This post has stuff about politics. My perspective has changed
By far, the question I hear the most is “How much does a website cost?” Well here it is, plain and simple: it’s up to you. You can pay whatever you want for a website. If you want to spend millions you can, but it’s likely that you won’t. If you want it for free you can get it, but it’s also likely that you won’t. The reason is that there is a perceived value to everything and that value isn’t necessarily based on price alone. I’ll give you an example.
You can get a used 1989 Toyota Truck for $1000. You can also get a 2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano for around $391,880. So why doesn’t everybody go grab an old Toyota? Well for one thing, compared to a Ferrari that Toyota is a veritable piece of junk. Another reason is that everybody doesn’t need a truck. And still another is that the truck may not come in a color that everybody likes. See? There’s a lot more to it than just price.
When it comes to websites you really have to consider why you need one. Here’s a rough little guide:
If you’re just using your site to post some pictures that you don’t really care about and you don’t mind some advertising on your website or a domain name like www.somecompany.com/your-crazy-site-name-899, then a free site is the right choice for you.
If you’re a business and you’d like to get some information out about your company that is non-critical, meaning it doesn’t matter if it gets lost, then you’re going to pay a couple thousand. Your website should be reflective of your company’s identity so you’ll need your own domain name and a website design that matches your company.
If you’re selling something online or if you’re creating a web-based application you can spend anywhere from five thousand to 30 thousand plus. You’ll need a secure site that makes your visitors feel confident that you are trustworthy.
Lastly, if you’re a government entity you should be spending millions on your website. Every dirty hacker in the world would jump at the opportunity to defame the White House website and every bit of the information on it is critical.
One last note: a major factor in how you determine the value of your website is whether or not you see it as an investment in your company. The whole world is moving online; phone books, newspapers, networking groupsâ€”they can’t match the internet in terms of potential customers. It’s pretty important to your company that you view your website as a part of your marketing strategy.
Whether you’re putting up a personal website or selling diamonds online you’ll always get what you perceive your website to be worth—and from my experience if it doesn’t meet your expectations from the start you’ll spend more time money upgrading it until it does.