Save money designing your website

ICT Total Solution would like to recommend some useful suggestions that will help you save money when redesigning your website.

Utilise artwork, images and branding you have already paid for

If you are planning on hiring a graphic designer to produce a brochure or bedroom browser, have them do it before your website is designed. Make sure you tell your graphic designer that you want all the "source files" when he or she is done. Source files are the files that were used to create the artwork, not just the final file that gets sent to the printer. Your web designer may be able to use some of those source files to create your website. This will mean the designer doesn't have to spend hours creating new imagery. It also means there will be some similarity in look and feel between the brochure and website.

Write descriptions yourself
Paying your designer to produce copy is where a lot of money gets wasted. Do your best to write the descriptions you want used on your website. It may need to be fine tuned by a marketing person or a web copy editor that understands search engine optimisation, but at least you are giving them something to start with that also has your personality.

Collect the pictures you are going to want on your website in digital format
If the images you want to use are in a digital format they will be easier for your designer to use. Easier, means faster, faster means cheaper. If you give them paper photos, they will have to scan them and that takes time. However, don't cut corners and give them lousy looking photos because that is all you have that is digital. If better images are available on paper, then use them. Photo quality is important whether you are using digital images or paper based ones.

Organise the photos before you send them
Don't send your web designer photos that you don't actually want to be used. If you have 30 photos and you think 2 of them are really bad, don't waste your designers' time (and your money) by sending them bad photos. Send them only photos that pass your standards. Quite likely (if the designer is any good) they will have an even more critical eye and have to narrow your selections down a little bit more, but at least they won't have to contemplate using a photo you don't like. Photo processing takes time to optimise photos (resizing, cropping, adjusting colour, airbrushing etc.) and what you don't want to do is risk creating is a situation where your designer spends an hour optimising a photo and placing it on the website only to have you say "Can you use a different photo?” That was time and money just wasted.

Also, before you send your photos, spend a bit of time naming the files in a meaningful way. If a designer receives 40 photos of your bedrooms and bathrooms and they are all named "photo0361.jpg" or other similarly meaningless names, the designer then has to spend time trying to decipher which photo is which bedroom and which bathroom goes with which room. Name them based on which room they are (examples: bedroom1-dresser.jpg, bedroom1-bed.jpg, bedroom1-bathtub.jpg, bedroom2-dresser.jpg...)

When starting up, build your website early
Typically it only takes a good website a week or two to actually get "indexed" or read by the major search engines. It takes a while for these pages of the website to mature enough to actually start showing up in the more common (more competitive) searches. Current estimates are that a site won't start to mature until it has been around at least 3 to 6 months. We recommend the website is built at least 6 months ahead of when you plan to open.

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