I get it. You’re just starting out with your business, and you’re short on time, money, and energy. I’ve been there. Multiple times, in fact! One of the reasons I became a web developer is because I wanted to save money on my own websites that I needed for my other businesses. You don’t have to go to back to school and study and practice for years, though.
Follow these tips to help you save money on your website (while still getting exactly what you want and need!).
1. Be organized.
This is my number one piece of advice, whether you are hiring someone or DIY-ing it. If you’re disorganized, your website will be disorganized, and that will come across to your potential clients and customers.
I’ve worked with clients where I’ve literally spent hours and hundreds of dollars of their budget just trying to figure out what they wanted. I’ve had clients who couldn’t put together a basic sentence. Their messages to me would just be huge runon sentences that went round and round and all over the place. They would ask for one thing at the beginning of the ‘paragraph’ and then ask for the opposite by the time they were done rambling. It takes a huge amount of time and energy to sort through all of that nonsense and translate it into actionable tasks. Is that really what you want to be paying your professional web developer to do?
If you’re DIY-ing it, it’s even more important to be organized. You won’t have someone else to bounce ideas off. And, you won’t have a professional to translate your visions into concrete designs. By being organized, you’ll save yourself a ton of time. And you won’t have to re-do things on your site and rebuild sections or pages.
I’ve seen disorganized clients buy licenses and subscriptions and all sorts of things that they didn’t need. But, they didn’t realize they didn’t need them because they weren’t organized enough to figure out how to do things simply. You only need hosting and a domain to build a website, really. I recommend adding the Divi theme to that because it’s one lifetime license that will save you a ton of time and will simplify things for you.
2. Work from examples, not from scratch.
You might need to hire someone to do parts of your website. Or, maybe you need to hire someone to do your logo design or branding. Or maybe you’re building everything yourself and need to save time so that you can start making money with your website or focus on other aspects of your business.
Whether you’re doing it yourself or have to communicate with a freelancer, it’s way easier to collect a bunch of logos (or websites, etc.) that you love and use them as examples. I recommend gathering examples of other websites that you love. You can keep links and screenshots and add notes explaining what you like or don’t like about each one.
3. If you do hire someone, LISTEN TO THEM.
I can’t count how many times projects have gone over budget (or I’ve ‘fired’ clients) because they simply wouldn’t listen to professional advice. Sometimes things need to be done in a certain order or your freelancer might need certain information from you. If you don’t follow their advice, you’re asking for the project to take longer and become more complicated.
I’ve also seen clients go off and buy a cheaper hosting that didn’t have any customer service or ability to edit things that need to be edited, and then end up paying (literally!) for that mistake. It was not worth saving a few bucks when you factor in the amount of time, money, and frustration it took to undo the ‘cheaper’ option!
Of course, this is why it’s important to work with someone you trust, and choose someone who isn’t going to overcharge you or recommend you pay fees for extras you don’t need. Choose someone who has a solid track record, who answers honestly and in plain language, and then follow their advice.
5. If you hire someone, beware of wasting time on messages, meetings, and calls.
This is another huge time suck that ends up creating a ton of waste in your budget. If you hire a freelancer, be aware that every minute they are working for you is likely billable. That means that, if you message them to ask a question or request that they have a video call with you, you’ll be paying for the time spent typing a response or talking to you on a call. I’ve had clients spend all day messaging me nonsense or asking me the same question over and over, often because they didn’t listen to my advice or just out of boredom. And all of that time spent answering can really eat through your budget!
Sometimes, it makes people feel productive or important to be constantly messaging and planning meetings and calls. Most of the time, it’s unnecessary and just adds to the cost and makes your project take longer. Try to limit your communication to email and organize your thoughts before hitting ‘send.’ If you really need a call, of course, schedule one, but be aware that a call is going to take up a lot more of your freelancer’s time than sending a succint email. Do you want to pay them to do their job or to talk to you?
5. Consider DIY-ing it completely.
Ultimately, DIY-ing your website is the cheapest way to do it. Even if you’re not ‘good at tech,’ you can usually get really far along on your own. Really, you’ll only need hosting, a domain, and maybe a theme, so you can do the whole thing for under $120. You can always call in a professional if you get stuck, but you really have nothing to lose by giving it a try.
Follow my step by step process here, or try this 10 day DIY website challenge for a more in-depth guide.