Your eyes are bigger than your website budget

Are your eyes are bigger than your website budget? By that I mean, is your dream or vision for your website beyond what you can currently afford? I've talked to many businesses about their website desires, and have seen that their eyes are often bigger than their website budgets. What's a business to do? Here are a few options, which I suggest considering in this order.

Re-evaluate your site goals

Websites exist to serve business goals, ultimately related to sales. You need to have a clear understanding of your site's goals before getting emotionally committed to features. When you learn that your budget doesn't fit your dream, re-evaluate your site's goals before proceeding with the next steps.

Drop features

Most website projects aren't all-or-nothing deals. Most are made up of several features. If you can drop some of them, that will likely reduce the cost of the website. Look at your feature list logically rather than emotionally. You may be too emotionally invested in the project, so ask an outsider for help. You'll be surprised how a fresh look can help trim the fatDrop features that aren't truly necessary.

Find less-expensive ways to get same results

With website projects, there's often more than one way to achieve results. It's often less expensive to use off-the-shelf options than to have custom development. For example, instead of having a unique ecommerce system developed, use ecommerce WordPress plugins.

You can also lower your budget with a DIY approach to certain tasks. Are there items you can take off the web company's to-do list, and do yourself (or have your staff do)? For example, you could do some or all of the copywriting or photography. The quality will be lower than having a professional do it, but if you simply don't have the budget it's an option.

This is where it helps to have a web design partner who consults, helping you identify the business goals behind your website, and plotting a path to achieve them that fits your budget.

Delay features

Maybe you decided that you can't drop any features, and you can't achieve your results in a less-expensive way. In that case, consider delaying features. Can the website meet at least some of your goals with some, but not all, of the original features? As I often tell clients, there’s always Phase 2 (or 3, or 4 …). Start with a minimum viable product (MVP) and grow from there.

Rethink your budget

Budgets for website projects aren't usually set in stone. They're usually set by a department (or person). Sometimes they're based on solid reasoning, and sometimes they're fairly arbitrary. As with any business purchase, you're looking for a return on your investment (ROI). If the website provides an ROI great enough to justify its cost (and it should), then it may be worth increasing your budget. Continue to re-evaluate your budget as you work through the above options.

What about you?

Have you used any of these methods when budgeting for a website project? Leave a comment. Do you need help creating or refining your website project? Let's talk about it.

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