“About as much as a car.”
Is my standard answer to this question. In fact, if this question comes up early in the discussion then it’s a red flag to me and my team that this client is going to need help with understanding exactly what we do here.
A good web development company is far more than a team of developers who will magically create all the great ideas coming out of your head. A good developer will take the time to understand your business from start to finish, they will ask questions like:
– Who is your target audience?
– How do they find you?
– What are your other current online and offline marketing activities?
and most importantly
– What is your measure of success for the project you are trying to engage us for?
Many companies looking to move online have built a website without thinking about the bigger picture. How do you know if you got value for money for your website? Having a clear goal to strive for is a must. A goal needs to be simple, e.g. “100 sales per month within 6 months”, or “2000 signups to our newsletter in the next 3 months”. Once you come up with a target, and agree on it between yourself and your developer, it will be much easier to evaluate your site’s performance. If you haven’t reached your target, then don’t panic – just sit down with your developer and go through the analytics. This gives you a chance to refocus and work out your next goal together, perhaps your initial goal was too ambitious.
Any website needs to be thought of as an integral part of your business, not just an expense that needs money thrown at it. Consider the overall return on investment of the work you are getting done, then you can ask the question “How much will this website make for me?”, which is a much more exciting question to think about!