What's the true cost of your website?

Published: 14/03/2022 By Elliott Rowland - COO

Your website; the most important digital marketing tool in your armoury.

Sadly, despite the obvious importance of a website in today’s digital world, too many businesses simply see a website as a necessity, something a business simply has to have. The website is then relegated to the role of a mere digital business card.

This is a mistake that often leads to businesses making a decision on one factor alone – price. Failing to see the value of a website and the potential it has for your business means a decision is made on the most basic of factors, ignoring the real value and purpose of purchasing the product in the first place. Failing to properly take into account the value of a product and the true purpose of it can have terrible consequences for your business.

Judging a website (or any product for that matter) simply on price means an inevitable race to the bottom. Let’s use a rather simple example. You’re on your way to an important meeting and the skies look ominously dark. You stop on route to purchase an umbrella and you have a simple choice between a £5 or £15 model. It seems like a no brainer; why pay 3 times as much when there’s a cheaper alternative on offer that can do the job, right?

That is until the heaven’s open, your cheap umbrella fails to operate properly and you're soaking wet. You’re left with a £5 waste of money and not the bargain you initially thought you’d secured. You’re wet through, uncomfortable, and left rueing your decision as you contemplate how you’re going to look to your prospective customer. If one were to evaluate the decision making in the above example, what was the true cost of the umbrella that was purchased? Sure, the umbrella itself was £5, but the umbrella accounted for a £15 dry cleaning bill. Not to mention to the sheer inconvenience and potential loss of business. The true cost in this example was way higher than initially thought and suddenly that £15 model looks like a bargain.

Now, before you think that I’m on a mission to ensure everyone buys good quality umbrellas, I use the above only as a simple way of explaining how things are not always as they seem when assessing cost and value. The digital world and websites in particular can seem complicated, but even for a website the principle is the same.

Buying cheap can lead to buying twice if it doesn’t generate leads or rank well in Google to attract new business. But more importantly, it’s vital to assess the real cost of anything that appears to have such a low cost and evaluate the hidden costs that might not be quoted in the attractive sounding offer.

Some thoughts to bear in mind when judging the great looking low cost deal you’ve secured:

  • Are there any hidden charges in the price or further costs which will come later down the line?   Make sure the offer you’ve got represents the true contract value of what you’re purchased (ie: work out the true cost you’ll pay over a 12 or 24 month period)

  • Is the website going to actually do a good job? Your website should do 2 key things:
  1.  Rank well on Google for the keyword searches relevant to your business to attract new visitors to your website
  2. Convert those visitors into customers who actual submit an enquiry through your website
If it doesn’t do either of these things, then it’s about as good as that £5 umbrella (ie: worthless and a waste of money to start with)

  • Are you going to have to use other tools to make up for the website’s shortcomings? Like buying PPC advertising from Google for example.  Or installing a bunch of third party products into your website to win leads that also have a monthly cost. If you are, make sure you’re adding the cost of those products and services into your calculation of what your website will cost. A cheap website that costs £50 month but requires £100/month of PPC advertising is still costing you £150. Don’t be fooled by the initial low price

So think carefully about those cheap offers and be sure to assess the whole picture when choosing the best website deal for your business. Your reputation, your time, and your effort are all important calculations to bear in mind when assessing the true cost of anything. Even if you don’t value it, a website has value and purpose, so it’s important to work out what it means for your business.