If you are a founder of a web-based startup, you are likely worried about startup costs. You know that in order to make money, you will have to spend money. At the same time, you know that resources are limited and that if you do not make the best use of the money you have, your startup may end up a bust. The trick is finding a balance that allows you to give your customers a great service that sets you apart from the rest, while at the same time having enough money to keep the lights on. The following are a few tips you can use to make this a reality.
Do a Site Development Cost Analysis
It does not matter how big or small your organization is. Without planning, you may find yourself facing huge development costs if careful planning is not done. You want the biggest return on investment, while at the same time attracting high paying customers. The time for site development could be weeks, months, or longer, depending on the amount of work involved.
You cannot escape cost analysis. Even if you feel that implementation will only take a few days, there is still a lot of planning involved. Proper site development involves brainstorming. It is a process of hit and miss experimentation. All of this makes cost analysis a must.
Determining site development cost in advance will help you determine how the final product will look as well as the final price of the product or service you will offer. Part of this means understanding the cost of the technology needed for site development.
Know the Numbers and Watch the Details
If you are not careful, you could find your startup shelling out money for things you do not need. Invoices could get sent to you that get buried in the shuffle. Soon, you will find yourself like one startup that was unknowingly paying $3,000 a month on toilet paper for an office of 14 people. The idea of buying years’ worth of toilet paper because of not keeping track of invoices may sound funny, but it highlights a problem that many startups face.
Owners become overwhelmed with the little things to the point that they overlook the fine details that are costing them money. Watching the details can mean the difference between success and going bankrupt.
An area where this could be important is the hosting company you use. You may want to use a budget hosting company to help limit costs.
Ask the Right Questions
As a startup, you are concerned about how your money is spent because you don’t have a lot of it. This could lead to you asking questions like:
- What if the people I hire to help me with my site development don’t see my vision?
- What if I get ripped off?
- Where do I find a good designer?
While it is good to be fiscally responsible, you cannot allow fear of costs to paralyze you. In the end, this will be a lot more costly. Don’t let not knowing the average cost of building a website cause you to freeze up and do nothing.
Start by asking the right questions:
- What is my real budget for my website?
- How will my site be managed?
- What features do I need my site to have now, and what ones can I add in the future?
- How do I want to deal with hosting, and how will this affect my budget?
Start small, get your feet wet, and then when you are more comfortable, move to bigger things. This way, any money loss for missteps will be minimal.
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking about building your ideal site from the beginning. You can fall into the trap of thinking about all of the awesome things visitors to your site will be able to do if you just add on a few extra features to your site.
It is like wanting to build a Lamborghini when you have never seen an engine, much less know how to put gas into the tank. Don’t think about building a site like Amazon. Instead of thinking about building the perfect site, start slow and small. Limit your financial commitment just in case things don’t work out as you would like them to.
If you site is big or small, there will be costs involved. The key is finding ways to manage those costs and to keep moving forward.
A CMS vs a Web Builder
Is a CMS or a web builder the right option for you? If you have a bigger budget and if you don’t mind doing a lot of hands on work, a CMS may be the best route for you. A CMS may also be good for you if you don’t mind managing your own hosting and doing updates.
A drag-and-drop web builder may be the right option for you if have a limited budget and just need to get a functional site up and running. In the future, as your business grows and a more complex site is justified, you can make the change to a CMS like WordPress.
A website builder can help you protect yourself financially by allowing you to use a low cost option to proof out your business idea first. Because they are low cost and because many of them have a free trial period, you can test a few of them out at the same time. See how they set up emails, how they preform basic SEO, etc. Then you can pick the one that is right for your project.
You want to cut costs and limit risks when you are a startup doing site development. The hope is to start quickly and to gain momentum that will lead to tangible results. As you go through this process, don’t let fear paralyze you. Start small. Pay attention to costs and watch the details. Learn about website builders and CMSs. Doing this will save you time and frustration.
We can’t wait to hear from you. What tips have helped you keep costs at bay during site development? Let us know in the comment section below.