I get this question all the time from MYOBers….
How much do you think I have to save to make a great website?
Usually (as much as I hate it) the only answer I can give is “it depends.” Why? Because there’s so many variables!
There’s the time cost of doing it yourself. There’s the labor cost of hiring it out. There’s purchasing the photographs, the domain name, and so forth. How are you supposed to estimate something so esoteric? I mean, you practically need an IT degree to get an answer anywhere close to reality!
Which is why I was grateful to have the opportunity to hear from some experts about what all is really involved in the process of building a website.
I interviewed Perry Rosenbloom, CEO and founder of Brighter Vision about what you should estimate when planning for a truly great counselor website.
I was introduced to Perry and Lead Web Developer Andrew Oetjen at the 2015 ACA Conference in Orlando. I was immediately captured by the simplicity of the solution they offered to therapists who wanted professional-quality websites, but didn’t have the time, expertise, or money to have one done by the more common means. I’d been recommending some other resources to beginning private practice counselors for years that honestly I didn’t feel 100% comfortable with – I told the people I recommended them to that they weren’t everything that they needed, but they were the best option available to them at the time.
Now, there is something else available.
Perry & I stayed in touch after the ACA conference and I was honored when Brighter Vision agreed to be a sponsor for the MYOB conference this year – it was help from them and the other sponsors that allowed me to put so much into the new website and conference app, along with improve the technology I use to bring you the video presentations!
So there’s no question in my mind that Brighter Vision is the team to turn to for questions like these, about how much it really costs to put together a quality website. After all, when you start a business you have to research all the options out there so you can answer the big question of:
“Why, given all the other options out there (including doing nothing at all) should someone choose me to do business with?”
This is a question I learned from Dr. Deb Legge and I recommend every counselor think about when it comes to marketing their practice. And, it’s a question Brighter Vision obviously addressed for themselves, and shared with me here:
Stephanie: When we’re talking about building a quality website, what expenses do we have to consider?
BV: First, the person to do the web development work. A very cheap, standard web developer will cost about $2500.
Stephanie: Is that a single fee or representative of an ongoing cost?
BV: That’s probably the initial rate, from there, you’ll have to factor in support – the changes you want to make in your website from time to time. Updating your information, changing your specialty, even adding simple things like maps, forms, etc.
Stephanie: What does something like that cost?
BV: Estimating 2-3 hours of support a year at $100/hour, that will be about another $250 a year.
Stephanie: What if you don’t hire someone, and do it yourself?
BV: Assuming that is the case, you have to consider the money you are “paying” to use your time (time that could be spent seeing clients) towards building the website.
Stephanie: I enjoy building websites, but I have to say that in creating the new myobcounselor.com website from scratch I probably spent at least 25 hours a week for 4-5 weeks putting it all together. Some of that was because I had to teach myself how to do something I didn’t know how to do at first. But even reducing that time to account for the new software and things I had to teach myself, that’s probably 40 hours of work, minimum, representing $4000 or more of income. Now, that’s a little depressing!
BV: Yes, it’s something you have to consider. And you also have to pay for the web hosting, which is a monthly or yearly fee. We estimate that’s $120/year, bringing the total (with developing, hosting and support all together) to $4,350 for 5 years with this website.
Stephanie: Ouch. I know that I was once able to get my hosting fee down to $4-5/month but in order to do that you almost always have to purchase a 3-year membership or something like that – a pretty big commitment if you’re not sure if you want to stay with that hosting company or you’re just starting out. Even then, that would only save about $60 or so a year overall.
BV: So that’s what we’re measuring against. With our monthly plan of $59, that comes to nearly the same over 5 years – $4,348 – and less if therapists want to go with the yearly payment option, which is $3,894 over 5 years. Plus, most small businesses go through a re-design about every 5 years, so that brings out another $2,500 all over again – probably more with inflation. We only charge $99 for a re-design to one of our other themes, which makes it much less expensive to change your mind. Plus, we offer annual SEO audits for all websites, which have a value of about $750, and we include domain name registration in the fees.
Answers like these are why I feel really good about recommending Brighter Vision to MYOB Counselors. Along with what’s already been mentioned, Brighter Vision builds websites using WordPress, IMHO the best platform available for building any website, period, but not easy to access or user-friendly for those of you who don’t have experience building websites yet. This platform lets you update frequently and easily. (You should see a log of some of my web page changes…in fact let me include a picture of that below!)
This is actually one of my less-updated pages – the speaker page for the MYOB Conference 2015.
If I had to pay a developer every time I wanted to do that – yipes.
There’s a lot more I could say, but I’ll let the therapist websites they’ve done speak for themselves.
It does cost a lot to build a good website – no matter how you slice it, you will spend at least $1000/year to get a quality website, either in actual money or the “money” of your time. It’s worth it – it brings in new clients, and it provides a home base to connect with existing clients in between sessions. But it’s a lot of money.
Which is why I think that you should try to get the most value for the money you spend. Ask questions of the web developers you hire – how much will it cost to update your website from time to time? How long will it take for the changes I request to turn around? What will you do in terms of SEO? Will you set up a blog for me?
Ask of yourself: What will it cost in my time to put this all together, realistically? What about the time it will take me to learn a new skill? What about the money to purchase SEO software, stock photos, etc?
Put that all together, and you’ll have the cost of a professional-quality therapist website. While you’re doing that, I strongly encourage you to check out Brighter Vision as a possible solution to your website needs.
Brighter Vision has kindly offered MYOB friends an ongoing free month – click here and use promo code STEPHANIE to redeem!
Conference sponsors have donated to the conference to help make it possible to have the resources to put this event on. No sponsors have paid me to write anything specific about their company, all opinions are my own.