Designing a functional website is a stressful process. Web design can be a costly development, and paying someone else to handle all the hassle can make it even costlier. Design requires a lot of forethought and planning, but the more planning people do on their own, the less they will need to pay for it later.
What impacts cost
Most website designers have more than one client and a long list of commitments. Generally, the more in-demand people are, the higher they can charge for their services. Designers must also worry about overhead costs (the collection of costs necessary for keeping the operation afloat). Website owners should consider the amount of time they will demand from their designer (this includes regular communication).
Aside from the website designer’s base charge, the work necessary for developing the website will drive up costs as well. For example, login requirements can be a relatively easy task (to complete and to design). However, sites that require multiple layers of verification also require a lot more time to develop.
It is important for website owners to be clear from the start about what they want from their designers and from their site. If people want their designers to regularly update certain pages, costs will go up. As a basic rule, the longer website designers are on the clock, the more it will cost to create (and maintain) the website.
The ill prepared often find themselves wanting to make frequent changes throughout the project. While it is important to plan in order to avoid changing ideas after the project is already in work, it is equally as important to not get too set on any one thing. In fact, people should avoid getting caught up in minor details like font size or color altogether.
People should utilize their web designer’s knowledge and skillset instead of fighting against it. It is likely that designers could give tips on how to save money with things like purchasing a domain name or where to go for reliable web hosting. After all, website design is their specialty.
If the site doesn’t function the way people intend, then it serves them little purpose. This is the whole purpose of hiring a web designer: so they can take even the vaguest outline and figure out the little details. Doing as much of the planning as possible is the most effective way to cut costs on web design.
Website owners should start by establishing goals for the site and the purpose of the website. They should also identify their audience demographics and reasons why people would visit the site. It may also help to research other websites in the industry. (The idea here is to look for parts of the site that may have been overlooked, so website owners should avoid compromising the individuality of their site or brand for fear of being inferior.)
Website owners should establish what functions their site will need to perform. One idea is to make a list of must-haves and a list of wants. This helps establish what is necessary for the site to function properly. Additionally, they should plan for as many pages as they know are necessary. This includes listing the features they want on each page and possibly creating the content for each page. The number of pages and features that need incorporated will have a lot of bearing on the cost of creating the site.
People should anticipate as many costs as they can. This includes doing research on the establishing and maintaining a website and the going-rate of the desired web designer. They should determine details like web hosting, the domain name, and SEO.
Most importantly, they should write up a plan before the web designers begin building the site. They should make certain they are comfortable with their plan, comfortable enough to sidestep making changes midway through the project. This is a surefire way to send the budget from affordable to steep.
Set a budget
Once website owners know what they need to make a functional site, they will have an easier time establishing the budget. They should keep in mind that there are sometimes unexpected costs and remember to set aside a backup fund.
Website owners should share their budget (along with their other plans) with their web designers. This way, the designer can discuss whether this is a reasonable estimate for the work you want done. Most designers will also try to stay under the set budget (to increase their chances of getting more work in the future).
Provide own content
Creating content takes a lot of time, and website owners know the information and how they want the information portrayed better than the web designer (who, most likely, has little background knowledge on the topic). By writing and organizing all the content, they can avoid paying for hours of work they could be slightly disappointed with anyway.
They may also want to consider purchasing their own images from sites like Istockphoto.com. A lot of time can go into researching images, so they can also cut costs by providing the images they want to appear on the site.
Other ways to cut costs
Some costs people may not even consider are communication costs. Every email takes time to read and respond to. Every phone call takes time that potentially belongs to the web designer’s other clients. Writing compact emails that address all current concerns and initiating phone conversations only when there is confusion or a complicated question will help save time and cut costs.
With the proper amount of research and planning, people can expect to pay a lot less for their website’s design. To decrease costs even more, website owners could always design the website themselves. However, this is not recommended for the same reason it isn’t recommended that people don’t spend their time deciding on the fonts or picture placement: they’re biased. People are often unable to separate their personal likes from what is functional. Perhaps that’s why web designers are necessary.