will become vulnerable to security risks. While it’s sad to see it happen, it’s not uncommon for websites to be hacked or infected with viruses (even just days after being launched).

  • The World Is Always Changing - Your Website Should Too
    There’s nothing worse, as a consumer, than going to a website that is outdated. Instead of getting answers to the questions you came with, you become frustrated and look for alternate solutions. You don’t want this to happen to the visitors of your website. As your business (and the world) evolves, your website must too. You’ll want to be invested in the ongoing updates your website (and its content) will require.

  • Ongoing Costs
    There are some ongoing costs that you will have to take on in order to keep your website online. This includes (but is not limited to) website hosting, domain registration, software licenses, and any third party software that helps power your website. These costs can vary depending on the complexity of your website— but be assured there will be costs. Talk to your potential designers about what kind of ongoing costs will be associated with the solution they are proposing. 

It's important to realize that most business owners aren’t web designers, and many of them outsource the maintenance and upkeep of their website to a professional— and many web designers offer this as a service.

In fact, because of the bulk-discounts developers can get for many of these costs, sometimes it might even be cheaper to hire a professional for website management than it would be to handle it on your own (not even accounting for the time involved in you managing these things yourself). 

The last thing you want to do is leave your website dangling the breeze. I’ve heard far too many stories of website owners who have run into problems when their website isn’t being properly maintained. Their entire investment hanging in the balance— that’s not a place you want to find yourself in.

Checkout Our Website Maintenance Plans