Preventing Web Design Cost Creep

Back in the day a first rate website could run you £30,000 or more. During that period of irrational exuberance known as the dot.com bubble you could easily double that amount. Today the cost of a website has come down, driven by things like WordPress templates and the sheer number of highly skilled web designers crowding the market. At least that’s the story I keep hearing. But there’s another, darker narrative out there. One that speaks of companies paying exorbitant prices for websites due to a mysterious force known as “web design cost creep.”

When Good Website Design Quotes Go Bad

You did your homework. You submitted your RFP and selected a company whose quote landed in the middle price-wise. They also seemed like an affable bunch you might enjoy working with. However, as the design process inched forward, like one of those crawlers that carried the space shuttle to the launch platform, a funny thing happened: the cost began a very space shuttle-like creep of its own from 15 to 25 to $40,000 and the quote became irrelevant. How did this happen?

Here are a few things that can quickly send web design costs into outer space.polls_08_01_17_money8_1054_61822_answer_2_xlarge

  • Deciding to add a shopping cart – Some shopping cart software is free. Getting it to work properly however requires someone who knows what they’re doing and they aren’t free. Don’t add a shopping cart unless you’re relatively certain your product will attract online interest. Not everything will.
  • Deciding you don’t like the interface – While it’s your prerogative to call for a reboot, doing so after you already signed off on the design will cost you a lot of money. Think about it carefully before ditching the approved design.
  • Getting talked into extras – Wouldn’t it be great if your customers could chat with a sales associate through your website during office hours? Sure. But what’s wrong with using  telephones to do that? Adding superfluous functionality will cause the price to go through the roof faster than just about anything else.
  • Bringing in the SEO experts after the site has been built – Few things are as wasteful as trying to impose your SEO plan after you’ve built the website. It’s like building and launching a ship and then designing and installing the propellers after the boat is in the water. Incorporate SEO considerations into the design from day one and save a boatload of money.
  • Paying late – If your web designer is on the ball they included a late payment penalty clause in the contract. You may have missed that or feel they won’t enforce it because you’re such a nice guy. Surprise! They meant it and now you’re on the hook for an additional 10% or whatever.

The best way to make sure you can bank on the website design quotes you received is to make your decisions ahead of time and stick with them. Honour the contract. Show up for meetings. Don’t get talked into extras or make impulsive decisions and pay the bill on time.…