How Much Should I Spend on My Studio Website?

 
 
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What does a great studio website cost?

When you think about the cost of building an excellent website, what comes to mind?

Is it many dollar signs?

The world of web design can feel complicated and expensive, and you may not know where to start - or what is a fair price to pay for your website.

The truth is that you can spend almost any amount you can imagine on a website - from $0 to beyond $10,000.

But what do you NEED to pay for a great website? (hint: it’s probably not $10,000) The answer primarily depends on what you are willing to invest, and that comes down to time and money.

This blog post will:

→ Lay out the three primary options for building a website

→ Show you a general price range for each option

→ Give you a realistic picture of the pros and cons for each option

→ Help you decide what is the best fit for you and your studio goals


Here’s a look at what you can plan to invest in a studio website:


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What Makes a Great Website?

First, let’s get real about what makes a high-quality studio website:

→ A solid platform (WordPress and Squarespace are arguably the best options)

→ A good domain name

→ Excellent photos that are edited and optimized for web

→ Well-written copy

→ A thoughtful, up-to-date design

→ Well-organized navigation

→ Strong SEO

→ Mobile responsiveness

→ Social integration so that families can connect with you on social media

→ A simple, quick, reliable way for families to contact you or enroll in lessons

These elements are non-negotiable if you want your website to help grow - or manage - your studio in 2019 and beyond.

Here are your primary options for getting a great studio website:


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Option #1: Build Your Own Website

Financial investment: free to around $250/year


Building your own website is the most affordable option, up front, for your budget. You will likely pay a reasonable amount for your website plan (around $95/yr on Wordpress or $250/year on Squarespace).

If you choose Wordpress, you’ll want to add a theme. One of the most popular themes, Divi, costs $89/year (or $250 for lifetime use).

If you choose Squarespace, you have access to all of their templates at no additional cost.


So what are the pros and cons of building your own website?

 
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Pros:

1. You gain a new skill!

2. You are in complete control of your website. You can experiment with your design and make changes as many times as you want.

3. You are working on your own timeline. You can take as long to build your website as you wish.

Cons:

1. You will invest many, many hours in your website.

You are committing a large amount of time to your studio website, and it’s important to prepare for this before beginning. Plan to carve out a day or two each week to work on your website so that it doesn’t drag on endlessly (see #3).

2. It may be difficult to find someone to help you out if you find yourself frustrated or stuck.

3. Because you likely aren’t working on a firm deadline, it may take a few months - or longer - before your website is ready to launch.

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Option #2: Ask a Friend or Family Member for Help

Financial investment: free to ???

If you have a friend, family member, or colleague with web design skills, you might be in luck. They may be willing to build your website for you for little or no financial investment, which is a tremendous gift.

The platform they are comfortable building on will determine those costs, which would likely be the same as if you built it yourself. In that case, the above pricing would apply here as well.

 
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Pros:

1. You get a studio website at reduced - or no - cost!

2. Your web designer friend will likely not need to stick to deadlines with you, so you will probably have a lot of flexibility in getting your content to them.

Cons:

1. You will be limited on the changes you can request - and how honest you can be.

Requesting edits - particularly if you’ve got more than a couple - may be tough to do when your web designer friend is doing this as a favor. They likely won’t be eager to make endless changes for you, or they may a bit offended if you don’t love their design.

But look at it this way: you have a new studio website that didn’t cost you much money. So your website may not look exactly as you’d hoped, but that’s okay. Your relationship with your web expert friend is likely worth far more.

2. Your website may take a while to complete. Because your friend is doing this to help you out, you will need to wait until it’s convenient for them to work on your website.


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Option #3: Hire a Web Designer

Financial investment: $900 - $7,000+

Let’s say you want someone else to take this huge website-building task off your plate. How do you find the right web designer for you, and how do you know what’s fair to pay?

You can find a web designer who charges almost any amount you can imagine. You can find an affordable website guy (Google that; he’s a real person!) who will build your website for $900.

You can also find a high-end web designer who will build your website for more than $10,000.

I particularly love the look of this higher-end web designer (yes, she also offers more affordable packages). In fact, I recently discovered that our 2-week studio website package is modeled on an idea that is originally hers.

As you can imagine, though, most web designers fall somewhere in between $1,000 and $10,000.

The majority of web designers I know of who work one-on-one with entrepreneurs start around $2000 for a basic, 5-page website.

If you are going to pay a web designer to build your studio website, you want to make sure your investment will come back - and then some.

Keep in mind: an up-to-date, easy-to-navigate website is arguably your most powerful tool in growing your studio. It’s an investment that, made in the right place, can pay you back many times over.

The key? Choose the right web designer for you and your studio.

Here are some questions to ask when searching for a web design pro who will “get” you and your studio:

→ How well do they listen to me? Do they seem to understand what I need? How well do they seem to understand my studio and my goals?

→ Do I like their portfolio? Can I see my studio website showing up there?

→ Do they work primarily with entrepreneurs or single-owner, small businesses, or do they work mainly with larger businesses?

→ Do I want a simple, stock-photo-style website that is slightly more generic and more affordable, or do I want something that is customized to represent my studio accurately and help me reach bigger goals?

→ What will my investment be - both in time and in money? What’s my budget? Am I willing to commit to meeting the deadlines outlined by this web designer?

 
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Pros:

1.  You can have a gorgeous, custom website that helps you reach your studio goals quickly.

2. You don’t have to know anything about web design.

3. You can easily end up with a website that sets you apart from every other studio in your city.

4. Your website will be built to current web design standards - and can easily take you into the next several years of your studio growth.

5. Your website can be built very quickly - allowing you to leave this enormous task behind in a few short weeks.


Cons:

1. The financial investment is larger

2. You will need to provide your web designer with good content (including high-quality photos and well-written copy).

Pro tip: You can also ask your web designer if they can write the copy for you. We offer this package to our clients, and other designers occasionally offer the same.

3. You will have deadlines to meet with your web designer. When committing to a slot in their calendar, you’ll want to designate time in your schedule to meet those deadlines.

Your turn:

What questions would you want to ask a web designer? Has this sparked any new thoughts for you?

You ask, I’ll answer.

Whichever option you choose, here’s to enjoying your journey to a great website!