I sat down with a client to go over the construction of his new website. As we were adding more and more pages and features, he leaned back and said, fraught with worry: “This is going to cost me a thousand dollars, isn’t it?”.

“No, more like, two thousand”, I replied. His eyes got big. Then the conversation went like this:

Me: “How much would a full page ad in the Yellow Pages cost you?”

Him: “Pshh…$5,000-$10,000, easily!”

Me: “Ok, and what’s the reach of that ad?”

Him: “The greater Baltimore metro area”

Me: “What’s the reach of your website?”

Him: “Well, the whole world!”

Me: “Exactly. And the Yellow Pages ad is one page, your website is an interactive piece consisting of many pages.”

Me: “Also, are people using the Yellow Pages more?”

Him: “Hell no, they’re going to Google and using the web!”

Me: “So, it’s sensible to pay 5x more for one static page (instead of 7 pages), to a limited audience (instead of the world) on a medium that no one is using?”

We both kind of just looked at each other, then he wrote me a check.

Valuing a website is actually pretty easy to do, given that other vehicles of advertising are much more expensive and far less effective.

Another Case:

I was giving a proposal to a prospect and he recoiled from the $3,500 estimate, and said “$3,500??”, which sparked this conversation:

Me: “Yes, well, there are a lot of pages and…”

Him: “Why is it $3,500???!!!”

Me: “We look at the number of pages, custom programming needed, and…”

Him: “Ok, I get it, it’s a lot of work, but maybe I don’t need it. How can I justify a $3,500 website??”

Me: “How many clients would the website need to bring you in order to make up the cost?”

Him: “One.”

We both kind of just looked at each other, then he wrote me a check.

If your website is designed correctly, it will do most of the selling for you by passively bringing you hot prospects. How many sales would you need to credit your website to achieve an ROI (Return On Investment)? Depending on your industry, it might not take long at all. Everything after that, is icing.

Beware, however, that if you get seduced by an inexpensive solution, you could be paying someone to create an obstacle for business, or better yet, paying someone to give your competition a leg up on you.


A cheap website created though some automated system like SquareSpace or GoDaddy means that no one put any thought into your goals, calls to action, branding cohesion, content structure, etc. All of these contribute to the overall user experience, and if the user is not persuaded and or impressed, they bounce off your site and on to someone else’s. This is how you LOSE business by having an ineffective website.


A new web company who offers to do your website on the cheap because they want to build their portfolio is also a risk. Usually it’s young college grads who have a lot of book knowledge, but no street smarts (yet) enthusiastically wanting to build your site and show it off. Not so fast. Did they ask you the right questions? Did they get to know your business, and share your passion for what you do? Did they present caveats and how to avoid them? No? Then what you are about to do, by hiring them, is say “Here kid, here’s some money, now go make me look bad and ruin my reputation.”


A web company who is experienced, nay, war-torn, knows how to fast-track your success. They also won’t be “cheap”. Most websites range from $2,000-$5,000 and in some cases higher. We have created them from $1,200 on up to $45,000. There’s no flat-rate for “a website”. This is like having a flat rate for “a house”. It all depends on how many bedrooms you want, any upgrades, bump-outs, etc., as well as how much land you want.


Long Story Short:

  • Websites generally cost less than a Yellow pages ad, and are 10x more effective.
  • Inexpensive, automated website creation systems will not only make your content bend to their designs, but also literally put zero thought into the psychology of marketing.
  • An inexperienced designer who’s on the cheap presents a possible fatal risk for your business.
  • A reasonable range is $2,000-$5,000 for most small to medium sized businesses.
  • Every website should be looked at as a blank canvas with the only limits being your budget.