How Much Does A Website Cost?

We often speak with people about how much a website costs.  Some people understand what is involved in building a website while other people don’t understand. The key factor in understanding what a website will cost is first knowing what the web designer or web design company is actually going to do for you.

In this article I am going to break down the various levels of website design / development and search engine optimization services to give you a better understanding of the costs associated with building a website.

$500 or less  Website Design

The cheapest bottom of the barrel website will usually be right around $500 and for this price you should expect the following.

  • Generic template based website, most likely from a place like Template Monster or Free Website Templates.
  • The website will most likely be assembled by an student or some other inexperienced person.
  • A person working out of the their parents house, with little to no overhead and or lack of professional accountability.

So the short version is you pick the template, you write your own website copy / text content, you take your own photographs or you pick stock photos which are added to the cost of the website project, and you hope you can count on this person to be reliable and available when you need him or her to answer the phone or reply to your emails in a timely manner. Most people that focus on cranking out these kinds of low end websites don’t stay in business for long because they wind up starving themselves and are lucky to break even.

I usually advise people that if they are solely looking for the cheapest way to go, that they are better off using something like Intuit Websites. Of course you will still be stuck doing all the work yourself which can be time consuming, especially if you do not know what you are doing. Such huge companies do usually offer technical support if you encounter any problems for an additional fee and not to mention the free on-hold phone recording music you get to listen to while waiting to speak to a real human being.

$1,000 to $4,500  Website Design

This is the most popular cost level with professional website designers / web design companies. Generally in this price range you can get a decent looking professional level website, but  Search Engine Optimization is not included which is required to make your website show up and rank well in Google, Yahoo, and BING searches.  We often hear from small business owners who own a website in this price range and want to know why their website isn’t out performing their competition on the internet.

If your web design budget “Investment in your business or organization” is less than $4,500 you should expect the following.

  • Semi Custom Design, but most likely still using a pre made website template.
  • Most of your website work will be handed off to an outsourcing company in many of them are located in India, Russia or Pakistan, or by a college student whom is still learning and experimenting.
  • You will still need to write your own website copy / text content, you take your own photographs or you pick stock photos which are added to the cost of the website project. The web designer should  edit / crop / re size your photos and check for spelling and grammar errors in the text copy that you wrote.

You will still be doing a lot of work yourself and we know first hand most business owners do not like writing text content or taking lots of photographs because it eats away at their own clock and is time consuming. A website at this level is most likely just a business expense and not much of an investment. Sure you get can a great looking website in this price range, just don’t expect it to WOW you and make your phone ring much.

$5,000 to $30,000 Website Design

Now your are serious about your business and believe in yourself enough to make a real investment in owning a professional website that provides you with a real return on your investment (ROI). This is generally what a reputable web master or reputable internet marketing firm will charge for a professional level website with basic Search Engine Optimization. A website of this level will have anywhere from 10 to 30 or more web pages into the website. You should expect to get a professional website that looks and performs well. Most of the work will be handled by the Web Master or Web Design firm which will enable you to get back to running your business.

Expect the following when making this level of website investment.

  • You are dealing with a real company or Webmaster and not a student or an amateur. Ideally this company or person should be local to you. You do not want to be dealing with a huge faceless corporation.
  • There should be one Webmaster supervising your entire website project from start to finish.
  • There should be an experienced graphic artist, web designer, and web developer working under the close supervision of the webmaster.
  • The Web Design Company or WebMaster will carefully review your website assets to determine if a professional photoshoot or stock photos will be required to give you an outstanding website and internet presence.
  • The company employs a professional writer to research your industry, write professional text, and present to you for final review.
  • The graphic artist will create several logos for you to pick from or will use and or edit your existing logo if necessary along with will edit your photographs as necessary.

$30,000 + Website Design

The high quality you expect in this range should exceed your expectations. As a website grow with libraries of information and technical functionality it is reasonable that a professional website may exceed $100,000 or more. You should be definitely be  dealing with an experienced WebMaster or Web Design firm that employs a real webmaster and were not referring to college students or somebody else that dabbles around which are most commonly found on CraigsList.org advertising to perform web design and internet marketing miracles for almost free.

More specific details on what to expect for this high level of website investment.

