How to Buy Web Design Without Going Broke

How is web design accomplishedWhatever the reason, when you decide that it’s time to start a home business, one of the steps is launching a website. To do that comes web design. Web design is an important ingredient in the success of a home business, but especially a home business exclusively online.

Now, it’s true that anyone can do their own web design. But the roadblocks are the cost of web design software, the learning curve, the ability to design, knowledge to apply the design elements using the software and the time involved.

Many new businesses think that doing their own web design is a cost savings, but the opposite is true. The outlay of cash for what is probably a one-time use together with the learning curve and probable headaches and errors, overshadow what the one-time investment is for a quality web design by a professional.

What’s more important is the potential to end up with an amateur appearance of the website design, which in all likelihood chases business away.

On the other hand, professionally designed websites can boost the home business startup status quickly, give visitors a feeling that the business is reliable and can be trusted, and add value to the business. This translates into the home business earning web traffic and income that offsets the expense invested in the web design.

Find Your Professional Web Designer

The best advice is to find a professional web designer, and let the web designer know exactly what is needed, and what your vision is as it relates to the type of business you want to provide.

There are many web designers available online today. Most deliver both halves of the website coin: web development (the backend coding) as well as web design (the front end layout and design) — both intertwined into one service like the well known cinnamon sweet roll. Some even include web hosting.

How to Order Web Design

When looking for a qualified web designer, you most likely will find two options: Number one, web design for a flat fee; and two, web design by the hour.

1. Flat fee.

A new home business can find a qualified web designer for a flat fee. The fee usually includes a set of features and number of pages. Finding one of these flat-fee packages is a cost-effective way for a home business on a budget to startup. You can always add and modify as funds permit. The idea is to get a first-rate website online with a design that your future customers can trust. A flat-fee web design is the best solution for a home business on a limited budget.

2. Hourly fee.

You can opt for the hourly fee, but don’t think that by-the-hour means less cost. In fact, it generally ends up costly more. This is often due to the fact that many newbies don’t know how to ask for the web design they need, so they wing it.

They add this and that as development moves along and they see how the site looks. This is a very bad idea, because of the cost involved. Changes, modifications and additions involve more “time” — even with a flat-fee quote.

It’s because when a request isn’t part of the quoted fee, the time to accomplish the requested task needs to be paid for.

In this scenario, the web design clock adds up fast and before done, the added investment over the original quote can climb to $1000, $1500, even $3000 or more over the initial quote. In other words, you can rely on a quote as long as you don’t go outside the parameters that the quote is based on.

How to Request a Web Design Estimate

If you can’t find a flat-fee solution that suits your needs, you want to ask for an estimate or quote. An estimate is a “guess-timate” and is primarily an hourly solution. A quote follows the flat-fee scenario.

Keep in mind that if you don’t include everything you want in your request, and later ask for additions, modifications and changes, the clock starts ticking: The cost can exceed your expectation. This happens because the estimate or quote given to you is based on certain criteria. It’s not an “everything” I want quoted fee.

How to Describe the Web Design You Want

It’s not necessary for you to describe the programming to be done, or how the project requirements will be served. The development team resolves these issues. But you do need to describe what you want from your point of view.

Start by describing your vision, the overall look of the site and the outcome you expect.

a. Describe your vision
b. What outcome do you expect
c. What do you want your website to accomplish
d. What do you expect your visitors to see and do
e. What is the prime objective for developing this site

Include the questions and answers to these questions in your web plan document and then add more input. Here are some ideas:

1. Create a title for your project.

2. Be as specific as you can. Use examples where appropriate and provide a detailed description of the work you need done. For example, define how you want the visitor to be able to navigate your site or move from link to link, or page to page.

3. This is the most important part of your project. Specify a realistic budget range that you can afford to invest in for the project in order to provide insight on the level of creative and development work to be done. Do this and you get back an estimate that fits within your budget. You may even get ideas on what you can add to make your new site more dynamic, interactive and successful.

Your Web Plan is a Checklist

Think of your request-for-estimate Web Plan as if it is a checklist. You refer to your checklist when the project is complete so that you can verify that everything you had on the list was completed satisfactorily as you defined, and as the service provider promised. Ambiguities cause problems. Be specific.

Here are 10 specifics to include when writing your request for a web design estimate document:

1. Name the theme you want for your site

2. State the number of pages you want initially for your site

3. Be clear about what the pages are for7

4. State if you want a form to collect visitor email addresses in order to join your newsletter or mailing list

5. Explain whether you want the same design and layout for all pages or if you prefer a unique home page with a different design and layout for the interior pages

6. Describe if you want the design to display in the center of the browser window or appear to reach across the entire width of the browser window

7. Do you want the designer to create a web logo for your website

8. State what features you want, such as an animated banner or buttons

9. Will you want an introductory splash page

10. Do you have your copy ready? If not, state if you want copywriting included with the estimate

You can buy web design without going broke. Be specific and don’t ask for anything more — unless you understand that it’s going to cost more for that request.

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Category: Design

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Dan Marx

About the Author

Award-winning creative professional. Highly skilled at graphic design, art and photo direction, concept and copy editing, print production, quality control and cost containment. Specializes in design marketing.

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