How Much Does a Boat Dealer Website Cost?

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Website design and development pricing is more complex than that of most other products. The cost of a website will fall within a wide price range because each website can serve a different purpose, features different technology, and require different functionality, etc. The more in depth design and functionality you need for a website, the more you will need to spend.

Keep these three things in mind:

  • The website is both the product and the service
  • Website building is a long process that requires timely and effective communication between you and your agency
  • The agency you work with will need to account for their team’s communication and project management time

Do you need a website?

Yes. Any business that wants to compete in their industry NEEDS a website.

A business website requires more than a purchased domain name with text and images. From adding your inventory to making sure your website is responsive on mobile devices, there are many aspects of website building today that require a lot more planning and development than before. Search engine algorithms are also a lot more strategic, so if you want your site to be seen, it needs to be SEO optimized.

The goal should be to create an online “home” for your business that is appealing to the eye, easy to navigate, and most importantly offers your potential customers the products, services, and resources they’re looking for.

Specific Breakdown of Website Prices

Domain Name:

$10-$100 per year – This is the price for new domains. Boat Marketing Pros charges $100/year for domain and DNS management, but you can purchase your own domain at any registrar on the web for around $10/year.

Hosting

50 – $1,200/year – This price depends on if you choose dedicated, shared, or free hosting. Other fees may be required for additions like SSL (Secure Socket Layer Certificate) or static IP Address. 

Custom Design/ Information Architecture

$2,500 – $10,000+ – This includes the visual design, UX design, imagery collection, and sitemap and page structure generation. These steps are generally a part of a larger website development package. This part can take up to 30 hours. It involves onboarding, initial meetings with our clients’ marketing teams, and our design team’s work internally on the project, including final presentation and approval. That translates to $4,500 retail on even a modest boat dealer website.

Website Content Creation

$50-$200 per page, or hourly – You can write your website’s content yourself, outsource it overseas for around $1 per page, or use a content writing firm that will charge around $100-$200 per page. What you pay for is what you get when it comes to content creation that will get your dealership’s website ranked high in search engines and engage your audience.

Project Management & Information Gathering

$600-$3,000 – We want to help you and your website succeed, and that means creating a line of communication between you and your key stakeholders. This price includes initial consultations, phone calls, and any time that it takes to obtain the information we need to get your site going.

Testing and Training

$600-$4,800 – While most websites are built on an easy-to-use CMS nowadays, not everyone knows how to get started with them. This price point includes the time spent training you how to use your new dealership site, and confirming that everything works properly. This also gives you the chance to make any necessary requests for changes.

Launch and Digital Marketing Setup

$600-$4,800 – Having a team that understands digital marketing (particularly SEO) and your website’s role in helping to drive this for your business is vital to success. For every project we work on, we have a 40+ step process to ensure the final site is SEO friendly and communicating to the search engines properly.

Website Managed Services

$75-$150+/month – Managed services can include blog writing, post-launch testing, and content maintenance. It may also include marketing and advertising services including PPC marketing, ongoing content creation, social media marketing, and more.

Specific Breakdown of Website Prices

Now that we’ve detailed everything that goes into boat dealer website development costs, let’s get into the different costs that could be associated with each “kind” of website.

BASIC BOAT DEALER WEBSITE COST | $50/MONTH + OR $2,000 – $5,000

Best suited for small-sized dealerships

With the latest trends in companies like Wix, Square Space, and others, we thought this section would be best broken down into two parts: the DIY route and the developer route.

DO-IT-YOURSELF BOAT DEALER WEBSITE COST | FREE – $50/MONTH

Many small businesses choose to make a DIY website. They’re typically faster to make, convenient, and most importantly, cost effective. There are impressive tools like WIX, Square Space, and Weebly that offer some advanced customzations that can work for someone on a tight budget or just getting started.

With that being said, these tools can still be overwhelming. Many boat dealers are busy and don’t have a lot of free time to consider learning how to work with these website building tools. To take full advantage of their features, you still need some knowledge about coding, design, etc. If you’re a business or freelancer and you’re okay with working within their templates and not working to configure some more custom options, these DIY tools might be a great fit for you.

PROFESSIONALLY BUILT BOAT DEALER WEBSITE COST | $2,000 – $5,000

This package typically includes a basic designed website that acts primarily as an online brochure, establishing a necessary presence online for a boat dealership. Questions your potential buyers may seek to have answered online are:

  • Do you exist?
  • Are you professional?
  • What models do you sell?
  • Have other people in the marine industry worked with you before?
  • Where are you located?

A basic website in this range typically includes up to 10 pages. The content should cover all the information about your business, your team, your services, and most importantly, a way to get in touch with you. If you’re working with a web development agency, this website may also come with the ability to update your website on your own through a content management system (or CMS for short).

This makes things a little more complicated as the complexities of using and designing around a content management system is usually a bit more time-consuming than coding HTML from scratch. It’s also necessary for agencies to train the end-user (client) and their team on how to use the website, which adds additional time to the budget.

