Quality, speed and low cost. You can’t have all three at the same time. This applies in almost walks of life, and it holds true for web development and design as well. It seems impossible to get a great website done quickly, and for a small price. However, there are some shortcuts you can take to get the best bang for your buck. If you already know how much does a website cost a month, we’ll show you how to save as much money as possible.
In order to get the best quality website out there, it’s necessary to hire a web developer. However, you don’t have to go overboard and spend thousands on your new (or old) website. Even if you have an in-house team of developers and designers, this is often not the best possible scenario when building a website. Here are some ways to solve the biggest problems when it comes to website costs.
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Provide Clear Instructions
If you don’t lay out your wants and needs, don’t be surprised if you get something you didn’t want. One of the biggest reasons for overblown costs of website development is lack of a good brief. Clients lay out the basics, not knowing that each detail they add piles up developer time and new costs.
In order to save money and time, a good brief is necessary. Provide your website designer/developer with the main goals you want your website to hit. Lay out an overview of who visits your websites and what effect the website should have on them.
Make sure to list all the main pages the website needs to have, including their copy and design wireframes. If a page has more than simple text and graphics, explain in detail what it should do. I.e. a submission form, questionnaire, quiz, etc. Finally, provide a list of apps you want the website to integrate with.
One of the best practices when it comes to website development is having a list of websites you like. Present your devs with a carefully prepared list of websites that appeal to you. For each of the sites, write down a list of things that you like, as well as those you would change or make better. In this way, you help the developers get a sense of what you need, and they will be able to give you more precise deadlines.
If you give your web developer a good brief from the start, you will save up on plenty of time and money. By knowing exactly what to do, the developers can give a more accurate estimate of the total costs.
Lay Out Your Business Plan
Your website developer is not just an employee – they’re your partner in helping you get more visitors, leads and sales. For this to happen, they need to have a clear insight into your business and what you do. Prepare to give out details about your business, your customers, products services, your marketing plan, as well as your future goals. You may be wary at first, but it’s necessary for the development team to be filled in when it comes to this crucial data.
Each website is unique, and all these bits of data are necessary to cater yours according to your needs. At the same time, an experienced team of developers has most likely built hundreds of websites before. Some of them just might be from your specific niche. In this way, they can give you advice on best practices and how to move forward.
If you don’t already have a business plan, there are some great guides out there on how to write one.
Keep Your Focus
This links directly to our previous point. When you design a new website (or redesign an old one), you get carried away. You notice how amazing it looks and you get overly excited. All of a sudden, sky is the limit and you want a dozen new features on your site. You’re already getting a new site, why not make it incredible?
Unfortunately, this is not such good news for the devs… Or your bank account. It’s easy to get carried away once the site starts taking shape, but it’s important to keep in mind why you wanted a new site in the first place. Each new addition to the website design will cost extra money. What’s more, it will also push the delivery date further.
Focus on your original needs for the website and stick to them. Think carefully about the essentials you need for your site and lay them out in your brief – you’ll thank yourself and the devs will thank you for it.
Go For an MVP
It’s okay to not know what you want. It’s especially okay to not know it if you haven’t even tried out your products or services. Trouble is – you need a website, and you need it fast. Actually, you need an MVP.
If you’re an NBA fan, it’s not short for most valuable player. It stands for minimum viable product. In other words, it’s a website with bare essentials only. It addresses the basic requirements of your target audience and stops there. As time goes by, you get feedback from visitors and you can know where your site is headed. You can add pages and features according to the path your site and business take.
There’s multiple benefits to an MVP. First off, your site will be done much quicker and at a significantly lower price. Second, you’ll be able to launch your product faster. Finally, there’s less risk involved. Because you’re not investing significant time and money into your website, you can allow yourself to fail. If your product or service simply don’t work out, you can move on, knowing the website cost a fraction of the planned amount.
One way to ensure that an MVP model works for you is to subscribe for a maintenance package with your website developer. This way you ensure that you can get upgrades in the months to come, on top of the original MVP website.
