How to Save Money Working with a Web Developer:

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Okay, so you’ve finally decided to finally, finally build your website, and you’ve chosen the web developer you want to work with, YAY! Those are two huge obstacles you’ve already overcome. But your business is small (or nonexistent- yet!), so you want to make sure that you get the best value for your money when it comes to building your website. So, how to save money while working with a web developer?

I’ve built dozens of websites for people just like you. I’ve worked with clients who have me spinning in circles for so much time that their super expensive website has the same level of design and quality as a client who’s been more efficient and paid a fraction of that.

I’ll let you in on the secrets of the clients who get the best websites for their money:

Have a rough idea of what you want, and be able to show/ explain it.

This way you won’t waste time trying to get your web developer to understand what you see in your head, and your web developer won’t be charging you for hours spent building designs you hate. Being able to communicate and show what you want is critical for working with a freelancer. I can’t tell you how many clients run up their own website costs just because they lack basic communication skills.

Get your own hosting.

I would never do this, but some web developers insist their clients use their own proprietary hosting. Then, down the line, if you decide to switch hosting or choose a different web developer, you’re going to have problems. Sometimes, they won’t even release you from your contract. And there have been many times when I’ve had to rebuild entire websites for people because their expensive hosting wouldn’t let them migrate their website. Do yourself a favor and get SiteGround hosting . It’s the best combination of cheap and reliable out there.

Do some of the prep work yourself and have things ready to go.

Some web developers do logos and other design work. But usually, it’s better to hire a professional who focuses on that. Having your logo ready to go can save you paying a web developer (who usually has higher rates) to do something a designer can do (or you can DIY it on Canva!). Once you have the logo, you’ll already have some of the colors and fonts and branding, which will help with the design. Just make sure to get .png files with transparent backgrounds of any logos you’re going to use on your site!

Get the design right first.

I’ve sent rough drafts of a designs to clients, who tell me, ‘Yep, perfect,’ only to find out after I’ve build 5 more pages that they actually want a different font, different shade of green, and come to think of it, they don’t like this design at all… Obviously, I’m happy to start over because I want my clients to love their websites, but they just wasted a ton of money building a site they didn’t actually want. It would have been so much easier to take a minute and make sure the design is what you really want in the first place, before moving forward. It’s the web developer equivalent of painting an entire house, only to have the owner decide they don’t like the color.

Understand that there are things that are easy in web development, and things that are super complicated.

For example, most websites are meant to be mobile responsive, meaning that everything resizes to fit different screen sizes. Some things, like making sure the text lines break exactly where you want them, can be very difficult or impossible if you want your site to work on all kinds of screen sizes. Other things, like copying a section from one page to another, take only a few seconds. What’s simple or complex isn’t always intuitive, either… pulling your Instagram feed to display on your site is easy because there’s a free plug in for that. Changing image sizes or spacing is complicated because you have to consider different screen sizes and when you change spacing to one thing, it changes the spacing of all the things around it.

Tell your web developer upfront what you want your site to be able to do- now and in the future.

Sometimes things look the same on the front (like an email opt in section), but are built differently on the backend. Make sure your web developer knows what you want to be able to do, so that they don’t have to take apart and rebuild something to change the functionality. As a rule, if you want to know how to save money working with a web developer, it usually comes down to being organized and thinking things through before building them!

Make sure you answer your web developer’s questions.

This one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of clients who ignore my questions and then get annoyed when things aren’t done! It doesn’t make sense to pay someone to ask you the same question over and over again, and the vast majority of the time, we’re asking because we can’t move forward without that information. Or, we can, but it’ll take us twice as long to find the information or a work around. Also, do you really want to pay someone to Google things for you?

Only be picky on the things that really matter.

I’ve had clients pay me hundreds of dollars to spend time checking and rechecking minute details (the number of pixels spacing out a divider line, for example). Some things are super important to have exactly right. Some things are kind of a waste of time. I mean, if you really want that box to be exactly the same size on every possible screen size, I’ll do that for you, but I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be worth the cost. Make sure to prioritize the things that will really matter to people who visit your website.

Don’t just pick the person with the cheapest hourly rate.

When I started, my rate was $18/ hour. It’s now just about quadruple that. But, I’ve raised my rates because I’ve become much more efficient. I can do in one hour now what it used to take me at least five to finish, which actually saves my clients money. The cheapest freelancers are usually more of a gamble, as well. You might get someone great, but you also might get a big mess. Ask them to estimate how long a project or specific task might take before deciding whose rate is cheapest. If you’re on Upwork, make sure to read the person’s reviews and check their Job Success score.

Just DIY your website!

Of course, the best way to save money on your website is to DIY it. If you have the time and the patience to learn, it could be a better option for you. If you’re not sure if you should DIY it or hire a web developer, check out this article to help you decide.

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