Thursday, June 1, 2017

Five tips for building your website budget

It’s one of the most common complaints we hear from new clients: “My last website project was so far over budget. It seemed as though our budget was just a suggestion.”

That’s not a complaint we want to hear from any of our clients at TBH Creative. We work hard from the very beginning to make sure that’s not the case. In fact, we often hear that we spend more time upfront preparing, asking questions and confirming details than our competitors. Why is that so? Even during the sales process, we want to take the time to really understand your project and give you an estimate that is as accurate as possible. It's worth the extra time because we want to build a website that meets your goals and that is completed on time and on budget. The more we know from the beginning, the better we are at doing just that.
Before you get started on a website project

So how do you build a website design budget that encompasses what you need and helps your website developer avoid those expensive surprises? We have five things to consider before you sit down in front of the spreadsheet.

1. Develop clear expectations

Avoid scope creep with better up-front planning. Before you even hire a website design firm, meet with your stakeholders to discover what they want and need from your website. Consolidate all of those items into one list and prioritize it. Clearly define what you MUST have as part of the project and consider putting other items on a future, phase two list. Present this outline to your website design firm from the very first sales meeting and you’ll get a better proposal that truly meets your needs.

Include room on your list for new ideas. Let your chosen website agency listen to your goals and needs and use their expertise to help you come up with the best way to reach them. Clear expectations shouldn't be rigid - they should be flexible enough to take advantage of the skills and knowledge your agency brings to the table.

This list should also serve as the basis for your comparisons between vendors. If you need 200 pages created make sure each proposal you review considers the time required for design, coding and testing each page. If you’ve got one proposal that is far lower than the rest, it could be that they aren’t dedicating the proper amount of time which will likely result in up-charges later that can destroy your budget.
Clearly define what you MUST have as part of the project + consider putting other items on a future, phase two list.Tweet this

2. Hire the writer

Want to know the number one thing that delays a website? Content. Many companies opt to save some money by writing the content themselves. Then they end up paying more money because of project delays or the need to hire an Internet writer to edit the content. Content is key to your website - in fact, we build our sites around the content. Cutting corners on content is going to harm the integrity of the project and often end up causing you to pay more later.
Want to know the number one thing that delays a website? Content.Tweet this

3. Pay for the photography

The importance of visual impact in a website cannot be overstated. That is even more apparent as websites become more photo-heavy. Gone are the days when you could snap a few pictures with your smartphone and post them on the site. Even stock photography is becoming trickier to use - low cost stock is overused and often cheesy. Whenever we can do custom photography, the results are always better. Today’s designs require high fidelity photographs for clarity and function. Professional photography or high quality stock - a good website development firm can help you maximize your dollar without sacrificing the appearance of your site.

More about website images

What happens when you have plans for a custom video or photo shoot but they won’t be ready for site launch? One of our clients had just this dilemma. A new product video was in the works and the home page was built around showcasing video content. Rather than delay launch, we found a good stock photo as placeholder until we created the right custom video loop.
Stock photography is becoming trickier to use - low cost stock is overused and often cheesy.Tweet this

4. Pay attention during review phases

At TBH Creative, we ask clients to review and approve three key phases of every project before final project acceptance:
  1. Foundation Document: a summary of all key aspects of the project from goals to critical content elements and functionality
  2. Wireframes: the blueprint of any site, wireframes ensure all content is accounted for and given appropriate prominence
  3. Design: too many firms skip right to the design without spending enough time on the previous phases. The design should be the fun and exciting part of the project and the part that pulls together all the plans from previous phases and presents them in full color. 
Why so many development approvals? Our goal is to make sure the client is intentionally considering the impact of each step which avoids change orders and ultimately saves money.
Too many firms skip right to the design without spending enough time on the previous phases.Tweet this

5. Set a realistic deadline

Have you heard the saying that you can have it fast or you can have it cheap but you can’t have both? That’s very true when it comes to website development. If you want to get the most from your budget, assume a 4-6 month timeline for your website project. Better yet, review the scope that you carefully developed at the beginning with your website developer and ask them to tell you how much time it will take. Let the budget and needs dictate your schedule, don’t let your schedule dictate your budget.
Let the budget and needs dictate your schedule, don’t let your schedule dictate your budget.Tweet this
From clear expectations to realistic deadlines, there are things that you can control about your website budget. Find a website development firm that has the process in place to monitor your project and the nimbleness to respond and adjust throughout and you’ll find yourself with a better website at the end.

Choose a website design firm that will help you keep your project on budget. Choose TBH Creative.

We spend the time upfront to ensure that your goals are appropriately planned for and met in your project. You’ll likely notice a difference from our first conversation - a good difference. Let’s set a time to talk about your project.

Tatum

About the author | Tatum Hindman

Tatum is the president of TBH Creative and is responsible for building long-term client relationships. She enjoys the strategy behind web design and sitting down with clients to define online marketing goals. She likes to blog about questions or topics that clients ask about as well as sharing new tricks.

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