Pricing from different website developers may range quite a bit. When you go out to bid, there are many factors to consider when choosing a website developer. One developer may charge you on a project basis and another on time and materials.
At TechCare, we charge for time spent working on the website. Years ago, we used to charge by the project, but we found that when there is a charge for the project, one party makes out and one gets raked over the coals. Charging for time used is fair for both the developer and the client. It makes it easy for a client to add on new functionality to the website when the project is in full swing.
It also makes it easier for the client to keep costs down by following a few simple rules:
Number one this is the most important rule of all: BE ORGANIZED!
The most time I have wasted on website is on photos and disorganized clients. Getting information peacemeal is very difficult to deal with. I’ll give you some examples. One time I had a client that sent over a dropbox folder with 879 images that were all over 4K in size, many that were taken all in a row so the people in the photos were moving just slightly for 6 photos, and the client wanted us to download all photos (not a quick download – do the math!), then look through each photo and choose the 5 for the slider on the home page. The client, who knew the photos intimately, could have chosen 10 and sent those ones to us for final choosing. On another project, a client needed to send us a photo and then 5 key pieces of information for each product. The images were sent haphazardly, not named the product name, the downloadables were named weird names, and everything came separately over time as the client has the information. Trying to figure out what image, downloadable, description, table, chart, etc went to which product took hours and hours. We had to organize everything ourselves. So the answer is, be organized. Name your images the name of the item. Send only what you need to send. Send groups of information together instead of all separately. This will save you a lot of time. Now, many of my clients and I use dropbox and we organize items into folders which are named clearly and concisely.
Enter your own products into your website
Do you have a woocommerce store? Most likely you will want to maintain the site after it is live by adding and removing products on your own. Have the website developer add in a few products and categories so you have a good template to work off of. Then ask them to show you how to add new products. You will have to do this on you own later on, right? So learn how to do this now. Practice while you have a teacher nearby! Also, you know your products better than your web developer, so can probably do this faster then he/she can do this! This is secretarial work after the structure is set up, and you don’t need to pay for secretarial work. This can save you a lot of time and be very beneficial to you in the long run.
Move along and don’t let the project languish
Most projects move along, or have the intention of moving along, but sometimes clients get going and then get busy with their own business. Then 9 months go by. If you are a client and call back the web developer, they have to get back up to speed on your site. Your software is outdated, things you chose may seem less important and other things more important. Everyone forgets where they were. This is important for your business. Make it a priority. This first big push won’t last forever. Just pull all nighters and do what you need to do – get it done.
Go with the flow
If you get caught up in small details that don’t really matter to the overall goal of a fantastic website, you will most certainly increase the price. Being overly concerned with a section text that is centered vs. left justified, or how exactly the page lays out on desktop without thinking of how it will change in mobile, will slow the project down and cause the developer to spend time working on things that most likely only you are worried about. Get the project done, and then if there are a few items at the end that really bother, you, ask for changes.
Trust your website developer
You hired your website developer because you believe they know what they are doing. Now, follow their suggestions. Most likely they know what is in “style” and what will make your site appear old. They should know how to structure the menu so that you will provide the best user experience to your visitors. The web developer will give you tasks to do that will help your site succeed. They have a vested interest in creating a phenomenal website just as you do! Follow their lead!
Pay your developer quickly and in full
If your developer receives your payments immediately and in full, they will continue to provide you excellent service and will complete your tasks quickly and efficiently. If you get behind on your payments, your website developer knows this. If they have a choice to work on one website or another, they will work on the clients who pay – happily. Besides, it is only right and honest to pay for work that has been completed per your request.
Being nice goes a really, really long way. I have learned a lot of things from my clients, and there are a few in particular who are always complimentary and just a joy to deal with. David Cingari, Paul Blanchard, Mike Shirley, and Jeff Kimball are a few people I have worked with and shown me a better way to work with vendors. When there are a few little items along the way, you might just not need to pay for those items because of your great attitude. I would rather charge less and work with a great client, than charge more and work with someone who it not nice.
Don’t change the entire menu structure mid way through or towards the end
OK, this is a biggie. Almost needs to be moved up to number two. This can DOUBLE the cost of your website – yes, double. This has happened a few times over the years – we plan out a great menu structure which is wonderful for SEO, we begin building all the pages, adding content, and then a month or two into this, the client changes their mind because it is too much work, they feel it is overkill, or someone gets their ear and they completely change the menu structure. This can be an absolute mess on the back end, wastes time, and the entire vision for the website is thrown out the window. Just work really hard to come up with a great site map in the beginning, understand what it means, and stick to it.
Have a clear vision of the end goal from the beginning.
Understand that each time you would like to ask for more functionality, you are asking for more development time. More development time means more outlay of cash. This can easily happen on an ecommerce website. Once you start building you may think – “Oh, I’d like to offer a coupon only for people who purchase item x and that gives them a pop up offer in their cart when they check out” or “I’d like to offer a store locator and import all of my current locations into the software and then change the display of how it outputs” or “We would like to offer product manuals on each page that go with each product and have a way to automatically add them to each product”. These are real live changes we have made on websites mid way through. Some of these items added on during the project can cost a lot more because the menu structure needs to be changed, other items need to be linked, development needs to be done, etc. Try to lay everything out in the beginning so you don’t have “scope creep”.