I’ve found that about 80% of people end up asking me the same 7 questions when we first start talking about building a new website.
If you find yourself in the market for a website, I bet you have at least some of these same questions too.
My hope is that by sharing my answers to the most universal questions, when we talk I can spend more time focusing on the questions you have that are unique to your business goals and circumstances.
That’s enough babbling… Let’s get to the questions.
The 7 Questions
- How much does a website cost?
- How long does it take to complete a website project?
- How will we keep our website updated once it’s finished?
- Will my website show up in search results?
- Do I need to provide all the content for my website?
- What if I don’t like what you design for me?
- How do I handle business email?
How much does a website cost?
The cost of a website is often one of the biggest determining factors a business will have to weigh when choosing a web developer.
Like buying a house, a car there are no ‘set’ prices for websites— it really depends on what sort of features your website needs, the scope of the project, and the individual rates of any web agency.
Here at OGAL, I try to simplify this process as much as possible and provide ranges for typical types of websites: like a simple brochure website, ecommerce website, or membership website.
Simple brochure style websites are how most businesses start out, and my pricing starts out at $2,500 and can go up from there depending on if there is specific functionality or additional marketing services that will be required.
Ecommerce websites are more complex, and have more moving parts. Those projects typically start at $5,000 but can easily reach ten or twenty thousand.
Because I realize many small businesses don’t have a few thousand dollars to invest in a website at the start of their business, I also offer a “one page” website that starts at $750 and is great for businesses to establish their online presence, and is a scalable system that you can add to as their business grows.
Keep in mind that there are ongoing costs to owning a website too— things like hosting, domain registration, and even the software that powers your website. Beyond the cost, there is the time commitment to keeping your website up to date, secure, backed up, and online.
For these tasks, many of my clients enroll in my Continued Success Program where I take responsibility for all of your website upkeep and bundle in all the ongoing costs.
How long does it take to complete a website project?
On average the typical project takes about 4 to 6 weeks from start to finish— however that timeline can vary.
Over time I have developed a step-by-step process that I undergo with every project to help break everything down into phases. Together, we’ll move methodically through each of the 8 phases to take your project from concept to completion.
Having this process in place helps us stay on track, make continuous progress, and keeps us from having to go back and redo things that could slip through the cracks.
The biggest factor that will determine the timeline of your project is the content of your website.
If we are having to develop all new content for your website (maybe because you are making a website for the first time), that process alone can sometimes take weeks.
Website builds that already have content ready (like redesigns) typically move through the entire build process much faster.
The best way to ensure your project is completed quickly is to have a good plan in place for how the content for the website is going to be produced.
How will we keep our website updated once it’s finished?
The most successful websites are ones that stay up to date.
Not only is this important for your users, who will be relying on the website to have current information— Google (and all the other search engines) love websites that get updated often and tend to favor those websites in search results.
I build websites using WordPress which is the most popular website building tool in existence, and when setup properly, can be very easy to make updates (like posting new blogs or changing text or photos).
Your website will be built to be easily edited at any point, and I’ll even provide you with the training you need to make small updates yourself.
However, many of my customers opt for my Continued Success Program which covers all the website maintenance, making changes to the site, and bundles in many of the ongoing costs.
During the proposal process I’ll explain more about the Continued Success Program so you can decide if you’d rather handle website upkeep yourself, or if it would make more sense for me to take care of it for you.
Either way you go, your website will be able to be updated in an instant. This helps extend the longevity of your website and increase the return on your investment.
Will my website show up in search results?
When it comes to your website showing up in search engines, that’s where we begin to talk about Search Engine Optimization (or SEO).
Being an agency that is heavily focused on marketing and SEO, each website we build will have all the foundational elements (like proper structure and markup) to make it search engine friendly.
After your website is launched, I’ll submit your website to all the major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This will ensure they index your website in their database so they can serve it to people searching online.
As far as your position in search engines, that depends on hundreds of factors like the content on your website, the age of your website, and even your competition.
