Yep. If you’ve ever searched for anything with the words ‘building a website’ in the search string, you’ve probably been flooded with ads in every type of feed you’ve ever had with solicitations for the best content management system (CMS) EVER which also proclaims itself to be quickest and easiest way to get a website up and running and you’ll be bombarded with these ads for like the next 16 weeks.

And unless you’re really very special and somehow managed to elude an algorithm or two, at least one of those ads will boldly proclaim that you can have a world-class website up and running in 15 minutes or less. Okay. Maybe they said an hour. And maybe they said ‘stunning’ and not ‘world-class.’ It doesn’t really matter. Let me go on record right now as sayin’ you’re gonna PICK ONE. You can either have a world-class website or you can have it in 15 minutes, but those two things will NEVER happen simultaneously. Sorry to burst that bubble.

Getting what you paid for

As tempting as it is to give the “Website TONIGHT!” thing a try because it’s gonna be cheap and easy, in my experience it never ends well. Best case scenario – your instant website is not going look like any of the beautiful examples that lured you in and it’s sure not going to be as simple to set up as they let on. Worst case – it’s not going to be representative of the quality of goods and/or services you provide and may actually drive potential clients away.

But you know you need a website if only because all your competitors have one and/or the first question most folks ask when you start talking about your business is “What’s your website?” We get it. What we don’t get is that for some reason, budgets often don’t include a line item for website development, and when they do, it’s frequently well shy of what it ought to be. Maybe because the boss saw one of those “Website TONIGHT!” ads for just $11.95 a month and fell for it. And by the way – that’s another thing that’s not happening in the real world – you aren’t getting a real website for little of nothing. There’s always the fine print.

Real growing pains

Without delving too deeply into the gory details, one of the first things that should pop out is what I call “the first year gotcha.” With every package I’ve ever seen, whatever ridiculously low price you initially pay generally doubles (or even triples) at the end of the first year. Oh sure, you could migrate to another platform, but you’ll probably spend more time and money doing that than it’s actually worth.

Then there are the add-ons. Oh, you need a content management system? That’s an additional $199 per year. And you should know that your package only includes 5 stock images. And they’re really ‘stocky’ looking. Shoot. You should also consider using their backup software and storage for a small fee – just $13.95 per month – because stuff happens. What about some instant SEO so people can actually find you? For as little as $49.95 a month we can get you showing up on Google. Somewhere. Page 10. Maybe. The list goes on. Trust me.

And now beyond all of that nonsense – know that these packages generally have significant design limitations. Sure you can add a video. And a slide show. And a blog. And all kinds of the latest trendy things that spin and zoom and cause varying degrees of vertigo in the elderly. But in my experience, you’re more liable than not to end up with a really blocky looking website that will only leave you wanting more and wondering why your site doesn’t look anything like the samples that lured you in. But hey, you will have done it in an hour or so.

Start the conversation

So let’s move on and start thinking about ways to build a website that will be a real boon to your business. A well-designed, visually appealing website with engaging content, built on a solid SEO foundation with an ongoing plan for content management will pay for itself and quickly become an integral part of your marketing strategy. Not surprisingly, it’ll cost more than $11.95 a month.

Logically, your next question will probably be something like “So smart guy, what’s it going to cost us?” I don’t have an easy answer for that one, but I do know the answer is NOT $11.95 per month for the first year unless you want this and this and that and some of this and that.

Given that each website is different in dozens of ways, here at <engine/>, we find out what you want and need in a website before throwing a random number at you. Our goal is to help you gain presence on the web at a realistic and fair price. We take pride in our work and stand behind our price and product. Of course we have “packages” too, but they generally revolve around routine maintenance and periodic update programs that ensure things keep running smoothly with your website and regular backups in case they don’t.

When it’s all said and done, if your budget won’t accommodate that number, we can look at taking a phased approach if that makes sense. Or perhaps the number is right, but one or both of us determines that <engine/> is not the best fit for your company. In either case, you’ll have a more realistic starting point than $11.95 per month when you go shopping. And no hard feelings.

 

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