5 ways to save money when setting up a new website

My social media banners highlight one prominent statement – “Web design without the agency prices.” Check it out on LinkedIn.

This then forms the first way:

1. Find a freelancer

Firstly, a freelancer in any field will be more affordable than an agency. We all know the mantra “You get what you pay for” but in those agencies, who gets the money you pay? I can guarantee it won’t be the logo designer, the graphic designer, the copywriter, developer. They’ll get a cut of the hourly rate. They will be on a salary in all likelihood – but who will get the £2000 + VAT or £10,000 + VAT you pay? The bosses, I reckon. When you pay a freelancer like me, who gets the money? The taxman, the Apple store and my family in dividend payouts. You will certainly get greater specialisms by using an agency, but if I get stumped, I’ll ask connections in the web design industry for advice and implement it for you.

2. Write the copy yourself

I’m different in that I’m a graduate of English, a professional copywriter, who doesn’t stare blankly into space when a content box needs filling, a blog post crafting or a bio for your social media channels. I’m a writer first and foremost and trust me, that’s the most time-consuming part of web design. If you want to save time and money for a freelance web designer or a web design agency, provide the copy. If you can’t write the content, expect to pay an agency or freelancer more. You can always go halfway and provide copy for some copywriter like me to whip into shape for search and humans.

3. Do your research

You don’t have to restrict searches to local ones. I’ve designed websites for clients from Devon to Glasgow and many points in between. I’ve got a fair few clients locally in Norfolk and Suffolk and this business name crops up locally on search. Like any major purchase – car, holiday, hotel booking, web design – do your homework.

Therefore, do an online search. Check their social media platforms. Look at Google Maps and read reviews. Check out Facebook activity and tweets. Look at their Instagram and LinkedIn. If they’re active on each, it’s a good sign as it shows they take their reputation seriously. I would have kittens if someone left me a Google one star review or mauled me on social media. I chase clients to write testimonials about me. They are plentiful and positive.

Listen to word of mouth too – I’ve lost count of the number of websites commissioned off the back of recommendations. Before Christmas, I got a website order from someone who’d been chatting with a DHL delivery driver. God knows how the driver knew of my work and company – but it worked!

However, if a company has bad reviews, or nowhere to leave a review (no Google verified status), tread carefully. You’re trusting someone with a wad of money and your brand so check them out first.

4. Don’t stick to local

A broad temptation for anyone when investing in a website is to shop locally. It has advantages obviously in that you can meet, you can build your network locally perhaps. But, believe it or not, we do have WhatsApp video calling, Zoom, Skype and FaceTime here in Norfolk and you’re able to call, message me or email me at any time. If your website crashes on Friday at 8pm, will the agency you’ve trusted sort it out that night or will you get Out of Office replies and straight to voicemail calls? You know. A freelancer is more likely to sort stuff out of hours. Well I do.

5. Plan your website out

Finally, name the pages you want in the menu and plan the content and design. Even sketches are good or examples of other websites you like. Don’t just send a domain and logo and expect miracles. Communication is key. Don’t scope stretch either. It annoys me. Big time. You plan for 5 pages and then throw in two more as the design begins. You wouldn’t ask a decorator to paint the living room and then expect a bedroom painting for free? I get this now and again. It’s important that proposals are clear from the outset so the relationship remains cordial and professional.

Keep your eyes peeled too for our next post: what your business misses by not having a website.