by Emily Oskay Gerrick
Often there are a lot of questions around the cost of a website, what investment a person should expect, and what is right or wrong when buying a website, which is why I’d like to give you a real-life comparison of why buying a website is a lot like buying a house. There are many different considerations when buying a house and first and foremost is likely your budget. Second to that may be the area you’d like to buy a house in, and whether you’d like a house you need to make some updates to or a house that doesn’t need any renovations. But at the root, you’re looking for a house with a great foundation, good structure, and something you can grow with. Your house should make you feel secure, and your house should make you feel proud just as your website should for your business.
Below are six (6) useful suggestions that compare home buying with buying a business website:
Budget will likely make or break what you’re willing to spend on your house, but it is important to remember that buying a house at a cheap price can sometimes cause for expensive repairs in the future. The same can hold true with your website. Sure, you could get a $500 template website that meets your needs now, but as your business changes over time it could be costly to make changes or repairs to this website.
The true cost of home ownership isn't just your mortgage payment every month. There are property taxes, insurance, utilities and upkeep costs to consider, in addition to your monthly mortgage payment. Websites often have monthly fees as well for features such as CMS or software usage, support, upgrades, and infrastructure management. Some companies will offer you “no monthly fee” deals, but those programs may require more work on your part, or may result in higher costs down the road, for work that many vendors include in your monthly maintenace package. It’s important to know what you get with your website cost and monthly payment so that you’re not being charged hidden fees for advice, upgrades and support moving forward.
You want to make sure you have a solid foundation in the house you’re buying - it’s the reason you get a home inspection. You do not want to have to deal with water damage or cracks in your foundation in the future. Your website needs a similar, strong foundation. Make sure to look past the flash and features because a strong infrastructure will keep your website running for years, whereas something that is templated may break sections of your site, may slow down your website or may cause your website to go down all together.
Make sure whoever is selling you your home has your best interests in mind. You don’t want someone to sell you on something simply for the commission they hope to receive on the sale. The same should hold true for your website provider. Look at buying a website as entering into a partnership where your business success becomes a priority to both parties. Make sure your website provider is selling you a quality website that will be beneficial to your long term business success.
Once you begin the process of purchasing, building or renovating a house, a contract will be involved with the bank that you will be financially responsible for. You do not want to get halfway through the ownership process on your home and realize you made a mistake. Your web design and development vendor should feel the same way. Once you begin building your website, if you are not happy, you can likely get out of the contract; but it may be costly to do so. Consider all the costs and benefits of a web development company before choosing to move forward.
You know how much you’re going to pay for the home, you know the property value in the area you’re buying your home in, you know the foundation is solid, and you’ve gotten a home inspection so you know what needs to be fixed and what doesn’t. Simply put, you’ve done your homework and you know the value proposition of the home you're considering. When buying a website, do your homework as well. Know the value your site will bring to you, as well as the long-term benefits your web development vendor will provide. Gaining leads from your website is often just as valuable as having a trusted partner to rely on when something goes wrong. Do extensive research, considering all the expenses and options of a website, before committing to anything. This will ensure that you achieve the maximum success for your company’s investment.
In general, it is important to do your research, set a budget, and to set goals and expectations for your business website - just like when buying a home. The more you know up front, the easier it will be to make a confident decision about your business website. There are a lot of factors to consider, but with a solid foundation, a defined budget, a little paint and a trusted partner, you’ll find exactly the home, or website, to suit you.
Emily joined the Marketpath team in December of 2014 as a User Experience (UX) Designer. She serves as the product designer for Marketpath CMS, and the lead designer for the Pro Services division. Emily works directly with clients to establish their online marketing goals and outlines any functional requirements the custom website may need before designing client websites.
Emily obtained her Masters of Science in Information Architecture & Knowledge Management with a concentration in User Experience Design from Kent State University in 2018. She previously attended Purdue University and graduated from Purdue University in May of 2013 with a B.A. in Visual Communication Design and Computer Science. In her free time, Emily enjoys cooking, drawing and designing, traveling the world, and spending time with her family and friends.