For many businesses a website is a main hub for communicating with customers. Personally, a website is the first thing in which I use to review a business. Regardless of how a website is used it’s difficult to debate that it’s of the utmost importance to have a presentable website. Which is why I am always shocked at how many websites are outdated, cluttered, slow, unresponsive, and not optimized for mobile viewing.

Two years ago when I Co-Founded Develop Bright we got started by word-of-mouth referrals. Many friends and family reached out to get help with building their websites, most of which couldn’t afford the sky-high prices of other website agencies. Right from the start we noticed many businesses aren’t in need of an elaborate website, but rather something simple that will show their presence online. The estimates from other agencies had unneeded extras that drove up the cost. Further, some of these agencies were making a simple, straight-forward process more complex than it should have been.

So, I created a few things to consider before asking for bids(quotes) for a website:

1)    Keep It Simple at The Start

Often times we get customers reaching out to us for bids and asking for elaborate websites. They ask to replicate large websites like Amazon, Airbnb, etc. Our Account Managers quickly learn that the website is among the first for these businesses asking for bids, and they have less than 20 products in their product line. Affiliate marketing programs, A Sign-in Shopping cart, and loyalty rewards are all great things for an E-Commerce website to work up to but certainly not needed from the start. And even if your website isn’t an E-Commerce site, keeping it simple is a good rule of thumb when starting anything. Any custom built website can always have things added to it, so negotiate a consistent hourly rate for the future when you will want to have things added to your site.

2)    Have an Idea or Vision

Most agencies charge on an hourly-rate. Because of this it’s best to have a clear vision of what you’d like. Whether it be some simple example websites or a sketched layout of your website, use it as a starting point and good agencies will adjust layouts as needed. Part of having this vision can also be having the content to go with it. Between product descriptions, a mission statement, history of the company, etc., there are a lot of things you can describe better about your business than an outside agency likely can. There are number of tools like Adobe Stock (shameless plug) in which you can purchase licensed images to go with your website, too. An idea or vision will save you time, money and effort while quickly making you a desired customer for any agency.

3)    Make Sure to Think Mobile

Some agencies, unfortunately, don’t build websites that are mobile optimized or they’ll charge you extra to have a mobile version. Unresponsive mobile websites make it so you’ll lose out on a huge portion of potential customers. Google last year stated organic rankings and quality scores would be impacted if you didn’t have a mobile friendly website – Their support page overviews FAQs on the subject. Google even has a Mobile-Friendly test in which you can input your URL to make sure Google sees your website as mobile friendly.

Websites are still a new concept for many and can be costly when you don’t know what to look for. We understand what it’s like to be entrepreneurs bootstrapping a business. For this reason, Develop Bright created a Simple Website option for businesses looking to get online in an affordable way.  Though, rest-assured we still have the capabilities to build large E-Commerce websites like Craig Electronics, too. Not only are our Simple Websites affordable, but they’re also mobile-optimized to give customers a positive experience regardless of device. And we host, manage, and maintain all websites for a monthly fee.

There’s a lot to consider before preparing to ask for a bid on a website, these are just a few of those things. Don’t always feel that paying extraordinary amounts for a website will make it better or more functional.  And even if you don’t look at Develop Bright to build your website, I’m happy to help answer questions to any within my network if it’ll avoid them from getting overcharged for their websites.