Harold Mansfield

Money saving tips for your next website project

Rating: 3 votes, 1.67 average.
Getting a new website designed or updating your existing one, can be an intimidating process, but it doesnít have to be. Everyone wants the website of their dreams paying a fortune for it. To be honest, itís not the rocket science that you think it is.

We qualify every purchase we make by comparing products, seeing which has the features and functions that we want and even judging them by other products and reputation of the manufacturer, and recommendations from our peers.

[COLOR=#2f4f4f][SIZE=3][B]How NOT to do it[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]

The best way to have your web person increase the price. Take forever to get done. Ignore your calls and emails and put other jobs before yours..is to have no idea what you want, have nothing ready for them, and take forever to make the simplest decisions about what you do want. After all, doesnít time equal money in your business too?

[COLOR=#2f4f4f][SIZE=3][B]How you SHOULD do it[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]

However, The best way to get the most bang for your buck from a web designer is to take the guess work out of it for him. If you follow a few common sense tips, not only will you increase the odds of getting exactly what you want and need, but you will also avoid over paying for it, and waiting forever for it to get done.

[COLOR=#000080][SIZE=4][B]1. Match the web designerís skills and knowledge to your needs[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]

Itís important to understand that not all web designers do all things on the web. Just because they work on computers, doesnít mean that they can do every possible thing that is also done on computers. There are 100′s of ways to publish or build something online. Just because someone is versed in, say, flash or animation, doesnít mean they know beans about Search Engine Optimization, or Database Management.

Ask around. Ask questions. Ask your peers. Just like you donít want to buy something that is outdated and doesnít do what you intended, you also donít want to buy more website than you need and comes with unexpected maintenance fees, over head costs, and requires a PHD in theoretical physics to manage.

If your project requires specific skills, make sure that you ask questions to insure that they can accommodate you. Check out their portfolios and even ask for references if you need to. Sometimes it may be necessary to hire more than one person, and if so, that is something that you want to know up front. If you donít know whether or not you are asking for something that requires specialized knowledge, just ask. Donít assume that everyone does everything.
[COLOR=#000080][B]2. Look around at some websites[/B][/COLOR][/SIZE]

Before you call a web person and say[I] ďI want something that popsĒ[/I], causing him to run away screaming at the thought of trying to figure out what that means to you ( as opposed to the other 50 people that have said that to him in the past month) look around at some websites in your industry that you like.

Make notes of what you like and donít like about them and ask questions. Imagine how you would like your company portrayed on that site if it were yours. Keep the links handy so that when you talk to your web person, they have a base idea of what you are looking for.

Or if you really just donít know, at least be honest up front and most web people will be happy to consult with you about what works based on your needs if you just give them a fighting chance with some kind of idea.

[COLOR=#000080][SIZE=4][B]3. Get some color[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]

Do you already have company colors? A logo? Any branding materials at all? If not, it would be helpful if you at least had an idea of which, out of the millions of colors and color combinations in the world, best represents what you like and how you want to portray your company or organization. Need some inspiration? Check out Adobeís color scheme examples on the web: [B][URL="http://kuler.adobe.com/#themes/"]kuler[/URL][/B]

[COLOR=#000080][SIZE=4][B]4. What do you want it to do?[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]

What is the goal of your website? Are you trying to attract leads? Give a professional presence to potential clients? Need a place to write articles? Show off a portfolio? Is Social Media important? All of the above and more? Write it down. This is important if your web person is to suggest styling and layout options to suit your needs. If I ask, ďWhat do you want your website to do?Ē, what will you say?
[COLOR=#000080][B]5. Plan the content and pages[/B][/COLOR]
No one knows your company like you do. You will have to have some idea of what you want your website to say. A good web person should help you fine tune it for aesthetics, Search Engine Optimization, and other important factors, but most of the base copy should come from you.

Start with the elevator speech. You know, if someone asked you what you do in an elevator and you only have seconds to tell them, what do you say? Youíd be surprised how many people canít tell me what their company does in a few seconds.

What pages do you need, and what do you want them to say? You donít need to have every word accounted for, but you should at least have an idea of how you want your company represented.

Just about every person that has ever come to me to build them a website, has a list of ďtabsĒ or menu items, with sub menu item drop downs already planned out. But rarely do any of them have any idea what they want those pages to say. By the time we get down to the ďnitty grittyĒ, that list of 20 menu items usually goes down to about 5.

If itís just too much for you, and you just donít have the time, most web people can help, or recommend a good copywriter or brand marketer to help you develop your companyís marketing materials.

[COLOR=#000080][SIZE=4][B]6. You are going to need images[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]

Whether you have a professional photographer come to your company to take images that you can use for all of your marketing materials, or you go the rout of purchasing stock photography, images are what makes a website. Using sub standard or images of poor quality will ruin the entire project.

If your website is product based or itís sole purpose is to sell products, YOU WILL NEED professionally done images of the product(s). Donít let images be a surprise expense when you are planning your website with your web person.

[COLOR=#000080][SIZE=4][B]7. Have realistic expectations[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]

Sometimes it just needs to be said that you arenít going to be able to recreate Groupon, or Facebook on the budget of a Girls Scout Troop (unless it is one extraordinarily, well funded troop).

Any reputable web designer will give you price for your project once they have taken into consideration your wants and needs. That doesnít mean once itís in hand, that itís OK to run them in circles, take forever to get back to them, or make constant changes to the original plan. Like all other service providers, more time spent or wasted on a job, means less actual money made.

[COLOR=#000080][SIZE=4][B]8. You will be a web designerís dream[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]

I promise you, if you just take the time to follow a few basic suggestions to take the guess work away from your web designer, they will love you! The designer will look forward to working with you and their proposal price will reflect that. You will also benefit by getting exactly what you want and not anyone elseís interpretation and this will make everyone very happy.

Start doing the prep work now and it will save you time, money and aggravation.
You and your web person both want the same thing. You both want a fabulous website that makes you and your company look great, causing you to sing their praises and refer all of your friends to them.

[B]For a humorous look at the relationship between web designer and client, check out The Oatmealís, [URL="http://theoatmeal.com/comics/design_hell"]ďHow a web design goes straight to hellĒ[/URL][/B]