THE BLOG
11/08/2010 05:01 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

How to Save Money on Web Design

Do you want to get the website of your dreams without paying a fortune for it?

That is not a rhetorical question.

If you want a web designer to increase the price, put other jobs ahead of yours and screen your calls, just tell him/her, "I don't know what I want it to look like, but I will know it when I see it." Ugh. Talk about taking a shot in the dark.

The way to get the most bang for your buck with a web designer is to take the guess work out of it. Most designers will charge you less money if you help with the concept and write most of the copy. That may sound a bit intimidating, but here is how you can do it.

Before meeting with a designer... make notes!

Go Shopping. Look at other websites within your industry and create a chart with these columns.
  1. Website link
  2. What you like about the site -- be specific such as number and location of columns, hard borders or soft shading, subscriber form look or location, video on home page, etc.
  3. What you don't like about the site - too busy, too corporate, too salesy, etc.

Color Your World. Decide what colors and shades best represent your brand and the tone you want to represent. If you like yellow, for instance, be specific (i.e. sunshine, not goldenrod). I had a client who liked pinks, but her personality and her leadership style was assertive and she felt that people who visited her site did not take her seriously. I also had a colleague tell me that when she was interviewing designers she told one she preferred soft shades of teal. His response was that her site was not about her, but about the visitor. In some cases that is true, but for her, she was the face and voice of her company and it was important to brand herself on the site. Needless to say, she did not use that designer.

Plan the Pages. Create a simple table with columns that represent each anticipated page (tab) and what type of features you want to have on each page in rows underneath the columns.

Represent Your Purpose. Decide what your purpose is for this site.
  1. What are your top three goals for the site? Encourage engagement, sell products, gather email addresses, etc.?
  2. What feeling do you want to create for the visitor? What first impression do you want to make?
Be Your Visitor. In order to anticipate the level of engagement and ease of use of your site, pretend to be your target market.
  1. What is your demographic? (age, gender, income, magazines you might read, etc.)
  2. What is your purpose for visiting? Read your blog, buy your book, check on local speaking dates, etc. Determining this will help you decide the order of your pages (tabs) and how they all link together with invitations to read more, make a purchase, etc.

I promise you, if you provide the answers to these questions along with the two charts you created to a potential web designer, they will love you! You have taken the guess work out of how best to make you happy. The designer will look forward to working with you and their proposal price will reflect that. You will also benefit by getting exactly what you want and not anyone else's interpretation.

Start doing the prep work now and it will save you time, money and aggravation later.

What else would you add to my list? What has worked well for your website collaboration? Any web designers want to share their perspective? Please leave a comment below.

Peggy McColl is a New York Times best-selling author and an internationally recognized expert in the field of personal and professional development and Internet marketing. As an entrepreneur, business owner, mentor and professional speaker Peggy has been inspiring individuals to pursue their personal and business objectives and achieve ultimate success. She provides effective Internet marketing solutions for entrepreneurs, authors, publishers, professionals, and business owners, who want to establish an online presence, achieve bestseller status, build their brand, grow and/or expand their business online. You can find out more about Peggy at her website, Destinies.com.