If part of your motivation for building a website is to get organic traffic from search engines, I offer several packages in my SEO Success Program that are specifically designed to improve search engine rankings over time.
If you already have a website and are worried about how a redesign will affect your existing rankings, during the proposal process I’ll be sure to analyze how your website is performing in terms of SEO, and put in the proper procedures to not only retain your rankings, but in most cases improve them in the redesign process.
Do I need to provide all the content for my website?
When it comes to written content, no one knows your business like you. Because of that, I believe it’s vital that the business themselves play a role in the content creation process. This will make the content on your website authentic and consistent with your brand.
However, most business owners aren’t professional copywriters nor do they have a deep understanding of how to write content specifically for websites that’s optimized for search engines.
My process is simple, and brings together the best of both worlds— your subject matter expertise, and my experience in editing and optimizing for web.
We’ll create a content plan for your website (which might include content from an existing website or other marketing materials) and I’ll provide you with templates you can fill in with “rough draft” copy.
We’ll work in collaboration to ensure that the content on your website is a perfect representation of your company, gives your visitors the information they are looking for, and is optimized for search engines so you get found online.
Typically the content creation process takes the longest out of any part of the website development. Because of this, we often kick things off focusing on the content, and while you’re working on the rough drafts, I’ll begin some of the prep work for the website.
The content needs to be in place before we can begin the full design process, so that we make sure we are designing a website that fits around your message and not trying to just cram words into a pretty template.
If you don’t feel comfortable writing any copy, or simply don’t have the time, we can hire a 3rd party copywriter to come up with all of the copy.
When it comes to images, I’ll have you supply me with everything you have so that I can curate the best assets and we can fill in any gaps with professional stock photography if needed.
Lastly, I can help you with any custom graphic design work you need whether it’s editing and updating existing pieces or creating new artwork.
What if I don’t like what you design for me?
This isn’t a question I often get, but I know it’s on people’s mind— so I just want to help ease any fears you might have.
In the 16+ years I’ve been doing creative design work for other people’s businesses it’s very rare that a customer has been unhappy with the final results.
This isn’t necessarily due to my talent or experience— but because together we will follow a process to achieve the right design and style for your project.
During the onboarding process I’ll ask you questions to learn about your brand, your taste, your industry, and most importantly— your customers. Afterall, we’re designing a website that is made to appeal to them.
Design can be subjective, but because of the focus on research we’ll be able to make confident, objective decisions based on how your company should be represented visually.
I don’t include any limits to design revisions in my contract because I want you to be thrilled with what we put together. Instead, we will make design choices incrementally starting with colors & typography, and building from there. Each step we take builds on the last and we’ll have plenty of time for communication and feedback along the way.
Typically, by the time we start laying out full web pages, we’ve already made most of the design choices together and in my experience there are few revisions once we get to that point.
I’m confident you’ll love the look and feel of your website, and if you don’t, we’ll keep working on it until you do.
How do I handle business email?
While there are hundreds of email providers to choose from, first you’ll need to decide if you want to use a personal email (like Yahoo or Gmail) or if you want to use a business email that matches your domain.
In most cases, businesses want to use a business email that uses their domain in the email address.
Branded business emails do come with costs that vary from less than $1 per month per user, up to $6 per month per user.
The cheapest of the options can work, but you might find the inbox outdated or clunky, and your emails will be more likely to end up in your recipient’s spam folder.
The more expensive options, like GSuite by Google, offer a user-friendly inbox, and you won’t have to worry about landing in people’s spam.
I use, and always recommend GSuite because I think the $6/mo price tag is well worth the peace of mind knowing that my emails will end up where they are supposed to and my inbox will be easy to manage.
As a web agency, I do not provide email services, so you’ll need to purchase them directly from one of the providers. However, I’m more than happy to walk you through all the different options out there, help you find the best fit for your needs, and even help you get everything up and running.
Hopefully this article provided you with some of the answers you were looking for, but chances are, it did not answer everything.
I’d love to talk with you about your project and answer your unique questions.