5 Ways to Beat the Website Development Budget Blues
Website design isn’t something you want to cheap out on. After all, a good design will encourage users to interact with your site and keep them coming back. At the same time, development costs must be kept in-check or they will overwhelm your budget. Here’s how to cut costs where it counts without sacrificing quality.
Come To The Designer With a Conceptual Drawing
One of the best ways to keep your costs down is to come to the designer with a conceptual drawing of how you want your site laid out. If you’re good with a pen or pencil, you might even have the entire design worked out.
If you’re not much of an artist, you can still block out your site so that the designer has a rough idea of what you want. For example, build an outline of where you want the main content blocks to be, whether you want sidebars and, if so, what you want in those sidebars.
You can also lay out the navigation menu, how you want it to work, and what types of pages you want on the site as well as how large you want the header to be.
Separate The Host From The Designer
There’s a growing trend right now to combine web development with an in-house hosting plan. Usually, it’s done by larger design firms. The way it works is that you have a designer design the site and then another department takes care of the hosting.
On the hosting side of things, the company just white labels an already-established hosting provider. Why would you ever do this? Well, sometimes, the design is sold at a loss (loss leader) and then made up on the hosting side of the business. This is where things get hairy. You’ll pay less for the upfront design, but more for the hosting over the long-term. The company justifies this usually by advertising ongoing maintenance of the site and more personalized service on the hosting side.
You can save yourself a lot of money by ditching the combo deal and using a website like
www.VirtualHosting.com to find yourself a reasonably-priced host. Then, pay for the web design that you want. You might initially pay more, but you’ll pay less when you take into account the cost for hosting.
Have Your Content Ready Before Design Starts
If you’re having someone build you a largely static website, then have all of your content ready before the design begins. That way, the designers can design around the content, instead of having to figure out how to make the content fit into the design.
This becomes especially important when the site has borders or some other design element that might clash with the length or intended layout of your content.
Identify How You Want Visitors To Interact With Your Site
Do you want people to come to your site to watch videos? What about reading long blog posts? You must identify why people come to your site. That lets designers figure out the best way to design it. If you have a static site, it’s going to be very simple to design. If you have a dynamic one, that’s going to be more expensive.
Do Not Work With Designers Bidding For Price
One of the biggest misconceptions about web design is that you should hire the cheapest designer. Designers that work on price are not incentivized by money to do a good job. So, what are they incentivized by?
If your designer isn’t getting fair compensation, he’s going to cut corners – even when he agrees to the bid. The more strains you place on him after the price is agreed upon gives him more incentive to do a shoddy job. After all, no one works for free. Even when the job is complete, you might need to fix something that never worked right to begin with, and that will tend to cost more than if the job had been done right the first time.
That’s the truism of the old saying, “price buyers are twice buyers.”
This article was contributed by Rose Donner. Rose designed and managed her first site when the web was hardly a twinkle in the common person’s eye. With experience and insight under her belt, she often blogs about innovations and trends for today’s website creators.