How to save money on your design and development costs
A professional and functional website is a key aspect to any business’ approach to marketing. Your website needs to be your best sales person.
But the costs concerned with creating such a tool can be illusive – what can look like a budget-friendly, simple webpage could cost far more than you imagined. Yet, an outdated and poorly functioning website can lose you a lot of customers and potential sales.
So how do you strike the balance between a fantastic UX journey, attractive brand-centric look and feel, and sticking to your budget?
Companies are often surprised when they hear what it costs to design a new website, or redesign an existing one, so it’s common for a lot of them make do with an underperforming website far longer than they should. Perhaps this sounds familiar?
But website design and development doesn’t always have to come with a huge price tag; here are some ways you can reduce and save costs next time you want to improve your website.
Use an existing website template – introducing HubSpot Themes
The HubSpot CMS has long had some incredibly user-friendly features. It's quick and easy, for instance, to see your text edits in real time. Swapping a form is child's play. Inserting a video takes just a few clicks.
But dramatic layout changes often require developer support in the form of either custom modules or new template builds which, in freelance web-developer rates would cost you a lot of money… until now.
HubSpot recently launched their CMS Hub, which includes a fabulous new feature - Themes. A HubSpot Theme is a combination of templates and default styling that allows you to easily drag-and-drop page elements onto the screen. Using a Theme dramatically reduces the time a graphic designer or web developer needs to create the look of a website, which in turn reduces the costs of the project.
Using Themes with our customers
When we were recently approached by a leading life sciences company to create a new set of landing page templates, we quickly realised that we could save them thousands of pounds by building them a Theme instead.
With this new, flexible structure, we were able to:
- Quickly create styling features that reflect the company's brand
- Instantly allow them to drag text and images onto the page editor
- See pages come together quickly, styled in their fonts and colours.
Everything they needed was now available in a few clicks. All it took was the creation of a custom Theme and now, rather than being limited to three or four templates, the customer can create as many pages as they want in their brand's style.
Use free stock photography
Many companies pay for stock imagery to use on their websites as it looks clean and professional, but it isn’t the most cost-effective option if you’re trying to reduce overall website design costs.
If you have existing imagery that you already own, it makes sense to repurpose it, ensuring these images are of high quality and fit in with your wider brand and tone. But if not, there are great free stock imagery websites out there, many of which we used for our own website redesign, including Unsplash and Pexels.
Make sure to go into these sites with what you already want in mind though – you can just as easily eat up billable hours by scrolling through libraries trying to find the perfect image! And of course, as with most things, the best results are usually a combination of approaches: mix found images with existing in-house ones for variety, engagement and to ensure you aren’t wasting money.
Reduce the number of website pages
Each page you build for your website, whether big or small, takes time. Content writing, image sourcing and template development all eat into precious time and money, so when planning the design or redesign of your website, consider reducing the number of pages to only include the most important that communicate the value of your business.
Examples of these might be:
- Your homepage
- Product and service pages
- Contact page
- Pricing page.
To fully commit to inbound marketing, we also recommend investing in your portfolio and blog pages; visitors need to be able to access your useful resources and free advice before they become customers.
While it would be nice to have a library or resources section, an About Us page and individual pages on each part of your business, ask yourself – are these essential to the functionality of your website? Does a customer really need to know about your CEO and where they were educated, or is it more important they know how you fix their pain points? Great-to-haves (but non-essential pages) include:
- FAQs page
- Testimonials and reviews
Remember, you can always come back and add more pages at a later date, in fact – this is what a great website does. It’s never ‘done’, it evolves and changes with the audience it serves. If you don’t have that Case Studies page in place right now, aim to get it live in the next 6 months.
And no matter what you do: monitor these pages. Which ones have a high bounce rate? Which ones aren’t ranking in Google at all? If they aren’t performing well, then do you really need them at all?
Repurpose your existing content
Many companies want brand new content with their brand new website, but if your content is still relevant and performing well, use it! Utilise the time that would be spent re-writing by searching through your existing content, discovering what can be optimised and reused in a fraction of the time.
A content audit of your site is a great place to start – we understand that often a “brand new us” means scrapping the bulk of what has gone before in a bid to seem fresh and new. But if that content has attracted traffic in the past, it would be foolish to do a complete overhaul.
Do the work in-house
If, like us, this is an option for your company, utilise the tools you already have. Content writing is often a task that can be delegated around your team, as is finding suitable imagery.
If you have in-house web developers, designers and even photographers, then you’ve hit the jackpot! Involve the entire company in testing and QA-ing the website which will save the development team a lot of time, and will ensure your site is as error-free as possible upon launch.
You might be surprised at the wider skills your team has, but hasn’t previously had the opportunity to show off. If someone is a dab-hand at photography or has been learning coding in their spare time, you might find your internal team has skills to offer a new website redesign which you hadn’t considered before.
Send an email around asking if anyone would like to get involved – this also helps ensure buy-in and support for the relaunch, and is a great exercise in promoting positive company culture.
Questions to ask yourself
When it comes to saving money during your next website redesign, there are so many ways to do it. Growth-Driven Design ensures the changes are ongoing and spread out over months, instead of having to pay a huge, upfront cost.
When considering the best way to go about your website redesign, you might want to consider these questions:
- Would your marketing team be better off with fixed templates, or would the flexibility of a branded theme make your life easier?
- How will you maintain brand guidelines if your team can create any sort of page with a few clicks?
- Which of your existing landing pages could be improved if you had access to a complete drag-and-drop editor?
- Do you actually need all of the webpages you have planned right away, or could you add the nice-to-have pages gradually over the coming months?
- Which are the most-visited pages on your current site and how could you repurpose these instead of starting from scratch?
Want to talk to an expert about your website redesign? Our team of experts would love to chat!
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