  • A real webmaster who will coordinate and oversee your entire project. This person should at a minimum have extensive real world experience with graphic design, web design, web development and (SEO) – Search Engine Optimization.
  • A team consisting of a graphic designer, web designer, web developer and a Search Engine Optimization specialist that works under the direct supervision of the webmaster.
  • A software developer which works under the direct supervision of the webmaster. At this level of website design and development you can expect your website to have an assortment of custom, intelligent, and automated technical front end and backed features to your exact requirements.
  • The webmaster ensures your project is completed early or on time to your exact specifications and so you do not have to perform any work related to your website and can focus on your business.
  • Provide hands on training to you and or your employees so you can really benefit from the use of your custom website.

In conclusion

Carefully think about what you really want and expect from your website when considering how much you should invest in your having a website built. I am still to this day surprised by people who want to start an online only business and don’t want to invest more than a few hundred dollars in their website. The truth and reality is you always get what you pay for and if it sounds to good to be true it is.

Now if you are a local restaurant, store, bar, or service provider with a retail location and don’t do a lot of business directly through your website, then one of the above cheaper solutions may be worth considering. Last but not least don’t forget to set forth a real marketing budget  for your website if you are serious about your business growth.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts about link building

I have seen many people that “dabble” in SEO expect instant search engine presence with their website with little time and labor.  These people are usually small to medium sized business owners and individuals that want to help a friend with his or her website.  The end result is usually not a good one…

Having unrealistic expectations leads to thinking that purchasing or otherwise acquiring back links are the magic answer to their success.

What google wants is the websites they rank well to provide a high quality user experience to the person searching google for websites. There are many factors that go into producing a high quality experience for google customers which is anybody that uses google to search for a quality and relevant experience. While I’m not going to get into the fine details about this topic in this article I will provide some basic insight.
Personally when creating Relevant back links for any website I have been trusted to manage I take the time to carefully analyze the specific industry or topic and link back only from websites that have things in common with the website I am working with. I also carefully determine if the websites I chose to link from are healthy and are ethical themselves. Many other factors come into play when I cherry pick my back linking strategies for any given specific project however I’m not getting into the fine details here.

One of the biggest mistakes I see with inexperienced webmasters or SEO hobbyists are they don’t take the time to do adequate research and instead get involved with link building with other websites that are not relevant to the website they want to attempt to make rank well.

High quality SEO is a science and an art combined that involves time and dedication for any long tern success.

What happens when people don’t fully understand how SEO works or how it changes on a regular basis is they look for the cheapest and fastest way to rank their website and sometimes this can work temporarily there are repercussions to cutting corners.  What ultimately happens is the website gets penalized or even banned from googles search index and this means a website does not show up well or at all in search engine search results.

I use analogies to describe some things and here I came up with this.

Let’s pretend for the sake of this short analogy story that several men want to compete in a body building – strength and fitness competition. There are some men that eat healthy, work out correctly and have a hard working ethical personal trainer to help.  Some men can afford to spend more time and money than others. Most of these men that really give it their all do pretty well.  Now there are other men that don’t eat healthy on a regular basis, don’t always work out on a regular basis and don’t give it their all and instead look for the easy way out. Worse there are others that look for ways to cheat – let’s say by using performance enhancing drugs like steroids. Most of the time the cheater using steroids will overpower and beat the men that don’t rely on drugs and other methods to cheat to win but sooner or later the cheater that is dominating everybody is going to be put under the radar and will get caught for cheating resulting in being banned from the game and that game is SEO. After you are banned you must work harder and prove you are following the rules before you will be allowed to compete again and this is more time consuming and expensive then just playing by the rules from the get go.

The bottom line is if you cheat you will ultimately lose…

 

 

 

 

 

Google Changes SEO again and what webmasters need to know

Google changes the the way websites are ranked forever with it’s new Google Webmaster Tools – Disavow Link Tool.  On April 24, 2012 Google released the biggest change to its Search Engine Algorithm in almost 10 years. This particular algorithm change was called the Penguin. Without getting into technical details this algorithm modification began penalizing and even banning websites that were utilizing poor quality back links or back links that were not relevant to the website being optimized.  In ea nutshell those websites which were ranking well because of the dirty unethical link-building tactics from unethical and non qualified SEO companies have been getting pounded in the dirt for not abiding by Googles Webmaster Guidelines.

Many SEO companies that promise results that seem to good to be true or offer SEO services that seem so amazingly cheap will likely get your website penalized or even outright banned from Google searches.

Google now considered bad back-links to your website as POISON. These kinds of unethical back links will negatively affect your website rankings. After the damage is done it can be a long time consuming process to clean up the mess. I’m sure you can imagine how tedious it can be to even attempt to remove – delete bad back-links once they have been posted on tons of garbage websites.