Use a Template
This one is pretty straightforward. Instead of opting for a custom design, simply select a pre-made template to build on. No matter the CMS you use, there should be a range of different themes available to check out. WordPress is especially rich with themes, as more than 25% of websites now use it as their CMS.
There are multiple benefits to using a theme. First and foremost, you save a lot of cash, because the developers can just edit the existing template instead of building new pages from scratch. Second, your site will be done a lot faster. Third, you know exactly what your website will look like before the developer even begins creating the pages. You can let the dev know which features you want removed from the theme, and which ones you want added. Simple as pie – and both you and the developer are happy.
Rely on Stock Photos
Often times, when people want to have a website done, they mostly think of the cost of hiring a developer. However, each little element adds a bit to the price tag, and one of the key elements are the graphics. All of sudden, you’re wondering – how much does a website cost a month, really?
There’s no great looking website without great looking graphics. Besides the page elements, you will need some photos for your pages as well. The best possible solution is to hire a professional photographer and have your own photos made just for the occasion. Unfortunately, this is also quite expensive. Add it to the cost of developing a website, and it’s not an easy expense to justify.
Instead of blowing money, you can simply opt for stock photos. Sites like iStock or Pixabay offer thousands of stock images you can use for your website. These are very affordable and they will add a dose of professionalism to your website’s appearance.
You can also opt for free stock photos if you really want to save on cash. However, bear in mind that the rest of the internet can use them for free as well. Combined with a pre-made website theme, you run the risk of having a website that looks like something else out there. For this reason, we suggest paid stock photos as the middle ground between professional and free photos.
Do Some of the Work Yourself
Depending on how much time you have on your hands, this could be a poor or brilliant decision. Developing a website is much more than coding and designing the pages, and there’s a range of tasks that you can help with.
For example, unless you’re moving an old site, your new website will surely need some content. You can help out by writing the copy for the main pages, as well as the initial few blog posts. You can save a decent amount of money, albeit with some investments in time on your side. Even if you’re not looking to primarily save money, content should still be one of your primary concerns. Remember, a great-looking website is of no use if no one visits it. Employ some content marketing and ensure that you have the right type of content to attract your target audience, before your website is even launched.
Depending on your manpower, you can do more than writing content. If you have an in-house designer, they can help out with the website elements for the new site.
If your website is built on WordPress, and you’re running a theme, good news. If you have some spare time, you can teach yourself how to edit the theme and create new pages on your own or edit the existing content.
Doing some of the work on your own is a great way to cut costs, but bear in mind that you will be investing your own or your employees’ time. Therefore, carefully think about the return on investment you get by undertaking this work on your own.
Opt for a Hosted E-Commerce Platform
If you’re looking to sell any type of product, you need an ecommerce platform on your website. You are now faced with a dilemma – custom-made platform or a hosted solution? Both sides have their pros and cons, but we suggest using hosted ecommerce solutions.
Platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, LemonStand and others are great pre-made solutions for doing ecommerce on your site. They are easy to set up and come pre-installed with loads of useful features that you can use on your own. To top it off, you can use some of the many plugins, to enhance buyer experience.
By opting for a hosted e-commerce platform, you will save significant amounts of money on development costs. Not only that, but you will able to maintain your shop on your own, by adding and removing items as necessary, updating stock information, editing descriptions etc.
Custom-made ecommerce solutions have their own strengths as well. With hosted e-commerce solutions, you run the risk of having a store that looks exactly like something else out there. On the other hand, custom code ensures you get a unique website with the specific features you want. However, this comes at a significantly higher price. Not only that, but each little tweak will require a developer to do it on your behalf. As far as we’re concerned, the choice is very much clear.
Get a Professional to Handle the Job
The best way to save money on website development costs is to hire a professional from the start. At Adspirine, we know the struggles of SMBs and their need to have a great-looking, functional website. This is why we work with you, to find a solution that fits the bill and looks and works great. What’s more, you will immediately know how much does a website cost a month – all of our pricing is transparent.
If you want to kickstart your online presence today, reach out to us now. We’ll show you that a great website can be made in record time and at unbelievable costs. We offer packages for small businesses as well as those who focus on growth and want to establish themselves as industry leaders.