Want to Turn Off Website Visitors? Don’t Include Your Prices

Posted by on Sep 12 2011

According to Jakob Nielson, a website usability expert, one of the most important things that prospective customers are looking for on your website is pricing. Yet so many service businesses do not include their pricing on their site. This is understandable if your service is customized for each client and there’s a proposal process to bid on a client’s project, but if you have “packages” that you offer at a fixed rate, why not include them?

Nielson says, “The most user-hostile element of most B2B sites is a complete lack of pricing information. And yet, when we asked users to prioritize which of twenty-eight types of B2B site information mattered most to them, prices scored the highest by far (29% higher than product availability, which ranked second).”

I’ve heard many people say that their prices are flexible. I interpret that to mean: if I’m really hungry, I’ll lower my price for you. I believe in fair pricing: everyone is charged the same price for the same service. I also believe in pro bono (free) work if you really want to help out those who can’t afford your services.

Nielson goes on to say, “Sites have many excuses for not wanting to display prices, but they are just that: excuses. Users expect to get a basic understanding of products and services during their initial research, and they can’t do that without some idea of what it’s going to cost. Even if your company can’t list exact prices, there are several ways to indicate price level, which is really all people need initially.”

If you think that your prospective clients are going to call you to get your prices, think again. Not having prices on your website makes people feel uncomfortable and intimidated, and they’ll find another website where they know what things cost. Either give prospective customers the information they’re looking for, or they’ll go to your competitors site where they can get their questions answered. (Do you really want to come across as saying, “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford me?”)

Read his survey results here; while this particular survey is testing business-to-business (B2B) websites, the same holds true to business-to-consumer (B2C) website usability:


And, yes, I list my prices for coaching and consulting on the Passion For Business website. Five years ago, I had a hard time finding other coaches and mentors who listed their prices. Recently I see more of them sharing their program and package pricing, which helps their prospects get a sense of what their costs will be. But here’s the correlation: I’m also seeing coaches and mentors get much better at describing their services and outcomes on their websites, which helps the prospect justify the fees in their own mind. When you can show your customer what they’re getting for their investment, you respect their ability to make decisions based on their wants and needs.


6 comments for now

6 Responses to “Want to Turn Off Website Visitors? Don’t Include Your Prices”

  1. Karri Flatla

    Hi Karyn!

    Thank you so much for making this post. Funny, but I just made a post about this exact same article on a VA Forum I am an Admin for (vanetworking.com) the other day. So, indeed, great minds do think alike ;).

    For a while, I followed “conventional” wisdom and did not published my rates. Big mistake. When I put them back up, the inquiries started to flow in again.

    But here’s the other reason to publish your rates: never again will you waste precious time with a prospect only to find out that he/she is terribly unqualified – i.e. they don’t want to pay your rates!

    Gee, maybe JN knows what he’s talking about.


    07 Jun 2006 at 2:46 pm

  2. Karyn Greenstreet

    Hi, Karri,


    It’s very common for self employed people to struggle with talking about their prices. I wrote an article about that exact topic, which you can read here:



    08 Jun 2006 at 4:52 am

  3. Chismville

    Hi Karyn:

    How does a service company like mine posted general pricing on my website: chismbrothers.com? I have wanted to do that for a long time, but I have been advised against it. Some have said that it will cause your competitors to know your prices etc. We of course know we tend to be on the higher side because of the level of service we provide, “you get what you pay for.” So what would be a way to generalize our pricing?

    10 Jun 2006 at 11:55 pm

  4. I agree. Just yesterday, I had to do a faux walk through a class registration process simply to learn the cost of the class.

    “Price-less” websites give potential clients & customers an additional step in their search for help. If they want our help, they’ll HAVE to learn the price sooner or later. Why send them around the barn?

    13 Sep 2011 at 9:31 am

  5. Karyn Greenstreet

    And think of the emotional exhaustion and annoyance they put you through, making you “fake register” for the class, just to discover the price. Next time they offer a class, you’ll remember that experience — and you may decide, “It’s just not worth it.”

    15 Sep 2011 at 8:19 am

  6. […] Studies have shown the consumers want to see prices of products and services. Even a price range is sufficient. But many business owners have reasons why they prefer to not include pricing. […]

    07 Jul 2012 at 5:22 pm

Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Website Planning