The Good news is on October 17, 2012 Google publicly announced it’s new addition to the Google Webmaster Tools tool kit. This new tool is called the Disavow Links Tool. This tool is for qualified SEO professionals and webmasters which enable Certified SEO professionals to tell Google to ignore specific back links and domains that are pointing to your website that may be  poisoning your website rankings. Google’s brand new Disavow Links Tool allow webmasters to upload a list of specific URL links or domains that the do not want to be associated with and in most cases Google will exclude these reported back links from their algorithm and not take into account the reported back links when re-ranking your website.

This new SEO tool offers both positive and negative news for website owners.

If you’ve been a Google Penguin casualty, and have tried to remove as many bad  links as you can but still can’t seem to recover, then you can use this new Link Disavow tool to essentially “delete” the poor quality links that are poisoning your website.

For millions of website owners who have been hit by the Google Penguin Algorithm Update and who have done nothing to incur any penalties (used an unqualified SEO professional or unqualified webmaster which applied unethical link-building techniques) now have the ability to come clean and follow Googles Webmaster Guidelines for Ethical Link Building.

If your website is ranking poorly and you are using an SEO company you may want to ask yourself. Is the SEO company you are using providing you with all kinds of Back-Links? and is the SEO company you are using giving you such a good deal you cant believe how cheap their SEO services are? if this is the case now is a great time to reflect on the old saying that You Get What Your Pay For. Good isn’t cheap and cheap isn’t good.

The Bad News Is.

By giving qualified webmasters and certified SEO professionals the power to “report” bad links they have essentially “crowd-sourced” link-spam detection.

Think about it for a minute…

Millions of webmasters will be submitting long lists of low-quality or spammy websites sites, which Google can then use in its SEO algorithm to penalize not only the sites that are providing these poor quality backlinks links, but also those that are linked to by these sites.

This spells disaster for any site that makes it too easy to get a link back to your site. For example, popular “easy” sources of links have traditionally been:

  • Blog comments
  • Forums
  • Web 2.0 sites
  • Article Directories
  • Web Site Directories
  • Poor quality, automated Blog Networks with no human-approval “citation” process
  • Social Bookmarking Accounts

The “low hanging SEO fruit” sites that promiscuously give out too many backlinks links, too easily will most likely see poor pages (or even their entire domain) get penalized or even banned from Google searches!

What’s worse is that a penalized domain may also penalize any other sites that it links out to. (Think of the opposite of Google PageRank where unethical “URL – link juice” flows through to web sites that are linked from them.)

If Google identified a website as being ripe for link exploitation, and a lot of websites are using it to build easy back links, then it may infer that anyone also using that site for links is a candidate for penalty and will suffer and pay the piper umm I mean in the case the Penguin. No pun intended.

Search Engine De-Optimization Will Continue for those that attempt to cheat the system.

One of the biggest complaints around the Google Penguin update is that it allowed unscrupulous SEOs to point bad links and “over optimize” their competitors links to decrease their rankings. Think of this as cyber vandalism.

While the Google Link Disavow Tool only allows you to report links pointing back to your site through Webmaster Tools, an entire industry will pop up around existing domains or building new web sites that will aim to build links from the same sources of their competitors  and then “report” these bad back links to effectively reduce the “link-juice” of their competitors.

So, What does Google Want from a Back-Link anyway?
If you take the time to read Googles Webmaster Guidelines you will know what is expected of you as a website owner.

What does Google want? How do you differentiate from poor quality links and high-quality links?

Google genuinely wants links to be a vote of quality and confidence for a website site. The concept of PageRank stemmed from the idea of “Citation” in the academic paper publishing process where one paper would “cite” another paper in its references. The more citations a paper has, the more important it is.

Google wants links that are true measures of citation. Therefore a good guideline is this:

  • Good back links are those by which an actual human being has taken the time to approve the link (or content containing the link in the case of genuine quality content syndication for back link creation).
  • Bad back links are links that can be created automatically with no human intervention or quality review. These kinds of links are ripe for exploitation through leveraged automation through software tools most identified as SEO tools that amateur webmasters and SEO wannabees use.

How to thrive With SEO in a Post Google Penguin Disavow Tool Environment.

We strongly believe that with Google’s bias towards Social Media ranking factors becoming more important, using a sophisticated Social Media / Market Leadership strategy with a strong SEO focus in mind is the best way to improve website rankings in the months to come.