A basic website will serve to help brand and market your dealership, showcase your inventory/services, and become a lead generating tool for your company. The design of your website will most likely be a template since these costs fall on the lower end of the cost spectrum. This means that your website will likely look similar to other boat dealerships on the web and if that is okay with you, then it may be the right option to go with.

TEMPLATE BOAT DEALER WEBSITE COST | $4,500+

Best suited for small to medium-sized dealerships

Template websites are best suited for dealerships that have a smaller web or marketing budget overall and are willing to adhere to the limitations of a WordPress template.

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) on the web. Over time, developers have created millions of WordPress templates that allow companies to create attractive, user-friendly websites quickly. However, it’s important to note that templates are somewhat limited in their customization capabilities.

With a template, you can easily edit your logo, colors, and the general look. However, by keeping your budget small, you would be confined to the overall structure that a template provides.

Some other web agencies will say that they can implement a WordPress template for as little as $500 – $1,000, but we often find that those companies do a quick and dirty job. Moreover, they don’t consider the time to communicate with you, their client, to see what your needs might be. Our pricing reflects the time for planning, communicating with our clients, the actual work, and launch/post-launch support.

We establish our pricing for WordPress templates based on the number of hours it will take. This is not a guesstimate; these are hours that we’ve recorded while working on WordPress template websites in the past with actual boat dealer clients. One of our most common experiences is that a client is willing to use a WordPress template simply because it costs less than a custom website, but often, clients want to make changes to the template that defeat the purpose of using it. By making additional changes, the end cost becomes close to the amount it would have taken to build a fully custom website.

This is not to say that we don’t recommend WordPress templates. Sometimes, they are the best fit for a client’s budget, preferences, and goals. If you have a great relationship with a web company that understands the limitations of using a WordPress template and makes you aware of those limitations while working through them with you, developing your website in a WordPress template might just be the best of both worlds.

CUSTOM BOAT DEALER WEBSITE COST | $15,000+

Best suited for medium to large-sized dealerships

Custom websites are best suited for medium to large-sized dealerships that have a larger budget, want full control over the look and feel, and may require a bit more functionality.

You may be thinking: “who knew this could be so expensive?” We are frequently met with this question when explaining our pricing to prospects and we usually tell them to remember that web design is a professional service. Much like any creative endeavor, a new website requires research, planning, consulting, design, implementation/development, and quality assurance/testing.

What you see as a client – a sitemap, wireframes, and designs – is just a sample of what goes on behind-the-scenes. Here at our local marketing firm, we employ a full-time team of 8 with each person having his/her expertise in various areas of digital. A custom website build requires input from our technical team (hosting requirements as an example), our designer, and our marketers (for SEO/digital marketing guidance). Every item we present for approvals has been carefully thought through with your goals, preferences, and overall best practices in mind. And this all takes time (and money).

Why are websites in this range so expensive? Here are other factors that can contribute to the cost:

  • Tighter timelines
  • More meetings
  • More people (and approvals) involved
  • More pages of content to create
  • Additional security concerns related to hosting
  • Governmental or other requirements (such as ADA compliance)

None of these above factors are extreme or extraordinary, but when required, the costs will increase.

Why are Boat Dealer Websites so Expensive?

And why do companies charge such different prices?

Most potential clients we speak with have received quotes from other web companies. We’re often met with: “Why are you so expensive compared to XYZ Company? Why are you so much less expensive than ABC Company?”

I can’t really explain why prices are so wildly different in the web design industry, but I think it has something to do with the nature of our industry itself. Even though we’re in a time where EVERYONE uses the web to do daily things: banking, booking appointments, etc., there seems to be this cloud of confusion hovering over the industry. This likely has something to do with some web companies’ lack of transparency.

It works a lot like consulting. On the low-end, you have people that, frankly, have no idea what they’re doing and simply throw a number at you without REALLY considering your needs. This person often “knows somebody” that used to work on the web or “built themselves a website back in college.” There are many tools for people to learn web design and development online and there are plenty of capable people out there, but those are the people that are going to charge a lower rate.

On the high-end, you have ad agencies creating digital divisions and agencies that charge simply because they think they can. Traditional ad agencies are beginning to realize that they can no longer rely solely on traditional media. I read an article in Ad Age recently where they say that people are dropping the term “digital marketing” and saying just “marketing.” Digital is no longer a “nice addition” to have in your marketing mix. It’s a must. Large-scale, prestigious ad agencies now have a digital division and charge an arm and a leg for a website. Some agencies charge more simply because of their work experience with big name companies.

At Boat Marketing Pros, we establish our pricing based on the amount of work we think it will take. Period. We need to ensure that we account for our own overhead, make sure our team is taken care of, etc., but the final cost is the amount of time we think it will take multiplied by our hourly rate of $150. We aim to be as transparent as possible to ensure there are no surprises along the way.

To summarize, much like in any other professional service, web design and development is an industry where you get what you pay for.

Published: November 26,2020
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