Working out your website budget

Budgets can quickly become the bane of a web design project, so how do you keep a check of your expenditure while still ensuring you get the result you want?

The cost of a website can vary from the sublime to the ridiculous depending on the design, features and functionality you require, as well as the supplier you choose. To get the best value, clear communication is key – and that includes being transparent about your end requirements, and the money you’re prepared to spend!

Without laying your cards on the table at the earliest opportunity, relationships between the agency and client can suffer – leading to frustration, overspend and compromised outcomes. A clear guide of expectations at the outset will ensure that you get what you pay for and that your website will come in on budget.

Comparing web design costs

Clients can sometimes be a bit cagey about projected spend – and understandably so, as everybody naturally wants to protect their business and ensure good value. The problem is that without any financial clarification, it’s impossible to devise an approach that will best meet the client’s requirements.

Here are our 3 golden rules for keeping your website within budget, and getting the best from your chosen supplier:

1. Research – because there are so many variables, agencies and web designers rarely display costs on their own websites, but that doesn’t mean you have to go in blind. Invest some time in proper research, and select a few suppliers who demonstrate an approach and style that resonates with you.

2. Brief – once you start the communication process, it’s easy to go off track and confuse your end objective. Develop a clear brief to send to each of the potential designers you’ve selected, including the type of site you want (brochure or e-commerce), number of pages/products, whether you can provide or require images, details on access/editing/ongoing support facilities, and any other ‘must haves’.

3. Budget – yes, you need to advise on your website budget from the outset, even if just as a ballpark guide. This challenges the supplier to create a unique proposal that takes into account both the brief and the budget – and also gives them the nudge to be honest if they can’t meet your requirements across the board.

Essentially, by adhering to the above, you can make a genuine comparison of web design costs, rather than leaving proposals open to wild and inaccurate interpretations: you simply can’t compare web design costs if there’s no guidance at the start.

The risk to the client is that X agency will put forward a cost that sounds like fantastic value, while Y agency pitches much higher – but then you choose the lowest price only to realise further down the line that this doesn’t include half of the things you need. If you clearly set out your expectations at the start and advise on your available budget, the supplier can find the best solution to deliver on both counts – and you can make a fair comparison between them. Simples!