If your site is missing some key features, it will never make you a profit. This page will show you everything you need....
Budget your site for success!
It starts with your targets
The two most basic requirements of an effective website are traffic and customer conversion.
So the first thing I ask my new clients is, “What are your goals for your site?”
Not everybody’s objectives are financial, but if you have a certain sales volume in mind, then it’s easy to work out your targets:
The beauty of web marketing is that, even if your budget is small, you can always start slowly and build your sales over time. There are plenty of free ways to attract traffic, but it’s always helpful to run the numbers and see what your maximum expenditure should be.
So that’s the traffic end of things. Later on, I’ll go into some more detail about exactly how that traffic can be brought in to your site, but for now let’s stay focused on your budget, because that will decide which way you get your site done.
The next thing to take into consideration is the actual design of your site, and the things it needs to convert visitors into customers.
Text comes first
I always have to tell my clients that the #1 most important aspect of website design is text. If you have good sales text, it beats fancy graphics every time when it comes to getting results.
If you want to write the text yourself, you should be aware of what works best on the Internet — it’s a very different medium than print, radio or TV.
On the right I’ve listed my favourite books on writing for the web. All of them are written by people who’ve made millions of dollars on the Internet, and I would suggest getting at least one of them if you’re going to do your own writing.
If you do use the services of an Internet copy-writer, be prepared to pay well. The very best writers charge six figures for a core sales page, and they’re worth it for the results they can give you.
Next, the second-most important aspect of web design is its functional setup:
Getting your site set up right
The next question to consider is how you want your site to work. Web hosting and setup can vary widely in price, from free to several hundred dollars a month.
Some of the factors to think about:
- Do you want to be able to make changes yourself?
- Are you selling more than ~25 different products?
- Does your website concept involve custom programming?
- Do you expect very high traffic volumes (>10,000 a day)?
If any of these are the case, then you’re likely to need more than just basic web hosting. You may want a content management system or shopping cart software, and the help of some programmers to customize your site’s functionality.
These can add anything from a few hundred to several thousand dollars to your budget, and more if you have a complex project or a larger volume of sales.
On the other hand, if you’re building a text-rich site on a niche topic, then an all-in-one design and hosting solution like Site Build It might be your best option — but only if you have the motivation to spend some time adding to your site every day.
Graphics and layout
Your site’s visual appeal is another important part of its success.
I never recommend spending too much on graphical design — adding a lot of flashiness rarely gives you better sales. (Except, of course, if you’re in a creative field where image is everything.)
What is important is that your site looks professional enough to give credibility to your text. Choosing colors and design elements that complement your message will add to the level of trust you instill in your visitors.
If you’re on a tight budget, then an inexpensive way to design your site is to start with a template. These range in price from free to around $200, and they can be customized for another hundred or two.
If you want your site to be unique, you can get an entirely custom-made design for a few hundred dollars and up, depending on its complexity. If you plan to add some Flash animation, then you should expect to spend at least a few thousand.
Those are the three biggest factors in pricing the design of your site — text, setup and graphics.
So, you ask, what’s the bottom line?
Adding it up
If you’re looking for a ballpark figure to work with in your web design budget, I would suggest thinking about a minimum of $2500. That’s a reasonable amount to spend for the level of design, writing, setup and promotion that will start to bring in genuine profits.
You can do it for less if you’re willing to do some or all of the work yourself, and it can be more if you want advanced features or mind-blowing graphics. Also, the higher your sales volume, the more you’ll need to budget for online marketing as well.
If you prefer to start small, you can always expand on your site later, after your cashflow is established. That’s one of the beauties of a website! You can then implement some more advanced techniques, such as an affiliate program, that will boost your sales to the next level.
The Next Step
I've created a decision table to help you choose your path towards getting the site you want....
....and I have a resource page that will give you more information on building a profitable web business.
You are also welcome to contact me personally, to discuss your best options — it will be a pleasure to help you achieve your goals on the net, and my team and I are well-equipped to get you there!