What you need to do right now?

As a website owner you need to do the following immediately or risk being penalized or even being banned from Google.

  1. If you have any form of link-exchange plugin or system on your website, remove it immediately. As people starting “reporting” sites that are poor quality, your site may inadvertently become part of the “collateral damage” by becoming a source of poor quality links.
  2. If you participate in any form of poor quality link-building system then stop immediately. As webmaster report sources of poor links, if they also link to your website you may end up being penalized as a result.
  3. If you’ve been hit by Penguin and can’t recover, or are worried about being “on the edge”: start analyzing your website including your back-links (you should hire only a certified SEO professional to do this for you). if you want the job done right…
  4. After the problem areas have been identified then you are ready to begin cleaning up the mess that is hurting your website.

 

Resources You Need To Read Today…

This is a recent announcement and there’s not a lot known about the Disavow Links Tool yet. But here’s a great list of “must see” resources which represents the best information about the tool, and its implication on the web today:

Last don’t do anything until you have consulted with a Certified SEO professional to seek professional and ethical guidance.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Googles Webmaster Guidelines

Here are the exact words from Goggles Webmaster Guidelines.

Webmaster Guidelines

Best practices to help Google find, crawl, and index your website.

Following these guidelines will help Google find, index, and rank your site. Even if you choose not to implement any of these suggestions, we strongly encourage you to pay very close attention to the “Quality Guidelines,” which outline some of the illicit practices that may lead to a site being removed entirely from the Google index or otherwise impacted by an algorithmic or manual spam action. If a site has been affected by a spam action, it may no longer show up in results on Google.com or on any of Google’s partner sites.

Design and Content Guidelines

  • Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
  • Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map has an extremely large number of links, you may want to break the site map into multiple pages.
  • Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number.
  • Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
  • Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.
  • Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in images. If you must use images for textual content, consider using the “ALT” attribute to include a few words of descriptive text.
  • Make sure that your <title> elements and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate.
  • Check for broken links and correct HTML.
  • If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a “?” character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them few.
  • Review our recommended best practices for images and video.

 

Technical Guidelines

  • Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site, because most search engine spiders see your site much as Lynx would. If fancy features such as JavaScript, cookies, session IDs, frames, DHTML, or Flash keep you from seeing all of your site in a text browser, then search engine spiders may have trouble crawling your site.
  • Allow search bots to crawl your sites without session IDs or arguments that track their path through the site. These techniques are useful for tracking individual user behavior, but the access pattern of bots is entirely different. Using these techniques may result in incomplete indexing of your site, as bots may not be able to eliminate URLs that look different but actually point to the same page.
  • Make sure your web server supports the If-Modified-Since HTTP header. This feature allows your web server to tell Google whether your content has changed since we last crawled your site. Supporting this feature saves you bandwidth and overhead.
  • Make use of the robots.txt file on your web server. This file tells crawlers which directories can or cannot be crawled. Make sure it’s current for your site so that you don’t accidentally block the Googlebot crawler. Visit http://code.google.com/web/controlcrawlindex/docs/faq.html to learn how to instruct robots when they visit your site. You can test your robots.txt file to make sure you’re using it correctly with the robots.txt analysis tool available in Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Make reasonable efforts to ensure that advertisements do not affect search engine rankings. For example, Google’s AdSense ads and DoubleClick links are blocked from being crawled by a robots.txt file.
  • If your company buys a content management system, make sure that the system creates pages and links that search engines can crawl.
  • Use robots.txt to prevent crawling of search results pages or other auto-generated pages that don’t add much value for users coming from search engines.
  • Monitor your site’s performance and optimize load times. Google’s goal is to provide users with the most relevant results and a great user experience. Fast sites increase user satisfaction and improve the overall quality of the web (especially for those users with slow Internet connections), and we hope that as webmasters improve their sites, the overall speed of the web will improve.

Google strongly recommends that all webmasters regularly monitor site performance using Page Speed, YSlow, WebPagetest, or other tools. For more information, tools, and resources, see Let’s Make The Web Faster. In addition, the Site Performance tool in Webmaster Tools shows the speed of your website as experienced by users around the world.

 

Quality Guidelines

These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behavior, but Google may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here (e.g. tricking users by registering misspellings of well-known websites). It’s not safe to assume that just because a specific deceptive technique isn’t included on this page, Google approves of it. Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit.

