In my previous blog post I tackled a question I get asked a lot “So why should I choose a freelance web designer over an agency?” This time I decided to write about another question I get asked on a daily basis… “How much is this 4 page website going to cost?”. Well the answer you would usually get from any web designer or developer worth their salt will probably be something along the lines of… “Well, how long is a piece of string?”
A web designer will charge you based on how long they expect a job to take so the best thing you as a client can do, is to make sure you provide your web designer with as much information as possible. That way you will get a more accurate quote and the job is more likely to stay on budget, here are a few reasons why a budget and your project could potentially be derailed.
Problem #1 – Bad Briefs
The number one issue is the lack of a detailed brief or project scope. I can never understand why some clients keep their briefs so tight it would make Barry White sing Soprano, maybe it’s a trust issue and they don’t want to come to the web designer with their brilliant idea only for the web designer to steal it and make it for themselves and then laugh about it evilly in a darkened room like some dastardly villain. (not that we ever do this by the way, the stealing part not the laughing evilly part).
Maybe it’s a time issue, maybe we are all so busy in our day to day lives that we can’t spare an hour out of our hectic microsecond managed days to really think about something. Or maybe it’s because the client doesn’t want to invest that time if they are only going to get stung like a man who’s fatally allergic to wasps on the quote and they feel like it’s just time wasted, time they can’t really afford to loose.
Solution – Trust
Trust your web designer. They aren’t going to steal your ideals, they aren’t going to intentionally screw you over and they aren’t going to ever, ever moan at you for providing a 10 page document that lists every single detail about your new site, in fact they will probably raise a toast to you and your family later that night and you will probably live forever drinking mead with your forefathers in Valhalla… probably.
If you give your web designer a bad brief, this will be their reaction. So you know, don’t do it.
Problem #2 – Scope Creep
This issue is cosmically connected to problem one, Scope Creep is a term used by designers to describe something that is added to the site after everything has been signed off and agreed. So for example, you’ve had a brilliant website designed with everything you’ve asked for, you sign off the design, and look on excitedly as the designer tells you he will begin working on the development of your amazing new website.
Two Weeks later you meet up with your designer again to go through the work, he shows you the website and looks at you for approval on the work he has done. You say “I LOVE IT” but I was just thinking, wouldn’t it be cool if we had a music playing the background and a twitter feed in the sidebar OH AND MAYBE A NEWSLETTER SIGNUP BOX, YES???….No.
Solution – Communication
Take your time, rushing never solves anything and giving your web designer an incomplete brief because you want to get started quicker is not a going to end well as that’s when features and functionality start to get missed.
Now this is a joint responsibility as it’s up to your designer to ask the right questions and get the right answers so that you think of everything before the contracts have been signed and work beings. Communication is most definitely key to making sure you both understand the websites requirements.
Here’s a fair representation of what scope creep feels like to a designer (not exaggerating at all!)
Problem #3 – Missing Assets
This problem is casually connected to problem two but not exclusively connected to problem one… what? Anyway! Missing Assets.., the amount of times I’ve been ready to roll on a new project only to be let down by late or non existing assets is astoundingly shocking. It seems to be an afterthought for some clients, great we have a detailed brief in place and all the contracts are signed, I see you want a 4 page portfolio site with large photographs, illustrations and enough copy to fill a small novel but wait a second… where is all this stuff?
“Oh I was going to write it all and provide you with the images after you’ve built it, that’s fine right you can just use place holder images and text?” Well honestly, no. It’s not ideal to use placeholder images and text throughout the whole site because for one thing not all clients can see past the dodgy images and ridiculously long paragraphs of latin text but also because sometimes we need to see how long a paragraph of text is going to be to design the site and plan out where all the elements will go and how they will interact.
Solution – Preparation
Making sure you have everything in place (website scoped out, features planned, sitemaps created, text and images ready to go) is the only way to make sure that your project stays on budget and doesn’t end up costing you an arm and a leg.
It’s all about Preparation, Preparation, Preparation.
How it feels starting a job with no assets.
BTW, If you came on here to find out how much I charge clients well I can say that for freelance web design and development with a CMS costs start at around the £2,500 – £3,000 mark.
If that sounds acceptable to you and you’re looking for a freelance web designer then why not send me an enquiry by clicking on that sexy button below or you can do it the old fashioned way and send me an email at email@example.com