There shouldn’t be any doubt in anyone’s mind that having a strong online digital presence is one of the most important things for a brand in our technologically oriented society. That being said, building and maintaining a digital presence can require quite a bit of time and money. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may be tempted to choose one over the other – but which is more cost-effective for a bit of time and money. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may be tempted to choose one option over the other – but which is more cost-effective for your brand: website or social media?
Website or Social Media Page – Which is More Cost Effective for Your Brand?
It can be hard for business owners to fully understand what an investment in a website or social media page truly is. Very few companies that build websites post their rates online because website costs will greatly depend on the project and the cost of building a website doesn’t always consider the cost to maintain your site in the long run. Creating a social media page doesn’t cost a thing, but costs start building up when it comes to maintaining and amplifying your social media page to your audience. So let’s break it down, website or social media page – which is more cost effective for your brand?
There are many costs associated with a website. The first cost? Building the website. Prices vary for how much it will cost to build a website, and will depend on the size, quality, and customizations involved. Here’s a quick ballpark of what it would cost to have a brand new website developed:
- Small Business Website: Basic information with usually under 20 pages and stock photos will cost between $3,000 and $10,000.
- Medium Business Website: A more in-depth website with about 75 pages, a content management system, fun layouts and imagery, and maybe some unique plug-ins will cost between $10,000 and $25,000.
- Large Business or E-commerce Website: These websites will likely get into many custom designs and integrations to provide the functionality that is necessary. A website that allows customers to purchase products needs a payment processor, and large sites often need multimedia created, which can cost a pretty penny. These sites can run upwards of $50,000 depending on their intricacy.
In addition to these up-front costs of building a website, you need to consider the recurring fees associated with running it. For example:
- Domain Name: Your domain is the title of your website, the URL that gets people to where you want them to go. Domains aren’t usually too pricey unless you want to get a domain that is already purchased or customized. The typical price is about $20-$50 annually, and you can usually prepay a few years in advance.
- Website Host: Once you have your domain name, you need to find a place to host your site. There are many web hosting companies out there that offer plans that can range from $10-$100 per month and the price will depend on how much traffic your site gets and how many features you have on it.
- Content Management System: Your CMS is what you use to display articles, videos, and photos on your site. It isn’t necessary, but it will save time because it is easy and efficient to use. Depending on which you choose, it could be minimal in cost (like the ever-popular WordPress) or custom ones can cost thousands of dollars a month.
- SSL Certificate: The secure socket layer, or SSL, is the certificate that encrypts sensitive personal information that is exchanged on your website. If you ask for personal identifying information anywhere on your website like a form or in an e-commerce store, you MUST have an SSL certificate. You need to get your SSL certificate from a trusted source, and you will have to dish out anywhere from $10 – $100 per month to maintain it.
And those costs are just to have a website up and running. You must build content and implement digital efforts to amplify your website so it reaches your ideal audience. To do that, you need:
- Search Engine Optimization: SEO is a series of tasks that help your website rank higher within search engines. Check out this article for SEO best practices for digital branding. SEO costs vary per agency or freelancer, but it can cost about $5,000 upfront, and then about $200 – $500 per month on average for maintenance.
- Pay-Per-Click: PPC advertising is the ad that you’ll find on the sidebars and banners of websites and Google results. Targeted ads help businesses get increased traffic on their website and are a quick way to get more people visiting. The cost for PPC really depends on your budget. You pay for every ad clicked. The cost for that click depends on the cost of the keyword and how many other people are bidding on that same keyword. A small to medium-sized business should budget around $500 – $1000 per month for PPC costs.
- Content: Unless you’re a writer, it’s beneficial for your business to get a content creator that specializes in SEO to create content for your site. You should also consider creating graphics and blog posts. The cost for content creators and graphic designers can vary extremely, so shop around to get a good price for the value you want.
Social media is a great tool for getting the word out there about your business and is a free tool so it seems like the ideal option to replace a website. The most popular social media network for replacing websites is Facebook. It’s true, Facebook Pages are great – since so many people use Facebook for personal social media, it’s easier and more familiar to navigate than using a website builder or blog. Since Facebook is free to create a page, using one as both a social media tool and business website can seem very appealing to business owners. That being said, there are built-in limitations to a Facebook Page.
Facebook allows you to customize your header image, store sections, and the content you share, there is a limit on the branding and personalization you can do on your Facebook page. Your content, offers, promotions, and updates must stay within the guidelines established by Facebook. In addition, your content isn’t necessarily your own – Facebook can use that content for their own purposes. In addition, while Facebook does have billions of active monthly users, changes to privacy on the platform could mean that your audience may never see your content.
As for social media pricing – while creating a page on the platform is free, social media DOES have a cost associated with it. If you do all the updates yourself, it will take quite a bit of time and energy to build a strategy to reach the audience you want to reach. You can hire an agency or freelancer to maintain your social media networks as well, and depending how many pages you manage and how often you want to post, it could run anywhere from $500 to $3000 per month.
You should also consider that you’ll need personalized content for social media, like videos which will also cost to produce. Here’s why videos are important for social:
Finally, you’ll have to include paid social media at your cost because that will be the most efficient way to get in front of your audience. The costs will greatly vary depending on the network and what your goals are. A small to medium business should budget a minimum $500 – $1000 for paid social media, and whatever agency costs on top of that if they want to outsource it.
Marketing your business and increasing your visibility is one of the most important parts of owning or running a brand. Take all the facts that you have and define what your business needs, and then make the most informed decision you can regarding how to amplify your brand. Most importantly, continuously revisit your decision to see if it’s time to make additions or subtractions to your marketing at all times. The reality is, you have to do what is the most cost effective for your brand, but your situation could change at any time, so make sure to stay on your toes!
Do you have a website for your brand or just a social media page?