Two central questions you need to ask about your website
- What is it's job?
- How much can I afford to invest in this "digital employee"?
If you can afford to hire someone to go out and hustle and bring in more leads and revenue for your business, you should do that. An inbound marketing strategy includes building a website that does just that: hustles around the internet getting you leads that directly build your company's revenue. If you can't afford to pay for inbound, think of website construction as building a digital receptionist.
How Much Should I Pay for Inbound Marketing?
Expect that an inbound marketing engagement should take a minimum of 40 hours per month. If you are planning to do your inbound marketing internally, you will want a staff member who has at least 40 hours a month to dedicate to this project. This is NOT something your receptionist does when the phones are slow. It's something a staff person does who knows your business well, loves technology, has an eye for graphics, has great PR skills and has gone through training on HubSpot. Or, you hire an agency.
An experienced inbound marketing agency will probably charge between $3,000 to $15,000 a month to deliver inbound marketing services. This should cover content creation, SEO, social media, email marketing, building funnels, strategy, eBooks, etc. etc. etc. Everything that builds traffic to your website, leads, and lead nurturing.
More About Your Website as Digital Receptionist
If inbound marketing is not in your budget, then consider website building as the process of building a digital receptionist. This is someone who looks professional when people walk through your digital door and answers basic questions without interrupting your day to day business activities. When outlining the content for your website, consider all of the questions that someone might ask your receptionist:
- Do you do "x"? "y"? "z"?
- How do I get to your office?
- Can I leave a message for so and so?
- What are your hours?
Because it's not a human being, you have the luxury of being a bit more long winded and going on a bit more about what people think of you, what they think of your business, and how great you are. But make sure it has the receptionist stuff. You'd be amazed how much of your standard website traffic just wants that stuff.
Technically speaking you only need four things in order to build a working website:
- Content (words)
- A Domain Name
- A Website Host
Theoretically, you could have a website with images or text and not both, but it would probably not look like something you'd want to represent your business. So let's go through these four things so you'll be as prepared as possible for your website project.
It is exceedingly easy to have a great website once you have great pictures. There are ways of having an attractive website without great images, but once you have great images it is MUCH easier. If you are thinking about building a website for your business, I strongly encourage you to think about images first.
Will you hire a photographer? In the US expect to pay in the neighborhood of $450 for a professional photographer to spend an hour shooting pictures of whatever you want. Expect that the turn around time will be one to two weeks between the photoshoot and when the pictures are ready to be used on your website.
Will you rely on stock photographs? There are tons of great stock photography sites. I use stock.adobe.com the most. You can get pictures there for about $10 a piece. photodune.net often has good images for less. You can also browse around creative commons or pexels.com where you can find some really good stuff absolutely free. Stock photos can be great. They are cheap and ready to use, which makes them super convenient.
Unless you are that one in a million client, if you're hiring someone to build your website, you're probably not going to write the text of your website either. You're probably busy running your business or doing a million other things. Let the company who build your website write your content. You can always tweak it or re-write it.
The basic structure of a website has five pages:
- Home page
- Products and Services
- About Us
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Contact Us
Should you have a blog? Of course. What if I don't have time to blog? Well why did you ask if you should have a blog, if you don't have time to blog?
Seriously though, however you build your website, you should have the option of adding a blog at a later time. And yes, you should absolutely blog, but this goes back to the question of how much time/money you have to invest in this digital employee we are calling your website. My personal opinion: if you have an article or two to include in your blog: do so. If you never blog again I don't think it hurts you to have a couple of blog articles on your site. In fact, it can probably only help.
This is the www."whatever".com of your website. The "whatever" is your domain name. Whenever possible, choose a domain name that describes what you do "BaltimoreDivorceAttorney.com" for example. However, don't obsess about it. In the scheme of things, it is a lot less important than many other SEO factors.
Hosting is the service that gives your website a place to live. Cheap hosting is probably about $5 a month, but it's cheap for a reason. There are all sorts of things that can make your website go defunct, get hacked, or otherwise malfunction. My favorite hosting company for WordPress to date is GetFlyWheel.com . They're about $15 / month for small sites. Their service is great. They are great at keeping sites secure. I've been really happy with them, and I've worked with a ton of hosting companies at this point.
But What About ...
Yeah, there's a ton more you could think about: SEO, social media and all of the other questions that sound like "how am I going to get traffic to my website?". But this article's not about that. This is just about the basic nuts and bolts: how to get started with your website.
Your Articles Need SkimCatchables
Skim-Catchables are bloggers' - now- not-so- secret weapon to make readers' jobs easier because they can easily skim down a page and find the answer to what they are looking for. Engaging titles and subtitles, gorgeous infographics, and functions like TL; DR (Too long; didn’t’ read) not only help readers, but should be part of any writer's tool kit!Topic #How Much Should I Pay for A Website
Adam Singer began programming for the World Wide Web in 1998 while working as an Informational Specialist for the Bureau of National Affairs, a Fortune 500 publishing company based in Washington, DC. In 2001 Adam became the Marketing and Communications Director for Jetro Platforms, a server-based computing software manufacturer. In 2011 Adam founded AJ Singer Studios, an Internet Marketing company based in Savannah, GA. In 2015 Adam formed Ability SEO as a full service marketing agency specializing in using SEO, social media, and e-mail marketing to get more visitors, leads and customers