Is it time for your Not for Profits to start thinking about getting a new website?
If so, are you trying to figure out how much you should budget for this project? Will you set aside $2,000? $5,000? $7,500 More? Trying to get some clarity on an accurate price can be tricky. This guide should help.
In general, the cost of a website can range from a few hundred dollars for a simple website built with a DIY website builder, to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for large, customised sites that are technically complex.
But it’s most likely that for your Not for Profit website you won’t want the simple DIY website that could present you with major complications further down the track so you’re likely to spend between $3,000 – $6,000 building a website, depending on your particular needs and goals.
If this seems expensive remember, your website is often the first point of contact for prospective supporters and donors. So, think of it as an investment. Your website is only as good as what you put into it so knowing what you want from it will give you a clear idea of exactly what your money will buy.
Work out what you need before you start
Because the budget is tied to the type of website that you need you should work out how you want your site to look, what it should say, what functionality you need. If you’re not clear on the answers to these questions then your likely to pay for features you don’t need, not getting the features that you want or being disappointed by the final look and feel of the site.
To avoid this situation, ask yourself these questions:
- Will a simple, informational website be enough for my Not for Profit or social enterprise?
- What is the look and feel I want to achieve (i.e. design layout, colour scheme, logo, photography, graphics)?
- What Content Management System am I familiar with? WordPress, Drupal?
- Does my Not for Profit have the capacity to learn a new system? Who is currently responsible for managing the site?
- Do we currently have the skill to manage the site?
- What do I want to say? Will I write this content, will somebody else in the organisation write it or will we need a copywriter
- Do I require something to be custom built? What are my specific functionality requirements
- What functionality does the website need? For example do I want to be able to change the content, have ecommerce, contact forms, donation gateways, newsletter sign ups or a blog. Which of these are must have and which are nice to have?
- Do I have a strategy for being found (if my website is new)?
BYO (Build Your Own)
The BYO approach is a solution if you have a very limited budget and are interested in just getting a web presence for your social enterprise. Referred to as a DIY website builder this may be your best option initially until you decide that you have enough funds to invest more into the design and development of your site. Remember, you get what you pay for so be aware of the possible hidden lock-in costs and contracts. Whilst a basic plan can appear cheap, or even free, as your requirements change you may end up paying more to access these functions.
Design your own site with WordPress
WordPress has many features and greater flexibility than the DIY site builders. WordPress is also the platform of choice for many large companies and charities around the world and is used by many web design agencies. But you don’t need to be a developer to build a site in WordPress.
If you’ve never built a website before there is a lot to initially understand. Including, finding a host for your website, loading your files onto the host, configuring your site, the difference between themes, designing the look and feel of your site. It can be stressful and time consuming but it will be rewarding when you reach the end and publish your site onto the internet. Remember though, whilst you’re doing this you won’t be doing much else and your Not for Profit will be paying you to learn this new skill.
Once you have a website finalised though you will probably be able to find someone to help you figure out the small complex bits you can’t figure out. However, many developers don’t like to work on other people’s creations so it might be worth making sure that you’ve got a back up before you start.
A final note for those looking for the silver bullet of a cheap or free website: if you want a professional-looking website, and especially if you want it to have custom features and functionality, you’re going to have to spend a substantial amount of time and/or money to get a final product that you can be proud of. Remember that you get what you pay for.
Hire a web designer
If building your own is something that doesn’t interest you or you don’t see it being a good investment of time or money then you can hire a web design agency.
There are plenty of agencies out there so make sure that you find one who has experience and spends the time to help understand what you need. If you do decide to hire a web design agency remember, you will get what you pay for.
Most agencies will quote based on an hourly rate multiplied by how many hours the project should take to complete. Agencies might have different per hour rates based on the services being provided. For example, coding, SEO, digital marketing strategy development may be additional services to the website design and will be added on. Make sure you know exactly what your contract is covering.
What your Not for Profit should pay for new website will be based on what you need. The clearer you are about your requirements the more accurate the designer or agency can be with their pricing.
The information provided above are the most common options and you can use this to start the process. You might like to read our other articles about how to create a great Not for Profit graphic design brief, tips for great content creation for websites and planning before you commence redesigning.
If your charity, Not for Profit or social enterprise is looking for a new website then don’t hesitate to get in touch to see if we can provide any assistance.