Why your budget is important before starting a project? As a designer and programmer I have often seen totally different budgets though the end product looks very much alike. “How come a product looks a like when the budget is different?” You might ask. Don’t judge a website by it’s layout… Well let’s say you have a budget for a website for 3-5.000 Dkk and you want a template website that is mobile friendly/responsive. Most programmers and designers would not include in the budget that you could get a much better product with more features and design that would make your business earn more money or more popularity. Often the following things are not included in a 3-5.000 dkk budget. But when I design and program websites from 18.000 dkk and up then some of the following things will often be included and for good reasons as it’s very important for a serious and professional business to have most of these things and features:
Great features and plugins for your next online success when building a website and brand:
- Logodesign so that your company would stand out from the crowd and not look like every other competitor in your line of business.
- Favicon (icon in front of the website URL/address which looks professional)
- Photoshopped photos – Make sure your photos and products stand out. Your photos will look dull and make your product and website look bad and you will look as an amateur.
- Fast servers – if you choose a slow hosting server for your website it could be fatal for your visitors and google would not like your website and therefore your website would only be found on page 7438748 on Google!! Server load speed is important for “SEO” (Search engine optimization).
- SEO Plugins – Most important when you want to be found on Google and no it does not make your website a success tomorrow but maybe it will in weeks or months. But not paying for SEO is like opening a store in the dessert – no one will know about your products or services. With great SEO work you could actually have the best webshop and get rich even if your store is located in no mans land!
- Sitemap plugins – this is important for your SEO
- Language packs – multiple languages on your website could make you sell more or get more hits and popularity on Google and other search engines.
- Google Analytics – a plugin that will give you information about who your visitors are and what they click on and a lot of statistics.
- Backup solutions – this will save you loads of time a solve many of your problems when you accidentally deletes something or if your website gets hacked
- Security solutions like anti-hacker plugins – will make it almost impossible for hackers or virus to ruin your beautiful and successful website.
- Well written text and great communication – yes often clients will send their own texts for their website but often the text is not “Web ready” which means it might be too long or to hard to understand or maybe not formatted correctly to be read on a website. Studies has shown that visitors on a website reads content and text differently than if they had a magazine or a book. That’s why we often help bettering the text and content when delivering successful websites.
- Social media plugins – In todays world when you need promotion or want to be famous for something the most important thing is to have fans and “followers”. Thats where we help you integrate your website on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (Very important for SEO), Pinterest and Instagram. We often setup autoposting features so when you update your website all your fans and followers will get notified of your new products or news and links will lead them to your website or webshop where they can buy your products.
- Newsletter plugins – even more successful than social media is still e-mail marketing. We help you make sure that your clients can signup for your newsletter so you can tell them all about your company and bestselling products or whatever you think might interest them. A must have for active and successful business.
- Webshop solution plugin – where you can easily sell your products online even when you are sleeping. Doesn’t that sound convenient to earn money while you sleep?
- Contact forms – an easy way for your customers to reach you by mail without having to be on their own personal computer with e-mail setup. This way any potential client can always contact you without any hassle.
- Customized themes and designs – Without this your website would look like any other website and often in low budget websites you can only choose to change a color of a menubar. But what if you want to change the menubar or the font-type entirely? Then you need to be able to customize your theme or design of your website to make it fit your brand and visual identity.
- Mobilefriendly / Responsive website – this is a MUST HAVE when building a website because if you don’t then you could loose most of your potential customers because when they surf your website from a phone they will not be able to see an information or product very well if you don’t have a Responsive website. With a mobile-friendly website your content on your website will automatically be formatted to fit your customers smartphones so they can purchase or read about your products. Business who do not have this feature can loose most of their online sales and clients. I have seen it happen – unfortunately. Don’t make the same mistake.
I could mention many other great features but as projects and clients are different and have different wishes and expectations I will let it be up to you to find out what features you want on your next website.
Why does a pre-defined budget make all the difference?
There is no doubt that you can always built features in or on top of your website later and then just start with the basics – but this can be costly in the long run and also cause unforeseen troubles on your site. You get what you pay for and this is why it can be hard for a client with no knowhow about a website production. I hope this will help you with your next website project. Always reveal a budget – this will help you get more in the end. And also always trust the designer and programmer to not rip you off – most of us a honest freelancers and businesses who love what we do with goals of making great projects and having longterm happy clients.
Are small agencies are better than big agencies?
Do you want to know why smaller companies often are more passionate and service minded than bigger companies? Because we care! We always feel guilty when asking for more money than our products are worth. Actually our biggest mistakes is often that we don’t charge enough because we often feel that we will scare the customers away. We feel responsible for the impact the designs makes on your target group, we a passionate about your brand, we strive to make you happy even when it sometimes takes more time that we anticipated. We love when clients are happy and we often have a harder time selling our own products thus we always think the price is what matters. All these things are great reasons to work with smaller creative agencies and freelancers – we just care more and we don’t send out of best seller, to just raise your budget. No we actually always try to fit more content into your budget. Actually I have seen many bigger agencies and web companies rip off their clients for thousands of $$$$ and often they hire small and cheap freelancers to do their dirty work and then sell it to their own clients for 10 times as much as they have paid. I guess it’s a fair enough way to do business to outsource but if you ask around you will find freelancers that are cheaper and who provide much more service as big agency businesses. I have also seen websites that clients have paid 500.000 dkk (half a million) for and that I could have made for maybe 300.000 dkk. Thats a discount of 200.000 dkk that agencies rip you off for. I’m sure that there are fair agencies and big graphic design companies out there who actually are fair with pricing and service but there are less out there that you would think! Hire small graphic design businesses instead and you will get much more value for your money.
What you should be aware of
But be aware of small freelancers that don’t care to send out a contract before they start the project – this could be the cause of total failure as it often leads to disagreements. Make sure you have everything in writing and always care to ask “does it cost more or is it included in the budget?” so you don’t get a stroke when receiving the bill in the end. Most professional programmers and designers always ask for a 50% payment upfront – this is very common because this shows faith and that both parties trust in each other – best case is that the designer and programmer is totally focused on you assignment because they have already booked your assignment into the calendar and they will prioritize your project. Often many freelancers will not start a project before getting an upfront payment to show that you are serious. This is always a good sign of professionalism and much experience dealing with projects and customers.
My advice to you when starting a website or graphic design project
- Remember it’s not always about the price and budget but about what you expect vs what is possible within your budget. Get ready to compromise when you have a low budget. Expect more when you have a high budget.
- I would actually recommend that you ask your upcoming freelancer or agency of 3 price quotes to find out how much website you can get for example for 8.000 dkk, 15.000 dkk and 30.000 dkk. This will help your get a good idea of what is possible within various budgets.
- Find a designer you like and trust and always be honest but fair if you have disagreements or if you are unsure you should always ask questions to make sure that you understand the process and contract.
- Ask for a contract.
- Make it clear in your brief what you want but always make room to compromise.
- If you don’t know anything about web production then you should inform your freelancer or agency of this so they can help you understand the process.
- If you don’t care about understanding the process or don’t have time for it – then do yourself a favor and back off as much as possible and inform your hired freelancer or agency that you trust them to make the best possible solution for you within your expectations and I am sure they will.
Always bargain if you order more than 2 products. Sometimes you get better prices when ordering more – this could be a perfect way to order an all-in-one solution where you don’t have to shop around for better prices but just let the freelancer or agency to take care of everything for you. A win win solution ???? Good luck with your next project and don’t be afraid to share your budget before starting the project. – written by graphic designer, Mark Barner.