If you believe that another site is abusing Google’s quality guidelines, please report that site at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport. Google prefers developing scalable and automated solutions to problems, so we attempt to minimize hand-to-hand spam fighting. The spam reports we receive are used to create scalable algorithms that recognize and block future spam attempts.

Quality guidelines – basic principles

  • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as “cloaking.”
  • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
  • Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or “bad neighborhoods” on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.
  • Don’t use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.

 

Quality guidelines – specific guidelines

  • Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
  • Don’t create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware.

 

If you determine that your site doesn’t meet these guidelines, you can modify your website so that it does and then submit your site for reconsideration.

 

 

 

SEO – Search Engine Optimization an ever changing strategy for website owners.

The math and science of ranking your website effectively among search engines for relevant key words, key phrases and or terms is called Search Engine Optimization. The mathematical variables in which major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo use to rank a website and impact the influences which are made about your website are changed on a regular basis (usually several times a year). The search engines first visit your website and crawl your website and will recognize your website’s relevancy based on many factors including but not limited to the words used in your websites text, backend coding and how well your website code is written, organized and managed. (Think Quality Control).

Those that are successful at marketing their websites know firsthand they must be deliberate about the specific keywords, key phrases and search words they want to be found under when a Google search is performed. From there online marketing gurus put forth effort to build links or URL backlinks on other websites to point to their website. This can be done by submitting your website address URL to authoritive web directories and other relevant websites. Notice I use the word “relevant”.  Search engines index these other outside websites as well as the links pointing back to your website. Google, BING and YAHOO verify these as well as many other factors when ranking your website and determining where you will appear in a Google Search and for what key words or phrases if any at all.

The Old and out dated way of doing SEO will get you penalized and possibly banned altogether if you are not playing by the rules.

Attempts to beat the system (cheating)

Online marketing involves monitoring website traffic to see how specific keywords and phrases including link building techniques impact website traffic and website rankings. Many SEO companies or those that are not really educated well with SEO have habits of attempting to cheat the system and abuse search engines by using tactics used to deceive, mislead or manipulate the search engines in a effort to beat the system and rank successfully.

The Search Engines get strict and fight the cheaters

Google, BING and YAHOO have responded to the cheaters by adding more complex mathematical variables to their search algorithms which “change on a regular basis”. Many of these technical variables determine what is credible and relevant within your website and what is irrelevant and what may or is considered as cheating or being deceptive.  The old technical variables are still important just keep in mind that Google, BING and YAHOO change their algorithms on a regular basis and to stay in the game you will either obey the rules or you wont and your website will be dealt with accordingly whether that means being penalized for a month, months or even being banned all together. The bottom line is if you cheat you will lose and those that play by the rules with serious effort will outshine those that cheat.

How to have a competitive edge in the game of SEO?

Play by the rules and do not attempt to cheat.

To learn the rules of Googles Game you need to carefully read Googles Webmaster Guidelines.

 

 

 

Orlando SEO Consulting

My name is Chris Ondo, an educated, experienced, and certified SEO consultant. I have had great success providing professional SE O consulting services for organizations of all sizes for 12 years throughout the United States. Why have I been so successful with SEO? By staying up to date with the latest Web and SEO technologies and using my knowledge to help my clients exceed their strategic goals. I know how search engines like Google and Bing rank websites and implement only the most effective SEO strategies. What’s my secret? I do not overcharge and I deliver professional SEO services nowhere else to be found.

Frustrated business owners contact me when they are not sure what is wrong with their website and want to know why they’re website isn’t showing up well in search engines.  I provide three main services:

  1. Professional SEO Consulting Services. I take the time to learn about your organizational goals and provide a gap analysis of your website. This service determines which personalized improvements should be implemented to ensure you meet your organizational goals. Professional SEO consulting services are offered on a monthly retainer basis.
  2. Full Service SEO. If you are simply too busy with your organization and you need someone to handle your entire SEO campaign, Full Service SEO is a great option. I will handle all aspects of your SEO campaign and your web presence will dominate your competitors.
  3. Hourly SEO Consulting. Still receive the same quality outcomes as our professional package with hourly consulting. This is charged on a per hour basis and I will gladly answer any and all questions you may have via phone.

Call for a Free Initial Consultation about my professional SEO services – 407.595.4835

Getting found in search engines is critical for businesses to thrive and succeed. Every time someone gets on the internet and searches for businesses like yours and your website is not found, you are losing customers and money. I completely understand and know what it takes to rank your website.