Well this should be a fun topic and I can say it without prejudice as it is intended at nobody directly. We are just talking in general terms… mostly… will see where it goes :)

So your budget isn’t what anyone hopes it would be. What to do? Follow my 7 steps guide to cheaper success!!

Step 1: Admit it

Want to make a quick hundred? someone once asked me who was clearly in denial of their own budget. While even a thousand dollars may feel like “good money”, it doesn’t go all that far when it comes to the web. If your website is going to be your #1 marketing asset for your business or the main way of transacting with your customers, how much of an investment are you willing to make into it? What do you think your competitors spent? Knowing you are not spending the same amount should help mentally prepare you for the path ahead.

Step 2: Be realistic

Are you trying to build the next Facebook, YouTube or dating site for $5000? Sigh… Spend that money on a programming course and then try to build it yourself. It is your only hope obi wan.

Step 3: Know you are not going to get everything

Best to manage expectations early, so don’t expect the world on a budget. You can’t get a Lambo for the price of a Honda, why would the online world be any different? Best to define your must-have items vs your nice-to-have items and don’t assume anything. It is okay to have a version 2,3,4, etc. in the future. Lets see how far these dollars get you.

Step 4: Be prepared up front

No such statements as “I’ll know it, when I see it”. You don’t have time for that so you need to come correct and have exactly what you want up front. You also need to be prepared to live with your decisions as there isn’t always budget to “try” things.

Step 5: Keep feedback short and concise

On small budgets, we don’t have time for yet another zoom call or can afford to get revisions one-at-a-time. Group all your revisions and email them over. No need to follow up with an immediate phone call to see if I got your email and have you read it to me. One of the main reasons we bill by the hour is because we don’t know how chatty people will be.

Step 6: Start saving for what’s next

A website is not a finite product and things change over time. Other businesses budget for maintenance and you should too. Had a lawyer ask me to fix a site I didn’t build (cause oddly her last few web relationships didn’t work out) so that she would never have to update and it would last forever. When I told her I could not guarantee that she said she would find someone who would. Nothing is forever, websites included.

Step 7: Be kind

Nothing is going to get you fired as a customer faster than being rude or mean. To followup on my story in the last point, I have seen many a customer burn through developers thinking they are getting a deal. While you can try to brow beat people into a lower price (or just straight up stiff them for the money), there is cost of your time in finding someone capable to help you with your online needs that you can trust. How can you trust someone you mistreat? You can’t. So be kind, this isn’t the comments section on the Toronto Sun. In fact, say something nice to someone today for no reason. Non hash tag challenge.


So there are some pointers for keeping costs low. It can be done, just be mindful of the rules. Thanks for reading.