What is a Well-Designed Website Worth?

web design valueHappy Leap Day! As we wrap up the month of February, aka Web Design Month here at OurChurch.Com, we’re going to touch on one more web design topic.

Every month our staff at OurChurch.Com talks with dozens of people interested in having a new website designed for their organizations. Most of these folks come to us with a budget in mind which I believe is a good thing, however, most of these budgets are derived from a flawed budgeting mindset.

Most website budgets are developed by people asking, “What can we afford?” When people ask this question, it reveals they view their website as an expense.

The truth is…

Your website is an investment!

Church leaders… most people find a new church by first searching online, then checking out the churches website, and if they like what they see on the website they’ll come for a visit. What you invest in terms of money, time and staff to creating and managing your website will determine how nice it looks, how easy it is to get around, how good the content is and how regularly it is updated. A well-designed website could easily result in twice as many website visitors choosing to visit your church in person.

When you’re considering the budget for your website, what is a new member worth to you? What is the soul of a spiritual seeker worth to you? $100 a year? $1,000? $5,000?

School leaders… the math is even easier for you. What’s the tuition for each student? In most cases, the cost of a well-designed school website is less than the school’s tuition, meaning if the website results in just one new student coming to the school, the website has entirely paid for itself.

Schools that view their website as an investment for attracting new students commonly spend $5,000 on their website and another $5,000 on search engine marketing. That $10,000 investment may result in 10-20 new students producing $50,000 to $100,000 in tuition.

Business leaders… the math gets even easier. How much revenue do you want your website to generate? $25k a year? $50k a year? $100k a year? When someone only budgets a couple hundred dollars a year for their business website, it indicates they either don’t expect to succeed or they don’t realize a well-designed website could generate 2, 5 or even 50 times as much revenue as cheap, cookie-cutter website.

The Deception of Free

One of the great things about the Internet is that so much of it is free. You read this blog post for free. Your site shows up in Google search results for free. You can set up Facebook and Twitter accounts for free. But unfortunately, we also have a tendency to make assumptions about the value of things based on their costs. That’s a very big mistake.

You many not pay Google to be listed in its search results, but the value of those search listings is the value of all those people who Google sends to your website.

Similarly, you can get a cheap website for $10/mo (even from OurChurch.Com if you like) but a well-designed website that looks good, conveys what your organization is all about, is easy for your visitors to navigate, is easy for your staff to update and has all the functionality you need to succeed will produce far more value than that to your organization and thus is far more valuable.

The question is, the next time you budget for your website will you view it as an expense or an investment?

How does your organization determine the budget for its website?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

8 Responses to “What is a Well-Designed Website Worth?”

  1. In my opinion, you can have the most expensive website, the best graphics from the world's best designers, and all the gizmos you can put on it. The value– $0 unless it converts! If the ROI for the site is equal or greater to the amount spent on the site, then it is a positive investment. I have seen some ugly sites make ALOT of money, and many gorgeous sites that couldn't convert a single person. my .02

    • PaulSteinbrueck Mar 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      Tyler, I agree completely. When we talk about web design here, we're not just talking about the look of the site, we're talking about the way it's laid out, the navigation, the functionality, and more. All those things contribute to a site's conversion rate.

  2. Jon Anderhub Mar 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Ahh yes the old "your web site is an investment" schpiel.
    While I agree that a good web site does make a difference in the way visitors respond to it, the fact of the matter is that most Churchs are small and barely have a budget for operations neverthe less a "botique" web site, and these Churches rarely have the personel to keep these sites up to date,
    So the next time that you hear from a Church that has only so much money bugeted for a web site, remember that it may very well be all that they have.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Mar 7, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      Jon, the issue that holds most churches back is not whether they are small or not but whether they intend to stay small. I've seen declining churches with a half million dollar budget that say they "can't afford" a well-designed website. I've also seen church plants starting with just a few families pool their resources to get a well-designed website because they understand how great an impact it will have on their ability to connect with other families in their community.

    • Jon I think you are right in some ways. I work with a number of small congregations and ministries and many of them don't have big budgets. So I don't think a small work needs to spend $10,000 a year on a website. But on the other hand it does make sense to designate a decent budget to get things started and hire the help of a professional to get it set up in a way that makes sense for the church.

  3. Before a web-site do we have to buy the name domain, or something?

  4. Can you perfect my website?

  5. My website is making not much but it is making enough.. What do you think take a look?