RHEN: What’s up Fish Fans! This is Marcus, I’m Rhen, and you’re watching Marketing Madness: the Blue Fish weekly vlog! Each episode, our aim is to bring you guys pure marketing value. During our day to day at Blue Fish, we find that our clients have questions, or don't understand certain things in the marketing and advertising space. So we do our best to address these common questions here. 

MARCUS: That’s right, and this week we're going to take on the number 1 question we get here at Blue Fish. Drumroll please!

RHEN: The number 1 question we are asked is “How much does a website cost?”. And our answer is: “it depends”. If you are just starting out, companies like SquareSpace, Wix, or GoDaddy can help you get a website up and running for about $20 a month, if you were willing to put in a little sweat equity. These can be a great option if you just want to have a presence on the internet.

MARCUS: We think this question should be flipped. Instead of asking how much a website with all the bells and whistles will cost. Ask how much you should budget for a website. How do you determine your budget for a website? We’ve discussed the Small Business Administration statistics previously. Here’s a recap: businesses under $5 million should be spending 7 to 8% of their total revenue on marketing and advertising. To make those numbers real, a business that does $500,000 would budget $35-40k per year. A $1 million company would budget 70-80k. And a $2 Million company would budget $140-160k. That is not to say you should spend all of that on your website. You have to measure your requirements, your budget, and the part your website plays in your overall marketing plan to decide what percentage of your advertising budget should be spent on a website. 

RHEN: Once you have your budget partner with a company that can work within that budget to get you the functionality you need to grow your business. I know you probably think that we are crazy. The truth is, if you are trying to grow a business, you need to be investing in marketing strategies that generate business. Properly marketing your product or service helps generate the awareness needed to increase leads and accelerate sales. Here at Blue Fish, we think a website is the foundation to a successful marketing and advertising campaign.

MARCUS: If a $20 a month option is not going to fit your needs then you would want to involve someone with a little bit of web development experience. You could pay someone to install WordPress and configure a theme. They could have you up and running for as low as $500. This is no slight to WordPress as it is used to power some really large websites like Huffington Post, CNN, USA Today and more. The ability to buy a theme and quickly enter in some content makes it a viable solution for some small business owners.

RHEN: The next step up would be to engage with an agency that is going to build you a semi-custom or completely custom website. Starting around a few thousand dollars, you can get a website that is customized with your colors, images, and content. At this price point you can use a more robust Content Management System. We like to use Craft or ExpressionEngine for our sites. These are CMSs similar to WordPress but with a lot more functionality. They are extremely powerful content management systems that you will never outgrow.

MARCUS: The truth is, depending on your requirements, you can spend millions of dollars on a website. At this scale, you are paying for custom interactions, specific needs for gathering information, user workflows where you have ultimate control over what a user sees and experiences on your site. All these requirements mean that the agency has to spend more time developing a solution, however those details may be exactly what your organization needs.

RHEN: One thing to consider is the main function of your website. Is your website a small business brochure? Or does is it need to be a full service website with a support section, member logins, areas for account info, e-commerce with payment processing, or more?

MARCUS: You'll also want to consider integrations with outside systems. Are you integrating a form for email newsletter sign-ups? Or do you have systems for checking when someone abandons their shopping cart and additional functionality for targeting people that are visiting your website? Are there custom integrations like a realtors website would have with the MLS? Or integrations with strategic business applications like salesforce? All those integrations take additional time to develop, adding to the cost of your site.

RHEN: We know our answer of “it depends” is not what most people want to hear; our aim is to help you see how a website for a small restaurant would be a different price than a website for a company with lots of requirements and integrations for external services.

RHEN: Well that’s it for this week Fish Fans. We’d like to thank you for tuning in. If you have any questions please hit us up in the comments.

MARCUS: Please like and share on Facebook. And on Youtube hit that subscribe button to stay up to date on the latest and greatest Blue Fish has to offer.