In the website world, you get what you pay for. Approaching your website with a reasonable budget in mind ensures you can deliver on a digital strategy—and save time, money, and a headache in the long run.
It’s no surprise that the majority of today’s business interactions take place online. What might not be as widely understood is the power your website has on your brand. In fact, Slack CEO Bill Macaitis said, “A brand is made up of every single interaction someone has with your company.”
With that in mind: What impression does your website make for the 84 percent of American adults who regularly use the internet?
A good website is crucial for any business that wants to engage potential customers who rely on the internet to make purchases and guide decisions—and health care is no exception.
The key is allocating enough budget dollars to deliver on the site’s business objectives. Failing to establish clear goals—whether the site is designed to increase brand awareness, shape perception, or generate prospective patients—and then properly budget for your website can lead to botched launches, poor first impressions, insufficient content, or improper functionality. All of these issues can end up costing you and your business more than you had originally planned. So where do you start?
When it comes to websites, there are essentially four things that you’ll be paying for: design, content, functionality, and hidden expenses. While the ratio of expenses for these categories depends on your business’ needs, all four of these categories must be budgeted for if you want to have a strong internet presence.
First impressions matter. A website is often the first time your customer will come into contact with you and your brand, so you need to decide how good you want it to look.
Building a site with templates is often cheaper and can get your website up and running much quicker than a fully customized site, but the amount you can change on a template is limited. If you want a truly unique look, you may want to budget more money toward a one-of-a-kind website.
At the end of the day, people are going to your website to seek information. They want to know your address, what services you provide, and what makes you better than the guy across the street (or, in this case, in the other browser). A website deprived of relevant, high-quality content will leave visitors unsatisfied—and could drive the to a competitor’s site.
Your website may just need 10 pages of content, or it may require more than 100 pages. All of that depends on how much relevant information you wish to share with your customers. But taking time to write your own custom content, or having someone do it for you, will help improve your website’s SEO and make it easier for your customers to find you while they use their favorite search engine.
What do you need your website to do? If you just need your website to convey basic information, then you may be able to save some money here. However, if you’re wanting to get into e-commerce, offer downloadable files, provide interactive experiences, or offer your customers a chance to sign up for your e-newsletter, you’re going to want to define these needs well before you begin to create your site and make sure each function works perfectly before your site launches.
If you’re new to website creation, there are some fees that may sneak up on you. You must pay additional fees for your domain name, hosting provider, and website upkeep. While these fees typically aren’t too expensive, they are often yearly expenses that can add up.
At the end of the day, your website is just that: yours. You can spend as much or as little as you feel will get the job done. Just don’t forget the saying, “you get what you pay for.”
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