How to reduce the cost of website development (by as much as 50%)
When people are about to have a new website built, certainly, cost is an important factor. The current article gives you a very useful tip on how to keep the costs down. You can save a substantial amount of money if you do your part of the job.
The tip is rather straightforward: Make a VERY DETAILED PLAN
Bare in mind, having an idea in not the same as having a plan.
If you tell a web designer only your rough ideas, but not your very precise and elaborate plans, the quote you will get
- will either be low because it will only contain the few things which you told your web designer, as a brief. In this case, you may get a low quote, but the result is uncertain. You will often not be satisfied with the outcome and need to pay a lot more later
- or in lack of a detailed plan, some web designers give a very high quote in the first place, because they have to guess and estimate all the details of the project - which are not yet provided.
In both cases you will get a quote which isn’t based on your real needs.
How to make a plan
Creating a plan is a long and tedious thing to do, but without it you are taking a big risk.
If you want to have an e-commerce website (let’s say you are about to sell candles), think about the following:
- Write down each and every feature of your products in detail. Make a list of your candle categories, colour variations, dimensions, size variations, scent, weight, price variations, packaging options, etc. It’s not enough just to tell your web designer that “I will be selling candles”.
- Write down the customer journey you envisage: Do you want your customers to register in order to buy? Would you like to offer them the option to buy as a “Guest”, without registration?
- Write down the content of the confirmation email your customers will get after a successful purchase
In case of a simple “marketing” website you also need a detailed plan:
- Write down the full list of your services in order of priority.
- Write down the greeting of the Contact form on the website.
- Make a list of what fields you need: First name, Last name, e-mail address, Message fields should obviously be there, but would you also like to ask your visitors to choose from a list of options, regarding what kind of help they need?
- Once they fill in the Contact Form, what should happen next? Do we just show them a confirmation message on the screen or do we send them an email? Should we automatically send them marketing material? Should we store this message details in the website database or is it enough for you to have this message as a simple email?
These are just a few examples, but they show that the possibilities are endless. Certainly, each website is different. Make sure you think about all details.
Details like this might seem obvious for you - who know your product inside out, but the web designer isn’t working in your business and isn’t a mind reader. All these details make a huge impact on the design and the required amount of web development work.
Things you don’t mention can’t be included.
If you leave the task to the web designer without providing the finest details, they will build the processes according to their ideas, and it’s by no means certain that the end result will meet your expectations.
And if you can't create a detailed plan because you feel you don't know how or can't visualise the whole process, then ask for help. Once you have your plans, it’s a good idea to contact several web designers and show them your detailed vision. Ask them which technical platform they recommend for your plans. Some of your ideas may not be feasible, or may only be feasible at high cost. This is why it’s important to talk to an expert.
Clients very often mention - as the first criteria - that their new website should “look nice”. While this is undeniably very important, it’s NOT the most important thing.
- It’s your content and message that matters in the first place.
- The website should be first and foremost clear, understandable. Everthing sholud be there for a reason.
- The website visitor should understand in 5 seconds what your business is about and why it’s different from your competitors.
Just like in a high street shop, shop-front and design is crucial, but if there’s no content behind, there’s nothing to sell. Help your web designer by providing clear, sufficient and well structured content to work with. It might sound a bit harsh, but a nice design can only be built on well-created content.
An idea is not a plan. If you want to be professional, don't just have a business plan. Make a plan for your website too. It will save you money and you will get better results because it’s always a lot cheaper to follow and execute a plan rather than making constant adjustments during the development process. The more time you spend planning, the better. It really pays off.
If you struggle with it, it is much better to involve a consultant from the very first design steps, and pay them a small amount at the beginning than having to start all over again after your website is already done - based on a poorly thought-out development plan. It’s especially true if you need a website which is an online tool.
This is why the cost can be considerably lower with a proper plan.
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