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Welcome to the ongoing conversation on Hiring a Website Designer. We hope so far the conversation has been helpful in answering some of the questions you probably have, assuming you are actually searching for someone. If you maybe aren’t yet interested, sign up for our newsletter for more general topics. Might come in handy someday!

Last week we discussed money (everyones favorite subject) and now that that is out of the way, we prepare today to get to the meat of the topic. What, given the budget you have and needs, is the thing your website will really do for you. We hope you enjoy it.

Geof: The first thing from that conversation is figuring out what’s a website is worth to you? What’s that budget number? It helps to go into a conversation with any potential partner for lots of reasons. That might seem obvious to some, but we have all of those conversations when it’s harder to help somebody from our end when they don’t have an idea of what it costs.

When you have that conversation and somebody knows what the value is, let’s talk about how they got there, some methods towards understanding what it’s worth, and what the benefits are of knowing it during that conversation. You can do the first and the second thing.

Everyone is going to be talking about “With this, you’re going to get this” and they’re going to be talking about all of these value-adds.

John: I think it’s just important to really sit down and understand how the goals for the new project are going to impact your business. You’re going to get such a slew of ranges. You can talk to three agencies – developers, designers, or whatever – and you’re going to get three totally different numbers.

With that, how do you possibly sit down and pick? It’s not going to be an apples to apples comparison. It’s just not going to be. Everyone is going to be talking about “With this, you’re going to get this” and they’re going to be talking about all of these value-adds and things like that. They’re also probably – what my understanding is – trying to guess what you want to hear as the person looking for the site.

Having an idea of what it makes sense to spend on in this project based on the goals that you’re trying to get out of the project is probably the best way to do it. These numbers are blown up for the sake of big numbers. If I’m trying to solve a $150,000 a year problem, it probably makes sense to spend $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 because it’s such a big number. If you’re trying to solve a $3000 a year problem, it probably doesn’t make sense to be spending those same kind of numbers.

Putting the idea of the investment… Because that’s what this is; it’s not just money that you’re throwing that you’re never going to get back. This website should be an investment in your business, an investment into fixing a problem.

Geof: Or taking advantage of an opportunity.

John: Yes, and basing it around that conversation.

Geof: If you are the guy who says, “I’m going to launch e-commerce and I’m going to expect it’s going to add an extra $150,000 to my bottom line,” what do you see happen? How does that help the conversation that you have with other potential clients? How does it help to have that number in hand during the…? I don’t call it the negotiation process because this ought to be a two-way conversation with anybody you work with, but it happens.

John: For me in my conversations, it’s something that we have to talk about every time, which is difficult. There is some trust there that some people just don’t have, so we have to explain to them why it’s important to frame this around a budget that’s relevant to them. I can show you the “pie in the sky” version of this thing, but if that’s going to cost $15,000 – let’s say – but you have a $5000 budget, it makes no sense for me to do that. Let’s back this thing up and show you a solution that works for the budget that you have in mind.

Geof: If you’re talking to somebody with a budget – again, speaking to somebody who is on the other side of the fence – how do you make sure you’re not just getting somebody who is going to take your whole budget? Maybe that could be a side question for later if you want to stick to how to get to that number. We should probably do that.

John: Just speaking on it for a second, that’s the worry. When I talk to people and they’re like, “I don’t really have a budget,” then we go through our process of trying to back into the budget, sometimes people are like, “I don’t really want to tell you,” or “I know it, but I can’t share it with you,” because they’re concerned.

Geof: But knowing that number, if we were to pretend to be in this situation, I did know my number but I didn’t want to tell you, that’s pretty powerful because then no matter what you say – let’s say you come back with a number that’s lower than what I expected – then I know that I’m in the right place, I can afford this and I can ask questions surrounding why it’s lower than my expectations. Or if it’s way higher, then I know that maybe it’s a situation where they’re offering more or deciding to take advantage, which unfortunately, happens.

How does someone get to that number? We’re going to produce a spreadsheet, which we’ll link to here, but figuring out what, in time, money, resources, that that equals is not the easiest thing to come to. Leave me with one thing to think about when approaching that budget calculation.

John: I think it really depends upon figuring out the lifetime value of a new client, someone who is visiting your website. That ranges so much, it’s crazy. If you’re an e-commerce site, it’s pretty easy to figure out because people are buying stuff from you.

I was talking to an acupuncturist today. We were talking about her site and she didn’t really have a budget in place, so we were talking. She was saying that she would like to get five more contact requests from her site. We backed into what an average client spends on a visit and how often they come, just based on historical trends, which is another honest conversation you need to and should be having with yourself.

We came up with the idea that the average person will come and see her – after some kind of incident – five to ten times. At this much per visit, she’s able to figure out the value of getting ten new clients through her website a month as opposed to “I’m going to spend $2000.”
[aesop_quote type=”block” background=”#282828″ text=”#ffffff” align=”left” size=”2″ quote=”You really have to figure out what you think is going to be the value and put it on paper and maybe do some math.” parallax=”off” direction=”left”]

Geof: You really have to figure out what you think is going to be the value and put it on paper and maybe do some math. Check out the worksheet and tune in for the next episode when we cover some more of this because it’s a pretty important conversation. I think we both agree that having a known budget is very helpful when going into these conversations.

John: I feel like if you don’t have a budget… If we’re having our conversation and you have no idea about a budget and no matter how the conversation goes, we can’t get you to one, it typically means that you’re really not ready to move forward.

Geof: Interesting point. I like that a lot.

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