For those of you that are web developers by trade you will know that there are, or can be, a lot of costs involved. These costs can really drain your budget when taking on web design clients and it either means that you have to put your prices up and risk losing work or that you take a smaller cut on each project.
Some of the costs associated with website design are as follows:
Hosting costs – Hosting costs tend to be expensive. Firstly you have your own site(s) to host, then you may well have development hosting for in progress client projects and then you may even have the cost of hosting for your own clients websites post completion.
Software costs – Some of the more typical software that you might use as a web developer includes Adobe products such as Photoshop and Illustrator, web development products such as Dreamweaver and project management tools such as Basecamp.
Online services – As a website designer you may also need to use several online services, for example if you have ever needed to test your clients projects across multiple browsers and platforms then you may use a tool called Browser stack.
Stock images – This is a big one, there is always a need for stock images and other media when you are putting together your own site, your clients sites or even just mockup boards prior to actually getting a project. These can also be very expensive and really eat in to your profit margins.
This is just a short list, there are loads of tools that are useful in the web dev industry and they tend to be quite expensive because the industry itself is thought of as being quite a lucrative one.
It is easy to get carried away with some of these services and features, felling like you must have all of these tools to succeed in the website development and design industry.
The success of your business is the key
Before you get too carried away with using these types of services and providing the best experience for your clients you must remember that the success of your business is actually the critical component. It is no good providing the absolute best experience for your clients, and then going bust as a result. This wont help anyone, least of all your clients.
In this vain it is very important to reduce your costs wherever possible – this not only allows your business to stay healthy but it also allows you to be competitive when it comes to quoting for new projects and so on. This gives you the upper hand when trying to secure new work and it also makes things much more cost effective for the clients that you do work with.
Some of the key ways that you can save money
There are lots of ways that you can save money when you are starting up or even as an established business. There are a few key points to remember though:
You can always afford to save money – It doesnt matter how successful your business is, you should never be complacent with money and you should always think about ways in which you can reduce costs and save money.
Dont sacrifice your business to save money – There is a fine line here, you don’t want any unnecessary costs and you dont want too many luxuries but at the same time you dont want to save money if it means sacrificing something fundamental to the success of your business – that really is a slippery road to tread.
So keeping all of those points in mind, here are some safe ways in which you can save money
When you are looking at hosting, try to find the best deal for your money and also try to get a provider that will give you everything that you need. Rather than purchasing hosting for your website, hosting for test sites and hosting for clients try to purchase everything together. For example you can get a VPS or a Dedicated server running WHM and that will give you a platform where you can easily and safely segregate all of your hosting accounts whist also keeping them in one place and paying only for one system.
Whilst a lot of website designers will make their clients look after their own hosting it is actually a good idea to use the above method and then sell hosting to your clients – this way you can add value for them and also make additional revenue in the process – once you purchase a VPS or dedicated server that becomes a fixed cost. But you can sell hosting space on that server to all of your clients and make far more than what it is costing you.
This is a big one – any time you are purchasing services for anything whether it is hosting, browser testing tools or stock media, always look for coupons before you purchase. Hosting providers always have deals going on, stock media sites are always promoting their stock via coupons and discounts and online services often have promotions as well.
Look for cheaper alternatives – this is another important one. Of course you dont want to sacrifice quality or effectiveness with cheap services but having said that, there are often cheaper ways of doing things that are just as effective. For example, if you are looking at browser testing there are lots of free testing tools out there to save you money if you only have occasional requirements. Adobe in particular have some great deals on at the moment with their cloud based products that will really save you in terms of software costs. It is always a good idea to regularly reassess these costs as well – sometimes you can be paying for a service for years only to find out that the same product from the same company has been halved in price but just offered through a different product name.
Lastly it is very important to always keep track of all your costs and outgoings – dont just check to see if you can save money once and then forget about it – make sure you know exactly what your out-goings are and always ask yourself – do I need XYZ, is it worth its value, am I using it regularly. This way you can always keep on top of your costs and you can make your business more profitable and ultimately provide an even better service to your clients.